Obituaries

Shooting death of law prof who founded PrawfsBlawg is investigated as homicide


Florida State University law professor Dan Markel died early Saturday after being shot at his home on Friday.

Police in Tallahassee, Florida, are investigating the death as a homicide, their usual practice in deaths without witnesses, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. A criminal law professor, Markel founded PrawfsBlawg and opposed the death penalty in his work, the Toronto Star reports. His articles appeared in the New York Times, Slate and the Atlantic, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. Funeral arrangements are being made by his family in Toronto. TaxProf Blog links to additional articles and blog posts.

Police are saying little about the case, the Tallahassee Democrat says. Florida law gives police wide latitude in releasing information on active cases, and Tallahassee police typically release only the victim’s name, address and crime under investigation. Police told the Toronto Star that there are no suspects at this time and the crime is not considered a break-in.

Writing at Concurring Opinions, Temple University law professor David Hoffman wrote that Markel cared deeply for his children and his friends. “Indeed, Dan Markel knew more legal academics—by which I mean he had more meaningful conversations and was actually friends with more people—than anyone in the country,” Hoffman wrote. “Everyone knew him or had a story about him. Even in conversations he wasn’t a part of, at conferences he’d never attended, he was a common point of reference. He was our Kevin Bacon.”

Markel is married to another Florida State law professor, Wendi Adelson, but they were in the midst of divorce proceedings, the Tallahassee Democrat says. (A later report by the newspaper indicates the divorce has been finalized.) A friend, Allen Grossman, told the newspaper in a prior article that Markel had two sons age 3 and 5. New York University law professor Rick Hills Jr. told the Toronto Star that Markel was happy in a new relationship.

Typo corrected on July 22 and link to new report saying Markel’s divorce has been finalized.

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