Paul L. Caron

Monday, February 21, 2011

Interview With Tenured Law Prof Fighting For His Job After Using Dean in Hypos

Connell Following up on last week's post, Law Prof May Lose Tenure For Classroom Hypos on Shooting His Dean: the National Association of Scholars has posted an interview with Lawrence Connell, the tenured law professor at Widener who is fighting to keep his job after students complained about his frequent class hypos about shooting the school’s African-American Dean Linda L. Ammons:
Q: Do you believe that Widener University is seeking to oust you because you are conservative?
A: Yes. ...
Q: Can you give me an example of a hypothetical you might have used in class, to which the students who complained might have been referring? Can you describe the context in which you would have used it?
A: Yes, here is one: The Dean has threatened to fire me if she comes to school one more time and finds that I have parked in her designated parking space. Upset about the possibility of losing both my job and the parking space, I bring my .357 to school, get out of my car, put the .357 into my waistband, walk to the top floor where her office is located, open the door to her office, see her seated at her desk, draw my weapon, aim my weapon, and fire my weapon directly into what I believe to be her head. To my surprise, it’s not the Dean at all, but an ingeniously painted pumpkin - a pumpkin that has been intricately painted to look like the Dean. Dick Tracy rushes in and immediately wrestles me to the ground. I am charged with the attempted murder of the Dean.
The hypothetical raises various issues about attempted crimes that might entail discussion that spans more than one class.

Legal Education | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Interview With Tenured Law Prof Fighting For His Job After Using Dean in Hypos:


I agree that such hypos are weird, but the evidence appears to be that many criminal law profs use them, I don't think this fellow should be singled out.

Posted by: mike livingston | Feb 21, 2011 12:38:23 PM

It is sad that someone wants to hide behind this "conservative" label to escape what is evidently a personality disorder of some kind. If you do not like your boss, quit. "Hypos" of that kind are sick and inappropriate. No real "conservative" would stand for that kind of behavior.

Posted by: George W | Feb 21, 2011 9:47:00 AM

I don't know the facts of this case, but I know that the "pumpkin" hypothetical is quite common in criminal law, I have heard it used repeatedly at conferences on law and philosophy, et al. Widener is really not helping themselves much with this obvious retaliation.

Posted by: mike livingston | Feb 21, 2011 3:23:35 AM