Paul L. Caron

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dan Markel Deserves Justice

MarkelTallahassee Democrat editorial, Dan Markel Deserves Justice:

On Friday morning, July 18, 2014, an assailant, some speculate that it could have been a professional hit man, shot Florida State law professor Dan Markel as he sat in his car in his garage.

Markel’s murder represents a diminishment of our community on so many levels: as a father, educator, scholar, neighbor, congregant and human being. The loss is compounded by the frustration over the lack of progress in bringing his killer or killers to justice. All lives matter, but the need for justice in this case seems more urgent than ever. If this can happen to Dan Markel, then we are all vulnerable.

The setting reinforces why this community was so jolted by the events of a year ago. Betton Hills is one of the Tallahassee neighborhoods that signal you have arrived. It’s an address that spells accomplishment. Up and down Trescott Drive, you see the kind of places couples call forever homes. We live, we dream and we die. But not the way Markel did. No one deserves that fate.

With his Ivy League education, Markel’s star shone brightly in the legal firmament. His enthusiasm for the law — he wrote against the death penalty — his brilliance as legal scholar, means there’s a void in the halls of Florida State’s law school. Thankfully, his legacy will be the legal careers of his students who will become defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors and more.

But let’s not forget his two sons. At the time of his death, Markel, a Toronto native, was enmeshed in an acrimonious post-divorce fight with his ex-wife. He was fighting to keep his sons close. They have been robbed of a father, his counsel. Someone must explain why someone would despise their father to the point of murder. There will never be a satisfactory answer.

The Markel murder, occurring as it did in a year when the blood flowed and bodies fell in historically high numbers in Tallahassee, stands out in ways we would rather ignore or forget. Even as he lay dying, emergency medical services flubbed their response. Help didn’t arrive for 19 minutes after the 911 call. By then, his assailant had fled; since then, the trail has grown colder.

The Tallahassee Police Department has announced a reward of $25,000 for anyone providing information leading to an arrest and conviction in his case. An anonymous donor has made it even more attractive to find Markel’s killer, with the offer of a $100,000 reward. Thus far, the most concrete clue about this murder plot is the “silver pine mica” 2006 to 2009 Toyota Prius that was seen leaving the scene. ...

[H]is sons, parents, friends, former colleagues and students deserve better. They might not want or never get closure, but they deserve justice. And so does Dan Markel.

The Markel murder, occurring as it did in a year when the blood flowed and bodies fell in historically high numbers in Tallahassee, stands out in ways we would rather ignore or forget.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

Legal Education, Obituaries | Permalink


Poor written, hyperbolic editorial. Blood never flowed and bodies fell in Tallahassee. The comments here are childish and idiotic. He no more deserves "justice" thank anybody else who was murdered. When will the Markel fetish (here and elsewhere) end?

Posted by: Diogenes | Jul 19, 2015 6:12:22 AM

I've seen this done before, and so I think it'll help resolve this case.

#WhiteLivesMatter #WhiteLivesMatter #WhiteLivesMatter

Posted by: Anon | Jul 18, 2015 5:24:16 PM

Thirty percent of all murders in NYC go unsolved. The police and DAs do not see any benefit in publicizing this fact for obvious reasons. I'm curious why the paper chose to write this editorial as it doesn't sound like the police in Tallahassee have spared any resources in trying to solve the case. The mention of his contentious divorce and custody fight in an article about his murder sounds like they are suggesting the two should be linked together.

Posted by: PaulB | Jul 18, 2015 5:05:34 PM

Curious, I Googled unsolved Tallahassee murders and one of the first results was an article this spring about a triple homicide from 1966 that remains unsolved. It does not engender much confidence in the PD. Very sad indeed.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jul 18, 2015 1:50:54 PM

Murders are solved much less often than you would think from watching police shows on TV. This case is tragic for the children and a black eye for the police. We can only hope the police know more than they are saying.

Posted by: AMT buff | Jul 18, 2015 1:24:43 PM

This homicide is so very strange. It looks like a professional hit. There cannot be too many possible suspects. That the Markel case has now gone cold does not bode well for it being solved. Unless one of the vagrants involved dangles info for a plea in another case, I don't know that if will ever be solved. Very strange and sad.

Posted by: Jojo | Jul 18, 2015 10:18:11 AM

A Prius? Did he p*ss off someone in the Sierra Club, or the NRDC?

Posted by: askeptic | Jul 18, 2015 9:15:57 AM