NYU Law mourns the death of criminal law scholar Dan Markel

Members of the NYU Law community are mourning the death of Dan Markel, a leading criminal law scholar, Florida State University law professor, and former scholar-in-residence at the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law (CACL). Markel, the founder of legal blog PrawfsBlawg, had been friend and colleague to many at the Law School over the years, and spent much of his time in New York.

Teaching at Florida State University since 2005, Markel devoted his scholarship to extending insights from the realm of punishment theory to policy design in a number of legal areas, both inside and outside the criminal justice system. In 2011 he spent the calendar year with CACL and served as co-convener of the NYC Criminal Law Theory Colloquium with Michael Cahill of Brooklyn Law School.

His colleagues at the Law School remember a remarkable scholar and individual. "It was a pleasure having Dan as a scholar-in-residence in 2011 and as a regular participant in school events even after that," said Rachel Barkow, Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy and CACL’s executive director. "He was a wonderful colleague and friend, and we will miss him greatly.  He will live on in our hearts, and we will continue to teach and learn from his scholarship."

James Jacobs, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts said, "We benefitted greatly from having Dan here with us about one day per month these last few years. He was very warm, engaging, enthusiastic and stimulating. He will be very much missed."

William T. Comfort, III Professor of Law Roderick Hills posted the following tribute at PrawfsBlawg, where many of Markel's colleagues, friends and former students gathered in remembrance:

I had last spoken with Dan on Thursday, July 10th, at Local 61 in Brooklyn, when we were both coincidentally in town. (I had been vacationing in Greenport, LI but had come back to town for an advisory committee hearing).

As usual, we chatted serendipitously about this and that -- our favorite places in Tel Aviv (e.g., Yarkon Park), blogging issues (e.g., the care and feeding of trolls, or not), how and when to write amicus briefs, the new love in his life, and, most important, his kids. (He hurried over to my apartment to re-charge his i-pad so he could Skype "good night" to them).

I did not typically see Dan very frequently in person -- maybe two or three times a year or so, when he was passing through NYC. With Dan, however, it did not take much face time to maintain close friendships. Like an ounce of gold spread across a church dome, Dan seemed to make tiny snippets of time count in maintaining friendships with literally hundreds of people in his orbit of friends, held together by an occasional email, a quick bite at a bar, a few words at a crim law theory conference or prawfsblawg fest. He was like a human Grand Central Station, bustling with extraordinary energy to bring people together, using his blog in a self-effacing way to connect people with books, jobs, ideas, each other.

When someone like Dan is torn out of the web, it leaves a lot of loose ends.


Posted July 23, 2014