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February 10, 2014


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Debbie Gershenowitz

I am absolutely devastated at this news. Andy -- or Taz, to many of us -- was that rare soul that somehow managed to effortlessly juggle his own brilliant scholarship with an equally brilliant and meticulous standard of peer review of his colleagues' work. His refusal to say no when asked to comment on a proposal, article, or book manuscript, regardless of his own schedule, significantly raised the standard of legal writing. His loss leaves a gap as big as his laugh was, and my heart goes out to Patty and the dogs.
--Debbie Gershenowitz, senior editor, Cambridge University Press

Alexander Tsesis

I can think of no better friend than Andrew Taslitz. I first met him when I was writing while still in practice. Richard Delgado introduced us. From the moment I met Taz (by e-mail at first) he never ceased to be my mentor. He gave meticulous care to every draft article I sent him. He advised me about teaching and grading, advice that I will always cherish because he was one of the best teachers in the country. He was there at every stage of my career, always there to give me advice on scholarship, service, and pedagogy, always there to write a reference letter for tenure and review. Andy was absolutely irreplaceable. On my first book project, he gave me the best advice of any peer reviewer, so much so that I added two chapters and a chunk of another to the work to meet his profound insights. Besides the many times he helped me, I remember speaking to him about tenure review letters he was writing and others' books he was reviewing for presses. He had an enormous amount of energy and took on deeply meaningful leadership responsibilities to work with other criminal professors and practitioners. His students at Howard Law gave him the nickname "Taz", like "Tazmanian Devil" in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, because of the enormous amount of energy he radiated.

For those of you who didn't know him. He was the best friend to his wife Patty, a lawyer. He loved Star Trek and spending time with their dogs. He was a wonderful son, who cared for his parents. He was a beautiful person like no other. He had a laugh that was contagious. He was irreplaceable.


He didn't die "after a fight with cancer." He was struck down by cancer, after being prodded, doped up and irradiated. It would be weird to say that a person died "after a fight with a lightning bolt."

Society's fight with cancer is not helped by euphemism.

Stephen Henderson

As one would expect, the crimprof listserv has been inundated all morning with recollections of this great man. I feel richly blessed to have known him and to have worked with him. I will repeat here something I posted there, as there will be different audiences and some here might also have ideas:

All of us who knew Andy are obviously grieving right now, and I certainly hope raising this doesn't in any way detract or distract from that, because this is a very small measure and I know some of you knew him longer and better than I. But it turns out that we recently held a symposium at OU law on a set of standards that I drafted with Andy (along with fellow crimprofs Slobogin and Ohm), and although Andy could not attend in person because of his valiant fight with cancer, he was - in typical form - so kind as to submit an article nonetheless. Unfortunately, while he did make it to a rough first draft, he wasn't able to complete that article.

I would like to dedicate the volume to Taz, as I'm sure many more conferences over the years are likely to do, including ones focusing specifically on his incredible body of work. My reason for writing is to see whether anyone has any ideas on how I might make this admittedly very small gesture as meaningful as it can be. I will have to work with the law review to get its permission for whatever seems best (the articles are in edits now), but I suspect they will be amenable. So, if anyone has ideas, or would like to contribute in some small way, please let me know.

And again, I hope this seems worthwhile and appropriate. I'm heartbroken right now, so I may be grabbing after any small thing I can do.

W. David Ball

Such terrible, terrible news. I am deeply saddened by the loss. If people have any information about where condolences can be sent, please do share them.

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