Charles Whitebread:
Via ATL, I learn that Professor Charles Whitebread, a criminal procedure professor at USC School of Law, has passed away. Professor Whitebread was famous for being a highly entertaining bar review lecturer: I still remember his distinctive voice and sense of humor over a decade later. He was also the author (among other things) of a treatise in Criminal Procedure (with Christopher Slobogin). He will be missed.
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Oh No!! He gave my crim. law review for BarBri and gave a popular lecture, based on his book, mainly for 1Ls on how to prepare and write good exams.

He was entertaining. He reminded me of Brian Doyle Murray. He will be missed!
9.18.2008 12:54am
He spoke at my law school graduation. Great speaker and very kind man.
9.18.2008 12:56am
I had the honor and pleasure of taking Professor Whitebread's Law and Society class as an undergrad at USC. That class and Professor Whitebread's guidance and mentoring, even to us lowly undergrads, led me to pursue my legal education. I know every member of the Trojan Family who had the chance to meet Professor Whitebread will miss him.
9.18.2008 1:10am
Dave N (mail):
To be perfectly honest, he is the only bar review lecturer I remember.

I will always remember him saying a certain question would always be on the bar exam for one of two fact patterns (he was right) and the answer would always be "Murder." Professor Whitebreak explained:

"Why? Because it's the bar exam."

In any event, while I had a great, great crim. law/crim. pro. professor (Ron Boyce at Utah), I always thought it a shame I could not have had Professor Whitebread as well.
9.18.2008 1:55am
Franklin Bynum (www):
Charlie was a great teacher and friend.

He had a lot of colorful stories. One of my favorites (which I'll surely botch here, despite having heard it twice) was from his research into the criminalization of marijuana.

An expert at a trial testified of the negative effects of marijuana use. The attorney conducting the examination asked the expert how he knew of these effects. The expert replied, in a revelation that stirred the gallery, that he had, in fact, smoked marijuana himself to see.

The attorney then asked what happened to the expert after smoking. The expert replied that he transformed into a bat.

My last conversation with him was about the Herring case. We've not only lost a great person, teacher, and friend, but also an enthusiastic advocate for the exclusionary rule.

USC Law won't be the same without him.
9.18.2008 2:59am
josh bornstein (mail):
I echo Dave N...he is the only bar review lecturer that I remember. He spoke at our first meeting, and his talk about 'gracious plenty' in terms of what we needed to score in order to pass removed most of the anxiety that I was feeling.

A real loss.
9.18.2008 7:02am
George Lyon (mail):
Charlie was my Resident Advisor my first year as an undergrad at UVA. He was probably the most popular professor among the undergrads even though he taught in the law school. Many people will miss the Breadman.
9.18.2008 8:41am
ruralcounsel (mail):
I'll echo the senitment from other bar studiers ... he had the best presentations! There was always a sigh of relief from the room when he appeared on the BarBri tapes ... we knew the next 3 hours or so were going to be interesting, informative, and worthwhile.

I'm always sorry to hear of the passing of people like Prof. Whitebread, whose influence stretched far beyond his immediate presence.
9.18.2008 9:30am
John Butcher (mail):
I took criminal procedure from Charlie at UVA in 1976 or 77. Not only was he funny, he made the material seem so simple that even I could understand it.

If I were to have formed Superstar Law School, he would have been the first hire.
9.18.2008 10:39am
Sum Budy (mail):

People who took the bar recently told me that he hadn't taught their course. I wondered why.

Really great lecturer.
9.18.2008 11:05am
A.W. (mail):
I originally heard him on audio tape only and i pictured him looking like George C. Scott.

He was colorful, fun, and i learned alot of practical stuff from him. He was a great teacher, which i think often is underappreciated in law schools.

I suspect that the pass rate for the bar is going to plummet, at least in the criminal law sectins. ;-)
9.18.2008 11:08am
Stevethepatentguy (mail) (www):
I took the Bar-Bri preview at Georgetown in 1995, where the teaching videos for the year were made. Professor Whitebread was interesting and funny when the cameras were rolling and even more so after they went off.

His best lines:

- If somebody's dead, somebody's guilty.
- Why? It's the bar exam.

And my favorite was the pantomime of the police officers stopping in the middle of a hot pursuit to arrest someone else. It looked like the Flintstones.
9.18.2008 11:29am
A fantastic professor who cared about his students and the profession, Charlie Whitebread will be missed.

A favorite memory (among many): as the Student Bar Association president, I attended a meeting of the bulk of the USC Law faculty, and enjoyed hearing him chide those of his colleagues who taught bar subjects and could not be bothered to learn how the subject was actually tested on the exam.

As an entire generation of attorneys reflects on his passing, a subsequent generation's education is worse off for it.
9.18.2008 11:35am
Seamus (mail):
His best lines:

- If somebody's dead, somebody's guilty.
- Why? It's the bar exam.

My favorite: "Don't be fooled by trick questions. (In voice of uncertain aspiring lawyer:) 'Is a lamp really a deadly weapon?' (back to Whitehead voice:) It killed him, didn't it?"

(He gave the orientation on the Honor System to entering undergraduates at UVA when I entered in 1971. He was a superstar even then.)
9.18.2008 11:51am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I took BarBri this past winter and thought he did an excellent job teaching Crim Law and Crim Pro. He was efficient, humorous and when I took the bar I heard a voice in the back of my head saying "remember, consent is never a defense on the bar exam."

RIP Professor Whitebread.
9.18.2008 12:03pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
he is the only bar review lecturer that I remember

Not to take away anything from the late Professor Whitebread, but the delivery from memory of Professor Chemerinsky's Conlaw outline, down to the "Capital A, little i, small b," along with the attractive penne-a-la-vodka lady's anecdotes and bubbly delivery, also stick in my mind.
9.18.2008 12:57pm
Whitebread was one of the highlights of bar review. My wife and I still recite his anecdote about taking the DC bar exam, on the top, un-air-conditioned floor, in the smoking, typing room, even though he didn't smoke or type, because he turned in his form late. Also, about discovering your hotel room ransacked: "you may have been burgled, but you most certainly have not been robbed!"
9.18.2008 1:19pm
Thorley Winston wrote at 9.18.2008 11:03am:
I took BarBri this past winter and thought he did an excellent job teaching Crim Law and Crim Pro.
Never saw him in the flesh, but even recorded lectures worked wonders.

His pioneering and followup work on drug prohibition also set a standard rarely met.

He will be missed by many besides law students.

Another moving obit, from which the above links came, is at The Drug Law Blog.
9.18.2008 1:41pm
Suzy (mail):
I've listened to many of his recorded lecturers and I just loved his way of speaking. Hilarious and smart guy!
9.18.2008 2:05pm
General Disarray:
I can't add much to what's already been said. I'm sorry to hear of his passing, and I'm sorry that I never had the opportunity to meet him in person.
9.18.2008 2:38pm
Prof. Whitebread taught my summer 1977 (?) course in Trusts and Estates at Georgetown as a visting prof from UVA. He made an indelible impression at the start of his first lecture - "You all are here because T&E is on the bar exam and you want to get it out of the way. Give me one moment to convince you to take this course seriously. Which partner in the law firm shows up at 10:00 am, has a long lunch, leaves at 2:00 pm, and shoots golf in the low 80's? The T&E partner. Why? Because all of his clients are dead! Think about it. If this appeals to you, pay attention. This life could be yours!
9.18.2008 3:25pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I never took a class from Prof. Whitebread. However, he did emcee the school's PILF auction every year. Very funny, knowledgeable, charming professor. The type of person everyone remembers long after they graduate.

9.18.2008 3:26pm
LM (mail):
Dave N:

To be perfectly honest, he is the only bar review lecturer I remember.

Like Tony Tutins I also vividly remember Erwin C.. After twenty years that speaks pretty well of both of them. For Prof. Whitebread to have impressed so many in so brief a time, he must have been a real presence to those who really knew him. My condolences to his family and friends.
9.18.2008 3:27pm
Cornellian (mail):
Saw him on tape in my BarBri crim law course. I still remember him bewailing the stupidity of his clients during his brief stint as a criminal defense lawyer. One anecdote he told:

1. Two cops walk up sidewalk towards house to solicit donations from homeowner for some charity.

2. Homeowner / client emerges from house to meet the two cops, says "You must be here about that Buick I stole."

Great speaker, RIP.
9.18.2008 3:53pm
PLAIN view! PLAIN view!
9.18.2008 7:20pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Thank you for posting this, Prof. Kerr. Like so many other USC Law grads, I had the pleasure of taking both Criminal Procedure and Gifts, Wills and Trusts with Charlie. He was an outstanding teacher. More importantly, he was an outstanding human being.

When I was in one of his classes I read an op-ed piece which listed him as a potential Supreme Court nominee who was clearly qualified and whose nomination would not stir up any controversy. The author clearly did not know that Charlie was openly -- and outspokenly -- gay. It was an LOL moment before that acronym was invented. When I mentioned the article to Charlie a couple of days later he told me he thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. From a man who knew better than most of us how to enjoy a good laugh, that was saying something.

It's not easy having to write about Charlie in the past tense, but seeing him publicly recognized makes the news of his passing easier to take. Thank you again for blogging about him.
9.18.2008 8:29pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Tony Tutins wrote:
Not to take away anything from the late Professor Whitebread, but the delivery from memory of Professor Chemerinsky's Conlaw outline . . . .
I guess I was doubly fortunate, since I took three classes with Erwin along with the two from Charlie I mentioned in my earlier post. I then got to learn from both of them again (in person) at my Bar/Bri class.

Alas, Erwin is now at UC-Irvine (he's the founding dean of UCI's new law school) and Charlie is gone. It's hard to imagine that the current USC Law students have such gifted teachers to learn from. Of course, the same is true of students at every other law school.
9.18.2008 8:34pm
It's crazy that so many of us have this collective experience.
9.18.2008 11:19pm
Stephen Humphrey (mail) (www):
Like "2L", I also had Prof. Whitebread in his undergrad Law and Society class at USC. So many great quips of his come to mind. Here are two.

There were perhaps two or three hundred juniors and seniors in the class (even with us, he had our names memorized after a few weeks and would call on us by name if we raised a hand). The first quarter was taught out of his Crim Procedure text. At least three or four times, while he was discussing some police action or another, some witless bonehead who hadn't been coming to class would ask, "Can they do that?" Each time, Whitebread would bellow in that resonant voice of his, "Of course, they've got guns!"

He also delivered a great aphorism while we were talking about confessions: "When you were a child, your parents taught you about George Washington and his cherry tree. When you went to church, your priest taught you all about redemption. But I'm your teacher now. Confess to your parents. Confess to your priest. But when it comes to the law, CONFESS AND BE SCREWED!"

Before this description became the negative epithet it is now, he was truly a "Sage on the Stage." I'm proud to have learned so much at his feet.
9.19.2008 3:17am
Claire Gastanaga (mail) (www):
I was a student assistant of Charlie's when he was at UVA in the 70's. No, that's not right, I was a student assistant of Charlie's from the 70's until this week. Once a student assistant for Charlie, always a student assistant...

Charlie was always, from his first day in the classroom, a great teacher. One of my funniest memories was a day in criminal procedure (back when there weren't many women in the class) when he was commending one of the women students for a well crafted response to one of his Socratic inquiries. Taking a very strong drag from this then ever-present cigarette, he looked down at the woman student in question and said, innocently, "why, Miss S..., those are both very good points you have there!" Needless to say, he blushed beet red, apologized profusely, and tried to regain his composure while the entire class (including the women in the class) laughed until we were in tears. It was one of those truly silly moments, when someone says something, so clearly innocent in intent and delivered guilelessly, that allows everyone to have a good laugh without becoming submerged in political correctness and needing to extract a pound of flesh from someone who said what he meant, but didn't exactly mean what was "said."

I will miss Charlie dearly, as will countless other law students, lawyers, judges and FBI agents who benefitted from his natural skill as a teacher and from his unconditional and enduring friendship.
9.19.2008 7:16pm
Larry Hubert, Esq. (mail):
Charlie graduated from the Landon School for Boys in Bethesda, MD in 1961. He was very well liked and respected by both peers and administration. Charlie was one of the brightest students among a gaggle of very intelligent kids who were all headed for the very best colleges. He was a born leader who never harrassed or belittled students in the lower grades. Altogether, an extremely decent human being.
9.23.2008 11:07pm
I had the privilege of learning from Charlie at Bar/Bri when I was a 1L so many years ago. I have so many memories of him and like others here I would like to recall one of his quips

Charlie took the stage at Bar/Bri- Los Angels in his signature bow-tie, striped shirt and linen suit. He asked the assembled students "What is the Golden Rule for Murder?" Some said "specific intent" , other yelled "deliberation", "premeditation". Then came that unmistakeable voice of Charlie's

"No. The Golden Rule of Murder is you have to have a dead body; if he ain't dead, there is no murder no matter how hard his wife tried."

RIP Charlie
9.30.2008 6:56pm