AUWCL Mourns the Loss of Professor Andrew Taslitz

American University Washington College of Law is mourning the loss of our esteemed colleague, Professor Andrew Taslitz (Taz), who passed away Sunday after a short but valiant battle with cancer.

“Many of us knew of the seriousness of Taz's illness, but his death still comes as a tremendous shock. It is difficult to grasp the enormity of this loss – to our law school community, to our profession, and to society at large,” said Dean Claudio Grossman. “Taz was an extraordinary human being. He had enormous intellectual creativity, an unparalleled passion for teaching, a warm and affectionate personality, and a well-deserved reputation as a remarkably generous mentor and champion to students and junior colleagues.  Taz possessed a sense of humor that was as bold and endearing as his contagious laugh.”

Professor Taslitz had a great impact on both his students and the community as a whole. After joining the Washington College of Law faculty in fall 2012, he helped launch the new Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute in 2013 and became the Institute Director. Professor Taslitz dedicated more than 20  years to legal academia –  in addition to teaching at American University, he taught at Howard University for the majority of his career (20+ years), as well as at Duke University, Villanova University, and was the Welsh S. White Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh.  

Professor Taslitz’s scholarship and teaching was focused primarily in the areas of criminal procedure, evidence, criminal law, and professional responsibility. He published well over 100 works and is the author of seven books, notably including Reconstructing the Fourth Amendment: A History of Search and Seizure, 1789-1868, and Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom. View his full bio here.

We know that many in the community have fond memories of Taz. For those who would like to share your memories, please email tazmemories@wcl.american.edu. A selection of these memories will be posted on this page and they all will be shared with Taz’s family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at AUWCL in honor of Professor Taslitz on Monday, March 31 from 4-6 p.m. in room 603.

The Professor Andrew E. Taslitz Scholarship in Criminal Law

Washington College of Law has established a scholarship in criminal law in memory of Professor Taslitz.
Contributions can be mailed to:

American University Washington College of Law
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
C/O Duante Stanton, Assistant Director of Annual Giving
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 373
Washington DC, 20016

Please make your check payable to Washington College of Law and in the memo line specify "A. Taslitz Scholarship."
You may also make a donation online here. For designation, please click See More Designations and under Other key in "A. Taslitz Scholarship."

Select Tributes and Remembrances from Professor Taslitz's Students, Friends, and Colleagues

(to contribute your own, please send a message, with your name and affiliation, to tazmemories@wcl.american.edu)

* * *

I hope it is not too late for me to send you my memories of Andy as a really great, and funny!, law scholar. I won't go on at length other than to say that Andy always brightened up a room, and was able to calm down the most vociferous debates within the ABA's Criminal Justice Council, often with a funny remark, but never at the expense of anyone personally. We miss him greatly in that context.

I will also say that Howard U Law School is holding a symposium to honor Andy on Sept. 19, 2014. http://www.law.howard.edu/1816. I will have the honor of presenting a few remarks about Andy and his work within the ABA there. To that end, I would greatly appreciate anyone's memories of Andy's contributions, or simply anecdotes of his acts and performances, in the ABA context.

Rory K. Little
Professor of Law, U.C. Hastings College of the Law

* * *

Having transferred here last fall, Professor Taslitz was one of the first Professor's I had the pleasure of taking class with while at WCL. The fall semester was quite a challenge trying to navigate a new school while going through some difficult personal times and Professor Taslitz was caring and extremely patient with me always offering to help me outside of class and make himself available during non-office hours to go over the material. I will always remember his sense of humor, light heartedness, and the way he made Evidence seem fascinating and easy. His pneumonic for hearsay exceptions has already helped me a few times in other classes and in clinic. Were it not for his kindness, it would have been an even more difficult semester than it was. WCL has indeed suffered a tremendous loss, and he will be missed.

Prianka Sharma-Iacobucci
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

My sincere condolences to Professor Taslitz (Taz) and his family. I never had the opportunity to call him Professor Taslitz, nor did I ever have a chance to attend a lecture from Professor Taslitz. The first time I spoke to him was in August 2013 when I was introduced by a volunteer at Imerman Angel Cancer Support group. We spoke on the phone numerous times & months, about his students, family and what he was going through. I remember so vividly his hearty laugh, his humor, and his very upbeat outlook. What I remember the most, he asked me to call him TAZ, my friends call me "TAZ." I was honored and privileged to have known TAZ.
God Bless!

Zachary Madrigal
Cancer Survivor and Friend!
Imerman Angel Cancer Support- Mentor Angel

* * *

Where to begin? Perhaps at the beginning . . . Andy and I met in law school, and we have been friends ever since. My children have known and loved Andy all their lives. My daughter Lindsay still has a teddy bear Andy bought her when she was born almost 30 years ago, and it has offered her some comfort in recent days. I have a wonderful picture of my son Kyle, now 26, sleeping on Andy's chest when he was four or five. Quite simply, he and Patty were family.

After his highly successful time as a prosecutor, which, given his huge heart, gave him both great joy and great pain because of the bad things people are capable of, Andy moved into civil practice, where he was less than happy. But he was nervous about leaving what he perceived to be the greater security of private practice for an uncertain career in academia. I knew he would turn out to be the amazing teacher he was, because that was just Andy-if he did something, he did it better than most, and he always had the intellect, heart, and energy to be the compassionate, motivating, inspirational professor everyone has described. So I talked him into joining me in the Legal Writing Program at Villanova, and that was that. He fell in love with the whole process and never looked back.

Others have talked about Andy's teaching, his scholarship, his mentorship, and the rest of his professional contributions. I have nothing to add there. What I will miss is the Andy who was such an integral part of my life. I will miss our conversations about everything from world events and politics to what movies we had seen and what TV shows we were watching at any given time. We would talk about books we were reading, mostly sci-fi and fantasy on my part-Andy read everything, and it was fun to give him something to read that got him excited. I will miss trying to convince him that sports are actually interesting. I will miss watching Andy enjoy a meal, at least for the two or three minutes it took him to eat it. I will miss the mismatched, colorful socks. I will miss the excitement in his voice every time I saw him or talked to him on the phone. I will miss the satisfaction of saying something that brought out that wonderful, joyous laugh everyone has mentioned.

As I know everyone would say, I will always be sorry we didn't have more time. As Andy so typically and correctly put it, we "suck[ed] at the distance thing." Since I moved to California, we didn't see or talk to each other nearly enough, but as Andy also said, when we were together it was like we had never been apart. I will be forever grateful to have had him in my life.

On the day Andy died, I was driving home from the airport when Lindsay called to give me the news. I looked down to my right, and saw her face on my phone, knowing why she was calling and that I really shouldn't take that call while I was driving. I looked up to my left and there was the most beautiful sunset. I thought how nice it was to be able to appreciate it, how sad it was that Andy couldn't, and how somehow the sheer beauty and brightness of it made me think of Andy. Since then we've had a couple more really nice sunsets, and now they make me smile thinking of Andy. I have his picture on my computer screen and on my phone. Every time something makes me think of him, I smile and I'm sad at the same time. I miss you, my friend, and I love you forever.

Prof. Nancy Schultz
Fowler School of Law, Chapman University

* * *

Professor Taslitz was my professor during my first and second year at Howard University School of Law, where he taught me Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. He was a very attentive, warm, personable, and knowledgeable person who was adored by many. In 1995, I overheard him talking with a student about the role of a prosecutor - a conversation which eventually influenced my decision to become an Assistant United States Attorney with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia in 1998. Fortunately, I took the opportunity to share with him how his comments in 1995 influenced my decision to devote 14 years of my career in that position. Prof. Taslitz added a lot of value to the legal community, and he will be greatly missed.

Tricia D. Francis
Howard University School of Law, Class of 1996

* * *

Taz was a magnificent scholar and human being who set an aspirational standard for us all in the areas of intellectual insight, academic curiosity, and extraordinary highest-level productivity. Combine these gifts with personal compassion, generosity, and heart and one will begin to discover all that is "Andrew Taslitz" and why so many individuals and communities adored him.

Prof. Deborah W. Denno,
Fordham University School of Law

* * *

Professor Taslitz was one of the greatest professors that I ever had the privilege to be in a class with. He was passionate, full of legal wisdom, and incredibly funny. I never laughed so much in a law class before. I took his criminal procedure course at WCL. I had no interest in criminal law at the time, but his enthusiasm for the field, his great energy and all of his funny stories inspired me and his class quickly became my favorite. He will be greatly missed.

Monika Fidler
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

Andy's bright, generous, warm spirit always shone through his big smile, hearty laugh, and passion for a better world. He was a long-time neighbor and friend and was very helpful to our daughter as she considered law school. He always saw a future law professor in her and, as was often the case with Andy, his intuition was correct. Our visits together always ranged from crazy, funny exchanges to profound global concerns. Such was the scope of Andy's liveliness! Reading the comments from so many of his students is a beautiful tribute to all he gave to others. Patty, we join with others in saying we are so sorry for your loss. He will be missed by many, for sure.

John and Rose Haskell

* * *

I was one of Professor Tazlitz' earliest students at Howard University School of Law. On our first day of orientation, the associate dean impressed upon us the gravity of our undertaking and shared with us the depressing statistical odds of surviving our upcoming ordeal in one piece. The faculty was then introduced in order of seniority; some made brief welcoming comments, others simply waved. Taz was one of the most junior faculty members at the time and, so, one of the last to speak. When it was finally his turn, he took over the stage and, in his big booming voice, with his fist pumping in the air, let us know that, yes, it was going to be hard, BUT IT WAS GOING TO BE REALLY FUN TOO! And it was - in Taz' classes, we worked hard, and we laughed hard. We were deeply respected and always empowered to bring our own views and voices into the mix.

I had the unequaled pleasure of working with Taz as his research assistant and he eventually became my mentor. Taz helped me get my first job out of law school . . . and my second job. He kept tabs on me over the years and was a cheerleader throughout my career - something he did for many, many students and colleagues. I've never quite figured out how he managed to make the time. But he always did.

I've come full circle and am now teaching in the very areas I studied with Taz - Criminal Law and Procedure and Professional Responsibility. Taz was one of the funniest, kindest, and most patient teachers I have ever encountered, then or now. Whenever I walk into the classroom, I make a conscious effort to teach like Taz - there could be no finer role model.

Prof. Jordan Gross
University of Montana School of Law
Howard University School of Law, Class of 1993

* * *

Taz set a very high bar for what it means to be a truly good, ethical, courageous, and stead-fast advocate for victims of violence and crime. I will spend my career, always with him in mind, diligently working to never let him down.

Rachael Curtis
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

From the moment I met Andy, he was gracious and kind. He always had a way of filling the room with enormous light and energy. He was so giving of his spirit, his expertise, his ideas and creativity. The was indeed the best of the best.

Rest peacefully, Andy. Your joy for life and commitment to service will live through the people you have touched for years to come.

Theresa M.T. Melton
Communications Media Relations Division/former Senior Public Relations Specialist with the Criminal Justice Section
American Bar Association

* * *

I was a RA of Taz for over a year and I enjoyed his criticism as much as his praise. He always said it like it was, but did so in a soft and caring manner. His command of all things criminal law was incredible. He always had an answer no matter what the given hypo. Now he is gone on to another Journey.

I will always miss you Taz.

Marc Watkins, J.D.
Howard University School of Law

* * *

Professor Taslitz was an incredible mentor and an enthusiastic member teacher. This community truly lost a great man in Taz.

I took Evidence with Taz in the fall of 2012. From the outset, I found the course very difficult and very the subject matter frustratingly nuanced. Overwhelmed with trying to navigate hearsay exceptions and hearsay exclusions, I started to visit Taz's office hours on a regular basis.

While other professors may have grown tired of how frequently I would ask for certain issues explained, I was truly struck with how Professor Taslitz made himself so accessible outside of the classroom and how he was always eager to help. He always seemed happy to speak with me and was so enthusiastic about his my legal education. Taz was always ready to talk out issues, share stories from his practice, and had an infectious laugh that I will never forget. I still recall some of his stories and our conversations when I am confronted with evidentiary issues today.

Taz was a man with a true gift for teaching and really reaching students. Taz was a rare example of a professor that got students excited to study law (even evidence) and turned law students into excellent lawyers. He will be dearly missed.

Matt Watts
AU WCL Class of 2014

* * *

Professor Taz was such an inspirational professor - charismatic, brilliant, friendly, and thoughtful. His truly genuine personality, both inside and outside the classroom, always inspired me. I particularly enjoyed his references to Canada & Miami in Crim Pro - stories I always brought back to my friends and family in those places. You will truly be missed, Taz.

Samit D'Cunha
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

I am so sad to hear this news. Andy and his wife Patty lived next door to my parents when I was growing up and I had many dinners with them during which Andy guided me through my decision to go to law school and eventually encouraged me to go on to become a law professor. In addition to being a prolific scholar and an excellent teacher, he was passionate about everything he did, generous with his time and support, and he had a loud and booming laugh that I will always remember. I send my deepest condolences to Patty.

Prof. Laurel Rigertas
Northern Illinois University College of Law

* * *

Andy and I were legal gophers together in 1977 at the Park Avenue NY law firm of Forsythe, Leviness and Pearson before we both went to law school. Andy was truly a delightful person and great friend. We had many adventures in NY. I have particularly fond memories of when Andy and Patty vistied me when I was working as a rooftop bartender at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston while in law school. I think they heard Andy's laugh all throughout the Back Bay. Rest in peace my friend.

Fred Greenberg, Esquire
Fred Greenberg, P.C.

* * *

It is difficult to find the proper words. To all who knew him Taz loomed large as a warm and compassionate teacher and mentor. I feel privileged to have known him, and to have learned from him. His remarkable capacity for caring for his students on so many levels was always apparent. And his passion for scholarship was astounding.

He taught me a great deal, and even though I'm not practicing criminal law, I still use the structure of analysis that he taught to form a case and take it to hearing. I have remembered his advice when writing, and appreciate that advice more each year of my practice.

To his close friends and family, I am sure your loss is keenly felt. He did tell stories about you, so his students certainly felt like we knew you, too. I wish you peace at this very sad time.

Phyllis Barney
Assistant Attorney General - Ecology Division
State of Washington
HUSL Class of 2008

* * *

Like so many others, I am devastated at the news.

Sharon L. Davies
Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
Executive Director, Kirwan Institute
The Ohio State University

* * *

Taz was truly an incredible man. The enthusiasm he brought to teaching was a major role in convincing many students, myself included, to pursue a career in criminal law.

Calen Weiss
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

Professor Taslitz was not only an inspiring teacher but a mentor and a friend. We will miss his "war stories" and hearing his big, booming laugh in class and across the cafeteria.

Kathleen Hsu
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

I will never forget Taz's charisma and enthusiasm towards criminal law and his students. His excitement not only made him a better teacher, but me want to be a better student and lawyer. I was lucky to know someone so passionate and kind. He will be dearly missed.

Caitlin Marchand
AUWCL Class of 2015

* * *

Professor Taslitz was the most welcoming, encouraging, and inspiring professor I have ever had the good fortune to know. His commitment to his students, passion for criminal justice, and unfailingly good humor made learning a joy. Our community has suffered a great loss and he will be missed tremendously. I consider myself incredibly lucky to call myself his student.

Annie Berry
AUWCL Class of 2015

* * *

Professor Taz, whether it be your bright red hair, your glistening smile, your contagious laugh, or your entertaining stories, you will continue to brighten our hearts and minds. You loved justice more than most, and you took the time to help us remember that we are not just lawyers, but human beings. Like our clients, we share this earth, and all of us deserve to be treated with dignity. You not only taught me to excel in criminal law, you reinforced the importance of "good prosecutors" and the need to tell peoples stories. You wanted us to imagine being beaten and abused by our spouse, all in order to empathize with a woman charged with killing her abusive husband. You had us delve into the traumatic childhood of a young man facing the rest of his life in prison. Why? Because you wanted us to stop and take the time to feel what it would be like to live that young man's life. You will continue to be my one and only favorite prosecutor. Thank you for being you! Thank you for committing your life to our future, and thank you for being a mentor.

Corina Garcia
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

Every class that I had with him was exciting. He would tell funny stories about his childhood, encourage me to participate, and leave me with a sense of confidence that I could handle this law school "thing". Professor Taz was an amazing professor and an excellent mentor. He will truly be missed by the WCL community.

Alexis Patterson
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

Professor Taslitz ("Taz") was an inspiration for us all. His expansive knowledge and passion for the law shined through his work here at WCL. Taz, you will be missed but not forgotten!

Elizabeth Vaysman
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

Taz was an incredibly generous and thoughtful person and a great mentor. He never hesitated to offer assistance to any student he encountered and he encouraged each person on his or her own unique professional path. Even though my interests were not in criminal law, Taz went out of his way to help me connect to individuals in my field and encouraged me to follow my passion. He went above and beyond what could be asked of a professor and he will truly be missed.

Julia Boisvert
AUWCL Class of 2012

* * *

When I started working with Taz, I was amazed at how well we connected over love for people, social justice, criminal law, and pop culture. As I got to know him better, I realized it was not that we had everything in common; it was just Taz. He cared first, then found ways to connect.

Christiane Cannon
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

I am so deeply indebted to Prof. Taz that there is no way to describe how sad I am. The opportunity Prof. Taz offered for me was the turning point of my new life here that shapes what I am now. Your encouragement not to fear challenges has been and will continue to be inspirational to me. Rest in Peace, Professor Taz.

Yoonhee Kim
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

Professor Taz was one of the first professors I had the privilege of meeting at WCL. He taught a brief snippet of criminal law as part of the LAP program, and I can truly say that he set the bar high for professors at WCL.

Robert Nothdurft
AUWCL Class of 2015

* * *

I admired his open mindedness in his approach to the law as well as his sense of humor, which permeated his writing as well as his teaching.

Ryan Fanning
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

I did not have the opportunity to have class with Professor Taslitz, his dedication to helping students pursue careers in the criminal justice field was unparalleled. RIP Professor Taslitz, you will be missed.

Rochelle Brunot
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

Words cannot express the loss of the WCL community. Prof. Taslitz was one of the most genuine and knowledgeable professors I've had who sincerely cared about each one of his students.

Megan Petry
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

I taught alongside Taz for nearly a decade at Howard. He is one of the most amazing faculty members I have ever met. So many of us excel at one of the three major aspects of being a faculty member. Taz excelled at all three. I was always amazed at how he could write reports for committees, facilitate tenure files, attend events, write multiple law review articles a year, write a book every other year, and still manage to be one of the most effective teachers in the country. Of course, those are just the things that show up on paper. When I was rushing to grab something out of the dining hall and get back to my desk, I would see Taz casually eating lunch with students or a colleague. His students simply adored him for his willingness to share his time and for his pure excitement about teaching them. Taz was also equally giving to junior faculty. Shortly after I joined the faculty, he volunteered to read my work. Not only did he read it, he made me and other junior faculty members feel important in the way he took our work seriously, got back to us quickly, and took as much time as necessary to mentor us. Whether you were a student or a colleague, he made you feel as though you were the center of his universe, even though we knew his universe was immense. Even when you did not ask for help, he was willing to give it. Within six months of my being on the faculty, Taz had arranged an opportunity for me to be on a panel at a conference I had not even considered. I was shocked that he had enough time and cared enough to be thinking about me amongst all his other tasks. He was certainly one of a kind, and of the kind that this world could use much more."

Prof. Derek W. Black
University of South Carolina School of Law

* * *

I had the honor of editing 2 of Andy's books at New York University Press,as well as the honor of reading numerous peer reviews by Andy on other scholars' books that became far better due to his always constructive and always gracious criticism. Few scholars embodied "peer" the way Taz did: that of performing a service to benefit the larger legal community and academy rather than demonstrating how much he knew about another scholars' work and how much more work the scholar needed to do to pass muster. But that was Taz through and through: a passionate scholar, lawyer, advocate, student, and friend. His very being made all of us better, and I can't quite get my head around how if ever it'll be filled. My heart hurts because I couldn't say goodbye to Taz; it's also bigger because I had the privilege of knowing him. My deepest condolences to Patty, the pups, andthe WCL faculty and students.

Deborah Gershenowitz
Senior Editor, Cambridge University Press

* * *

Andrew was a main reason that I became a law professor. I met him through his wife Patty Sun; we were then both members of the AABDV (Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley). In 1990, Andy gently but thoroughly pointed out all the ways in which I was qualified to be a law professor (I was quite doubtful then and still am sometimes now). I loved the fact that he and another close colleague, Frank Wu, taught at Howard University, which demonstrated their commitment to social justice. One of the most humorous things Andy ever said to me is that for him or I to characterize ourselves as Type B personalities means that we are Type A's in denial. My sincere condolences to Patty and the rest of Andy's family - including the Washington College of Law community. May he rest in peace.

Margaret Chon
Donald & Lynda Horowitz Professor for the Pursuit of Justice
Seattle University School of Law

* * *

Thank you so much for putting together this memorial page. My heart is breaking at this loss.

I have known Andy and Patty since 1987, when we were young lawyers in Philadelphia. I connected with Andy right away - he and I were both Jewish kids who grew up in modest circumstances in the Bronx in the 1960s. At that time, Andy was working at a law firm, but he knew he was destined for something bigger, and greater. He just wasn't sure what that was.

So he went to a career counselor, took a bunch of personality tests, and then announced to a group of friends one day that his counselor had told him to be a law professor. He was kind of scratching his head about that...but as soon as he said it, we all knew that this was, indeed, what he was meant to do.

I have so many wonderful memories of Andy over the last quarter century...

  • along with another friend, teaching him how to ride a bicycle when he was nearly 30 years old - running alongside him down the streets of Long Beach Island holding the handlebars as he tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to stay upright;
  • his perennially mismatched socks;
  • his way of showing up for dinner just as it was being put on the table (usually with a pie in hand for dessert);
  • the day that he ordered a decaf tea at Starbucks, took one sip, exclaimed "this is not decaf", and sent it right back;
  • his visit to us in Texas where he got into a heated discussion about "search and seizure" with a neighbor who was a gun-totin' DEA officer not terribly interested in what a liberal law professor from up north might have to say about the rights of the drug dealers who put his life at risk on a daily basis;
  • his utter devotion to his wife Patty (and to his dogs, B'lanna and Odo)
  • his humble brilliance
  • his joyful spirit
  • his beautiful smile and contagious laugh

Rest In Peace, my dear friend.

Suzanne Mitchell
Assistant General Counsel
Texas Department of State Health Services

* * *

I remember being stressed about choosing my law review comment topic. The topic proposal deadline was drawing near, and I hadn't made much headway. I knew I wanted to discuss crime and sentencing within the administrative law context, but I didn't know how. I contacted a few professors and was eventually referred to Prof. Taz. After an email and phone conversation, Prof. Taz agreed to advise me.

Before meeting Prof. Taz I thought administrative law was too abstract and wanted nothing more than to quickly get through the law review writing process. Prof. Taz helped change my perspective. He made administrative law real, interesting and understandable.

Prof. Taz also believed in my ability, even when I experienced doubt. After reviewing the first draft of my law review Comment, Prof. Taz told me that if my law review didn't offer to publish my Comment, he'd make sure it was published somewhere else.

He helped make my dreams become my reality. Because of his guidance, my Comment was published. His dedication and attention even helped me secure post-graduate employment.

I am forever grateful for his guidance and dedication. I will be forever awed by his intellectual creativity. I am forever thankful for crossing his path.

Thank you for everything, Prof. Taz.

Diona Howard-Nicolas
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

I was fortunate to take both Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure from Taz at Howard University School of Law (HUSL). Like many law professors, Taz expected nothing but the best from his students, but unlike many law professors, he was willing to give you everything of himself to make sure you had the knowledge to do your best. He was the epitome of a great teacher: selfless, intelligent, patient, and creative. He brought the best out of all of us. I wanted to be the best student I could be for Taz. His exams are legendary, and there is nothing I feel I can't accomplish after making it to the other side of two of them.

As amazing a professor as he was, Taz was an even greater man. He possessed the kindest heart I have encountered in an adult. He never belittled anyone in class or made anyone feel small. He took time to listen to your concerns, whether they were school-related, career-related, or just life-related. And there is nothing like his laugh: hearty, loud, and full of feeling. It instantly lifted your mood to hear it. He has been a steadfast supporter of my career since I left HUSL over three years ago. Whenever I need a boost of confidence, I need look only to the letters of recommendation he has written for me in the past. If Taz believed in me, surely, I should believe in myself.

When, as 1Ls, we learned that Taz was leaving for a year to teach at another school, we were saddened. How would we learn evidence in our second year without Taz, and whom would we turn to for a laugh or advice? As an end-of-the-year gift, and to ensure that he returned to us, we bought a t-shirt in the bookstore and added some words of our own. The shirt said: "This professor is property of HUSL," and the back reads "if found, please return." Not long after classes ended, some friends and I spotted Taz having lunch in a restaurant on Connecticut Avenue near school. We went in to say hi, and, sure enough, he was wearing our shirt.

There's no one like Taz, and there never will be. I am a better attorney and person for having known him. Rest in peace, dear Taz.

Caren E. Short
Howard University School of Law, Class of 2010
Staff Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center

* * *

Professor Taz - One of my favorite professors of all time. Taz went above and beyond as a Professor and truly cared about each and everyone of his students. He arranged special lunches with practitioners, like prosecutors, to give students the opportunity to ask questions of people currently working in a field of their interest. He took time out of his schedule to really make sure students understood the materials and would excel in his class. When I took Criminal Procedure with him, I was worried about doing well in his class, since I also took Criminal Law with him and did not do as well as I had hoped. He really took the time to make sure I understood the material and even took time to review the answers to my practice test to tell me if I was on the right track. I came to WCL to study international law, but he instilled in me a passion for criminal law as well. I'm glad I had the opportunity to interact with such a passionate and enthusiastic professor.

Erin Neff
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

Taz was an amazing professor. He loved learning, he loved hearing his students' ideas. He was so alive and reacting, with his booming laugh and high energy. I can't believe he's gone. I'll miss his incredible empathy and complete support. I'll miss the way he looked up and smiled whenever I walked into his office.

Marie Vanderbilt-Mathews
AUWCL Class of 2014

* * *

As Angela Davis has said, Taz was "one of the best human beings I have ever known". A very lovely man - a big heart, always trying to be helpful, a kind, caring person, an outstanding teacher and a prodigious scholar, who passionately cared about and contributed to reform of the criminal justice system.

David Aaronson
AUWCL Professor of Law and Director, Trial Advocacy Program and Advocacy LLM Program

* * *

Professor Taslitz was one of my favorite professors at WCL. He was incredibly open and helpful to ALL students and truly looked out for anyone's wellbeing. He was also incredibly inspiring as having an incredibly impressive legal career.

I will miss him dearly and I am so grateful for all the time that I was able to spend with Taz.

Sara Aguiniga
AUWCL Class of 2013

* * *

Professor Taslitz is a testament to the notion that meaningful legacies are composed not of the number of buildings that bear your name etched in stone, but rather of kindness, dedication, warmth, and laughter. I'm stunned to be writing this, because upon hearing about Taz's diagnosis in the first place, I simply knew he would pull through. Today, I find myself asking, "How? How could a man with such a giant heart be felled?" But the truth of the matter is, Taz's legacy, one which I will continue to explore through his writings and the many stories we have to share about him, shall endure, and for that I am grateful. Many of us feel a void today, but there's no way that could ever outweigh the passion for teaching and goodwill Taz embodied. I take comfort in that, and hope everyone else can, too.

Slava Kuperstein
AUWCL Class of 2013

* * *

Professor Taz was and will always be my favorite Howard University School of Law Professor ("HUSL"). I had him for a class called "First Amendment" my 2L year. My 1L year, he was off at another law school, being great (of course) and all the 2Ls and 3Ls couldn't help but rub in our little 1L faces that we were missing out because Professor Taz wasn't at HUSL our 1L year. 2L year, a class called First Amendment opened up and I pounced (It's not often that 2Ls and 3Ls rave about a professor. I would have been a fool to pass up any opportunity to take ANY course Professor Taz taught).

First Amendment, an intentionally small class, allowed Professor Taz to engage and interact with the entire class. He often would tell stories about growing up a red head kid in the Bronx. He would share his experiences from his work as a prosecutor or from the research he did to write his many books and/or scholarly articles. I was in awe. Here was this brilliant man, standing in front of this small class, sharing incredible knowledge and encouraging his class to think outside the classroom.

Professor Taz had an incredible sense of justice. His articles, books, and thoughts on evidence, the First Amendment, criminal law, etc., were not simply a regurgitation of legal rhetoric but were a lens through which he viewed the world and tools he used to aid him in imparting REAL justice. He was grooming his students to be change agents.

Towards the end of my 2L year, I asked Professor Taz to write a letter of recommendation for several clerkships/jobs to which I applied. I remember reading one of the letters he wrote and being brought to tears. Not only did it show that he listened and remembered many of the things we talked about inside and outside the classroom but it showed that he was genuinely and truly confident in the legal professional I would become. Professor Taz didn't tell me to write the recommendation myself and that he would sign it, or do that thing where professors would ask you to tell them what you wanted to see in the letter. He just wrote it. And it was pretty darn good.

I am a better legal professional because of the confidence Professor Taz had in my abilities. I am a better advocate because he helped guide my understanding of the Constitution. I am a better person because I had Professor Andrew Taslitz as a professor in law school. The legal community and the Howard University School of Law were made better places by his presence. He will be truly and deeply missed. May he forever rest in peace.

Patricia J. Fitzhugh, Esq.
Howard University School of Law, Class of 2011

* * *

Angela and Cynthia:

I am so sorry to hear about Taz. He, like both of you, was such a supportive figure in my work. I literally would email him and conduct a special "Andy Taslitz preemption check" every time I sat down to write a Fourth Amendment article because he always seemed to be writing the article I wanted to write before I did.

He was just so wonderful and helpful, and I considered him a mentor and model of what a law professor should be. Just last semester, throughout his treatments, he was still giving me feedback on an article and making jokes about his new chemo-inspired "Breaking Bad" haircut. I can't believe he is gone. I am just so sad.

Professor Andrew G. Ferguson
University of the District of Columbia
David A. Clarke School of Law

* * *

I had the privilege of getting to know Taz almost immediately when I joined WCL. He personally welcomed me openly and he was excited about the prospects of teaching online with his expertise. I was quickly taken with his enthusiasm, his smiles and laughter, and his warmth. It is so rewarding to work with someone like Taz as he reminded then, as his passing reminds me now, how important it is to live life, enjoy people, and share a positive spirit. Thank you, Taz, for this wonderful life lesson. I'm going to miss that smile, yet remember it always.

Glenn Greenberg
AUWCL Director of Online Education

* * *

I am devastated to learn of the death of Andy Taslitz. It's not just that Taz was such thoughtful and prolific scholar, in the prime of his career. It's that he was such a warm and generous person and so deeply committed to the cause of justice. He had an irrepressible and contagious enthusiasm. It showed in his scholarship, and it showed even more when you talked with him or heard him lecture. Despite his impressive record of achievement, he was remarkably modest and self-effacing. He wrote not for recognition or acclaim, but to pursue truth and to make the world a better place. I will miss his friendship and the example that he set.

Prof. David Sklansky
University of California, Berkeley

* * *

Taz was my 1L Criminal Law professor at WCL the Spring of 2013, the last class he taught, I believe. I would often come to Taz's office hours and discuss criminal law issues and policy considerations, particularly related to fair sentencing. He also begrudgingly, but very warmly, agreed to write me a letter of recommendation (that brought me to tears) when I applied to transfer to Georgetown and sincerely congratulated me when I was accepted.

Taz was blessed with unshakeable optimism and faith in goodness of the human character despite his many years prosecuting horrible crimes, which never failed to amaze me. He was truly an inspirational man with a profound sense of justice, an endearing sense of self-deprecating humor, and one of the biggest hearts I have ever encountered. He loved his students and always seemed to want nothing more than for us to succeed. That never went unnoticed or unappreciated by us all.

His loss is deeply felt among his former students. My condolences go out to his wife (whom he often told loving anecdotes about in class), his family, and his friends. I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that he will always hold a warm place in our hearts.

Kayleigh Golish
Georgetown University Law Center J.D. Candidate 2015
Former student,1L Criminal Law Class of Spring 2013


###