Monday, June 1, 2009

In passing: Susan B. Jordan

A leader of California's criminal defense bar, Susan B. Jordan, died Friday in a plane crash in Utah. The 67-year-old attorney and another pilot were flying in a single-engine aircraft.
A Chicago native who received her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1970 after she'd aided the '60s civil rights movement by registering voters in Mississippi, Susan (left) opened a practice in San Francisco. Among her early landmark cases was the murder trial of Inez Garcia, whom jurors found had acted in self-defense when she killed a man who'd raped her. Other clients included 2 Symbionese Liberation Army members: Emily Harris, charged in 1978 with kidnapping newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst; and Kathleen Soliah aka Sara Jane Olson, accused of conspiring to kill Los Angeles police officers.
As duly noted on her own website, Susan created the battered spouse defense.
Susan's role as a leader and role model in her profession was evident when, while still a practitioner, I served with her and other topnotch criminal defense attorneys in the Bay Area bar association Women Defenders.

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