She Made Me Do It.
Heat of Passion as a Defense to Murder

Join us on Thursday, June 23, 2011
12 to 1 pm ET
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As in the past, our June call will focus on legal matters of concern to domestic violence professionals. We will discuss the Heat of Passion or Provocation doctrine, as it has applied in domestic violence cases. Donna Coker, a leading expert on this defense, will analyze recent cases to illustrate the ways in which heat of passion doctrine plays out in domestic homicide. Elizabeth Aguilar Tarchi, Assistant District Attorney for San Francisco, will discuss People vs. Tari Bertram, a domestic violence homicide case she prosecuted in 2008 with a heat of passion defense where the jury returned a verdict on second degree murder. The verdict was recently reversed on jury instruction error, and a Petition for Review is pending before the California Supreme Court.
• People vs. Teri Beltran and the heat of passion defense
• An overview of the male paradigm and provocation claims
• Current trends in using heat of passion as a defense in DV homicide cases
• What DV professionals can do
Leading the discussion:
Donna Coker is a Professor of Law at the University Of Miami where she teaches Domestic Violence and the Law, Evidence, and Criminal Law. She is a nationally recognized expert in domestic violence law and policy. Her work on gender fairness in the application of the criminal law includes an analysis of heat of passion doctrine as well as the law of self-defense. She is the author of Heat of Passion and Wife Killing: Men Who Batter/Men Who Kill, one of the first scholarly articles to expose the male gendered nature of heat of passion law. She continues to explore gender trial fairness in her forthcoming chapter on Wanrow, a self-defense case frequently cited as the first “women’s self-defense” case.
Elizabeth Aguilar Tarchi is an Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. She has been a criminal prosecutor for over 25 years and is considered one of the most experienced attorneys in the office. She has worked in every major division of the office, specifically, the Misdemeanor and Felony Trial divisions, the Preliminary Hearing Division, Juvenile Division, General Litigation, Rebooking/Charging Unit and the Domestic Violence Unit and Narcotics Division and the Career Criminal Unit. She has prosecuted sexual assault cases and domestic violence homicide cases. She was Chief of the Narcotics Division for three years and Managing Attorney of the Domestic Violence Unit for three years and presently serves as the Managing Attorney of the Collaborative Courts Division.