Public Speak: Defending Battered Women on Trial

Friday, April 1, 2011

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Professor Elizabeth Sheehy is a Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. From 2002-05 she held the Shirley Greenberg Professorship in Women and the Legal Profession. Professor Sheehy is internationally recognized for her feminist work on criminal law, especially sexual assault law and criminal law defences such as self-defence. In addition to her many articles, she is the editor of numerous books, including Adding Feminism to Law: The Contributions of Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, Calling for Change: Women, Law and the Legal Profession, and the forthcoming Sexual Assault Law, Practice and Activism in a Post-Jane Doe Era. She has also been guest editor for various journal special issues, including two recent ones: (a) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law: “The State of Rape: Ten Years after Jane Doe” (b) Canadian Woman Studies: “Women Resisting Rape: Feminist Law, Practice, Activism”. Her published casebooks Criminal Law and Procedure: Cases, Context, Critique and Criminal Law and Procedure: Proof, Defences and Beyond are in their 4th editions. She is currently writing a book entitled Battered Women Who Kill: Analyzing Legal Outcomes, based on the analysis of trial transcripts.

In her presentation Elizabeth Sheehy introduces her chapter on Aboriginal women's homicide trials, which is part of her larger project investigating the legal treatment of battered women who kill. She identifies the hallmarks that differentiate Aboriginal women's cases from those of other women and argues that lawyering informed by the specific context of Aboriginal women's lives makes a difference. Jamie Tanis Gladue's case is compared to that of Donelda Kay in order to highlight the challenges facing lawyers as well as the successful strategies.