Donna K. Coker
Professor of Law
University of Miami School of Law
The Story of Wanrow: The Reasonable Woman and the Law of Self-Defense
Professor Donna Coker, a nationally recognized expert in domestic violence law and policy, will discuss the case of State v. Wanrow, which is frequently cited as the first "women's self-defense" case. In 1973, Yvonne Wanrow was convicted of second degree murder for killing a man who had attempted to molest her son. The Supreme Court of Washington reversed her conviction in a ground-breaking opinion in which the court held that the jury instructions violated Wanrow's right to equal protection of the law by using language that suggested Wanrow's conduct should be measured against a reasonable man standard. In her lecture, Professor Coker will explore the issues of gender and mens rea in the context of this seminal case.
Coker is a Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law. Her widely respected scholarship focuses on three major areas: the connection between economic vulnerability and domestic violence; restorative justice and other alternative criminal justice interventions; and gender and criminal law doctrine.
Professor Coker has a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and an M.S.W. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Before entering law school, she worked in the domestic violence field for ten years.