Susan Jordan was a movement attorney who had handled many of the marijuana defenses in Humboldt and Mendo counties.  She practiced in Ukiah and Oakland, representing clients all over the state.  She was on her way to a yoga event of some sort when her small plane crashed.

I first met her at a National Lawyers Guild event in Oakland in 1996 where she was recognized as their attorney of the year.  So many movement lawyers like Dennis Cunningham (who apologized at the event for the sexism she faced when they were partners in a firm during the 1970s, an apology which almost brought her to tears) and Beverly Axelrod (long time friend of Jordan’s who represented Eldridge Cleaver and helped write Soul on Ice) paid tribute to her. My partner Les Scher introduced me at the event and I had the pleasure and good fortune of working with her on cases when civil law elements encroached on her criminal cases.  She was brilliant, compassionate, and dedicated.

Jordan was famous for groundbreaking “battered woman defense” to violent crime charges, but also worked marijuana defense, discrimination cases, and civil liberties cases.  She successfully defended Mendocino County against a challenge to Measure H.  She was also recently made the Hopland Pomo Indian Tribe’s first judge.  She also negotiated the plea bargain for Sarah Jane Olson, an SLA member who had been arrested after 23 years underground.

A huge loss.

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