Noted legal commentator dies at 48
By Neal Goswami
Vermont Press Bureau | July 29,2014
MONTPELIER — Vermont Law School Professor Cheryl Hanna, a frequent legal commentator for Vermont media outlets, died unexpectedly Monday, according to the school.
Hanna, 48, was an expert in constitutional law, the United States Supreme Court and women and the law. She received a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College in 1988 and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1992. Her work has been published in leading journals, including the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Michigan Journal of Gender and the Law.
Hanna made frequent appearances on Vermont Public Radio and WCAX-TV, and provided comments and analysis for newspapers around the state.
“It is with the most profound sorrow that we announce the untimely death of our dear colleague Professor Cheryl Hanna,” the school said in a statement Monday. “Professor Hanna was a beloved teacher and role model to many within and beyond the Vermont Law School community. It is with heartache that we share this loss. She will be deeply missed by our faculty, staff, students and alumni.”
Maryellen Apelquist, director of media relations for Vermont Law School, said there would be no further comment from the school.
Hanna is survived by her husband and two children. A memorial service will be held at a later date and details will be announced when plans are finalized, according to the school.
Hanna consulted on constitutional cases and represented public interest organizations through the filing of amicus briefs in cases before state and federal courts.
“This included the amicus brief she and Vermont Law School students wrote on behalf of the Vermont Commission on Women in Dreves v. Hudson, the first case implicating Vermont’s Equal Pay Act. The book she co-authored, “Domestic Violence and the Law: Theory and Practice,” was the leading casebook on violence against women,” the statement reads.
According to her biography on the school’s website, Hanna previously served on the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and as a Baltimore assistant state’s attorney before joining the Vermont Law School faculty in 1994. She had been a visiting professor at the University of California-Hastings College of the Law and at Seattle University School of Law.
Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling issued a news release Monday afternoon saying Burlington Police and the Burlington Fire Department Ambulance were called to a home in the city’s south end Sunday afternoon. He said a 48-year-old woman from Burlington was taken to Fletcher Allen Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The department did not release the name of the woman, but Hanna reportedly died at her home in Burlington.
Schirling said an investigation Sunday and Monday, including an autopsy performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, revealed no indication of foul play or suspicious circumstances in that death.