Police are investigating suicide as the possible cause of the death of Katherine Darmer, a law professor at Chapman University who fell from a parking garage in Irvine, the Orange County Register reports. She was 47 years old.
Darmer was best know for her involvement in advocacy for gay rights. She founded the Orange County Equality Coalition after the creation of Prop. 8. According to the OC Weekly, Darmer made news when she stood up for a girl who "was bullied for helping stage the musical Rent at Corona del Mar High School."
According to her profile page on Chapman's website, Darmer had taught courses on "criminal procedure" and "evidence" at Chapman since 2000. Before she taught at Chapman, "she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she prosecuted public corruption, violent gang and narcotics cases. In 1998, she served as lead counsel in a three-month criminal RICO trial that resulted in the conviction of numerous Bronx-based gang members of crimes ranging from murder to narcotics distribution. During her tenure as an AUSA, she also argued seven cases in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Professor Darmer received her A.B. from Princeton University, with high honors, and her Juris Doctor from Columbia University, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar for two years and served as Articles Editor of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law." Darmer also acted as co-editor of the book Civil Liberties vs. National Security in a Post-9/11 World.