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Elizabeth Kent leaves her body

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Do people really die when their physical hearts forever stop beating? Or, is physical death an artificial marker for the next chapter in one’s existence? Whatever the answer, those who have given selflessly and beneficially to others live on through their positive actions even after their hearts stop beating. For that reason, rather than saying such people have died, I usually prefer saying they have left their body or the planet, a term I first heard from my friend Trudy Morse.  

On August 16, 2010, fellow criminal defense attorney M. Elizabeth Kent left her body. Not yet having found any obituaries for Elizabeth nor any other biographical information about her other than numerous of her published appellate cases, I wanted all the more to pay this brief tribute to Elizabeth. 

In the early 1990’s, before the Internet was widely used and available, and before questions and ideas could be bandied about on non-existent email listservs, I met Elizabeth Kent, whom I particularly knew as having a strong focus on criminal appellate work. 

When I handled my first criminal appeal in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals around a decade ago, I called Elizabeth, in the process of assuring that I had a firm grasp on the peculiarities of handling D.C. criminal appeals, including the typical need there to move to stay appellate proceedings in order first to pursue post conviction arguments in the trial court, so as to handle both trial and post conviction matters on appeal. 

Whenever I spoke with Elizabeth, she was always patient, kind, and interested in helping out. Her full focus on her clients was such that when I would call her, sometimes she would suggest that I call her at least a few days later as she completed a legal brief for an existing client. 

It always is best to thank people when they still are on the planet. Also, particularly in case people are aware of thanks after they leave the planet, that is another good time to give thanks. 

Thanks, Elizabeth, for you.