Etta Hankerson (bio)

President of DNAPaternityJustice, Recognized as a Pioneer in Genetic Testing, Advocate, Mediator and Speaker.

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Contact:Ms. Etta Hankerson
Mailing Address: 1912 Eutaw Place, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America 21217
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Most Requested Topics/Programs:

  • Hankerson v Moody Landmark Supreme Court Case
  • Paternity Fraud
  • Blending Families
  • DNA Paternity Testing
  • English Common Law and You
  • Family Law and Mediaton
  • Child Support
  • Custody
  • Visitation
  • Turn An Ugly Sitution Into A Great Outcome

Recent Engagements:

  • TBA
Speaker 's Fees:$2500 or less
Length of presentation:one hour
Travels From:Virginia
Travel Limits:None
Target Audience:Other Professionals
Target Audience - Other:Women Groups, Men Groups, Mediators, Children Rights Groups,
AV Requirements:
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Etta Hankerson, a legendary pioneer whose passion for justice changed the lives of millions of Americans. She is the first person in the United States of America to win the right to use genetic testing in court. In a paternity case she challenged the constitutionally of Virginia's slave status law by requesting to use genetic testing as a method of establishing parentage though the use of the Leukocyte Antigen test. The Leukocyte Antigen Test (HLA) was backed by the World Health Organization and received the support of the American Bar Association.

Hankerson endured seven years of litigation and legal discrimination in order that the public would be made aware of the unjust state laws, regarding paternity and child support. In August of 1978 she begin her own intense research into Virginia's family laws and became so well informed that she was able to present her attorneys with the evidence used to win her case.

On April 26, 1985, the Virginia Supreme Court issued a “Landmark” ruling on the admissibility of genetic testing and its use as evidence in the case of Hankerson v. Moody, 229 Va 270 (1985). This monumental decision lead American courts to recognize deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing as the most credible legalize acceptable evidence ever used in American courtrooms. The DNA has been utilized not only in paternity cases but also in areas such as genealogy, forensic science and has proved to be effective for exonerating criminal and civil defendants as it has been for convicting them. Hankerson's legal case substantially changed the interpretation of case law. Her precedent setting decree has been used by legal scholars and serves as a cornerstone to guide the ruling of judges.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Norfolk State University and attended graduate school at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia on a Reader's Digest Fellowship. Hankerson has worked as a social worker, in 2002 became a Family Court Mediator certified by the Virginia Supreme Court facilitating in the areas such as child support, custody and visitation. Her legal case is chronicled in the nationally known West Law book Publication under Hankerson v. Moody 229 Va 270 (1985). In 2004 her case was recorded in the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the "History of Women" in America at Harvard University in the Women's Equity Action League records funded by the National Endowment of humanities and sponsored by the Radcliff Institute for Advanced Studies. The Women's Equity Action League (WEAL), " a national membership organization with state affiliates, founded in 1968 and dedicated to improving the status and lives of all women primarily through education, litigation, and legislation."

Today, Hankerson shares inspiration, motivation, and empowerment as she engages people with her life experiences, and reminds them of their own potential. She motivates them to embrace their passion through good information, determination and persistent; as it is good information that helps you make good decisions. Audiences are excited and inspired as she shares with them strategies that were instrumental in her own legal case.

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