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March 27, 2001
10:18 PM   Subscribe

San Francisco couple has been charged with murder and manslaughter from the January 26 fatal mauling of a neighbor by two dogs they were caring for.
posted by crushed (16 comments total)

 
So why is it, that the law can come to a logical decision regarding dog owners, coming to the decision that the owner is the one responsible for the animal, at the same time, this same responsibility is not the case regarding people's children.
posted by Zool at 10:47 PM on March 27, 2001


it took them 2 months to get charged with the crime? am i missing something?
posted by pnevares at 11:21 PM on March 27, 2001


Zool, are you aware of any cases where people intentionally raise children in order to sell to drug dealers with the express purpose of killing people? The prosecutors are basing their case on the fact that the "dog owners" in this case realized the animals were dangerous to humans. Whether they can prove it in court is another matter.

If you haven't been following the case, it's pretty bizarre. Locally, for a while there it was a new, strange revelation on a day-by-day basis. Dog mauls victim. "Dog owners" don't own the dogs, but are raising them for a life-imprisoned member of the White Aryan Brotherhood. "Dog owners" not only adopted dogs, but also legally adopted adult WAB inmate. Adult WAB inmate found with pornographic photos of the "Mom" that just adopted him. "Dog Owners" assert that victim was responsible because she may have been wearing perfume, or been on steroids, or something. Actual dog owners busted for running a for-profit criminal enterprise from prison. Now, new revelations about "dog owners" having anxiety attacks, driving recklessly, and being arrested while, uh, you know, getting as far away from San Francisco as fast as they can.

I've skipped a lot of details. For those of you who slow down for car crashes, go to sfgate.com and search for Knoller.

I'm sure that there'll be more twists to this in a few hours. Can hardly wait for the paper.
posted by swell at 11:58 PM on March 27, 2001


pnevares: The two months was spent to determine if the murdered womans partner had the right to press charges. I think it's very odd the CNN story doesn't mention this.
posted by valintin23 at 12:31 AM on March 28, 2001


I'd like to think that people have more free will than trained dogs, and I am glad the legal system reflects that. God knows we don't need people using the "trained dog" defense. (British spelling intentional, I like to make my posts easy on the eyes for our UK users)
posted by chaz at 2:37 AM on March 28, 2001


Plus the fact that you can have your dogs put to sleep if they turn out to be evil.
posted by u.n. owen at 4:38 AM on March 28, 2001


This story give me the creeps. What a horrible way to die, and what horrible people behind it.
posted by pracowity at 4:46 AM on March 28, 2001


The two months was spent to determine if the murdered womans partner had the right to press charges. I think it's very odd the CNN story doesn't mention this.

I've been following this story from a distance and while this angle has come up, I don't recall seeing that the Grand Jury was concerned with it. The woman's partner is, indeed, trying to get the State of California to recognize her right to file a wrongful death suit against the couple who had the dogs in their apartment, but the two months the Grand Jury spent were in hearing and deliberating on the facts of the attack itself and whether to file charges against the couple.

Brief sidenote: OK, so I don't get the whole "wrongful death" idea in this case - and cases like the Nicole Brown Simpson / Ron Goldman murder. What's the rationale that allows a presumed crime to be considered both criminal and civil like this? You are being tried twice - for the same thing, obviously. Wouldn't this just be for cases of, say, negligence where criminal intent doesn't apply?
posted by m.polo at 5:08 AM on March 28, 2001


m.polo, the standard of proof is different in a civil wrongful death case and in a criminal murder trial. The criminal system allows a person to go free if he can demonstrate reasonable doubt. That's done to protect the rights of the accused. In a civil case, you only need a preponderance of the evidence, which protects the truth. Evidence which is not admissible in a criminal case may be admissible in a civil case.

Also, in a criminal case, it's the state (representing the people as a whole) bringing the case, so it's addressing a wrong against society. In a tort case, you're addressing a wrong against a specific individual, in this case the dead woman's partner.

Protection against double jeopardy only applies to criminal prosecution.

And I don't really have any problem with murderers getting taken to the cleaners in a civil trial.
posted by anapestic at 8:05 AM on March 28, 2001


I hadn't heard about this story before, so when I first saw the link, I thought it was going to be another "person walks into fenced area with Beware of Dog signs, is mauled". When those animals are destroyed, it makes me angry - why should they be, when it was the person's trespassing that started the incident in the first place? I don't get that.

But this... wow. It seems pretty obvious that the owners knew the dogs were very dangerous, so what were they doing unmuzzled in the hallway of an apartment complex?
posted by binkin at 8:19 AM on March 28, 2001


Zool said... So why is it, that the law can come to a logical decision regarding dog owners, coming to the decision that the owner is the one responsible for the animal, at the same time, this same responsibility is not the case regarding people's children.

I would suggest that the whole reason for child rearing is to slowly introduce them into the world, progressively giving them more liberty and responsibility, and by extension relinquishing your say in how they live their lives (and the attendant responsibility for those decisions).

Raising dogs is another matter... you don't have a pet just to set it free on the streets. There is never a relinquishing of responsibility for one's pet, its safety or its behavior.
posted by silusGROK at 8:34 AM on March 28, 2001


Geez, yeah, binkin -- they keep showing the carpeted apartment hallway where she died. There are blood stains in the carpet, stretching twenty-five feet down the hallway. There are blood stains on the wall. It looks like exactly what it was: a bloody homicide scene.

You don't have a dog like this if you can't control it. It's like a loaded weapon.

I can't imagine what that scene was like: what set the dogs off? Why couldn't the owner control them? And if she was (presumably) horrified by the results, why did they go around trying to shift the blame to the victim -- making themselves look guilty as hell and breeding suspicion that it may even have been intentional?!
posted by dhartung at 10:30 AM on March 28, 2001


Don't forget that the two "dog owners" are lawyers.

From what I read of the case whilst in SF, it seems to combine all the issues that fire up people in the Bay Area: animal welfare, gay partnership rights, race hatred, and sleazy lawyers.

[unrelatedly: chaz, it's "defence" here. ;) ]
posted by holgate at 11:12 AM on March 28, 2001


valentin23: I haven't seen anything about this case that indicates that the DAs office has pursued the rights of Whipple's domestic partner. I believe she's fighting this fight in a separate case.

It doesn't sound like her partner believes that current law gives her any rights either; in the same sense that then-current law didn't give Rosa Parks a right to that bus seat.
posted by swell at 12:03 PM on March 28, 2001


BTW, here's an article about her partner's case:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/03/13/MNW212291.DTL
posted by swell at 1:21 PM on March 28, 2001


control shift a. control shift a. control shift a.
posted by dhartung at 8:09 PM on March 28, 2001


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