2nd Degree Murder Verdict Thrown Out in SF Dog Mauling Case.
June 17, 2002 1:47 PM   Subscribe

2nd Degree Murder Verdict Thrown Out in SF Dog Mauling Case. Though Superior Court Judge James Warren said Knoller and Noel are "the most despised couple in this city," he said the evidence did not support a murder conviction because Knoller had no way of knowing her dogs would kill someone when she left her apartment that day.
posted by Danf (11 comments total)
here is the link. .I don't know why it didn't work on the main post. sorry about that.
posted by Danf at 1:53 PM on June 17, 2002

ach....registration required.
posted by mkelley at 2:05 PM on June 17, 2002

Here's the Wa Post, it's free.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:07 PM on June 17, 2002

I want to read the story about setting up booths at the fair.
posted by jjg at 2:40 PM on June 17, 2002

Doesn't a second degree murder conviction in California hinge on malice, not premeditation? They knew the dogs were extremely dangerous and didn't do enough to control them.
posted by xiffix at 3:21 PM on June 17, 2002

Although I do despise Knoller and Noel, I think the judge's verdict on the 2nd degree murder conviction sounds logical. The prosecutors should have tried Knoller and Noel equally, because Noel's writings were more damning evidence of knowledge of the dogs' viciousness and power.
posted by msacheson at 3:48 PM on June 17, 2002

And to think that a pair of $20 dog muzzles would have prevented all of this. This case enrages and saddens me.
posted by swerve at 4:44 PM on June 17, 2002

There is a current civil wrongful death trial brought by the widow of the woman killed, and I hope this doesn't affect the outcome of that lawsuit.
posted by benjh at 4:47 PM on June 17, 2002

xiffix, it's actually "malice aforethought" that is necessary for murder which means you either deliberately killed someone or you acted unintentionally but with an "abandoned or malignant heart." The latter part is somewhat archaic and most states have gotten rid of that sort of value-ladden language for the more scientific "gross recklessness" murder. California always has to be different though, so they decided to keep it, although i think it may wind up operating in practice in much the same way as gross recklessness. With gross recklessness murder, you act depite knowing that there is a significant risk that your actions will result in harm to someone AND your actions show extreme indifference to the value of human life.

The problem with this "malice aforethought" language is that it invites the jury to make findings of guilt or innoncence based on their appraisal of the moral character of the defendents rather than the more relevent question of whether their actions violated the law. The character of the defendents should only be relevent in sentencing, once you've determined which law they've violated.
posted by boltman at 4:50 PM on June 17, 2002

boltman: actually, "malice aforethought" is what makes the difference between first degree murder and second.
posted by pascal at 7:47 PM on June 17, 2002

OK, I take that back. I'll just get my coat...
posted by pascal at 7:50 PM on June 17, 2002

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