Following the hearing on March 6, 2007, Attorney Phillips wrote on this site: “The hearing lasted one hour, raised a great number of questions, and provided few answers. It appears clear that the court will reverse the trial judge, probably on the ground that he incorrectly applied the test for second degree murder. The court […]
If we focus on the strange facts of this case, and the horrible way Whipple perished, we will learn very little of practical importance, and therefore her death will not have the meaning that it otherwise should. Instead of concentrating on the macabre aspects of this terrible tragedy, let us look at it in its […]
In response to testimony from Sharon Smith, the state of California now grants a number of new rights to domestic partners. Among other things, registered same-sex domestic partners are entitled to sue for wrongful death. This new law did not benefit Smith because she and Whipple were not registered.
On March 12, 2001, Sharon Smith, a woman who lived with Diane Whipple as her lover for 7 years, filed her own wrongful death lawsuit against the same defendants as Whipple’s mother. Under California law applicable at the time of this killing, only the mother had the right to bring a wrongful death action. Thus, […]
Diane Whipple’s mother brought a wrongful death claim against Noel and Knoller, and also against Rudolph and Annette Koppl, building owners, and Marina Green Properties Inc., the property management firm for the 40-unit building on Pacific Avenue in San Francisco. A residential landlord in California is not liable for dog-related injuries unless it is proved […]
The trial judge, James Warren, defended his decision to toss out Knoller’s second-degree murder conviction. Prosecutor James Hammer and Sharon Smith were among the critics who said that Judge Warren had “stolen justice” from them by overturning the jury’s decision. The judge stated: “There was a statement made that this court has destroyed a sense […]
The defendants’ motion for a new trial At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found the defendants guilty on all counts. The defendants moved for a new trial, on various grounds. The court denied the new trial motions for both defendants as to the lesser offenses of involuntary manslaughter and ownership of a mischievous […]
Attorney Kenneth Phillips interviewed jury foreman Don Newton after the trial. Among other things, Newton told Phillips that the jury simply did not believe Knoller’s claims that she took the dog to the roof and tried to save Whipple. Newton said that the jury believed that Knoller got covered in blood when she grabbed her […]