Charges in dog-attack case defined

The Associated Press
Thursday March 21, 2002

Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel are scheduled to be sentenced May 10 in San Francisco for their convictions in the January 2001 death of Diane Whipple. After the verdicts, the state Supreme Court, acting through the state Bar of California, suspended Knoller and Noel from practicing law. 

Following are definitions of the charges for which they were convicted and the possible sentences. 

Marjorie Knoller: — Second-degree murder: defined as the malicious but non-deliberate and non-premeditated killing of a human being without certain aggravating factors, such as robbery, arson, rape or the use of explosives, poison, armor-piercing bullets or torture. Malice is implied when no considerable provocation appears, or when the circumstances attending the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart. Punishable by 15 years to life in prison. — Involuntary manslaughter: defined as the non-malicious killing of a human being in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony or a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection. Punishable by two, three or four years in prison. — Keeping a mischievous animal that kills a person: defined as a person allowing a mischievous animal, knowing its propensities, to go at large or keeping it without ordinary care; with the animal killing a person who has taken all precautions a reasonable person would ordinarily take in such a situation. Punishable by two, three or four years in prison. 

Robert Noel: — Involuntary manslaughter. — Keeping a mischievous animal that kills a person.