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social sciences

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Whipple, Diane (1968-2001)  
page: 1  2  3  4  

On March 21, 2002, the jurors found the defendants guilty of all charges--Knoller of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and having a mischievous animal that killed a person; Noel of the last two offenses.

Three months later, Noel was sentenced to four years in prison, but with time served, he was released in September 2003. He was disbarred by California in February 2007.

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At Knoller's sentencing hearing in June 2002, Hammer asked her to apologize to Smith, but Knoller remained silent.

Judge James Warren called Noel and Knoller "the most hated people in San Francisco" and described Knoller as "a liar" and "despicable." He went on, however, to shock those in court--and, indeed, the millions across the nation who had been following the case--by throwing out the second-degree murder conviction on the grounds that Knoller "did not know, with absolute certainty" that her dog would kill a person when and where it did.

With the charges reduced, Knoller was also sentenced to four years imprisonment. Upon her release in January 2004, she moved to Florida to stay with her parents. She resigned from the California Bar in January 2007.

After a long series of appeals by both Knoller and the District Attorney's office, the matter went before the California Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously on May 31, 2007 that the case should be sent back to Superior Court for consideration of restoring the jury's verdict of guilty on the charge on second-degree murder.

Judge Warren having retired, a different judge, Charlotte Woolard, was appointed to decide whether or not to reinstate the murder conviction, which carries a penalty of fifteen years to life in prison.

On August 22, 2008, Judge Woolard reinstated the second-degree murder conviction. A month later she sentenced Knoller to the maximum sentence of fifteen years to life in prison, and also fined her $10,000 and ordered her to pay $6,800 out of her prison earnings in restitution to Smith.

In rejecting a defense lawyer's request for probation, Judge Woolard remarked that the horrific circumstances of the crime far outweighed Knoller's previous crime-free record.

Knoller will be credited with the nearly three years she was imprisoned for manslaughter. She will be eligible for parole in about 10 years.

After the sentencing hearing, Sharon Smith declared that more than seven years after "the worst day of my life and the last day of Diane's life, finally there is some justice."

Linda Rapp

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Bull, Chris. "Sweet Success." The Advocate (November 20, 2001): 20.

Egelko, Bob. "15 Years to Life in S.F. Dog Maul Death." San Francisco Chronicle (September 23, 2008): B1.

_____. "State's Top Court OKs Dog Maul Murder Charge." San Francisco Chronicle (June 1, 2007): B2.

Gallagher, John. "Looking for Meaning in Tragedy." The Advocate 836 (April 24, 2001): 44.

Jones, Aphrodite. Red Zone: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of the San Francisco Dog Mauling. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

Knapp, Gwen. "S.F. Woman's Death Hits St. Mary's Hard." San Francisco Chronicle (January 28, 2001): C1.

National Center for Lesbian Rights. "Sharon Smith Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit; Partner of Dog Mauling Victim Diane Whipple Seeks Justice." (March 12, 2001):

Phillips, Kenneth M. "Dog Bite Law: The Diane Whipple Case." (1999-2007):

Squatriglia, Chuck, and Justino Aguilar. "600 Celebrate Life of Mauling Victim." San Francisco Chronicle (February 2, 2001): A20.

Webby, Sean. "Lawsuit against Landlords in S.F. Dog-mauling Case Settled." San Jose Mercury News (December 21, 2002).

Wong, Nicole C., and Chuck Carroll. "Dog Attack Victim Mourned; Coach Mauled to Death Recalled as Inspirational." San Jose Mercury News (January 28, 2001): 1A.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Whipple, Diane  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated October 1, 2008  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  


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