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A San Francisco judge Monday imposed the maximum four-year sentence on Marjorie Knoller for the dog-mauling death of her neighbor because, he said, she was a lawyer who lied under oath and a defendant who showed no remorse. Superior Court Judge James Warren said Knoller deserved the aggravated term in the Jan. 26, 2001, death of Diane Whipple. “You knew these dogs were dangerous, you knew you could not control them, you took them outside anyway and it was clear at some point, somewhere, somebody was going to get hurt,” Warren said. “I find in your efforts to avoid responsibility for this crime, you knowingly committed perjury over and over again both in front of the grand jury and before the trial of this action,” he added. “The court finds there was no showing of remorse for the crimes you committed.” Warren said there were few mitigating circumstances in Whipple’s death that could lead him to impose a lesser sentence. District Attorney Terence Hallinan said that with credit for time already served, Knoller, 46, will spend about 14 months at Chowchilla state prison. She will then report to a parole officer for another five years. Knoller and her attorney husband, Robert Noel, were convicted of manslaughter and keeping mischievous dogs in connection with the attack in a hallway of their Pacific Heights apartment building in San Francisco. Noel already is serving a four-year state prison sentence imposed by Warren on June 17. Knoller’s appellate attorney, Dennis Riordan, said Monday that he planned to appeal the manslaughter conviction. Knoller was also convicted of second- degree murder by a jury in Los Angeles, where the case was moved due to extensive pretrial publicity in the San Francisco Bay Area. Warren threw out the murder conviction in June, saying there was insufficient evidence to sustain it. That ruling is being appealed by Hallinan to the 1st District Court of Appeal. Hallinan said he had about a “5 percent” chance of getting the appellate court to reverse Warren and send the matter back to him for sentencing. The district attorney also said there was no likelihood that he would retry Knoller for second-degree murder, although Warren had granted her defense attorney’s motion for a new trial. “We would have been happier had [this case] proceeded as second-degree murder,” Hallinan said after the sentencing. “But at least we feel that we have achieved some degree of justice here and brought this case to some closure.” Although there is an appeal pending, a veteran criminal courts judge said Warren had foreclosed on any further proceedings with his ruling Monday. “He finalized the case on his own,” the judge said. Assistant District Attorney James Hammer said that while the four-year sentence was not what he would have preferred, it was at least payback for Knoller and Noel. “These are two people who said they would never be punished a day in their lives for what they did,” Hammer said outside court. “They have now begun to receive some punishment and that’s some degree of justice.” In addition to the state prison sentence, Warren ordered Knoller to pay $5,200 in fines and also to pay $6,800 to Sharon Smith, Whipple’s partner. Smith dismissed the restitution the judge ordered as insignificant but applauded the prison time. “This isn’t about money,” she said at a post-sentencing press conference. “It wouldn’t matter if it was $6,800 or $68 million � I’m happy today to be where we are and that Marjorie is going to prison. Her being sentenced on manslaughter was my best hope.” Warren ignored Riordan’s argument that he lacked jurisdiction to sentence Knoller, since the second-degree murder conviction has been appealed to a higher court. Riordan said the court was “stripped of its jurisdiction with the filing of the motion to appeal.” In an interview later Monday, Riordan also said that “so long as the government is pursuing an appeal of the second-degree murder conviction, [Knoller] would want to file an appeal of the manslaughter and mischievous-dog conviction.” During the hearing, Hammer attempted to mend his fences with Warren for a finger-pointing outburst at an earlier hearing, where he said the judge’s ruling tossing the murder conviction “robbed the people of a sense of justice. “I respect your role as a judge,” the prosecutor said, saying he was just venting. “I hope you did not take it personally.” “I did not,” Warren replied. Nedra Ruiz, Knoller’s criminal defense attorney at trial, said before the sentencing hearing that her client should get probation. “She’s in her late 40s, never been in trouble before,” Ruiz said. “She’s always been a law-abiding person, an upstanding attorney [who] did community service work.”

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