SAN FRANCISCO—On Monday, November 16, Marjorie Knoller appeared in federal appeals court in order to appeal her 15 years to life prison sentence.

Knoller was convicted for second-degree murder back in 2002 when two dogs that she was watching for a friend fatally mauled 33-year-old lacrosse coach Diane Whipple.

Diane Whipple
Diane Whipple.

Whipple was attacked and killed in a Pacific Heights apartment building hallway in January 2001. Whipple had a total of 77 wounds accounted on her body.

Knoller’s husband, Robert Noel was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He has already served his sentence and has been released. Noel was not present at the time of the mauling.

Knoller’s attorneys Dennis Riordan and Donald Horgan filed a petition for a write of habeas corpus, demanding a new trial for their defendant. Her attorneys argue that Knoller’s previous lawyer was silenced and threatened with jail time if she made any more objections in the courtroom. They also claim that the previous prosecuting attorney violated “The Golden Rule” by asking the jurors to put themselves in the same shoes as Whipple.

Peggy Ruffra is representing the State Attorney General’s Office. She defends the previous ruling noting that the evidence in the case was solid with 70 witnesses taking the stand in court.

This is not the first time that Knoller has appeared in court to appeal the decision. In a California appeals court back in 2007, Knoller sought appeal, but the court upheld the conviction.