Lawyers Adopting A Criminal?

Fasten your seat belts folks, this one’s a winner.

In San Francisco, Diane Whipple, a 33 year old Lacrosse coach was savagely slain by two large Canary Island dogs. This brutal attack took place at the woman’s front door inside her own apartment building. The owner of the dogs was entirely unable to control or discourage the animals during the attack. Recent developments report that the owner, Robert Noel, had one of his own fingers bitten off by one of these animals. Witnesses continue to come forward with reports of vicious behavior and aggressive conduct by these dogs.

(But wait, there’s more!)

The owners of these animals, Robert Noel and his wife, are a married pair of lawyers who live in the same building. They recently defended Paul Schneider, a convicted double murderer who currently serves time in Pelican Bay. This is a state of the art maximum security prison in northern California that houses the super-violent and high escape risk offenders. Prior to his incarceration, Paul Schneider owned a dog breeding operation that not only supplied guard dogs to commercial enterprises but illegal fighting dogs as well. It is alleged that Schneider and another inmate at Pelican Bay, one Dale Bretches, continue to operate a dog fighting ring from behind bars. (WTF?!?)

(But wait, there’s more!)

Recently, Robert Noel and his wife legally adopted Schneider! This convict is 38 years of age and there is no foreseeable benefit imaginable by dint of this adoption. Using their own power of attorney, these two put through the paperwork for Schneider. I am struck by the peculiarity of all this. What is even more unimaginable, is that Robert Noel and his wife were in any way unaware of the nature of these animals when they received them from their convict client. Attempting to house these two large and aggressive dogs in a high density urban environment is tantamount to leaving a loaded gun laying around in a preschool. There was a proven history of violent behavior for these animals and only strict confinement could have prevented this tragic loss of life. The female of the two dogs (Hera and Bane respectively) had previously assaulted Ms. Whipple on another occasion. Sadly, she did not report this to the police or animal authorities.

Bane, the male of the animal pair has already been put to death. With the influx of evidence against Hera, it is also likely that she will be euthanized as well. The lawyer couple should face prosecution for willfully endangering human life and possible intentional manslaughter charges for their possession of these animals. It is impossible to believe that they were unaware of the background of these animals. Their questionable involvement with Paul Schneider raises many questions of ethics and conduct that should merit excruciating peer review. That Schneider seems to have raised these two animals with the strict intent that they be violent in nature should make him an accessory to this death as well. However, that may be reaching a bit too far, legally speaking.

My own perception is that there is some sort of extortion or blackmail going on against one or the other participants in this legal charade. That Schneider might become Robert Noel’s heir or that the lawyers might have some claim in Schneider’s estate reeks of a conflict of interest. This is a screwball arrangement that demands investigation. That a loss of human life should have occurred by way of all these shenanigans is reprehensible and demands punitive action. I envision disbarment and possible imprisonment for both of the Noels.

I am interested in the reactions of other lawyers at these boards who might be able to illuminate ostensible reasons or motives for these peculiar arrangements. I can only see criminal intent behind these odd actions and would like to hear from others about their thoughts.

These two wonderful people find a son to adopt, and you can’t be happy for them? How can you LOOK at yourself in the mirror? I swear! Family is so important.

It’s post like this that make me laugh at 5:30 in the morning while I am at work. Ahhh hell thanks Snooooopy

I’ve been following this story as well, it’s big here since Ms. Whipple was from this area originally. The other thing I find interesting is the fact that the dogs’ previous owner (Cuombo or something) had given the dogs to Noel after they killed all of her livestock. Cuombo decided one day to become friendly with an inmate because she thought it was a good deed and she was serving God’s will. She became friendly with Schneider and eventually Schneider convinced her to take the dogs. It’s all weird.

Anyway, I think Noel and his wife should be brought up on manslaughter charges, or criminally negligent homicide like that skier that collided with another skier and killed him.

Here is the article about Cuombs (not Cuombo) from my local newspaper.

After dantheman had has dog killed by a breed known to be good at killing, and then that same breed killed a dog at our doggie daycare (shutting it down), we’ve had some family discussions about this.

We’re dog lovers, and adore our dog. But we were unequivocal on one point: If our beloved dog attacked and killed another? OF COURSE we’d have him put down. I don’t understand how or why owners even fight the point–most especially when a human was killed.

Of course, in this case I don’t know if the lawyers even bothered to fight the euthansia. But in other stories, that’s what I’ve heard: owners wanting their dog to live despite undeniable evidence that the dog is not only capable of extreme aggression, but also of destroying an innocent life.

I too , saw this bizarre story on the morning news. How on earth did the apartment building’s owners ever allow two large vicious dogs into their building?
Unfortunately, this poor women cannot be brought back-but the two dirtbags that owned the dogs, should be charged with manslaughter. Harboring a dangerous animal is like leaving a loaded pistol around for kids to play with. Even more bizarre is the adoption of this adult criminal. The only reason I can think of, is that via adoption, the “son” might be excused from ratting out the “parents”. I suspect there is a rather LARGE amount of money involved-this guy (the “son”) was apparently a big time drug dealer-you don’t get to Pelican Bay by being a boy scout!

Stop the Presses, there’s still more…

"The attorneys whose Presa Canario dog mauled a woman to death have gone on the offensive, telling authorities that the victim brought on the attack by putting herself in harm’s way. "

If that’s not enough…
"The attorneys say that Whipple, a 33-year-old college lacrosse coach, may have also been using steroids or had a pheromone-based fragrance that drew the dog to her. They said that experienced dog trainers say such substances could provoke aggressive behavior in dogs. "

I can’t link the article, but go to, it’s the lead story entitled “Blaming Ms. Whipple”

I can’t believe these people.

The steroid defense being adopted by the defendants is one of the most egregious examples of “blame the victim” that I have ever seen.

These two will probably face some sort of manslaughter charges, which I heartily applaud.

Incidentally, they are also attempting to mitigate their culpability by claiming that the victim did not take refuge in her apartment quickly enough. What bull’s pizzle!

My newspaper is running an opinion piece about why the adoption took place. Apparently, these two lawyers have made it their specialty to sue the California Department of Corrections. The prisoner has a lot of free time on his hands, being a lifer and all, so why not be their eyes and ears on the inside? The adoption, according to the opinion piece, is so that the lawyers can pay him for such services. According to IRS rules, each parent can transfer up to $10,000 per year to a “child” and it won’t be taxed as income. If he weren’t their “child,” they couldn’t give him any money because outside work is prohibited for the convicts.

Jesus Christ Zenster what’s with you? I like you and all, but what’s with the GD threads in IMHO lately?

Snooooopy, thank you for your usual excellent post. I am heavily inclined to believe your suggestion. It perfectly clarifies my estimation of all involved.

Scratchie, something that you’ve missed is that I do not regard my firm conviction about the guilt of Al Joseph deGuzman as any sort of Great Debate.

I would gladly debate the efficacy of “Zero Tolerance” policies in the GD forum. My own opinions are not the subject of a “Great Debate”, no matter how open to one of them I might be. (This fact seems to have eluded almost everyone here.)

As to the subject of this thread’s OP, I felt that the pattern of motivation and conduct in this case was similarly questionable, ergo my placement of it in this forum.

We don’t have to debate your conviction. People post stuff in GD all the time, where they have firm convictions, and their beliefs can’t be changed.


Is extremely leading, contentious, and in my mind, not at all suitable for IMHO.

If someone were to post something about Clinton pardoning people, and asking their opinion, with the disclaimer “I can only see criminal intent in his actions” it would be moved to GD extremely quickly.

and in terms of your last sentance. There is a debate about their possible motivation and conduct. So put it in GD.

Needless to say oldscratch, I disagree.

I am obliged to correct a misstatement in my OP.

Paul Schneider has been convicted of Attempted Murder and not of double murder as I previously stated.

Other evidence also suggests that the dogs involved were not specifically trained for fighting. They do not appear to bear the scarring and marks commonly found on animals trained for aggressive behavior.

Something that mitigates this is the fact that they have already interveiwed eye witnesses who had offered to help train the dogs in question to be less hostile.

Nonetheless, the motivations of many involved in this case appear quite dubious. I am still interested in the opinions of other lawyers at these boards as to how ethical this sort of conduct is.