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Appellate Court Rejects Debi Zuver's Appeal

Debi ZuverOnly three days after hearing oral arguments in the case, the California Court of Appeals on March 20th ruled against Debi Zuver in her bid to overturn her 21-year sentence for manslaughter. In their unanimous decision, the three-judge panel upheld Judge Elliot Daum's maximum sentence in the shooting death of Kim Garloff, Debi's ex-boyfriend and batterer who beat, raped, choked and threatened to kill her only moments before the shooting.

Debi's appeal was based on ineffective assistance of counsel and on errors made by Judge Daum, who rejected out-of-hand expert testimony by two professionals that Debi suffered from Battered Women's Syndrome (BWS) at the time of the shooting. The appellate ruling comes at a time when women's rights advocates are fighting for retrials in cases where BWS was not allowed in the trials of other battered women who killed their violent partners. Obviously the Zuver case holds some hard lessons for those cases as well.

The decision came as no surprise to the 25+ women who attended the San Francisco hearing. Presiding Judge Carol Corrigan abruptly silenced Zuver attorney Herb Blanck in mid-sentence, then asked no questions of either attorney in the case. The hearing was over in five minutes. Clearly the ruling was already written and ready to mail.

Purple Berets visited Debi last Friday to talk over her options in the wake of the appellate court ruling. By the end of the day, a Motion for Rehearing was filed with the appellate court, keeping alive Debi's struggle for freedom and justice. "We knew it wouldn't be easy," Debi said, and was heartened by the number of women in the courtroom on her behalf.

Letters to Debi can be sent to:
Debi Zuver W-93142
CCWF 506-10-3 low
PO Box 1508
Chowchilla, CA 93610-1508

April 11, 2003


© Tanya Brannan, Purple Berets
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