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Bail Urged for Woman Who Shot Man in Court

November 04, 1994|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Citing Ellie Nesler's ill health, the state Supreme Court told a lower court Wednesday to consider releasing her on bail while she appeals her manslaughter conviction for the courtroom shooting of her son's alleged molester.

Nesler, 41, was found to have breast cancer after her conviction in Tuolumne County Superior Court last year in a trial that captured nationwide attention. She was sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

In a unanimous order, the court's seven justices told an appellate panel in Fresno to reconsider its Sept. 22 denial of Nesler's request to be freed on bail during her appeal.

In pointed language, the Supreme Court said state prison officials must show why Nesler should not be granted bail, "especially with respect to whether her current medical condition is relevant to the factors of flight risk and whether (Nesler) is a current danger to the community, and why (Nesler) is not entitled to reasonable bail in the amount of $500,000."

Diana Samuelson, a lawyer for Nesler, said the order was "amazing."

"You always hope for justice," she said. "When you get a response like this, it shows somebody's listening."

Deputy Atty. Gen. W. Scott Thorpe said state prosecutors still believe that regardless of Nesler's medical condition, "she presents a sufficient threat of flight and a sufficient threat to the community that she shouldn't be granted bail pending appeal."

But Thorpe added later that state lawyers were "examining her current condition and current records to determine what our position will be" on Nesler's release. The state must file its response in the appeals court by Nov. 11.

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