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WOMEN DEFENDERS: KIM KUPFERER Hangs Murder Case
Member Victories and News by Margo George
Winter 1995-96

Women Defenders Board member and Alameda County public defender Kim Kupferer hung a murder case. Kim's client was accused of shooting another man outside the Mexicali Rose in Hayward. Kim's client and the victim had argued over the estranged wife of the victim. At one point, the victim went to his estranged wife's house and smashed the client's truck windows. Sometime later, the client was at the Mexicali Rose in Hayward with his friends. The victim arrived and Kim's client demanded payment for the damage to his truck. When the victim escalated the confrontation, the client backed down. Knowing the victim's reputation for having shot a number of people in New Orleans and fearing that the victim might try to shoot him, Kim's client went out to his car to get a gun.

The victim came out and confronted him again. When the victim reached toward his right hip, the client thought he was going to shoot him. So the client pulled out his gun and shot first, killing the victim.

The prosecutor argued that Kim's client planned to shoot the victim. It was unreasonable for the client to believe that the victim had a gun because the victim was coming out of the club and security had searched people for weapons as they went in the door. Kim successfully fought this seemingly insurmountable obstacle by tracking down 2 witnesses who testified that the victim had shot at least 4 different people in New Orleans. Her client testified that he was afraid because, not only was he aware of the victim's reputation for shooting people but he was still suffering from the effects of being shot only 4 months earlier by someone else. Kim got in the police report and the medical records from the prior shooting.

After day 3 of the deliberation, the jury hung. The DA offered a voluntary manslaughter, which Kim's client accepted.



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