Skip to comments.Peninsula mother's conviction dismissed
Posted on 06/29/2005 4:30:09 PM PDT by Ellesu
Farinoosh Dalili's sentence for voluntary manslaughter has been reduced. Her daughter, 3, died as the Torrance woman attempted suicide.
A judge Tuesday dismissed an involuntary manslaughter conviction for the Rancho Palos Verdes woman whose suicide attempt from a Torrance hotel balcony eight years ago resulted in the death of her 3-year-old daughter.
Farinoosh Dalili wiped tears from her face following the brief hearing in which Torrance Superior Court Judge William R. Hollingsworth Jr. also granted her request to reduce her 365-day house arrest sentence by one day so she does not lose her green card.
Under federal law, if a person who is not a U.S. citizen is convicted of a felony and sentenced to a year or more in custody, they could be deported or risk having a green card renewal rejected, according to Deputy District Attorney Alexander M. Karkanen.
Karkanen, who prosecuted Dalili during a high-profile trial in 1998 before Hollingsworth, said the Iranian-born Dalili has a green card.
Dalili was charged with murder for the death of her daughter on March 3, 1997.
Prosecutors contend the then-30-year-old checked into a 10th-floor room of the Torrance Marriott, picked up her daughter, Negin Natalie Dalili, and jumped out the window.
During her trial, Dalili testified her husband abused and belittled her constantly, and she suffered from depression.
Lying on a hospital gurney, her body still broken from the fall, she denied taking her daughter with her out the window.
Some surmise that Natalie followed her mother out. But one witness testified seeing the toddler fly from her mother's arms on the way down.
The two were found about 10 feet apart on a lower roof. Natalie died on impact.
Jurors convicted Dalili of the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter, sparing her from a possible life in prison sentence.
Hollingsworth sentenced her to a year of house arrest and five years' probation, and ordered her to receive counseling.
Karkanen did not object to Dalili's sentence reduction request, but did tell Hollingsworth he believed expungement of the case should wait, even though Dalili was legally entitled to it and performed well during probation.
Karkanen said there were reports that Dalili tried killing herself in February 2000 by attempting to drive through a guardrail and over the embankment on Palos Verdes Drive East.
Sheriff investigators and Dalili's brother at the time told news reporters that Dalili said she was upset about ongoing litigation brought by her former husband.
Dalili's attorney, R. Darren Cornforth, told Hollingsworth the incident was an accident, and that his client has moved on with her life. She is going to school and has a new husband.
"The expungement will greatly benefit her in the future," Cornforth said.
Dalili, who declined to talk with a reporter, was overheard prior to the hearing saying she was in law school and that her mental problems are behind her.
Even though the case was expunged, Dalili would still have to disclose the conviction on a job application, and it would likely be a hurdle if she were to apply for a law license.
Russ Weiner, with the California State Bar's Office of the Chief Trial Counsel, said her conviction would be reviewed as her moral character is evaluated.
Karkanen, a seasoned attorney who regularly prosecutes murderers, said in an interview that this case has stuck with him as one of the most "horrendous" trials he has handled.
"I remember back to those days," Karkanen said. "I remember that little girl. Every time I drive by that hotel I think: 'How awful.' "
So expunged doens't mean expunged? What's the legal benefit of having the conviction overturned if she still has to disclose it, is it just for immigration purposes?