Has the domestic violence system changed?

March 14, 2008 7:01:56 PM PDT
A Jury last year convicted William Corpuz of first degree murder in the stabbing death of his wife Marisa.

On Friday at the sentencing, members of the Filipina Womens Network asked the judge to give Corpuz the toughest sentence.

"We need you to send a message out there that violence has to stop in our community," said a member of the Filipina Women's Network.

In September of 2004, Corpuz surrendered to police saying he had just killed his wife in their Portola District home.

At the time, Corpuz was attending counseling sessions at The Abuse, Violence and Anger Cessation Alliance Offices.

The court had ordered him to enroll in the program after he was arrested for assaulting his wife the year before.

This was a high profile case in the domestic violence prevention community.

Four years before, Claire Tem-Pong-Ko was murdered by her ex-boyfriend who was on probation for domstic violence.

Activists pointed to the two cases as examples of the gaps in San Francisco's domestic violence system. The city formed a commission to investigate what went wrong and improve the system.

It's been four years since the Corpuz murder.

Chic Dabby-chinoy of the Asian Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Institute says victims now can get more help.

"Remedies social, legal remedies for battered women and they can use these and that has brought down some of the incidents," said Dabby Chinoy from the API Institute on Domestic Violence.

But Beverly Upton of the Domestic Violence Consortium says not enough has been done to deter the abusers.

"It has to be taken seriously fro the beginning, the police that respond, the DA's that prosecute and the courts. I think were all responding better than before but we have a long way to go," said Beverly Upton from San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium.

But the judge today gave Corpuz a not a first degree but a second degree murder sentence of 16 to life.

He said that even though the murder was bloody and savage, Corpuz did not act deliberately, a fine legal point that's sure to disappoint those in the domestic violence community.