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MORGAN, LEWIS ADDS PAIR OF IP LAWYERS Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has expanded its intellectual property practice in the Bay Area with the addition of partner Craig Opperman and of counsel Nan Wu. Opperman joined the firm’s Palo Alto office from Health Hero Network Inc., a manufacturer of remote patient monitoring systems, where he was general counsel and chief IP officer. He was previously chief IP officer of OpenTV Inc. and prior to that was a partner at Cooley Godward from 1994 to 2000. He obtained a law degree from the University of South Africa College of Law in 1989. Wu was previously an associate at Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich for 3 1/2 years. A 1999 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Wu also holds M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. She joined the life sciences and IP practice groups in Morgan, Lewis’ San Francisco office. Philadelphia-based Morgan, Lewis has 143 lawyers in its San Francisco and Palo Alto outposts, of which 30 are in the firm’s IP group. — Brenda Sandburg IMPROPER CONFESSION DEEMED DAMAGING NEW YORK — An improperly admitted confession has led a federal appeals court to overturn a man’s murder conviction because a state appeal court wrongly concluded the admission was constitutional. A divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said New York’s Appellate Division, Second Department, erroneously found that it was “harmless error” for a trial judge to allow the confession of Guy Zappulla during his trial for the 1998 murder of Jennifer Scarpati in Brooklyn. The ruling in Zappulla v. People of the State of New York, 03-2793, written by Judge Rosemary Pooler, was a rare instance in which the court has reversed a federal district court judge who refused to grant a writ of habeas corpus. Zappulla was arrested by the police at Brooklyn’s Golden Gate Inn on March 17, 1998, where the decision said he and two companions had rented a room to smoke crack cocaine. The arrest was based on a report that Zappulla had stolen a fur coat and jewelry. After the police read him his Miranda rights, he refused to talk about the theft. A search of his person disclosed his room key, and police officers who went to the room found the body of Scarpati, a friend, under a bed. Zappulla briefly escaped police custody and was struck by a car while attempting to flee. He was taken to the hospital and then returned to police custody. Officers renewed their questioning, this time without giving Miranda warnings. Zappulla said he wanted a lawyer. One police officer responded, “If you want a lawyer, we can’t speak to you any further.” Zappulla then admitted he had choked Scarpati to death during an argument. Zappulla’s first trial ended in a hung jury. At a second trial, in which the prosecution placed greater emphasis on his confession, he was convicted of second-degree murder. The Second Department affirmed his conviction, finding the admission into evidence of the confession was in error, but that the admission was harmless because of the “overwhelming” evidence of Zappulla’s guilt, including DNA from the victim’s blood on his clothing and his possession of the room key. — New York Law Journal

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