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NINTH CIRCUIT FLIPS MAN’S DEATH SENTENCE Ignoring evidence of childhood abuse is a big no-no for attorneys defending death penalty cases, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. A unanimous panel decided that Richard Boyde’s defense attorney made a bad strategic ploy during the penalty phase of his murder trial. The attorney not only ignored abuse evidence that might have put his client in a favorable light, but he also put on the stand family members who said Boyde had a healthy upbringing, according to the ruling. The attorney also compared his client to Charles Manson during closing statements. The defender meant to imply that Boyde was a product of the prison system, but the circuit judges said that backfired. “Because of counsel’s errors, the jury was not presented with key evidence that could have inspired sympathy for Boyde,” wrote Judge Alex Kozinski. “Instead, the jurors heard testimony that Boyde had fallen into violence despite a normal upbringing, and counsel’s only explanation for this development involved comparing Boyde to Charles Manson. Errors of this magnitude are a sufficient basis for finding prejudice.” Kozinski was joined by Senior Judge Jerome Farris and Judge Barry Silverman. The decision vacates Boyde’s death sentence for the 1981 crime. The state can try again or try for a lesser sentence. The case is Boyde v. Brown, 05 C.D.O.S. 3349. — Jeff Chorney JONES DAY SNARE PILLSBURY PARTNER Jones Day partner Robert Mittelstaedt is tapping his old firm for another partner. Jason McDonell, who was head of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s Silicon Valley litigation practice, joined Jones Day on Tuesday. McDonell has spent more than 20 years with Pillsbury. Eight lawyers followed when Mittelstaedt left Pillsbury two years ago to start the San Francisco office of Cleveland-based Jones Day. “He is the fifth seasoned litigator to join our firm in the past six months,” said Mittelstaedt, of his new firm’s latest hire. “We continue to have a lot of work.” McDonell said he was influenced in coming to Jones Day by partners Mittelstaedt, Shawn Hanson, Craig Stewart and Caroline Mitchell, whom Mcdonell knew from Pillsbury. “They are all first-class people and first-class lawyers,” said McDonell. “They made it known to me that I would be welcomed and of great value to them.” McDonell said he is impressed with all that Jones Day has accomplished in Northern California. After two years, the San Francisco office has about 40 attorneys. There are about 30 more lawyers in the firm’s Menlo Park office, which opened in 2001. McDonell emphasized that his leaving was unrelated to Pillsbury’s recent merger with Shaw Pittman. Pillsbury partner Vernon Granneman replaces McDonell as head of Silicon Valley litigation. — Marie-Anne Hogarth

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