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COURT ALLOWS ETHNIC DNA COMPARISONS The California Supreme Court on Thursday approved law enforcement officers’ use of a new tool to prove guilt in criminal cases. Specifically, the high court ruled unanimously that DNA databases comparing defendants’ and victims’ blood to different ethnic populations are relevant when the racial identity of a criminal isn’t known. “Obviously,” Justice Ming Chin wrote, “evidence tending to show that defendant’s blood was found at the crime scene, and that the victim’s blood was on defendant’s pants, would be highly probative to whether defendant was the killer.” The decision resolved what Chin called a “narrow, but important, question” about whether it was appropriate to compare a defendant’s and victim’s blood with DNA databases for Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics and other ethnic groups in determining the likelihood that a particular person committed a crime. The ruling upheld a lower court, which had held such genetic profiling was allowed in trying to determine whether William Wilson murdered Sarah Phillips in her Vacaville home on April 6, 2000. The 13-year-old girl had been strangled to death with a telephone cord. The ruling is People v. Wilson, 06 C.D.O.S. 5993. � Mike McKee ‘SKIP’ MILLER OPENS NEW LITIGATION FIRM LOS ANGELES � Louis “Skip” Miller, the high-profile Los Angeles lawyer who earlier this year left the firm he founded, is launching Miller Barondess, a new firm specializing in high-stakes litigation. Early this year, Miller left Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro in the midst of an ongoing investigation into Managing Partner Terry Christensen’s use of celebrity private eye Anthony Pellicano. Miller would not comment on his reasons for leaving, though sources speculated that tensions stemming from the investigation played a role. At the time, Miller had been expected to land at Boston-based Goodwin Procter, which was opening a Los Angeles office. Miller Barondess’s founding partners include Mark Barondess, a lawyer who represents the interests of television host Larry King and his companies, and Daniel Park, a former senior associate at the firm now called Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro. Park said he was eager to take advantage of the opportunity for more flexibility, control and increased ability to serve his clients. And, he said, “being partner helps obviously.” Park said no additional Christensen partners would be joining the firm. The new firm’s strategy will employ a lean staff with fewer attorneys assigned to each case, according to Miller. Associates will work closely with partners and will be on cases for their duration. Miller is known for handling several high-profile suits, including defending the city of Los Angeles in the Rodney King police brutality case. � Kellie Schmitt

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