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9th Circuit overturns 80s death sentence

SAN FRANCISCO, April 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a man's death sentence because his attorney compared him to Charles Manson during closing arguments.

The federal appellate court in San Francisco also ruled 3-0 that the defense for Richard Boyde, who has been on death row for decades for the 1981 murder of a football and wrestling coach at Arlington High School in Riverside, Calif., failed to investigate evidence that his client had been severely abused as a child, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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"It is difficult to conceive of any possible justification for referring to a notorious mass murderer in trying to persuade the jury to spare Boyde's life, and certainly not one that warrants comparing Boyde to that murderer," wrote Judge Alex Kozinski in his opinion.

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