May 14, 2021
Fish Attorneys Win Pro Bono Death Penalty Case in Virginia Supreme Court
September 18, 2009 - Fish & Richardson won a important ruling in the Virginia Supreme Court by establishing that the statutory verdict form used by sentencing juries in Virginia capital murder cases was unconstitutional.
The case involved Alfredo Prieto, a prisoner who had been sentenced to death in Virginia. Under Virginia Law, a prisoner may be sentenced to death only if a jury unanimously finds the existence of at least one "aggravating factor" prescribed by statute - that the crime was "vile and depraved" or that the defendant is a "continuing threat to society." However even when the jury finds the existence of aggravating factors, it still has the option to recommend a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.
In Mr. Prieto's case, the jury was provided with a verdict form - authorized by Virginia statute - that was flawed in two respects. It gave the jury the mistaken impression that neither aggravating factor needed to be found unanimously, so long as all jurors found that at least one of the aggravating factors was present. The verdict form was also flawed because it failed to properly inform the jury of its option to impose a life sentence even in the presence of aggravating factors.
In September 18, 2009 decision, the Virginia Supreme Court agreed that the verdict form used by the sentencing jury had been constitutionally flawed, and order that Mr. Prieto be resentenced.
Also working on the case was Fish associate Noah Graubert. The case was referred to Fish by the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project.
March 13, 2023
Fish & Richardson Names Joshua A. Griswold as Managing Principal of Dallas Office
December 5, 2016
Juanita Brooks and Jon Singer profiled in National Law Journal's special report "High Stakes, Significant Victories"
July 17, 2017
Fish & Richardson Elects Deanna Reichel as a Principal
February 17, 2009
Fish Receives Top Rankings in IP Law360 Surveys
July 14, 2014
Fish & Richardson Sends 33 Students to Space Camp
August 10, 2017
Susan Morrison Named 2017 "Woman Worth Watching in STEM" by Profiles in Diversity Journal
February 12, 2009
Corporate and Chancery Year in Review: Top 10 Delaware Corporate Opinions of 2006
January 21, 2015
John Dragseth Quoted in Law360 article "Lawyers Weigh In On High Court Claim Construction Ruling"
March 31, 2016