The Leap From Genes To Minds

Discussion turned, in the wake of the Newtown killings, to better mental health services. If we could simply identify homicidal rage before it erupted, we could save lives. Don’t advances in biology and neurosciences permit us, finally, to say with some degree of certainty, just...

Zeitoun and the Rule of Law

I spent the other day reading a book my wife gave me for Christmas, Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun. It’s the report of one family’s ordeal in the wake of Katrina, the hurricane that devastated New Orleans in 2005. Although the book was written in 2009, and won awards, it...

Guns Are Just Like Cigarettes

Cigarettes don’t kill people, people do. That would be the tobacco lobby lying to the world. We’d recognize the claim at once as transparent nonsense. So we tax tobacco, using the proceeds to pay for, among other things, health-care for those destroying themselves by indulging their...

The End That Never Comes

I am willing to bet that you’ll able to read this come Dec. 22, and thereafter, too, should you be so inclined. That’s because I don’t think the world is going to come crashing down around us, as the Mayans predict, on Dec. 21, 2012. For that matter, I don’t think any...

Returning to the State of Nature, One Newtown at a Time

Enough, finally, is enough. Your right to bear arms does not yield the right to kill at random. Doesn’t last week’s killing spree at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown give you even a moment’s hesitation? Or are you still going to hide behind the facile quip that guns...

Double Standards at the Courthouse Door

There’s a new security regime in the Connecticut federal courts, so let me gripe about it a bit: You see, lawyers are now required not just to pass through metal detectors, place their briefcases on conveyor belts scanning for bombs and some such, remove their computers from briefcases, and...

Color Blind? Or Wilfully Blind?

When I have an African-American defendant in a criminal trial, I like to ask potential jurors the following question: What do you think of race relations in the United States — are they good; bad; is there room for improvement?
Almost everyone answers that there is room for improvement....

Guns and Guilty By Association

I suppose I should be relieved that the nation’s top cop came waltzing into New Haven the other day talking tough about gun violence, and promising safer streets. But I’m not.
As it turns out, Attorney General Eric Holder was selling the same flawed premises of the war on drugs, a...

Why No Racial Balance On Connecticut Juries?

When I wrote last week about seeing a jury panel in Norwich from which black males were entirely absent, I assumed there must be some reasonable explanation. So this week, when I subpoenaed state officials to an evidentiary hearing, I was stunned by what I learned. No one, apparently, has a clue...

Jim Crow In The Jury Room

Call me a racist, but Connecticut does not do enough to assure that criminal defendants face a jury of their peers.
I’ve just finished jury selection in a murder case in Norwich. We finally picked a panel after six full days of jury selection. One hundred and fifteen men and women sat...

About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

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