The Flicker This Time

The publicist describes Kiese Laymon as a "black 21st-century Mark Twain," a curious sort of notion I was eager to test, and now, having read the book, am just as eager to reject. Laymon isn't some reconstituted version of a white man. Did the person who wrote this description even bother to read...

The Good News About "Affluenza"

Ethan Couch caught a break the other day in Fort Worth, Texas. It didn't outrage me at all. In a left-handed way, it almost made me hopeful.

The 16-year-old was charged as a juvenile in a vehicular homicide that killed four people. He was drunk while driving a car. His...

Three Faces of Islamophobia

Keynote address at the 9th annual Council on American-Islamic Relations Conference banquet:
I would like to thank MONGI DHAOUADI for inviting me to spend the evening with you. Of course, I was honored by the invitation. But I was also more than a little surprised. You see, I earn my living as...

Connelly's Latest -- Can Haller Outgrown His Lincoln?

Michael Connelly never practiced law a day in his life, but his fiction best approximates the gritty reality of the private practice of law. His Mickey Haller series continues to amaze me. I repeatedly find myself underlining sentences in the book that capture exactly the sense of creative chaos...

A Screwy Sentence, Or Plea Bargains Don't Matter

Friends were surprised that I crossed the line to represent Jason Zullo, an East Haven cop accused of harassing Hispanics while on duty. And when he was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal judge, some of those same friends thought he wouldn't be going to prison long enough.
But the...

Newtown, One Year Later

I am not sure there are any larger lessons to learn from the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. Mental illness isn't the answer: Millions of Americans suffer from such maladies, few become shooters. The over-abundance of firearms isn't the the...

Pleading the Fifth and the Jimmy Hoffa Rule

Only once have I had to take the witness stand to plead the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
I was seeking permission to withdraw from representation of a man on death row. My former partner and I were handling his appeal, trying to keep the state from killing him. When a...

Oprah Winfrey as Disciplinary Counsel?

Former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim was convicted by a federal jury and served seven years in prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy that extorted some $800,000 from contractors seeking to do business in the Park City. That verdict was returned in 2003. He's done his time. Now he...

Yo, Yo, Yo ... Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving week as I write this, and who wants to work? Better to pull some anecdotes from memory, and entertain.
"Mr. Pattis, are you all right?" The judge looked concerned. She was sitting no more than six feet from me. I thought I was fine, actually. After all, I was...

A Strange New World

It was perhaps fitting that on the day the Danbury state's attorney released his report on last year's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, New Haven was under siege. It's a sign of the times, isn't it? Random acts of violence, amorphous terror and, always, armed men on the move,...

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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