When the Judge Jumps Ugly

Anyone married for more than a few years has an intuitive grasp of the cognitive process known as framing: Once someone has decided to view you in a certain light, the facts just get in the way. Come home late to an angry spouse, and there is little you can say in your own defense, even if it is...

I Like Fire and Brimstone

News that the Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a former client of mine was a delightful surprise. He was convicted of sexually abusing a young child. At trial, we won acquittals of the most serious charges, but the jury convicted on two counts, enough to yield a six-year sentence on...

An Annotated Pslam 23 for Trial Lawyers

"The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Oh, that it were true, that there were a shepherd to stand beside me in the well of this court, when I want so much, so often, and with such desperation. I have become the good shepherd to the man beside me. He has placed his entire trust in me,...

Why We Encourage The Innocent To Plead Guilty

How many innocent men and women are sitting in prison? No one knows, exactly, and few care. A person who’s been found guilty by a jury had their trial, right? And if they’ve lost their appeal, well, doesn’t that settle it once and for all?
We know better, of course. The...

Border Collies and Trial Lawyering

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my dogs, Odysseus and Penelope, but I swear they have been giving me tutorials in the law, teaching me about loyalty and zealous advocacy, the two most important qualities any criminal defense lawyer must have. I’ve learned more about...

The Emperor, the Thief and the NSA

St. Augustine reports the following conversation between Alexander the Great, who struggled to drive pirates from the Mediterranean Sea, and a hapless pirate who had fallen into the emperor’s custody.
“How dare you molest the sea,” Alexander said.
“How dare you...

Rape Trauma Gibberish

Expert testimony, we are taught, is intended to assist juries in deciding difficult factual issues. We permit the opinion testimony of folks who know things the rest of us don’t because of their education, skill, training or experience, thus, a doctor on disease, or an electrician on...

The New Skakel Standard

Word of a new trial for Michael Skakel, a distant member of the Kennedy clan, spread quickly through the Connecticut bar. Some folks gloated over the fact that Mickey Sherman, his lawyer, had been so thoroughly laid to waste by Judge Thomas Bishop’s 136-page decision ordering the trial, a...

Inside Baseball on Michael Skakel

Those skeptical about the efficacy of habeas corpus petitions in the State of Connecticut will be watching the Michael Skakel case carefully. Judge Thomas Bishop just granted the writ, a rare enough event, finding that the trial performance of Skakel’s lawyer, Mickey Sherman, was deficient as...

Public Defenders for All

Keep an eye on the case of State v. Lishan Wang, soon to be argued in the Connecticut Supreme Court. It has the potential to force significant and fundamental changes in the state’s criminal justice system.
Dr. Wang, 47, is charged with murdering Dr. Vanjinder Toor in 2010. The two men...

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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