Why Defend The Accused?

"Why the defense of those accused of crimes?" It is a natural enough question. I stop to ponder it today after being accused of a species of immorality for my chosen profession. Defending those accused of rape, murder, robbery, theft, the abuse of children: Who but a monster would chose to walk...

Cheapskates In Wisconsin

There is a great line dividing Americans: On the one side, and tipping the scales of justice, are those who have never been accused of a crime; on other are those accused, and their family and friends. The rule of law is supposed to serve as a sort of Charon, navigating souls across the river of...

A Victim As Person Of The Year?

At year's end news organizations like to mark time by doing such things as selecting, and commenting upon, the year's top stories. Some, like Time magazine, vote for a person of the year, as it did in selecting Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, as ther 2010 Person of the Year. The New Haven...

End-of-Life Planning and A Noble Death?

Someone tell me: Just how did it happen that I need to defend my right to die?  Death is part of life, the tail end of a bargain none of us struck. Asserting that I have a right to die is gibberish. Would that I had a right to remain alive; that would be a right worth any fight. Death is a...

The Absent Character In Best Crime Reporting, 2010

I read this year's Best Crime Reporting with a guilty sort of pleasure. It was a gift, so reading it over the holidays was appropriate enough. But wasn't I taking a few weeks off? Why the appeal of crime stories in a season devoted to time away from the grind of a criminal law practice?

To The New Year!

Last year's end-of-the-year essay provoked a chain of events that turned into something strangely liberating. I wrote of the great emotional travail that comes of representing those facing imprisonment. Bearing others' sorrow oppresses, and I felt the weight of it especially keenly in 2009. I...

How About Accountability Statements for Juries?

The criminal justice system stumbles along on the road mumbling lip service to complete transparency, but we still lie to jurors. When jurors find out about these lies, they are often unhappy. A potential jury in Montana took matters in its own hands the other day, revolting during jury selection...

Mickey Going Bye-Bye

It is now official: Mickey Sherman will be heading to federal prison this spring. He was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Janet Hall to a term of one year and one day. His crime was failing to pay his taxes in 2001 and 2002. I should feel either sympathy or satisfaction....

Why No Ideological Warfare In State High Courts?

When there is a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court, legal academics, interest groups, and journalists go into overdrive speculating about who the new nominee shall be. Great issues of the day are rehearsed, and judicial doctrine is transformed into the club of interest groups. The high...

Schumer's Sex Offender Hysteria

No one wants children exposed to men and women who might do them harm. This instinct to protect the innocent is at the very core of the sex offender registration laws. But when those laws fail to draw elementrary distinctions between strangers who pose danger and those caught unawares in the law's...

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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