Blog Posts


Rethinking the Fourth Amendment

I recall the Watergate hearings in 1973. It was hard to ignore them. They were chaired by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina. From time to time, he reached into his jacket pocket to take out a well-worn copy of the United States Constitution. He was a strict constructionist. He thought...

Turow's "Last Trial" A Masterpiece

I’ve a confession to make: I’ve not stepped into a courtroom since sometime in early March of this year, and I haven’t missed it one bit.
This is a confession because I am a trial- and appellate-lawyer. I make my living, or at least I used to make my...

Perhaps It's Time To Start Dismissing Criminal Cases

We’re now four months into the pandemic, and, as near as I can tell, much about the world has changed. I say this tentatively because throughout this period, I’ve remained mostly at home, working remotely, and appearing in my office on rare occasions when I am sure not to run into...

Is Hawk Newsome Guilty Of Treason?


"If this country doesn't give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right? And I could be speaking ... figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It's a matter of interpretation.”
That’s Hawk Newsome talking on Fox News the...

A Speedy and Public Trial Necessary in Minnesota

It will take work to assure that Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane receive fair trials. The four Minneapolis police officers are accused of crimes in the death of George Floyd. It will be a rare juror who has not formed an opinion of some sort before the...

COVID-19: What About Cross-Examination Of Witnesses?

Cross-examination is the engine of our civil and criminal justice system. When there is a dispute about facts, witnesses are required. Fact-finders, whether they be juries or judges, then make credibility assessments, deciding whom to believe. Yes, mistakes are made – many a...

A Simple Plan For Reducing CT's Prison Population This Week

It is only a matter of days until COVID-19 takes root in one of Connecticut’s prisons, infecting both guards and inmates. The results will be catastrophic. Inmates and prisoner activists are experimenting with lawsuits and administrative requests to provide relief before disaster...

COVID-19 and the Vanishing Trial

I’m not sure what the new normal will look like for litigators in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but several things seem obvious enough.
First, I doubt seriously that any juries will be selected until sometime in 2021.
Why? No one is...

The Prison Guard's Dilemma

Things are tense in the prisons. As the COVID-19 virus sweeps across the land, there are calls to release prisoners, and concerns about the welfare of prisoners, guards and the communities in which the prisons are located.
Have we warehoused men and women in fertile...

A Looming Crisis In Connecticut's Prisons

Lost amid the chaos of preparing for, and coping with, the Covid-19 pandemic is an honest assessment of what to do with prison inmates. At least it appears that way in Connecticut, where, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, about 16,000 people are imprisoned. (I’ve heard...

© Norm Pattis is represented by Elite Lawyer Management, managing agents for Exceptional American Lawyers
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