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Brady's Death Homicide? Ridiculous

Politico is not naming the member of the Washington, D.C., Police Department who announced that John Hinkley may face new charges because of the recent death of James Brady, so let me name him: Officer Stu Pid, as in idiot, fool, nitwit, numsbkull, asshat, moron -- need I go on?
Hinkley shot President Ronald Reagan and James Brady, then the president's press secretary, in 1981, in a quite literally insane effort to impress actress Jodi Foster. Hinkley's been cooling his heels in a psychiatric hospital in the District of Columbia ever since. He's unlikely ever to be free from confinement...
August 8, 2014

Psalm 23 In The Well Of The Court

What would you call a self-confessed agnostic who recites Psalm 23 in times of grave trouble? Hypocrite comes to mind, and the description fits. Fool also fits. And sinner works, too, although just what the concept of sin can mean to the godless is a mystery.
But there I was on the cusp of cross-examination in a difficult case. The words summoned me like an invitation to place I no longer knew how to visit.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
In high school when all was storm, stress and terror, I had...
August 3, 2014

Why Not Limited Judicial Immunity?

One of the occupational hazards of the legal profession is a close acquaintance with chaos. The darkness leads some into the wasteland of depression, and they fall prey to alcoholism, to drug use or to despair. Others yield to a haughty sense that they are above it all, that they are mere spectators to the struggles of the ordinary mortals whose cases consume their professional lives. This later arrogance breeds a species of entitlement to which even judges are not immune.
I’ve never met former Detroit Circuit Court Judge Wade McCree, so I only know what I’ve read. The...
August 3, 2014

Plutarch and Tony Serra

It seems as though all of my heroes are getting long in the tooth: Gerry Spence and F. Lee Bailey are in their 80s. Tony Serra is 79. Even John Williams is in his seventies. I don’t know why I thought great trial lawyers would be immune from time’s always fatal hammer.
Perhaps I was hoping great arguments would yield immortality. Perhaps I thought I too could escape the clock’s final tick.
I think alot about mortality in the summer, of all times. My wife and I take a long vacation each year. Returning to work gets more and more difficult. I fuss and whine three...
July 26, 2014

No Opening Statemenst! -- WTF?

July 25, 2014
It surprises most people to learn that in the state courts of Connecticut, judges almost never permit opening statements in criminal cases. Lawyers...

"Uncertain Justice" and the Roberts Court

July 20, 2014
Among the many defining errors I've made along life's way is my public and open scorn for law professors. Those who can't do, teach, and those who...

Why Defend?

July 19, 2014
"I know that a certain percentage of folks I send to prison are, in fact, innocent," he said. "I just don't know how to identify who those folks...

Rowland II -- Is Voir Dire at Side Bar Even Legal?

July 9, 2014
Some contend that trials, especially criminal trials, are won or lost during jury selection. Although jury selection is intended merely to assure...

No Muzzle Needed for Judge Kopf

July 8, 2014
Richard Kopf, a U.S. District Court judge in Nebraska, writes a blog. The other day, he vented about the Supreme Court's recent decision in Hobby...

Happy Fourth, Sort Of ...

July 3, 2014
Over the many years I've written this column – I think it is now 14, but who is counting? – I've taken pride in never missing a week....

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Taking Back the Courts
Norm Pattis Taking Back the Courts

The Wizard of Oz was one of my favorites movies as a kid. Little did I know judges were so much like the wizard, hiding behind empty trappings of power. This book tells you things you need to know about what really goes on in court. Read it, weep, and then demand that the courts do better.

In the Trenches
Norm Pattis In the Trenches

Plenty of lawyers write about the law, but few who write try cases. Judge for yourself whether I talk the talk and walk the walk in this collection of occasional essays about life in the law's trenches.

Juries and Justice
Norm Pattis Juries and Justice

How prepared are you to take seriously the notion that 'we the people' are, in fact, sovereign? Discover the secret, and unused, power of jurors. 'Ask why; then nullify.'

Norm Pattis

About Norm

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 150 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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