Counseling The Killers

Can a good man be a good citizen? The debate is at least as old as Saint Augustine's City of God, written in the fifth century of the Common Era. For one North Haven, Connecticut, resident the debate has come home with a vengeance. Lenus Gibbs voted to kill Steven Hayes, even though he acknowledges that the death penalty doesn't work. Mr. Gibbs told a reporter for the New Haven Register that he broke down and cried the night before voting for death. The decision bothered his conscience.
Mr. Gibbs began the trial an opponent of the death penalty. It sounds as though he ended the trial...
November 11, 2010

Who Is Served By Gag Orders?

It is naive to think that a judicially imposed gag order does anything other than benefit the prosecution in a criminal case. So why do Connecticut criminal court judges swoon over them? First, Judge Roland D. Fasano imposed orders in the Cheshire home invasion cases. Now Judge Edward J. Mullarkey has placed his imprimatur on a gag order involving comments about those accused of murdering University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard. The theory of the gag order sounds fine and noble: Let’s make sure the defendant gets a fair trial by limiting comments to the press. No point...
November 11, 2010

Darkness Before Noon

A rump jury of twelve Connecticut residents carefully screened to exclude any member who opposed the death penalty voted to kill Steven Hayes today. The state went a perfect six for six, winning each and every capital felony count. To those of us who oppose the death penalty, today was a sheer act of barbarism. The state, which cannot give life, has now received permission to take what it cannot give. This is not justice. This is the savagery.
In the end, there was but one hero in this case: The lawyer for Mr. Hayes, Tommy Ullmann. When an angry state lined up and volunteered to kill...
November 8, 2010

118 Votes: A Tally Please?

There are 118 seats for spectators in the courtroom in which the case of State v. Hayes is being tried. Although court is not scheduled to open until 10 a.m. this morning, I am told there might already by a full house. On the fourth day of deliberations, a verdict is expected. Indeed, many folks think a verdict is long overdue.
I have been following the press coverage of this case closely, including the accounts of those who have been sending instant messges via Twitter. My sense is that there are very few disapassionate and undecided folks watching these proceedings. Lacking from the...
November 8, 2010

Hope In New Haven

November 7, 2010
After three full days of deliberations in New Haven, the jury is still out: There is no verdict on whether Steven Hayes shall live or be killed for...

Foreclosure War?

November 7, 2010
The gulf between law and morals is on display in yet another forum: home mortgages. Some contend it is unethical to walk away from a mortgage. A debt...

Rushing To A Verdict

November 6, 2010
Why is the Hayes jury deliberating over the weekend? Because the case is one heart-beat away from disaster. It has nothing to do with not wanting the...

Hope For Hayes?

November 5, 2010
I am persuaded that a significant percentage of trials are won or lost based on how well lawyers manage jury notes. It is a difficult business,...

Twelve New Killers?

November 4, 2010
Closing arguments in the case of State v. Hayes will be anticlimactic . The moral drama has been driven from the room. It was never disputed that Mr....

The Great Writ Trivialized

November 4, 2010
Habeas corpus is sort of like magna carta: it’s the smattering of Latin that all lawyers know. Recite these words in public, and...

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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.

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