Diaz and the Government We Deserve

The California Supreme Court doesn't think there is any real difference between a crumpled up cigarette package, the clothing on your back or your cell phone: All three are intimately associated with you. Hence, should you be arrested, police officers can search all three items under an exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement known as "search incident to arrest." A majority of the elected high court in California so ruled this week in People v. Diaz. The ruling reminds me once again that we get the government we deserved.
California from time to time tries to opt out of...
January 5, 2011

The State of the Federal Courts, 2010 Edition

Reading Chief Justice John G. Roberts call for an end to partisanship in the selection of federal judges felt alot like watching professional football players sing the national anthem before a game: For a brief moment, it's all peace and unity. Once the whisle blows, expect the hitting to be hard, fast and furious. The chief's singing of judicial Kumbaya before the New Year began was hardly persuasive. But for the machinations of the right, he wouldn't be sitting where he is today.
"Each political party has found it easy to turn on a dime from decrying to defending the blocking of...
January 3, 2011

Border Wars, 2011

The new year has scarcely begun, but already battle lines are drawn in what will be one of the most significant struggles of 2011: Welcome to the border wars. The New York Times reports that a handful of states have proposed legisation to address immigration issues the federal government cannot handle. "The federal government's failure to enforce our border has functionally turned every state into a border state," Oklahoma lawmaker Randy Terrill told the Times. "The states are stepping in and filling the void left by the federal government.
Arizona acted last year, giving state lawmen...
January 2, 2011

The Anatomy of Hope

In recent weeks, I've noticed an accelerating trend: Increasing numbers of folks looking for a lawyer are boldly asking me if I will accept their case on a pro bono basis. I view it as a sign that despite claims to the contrrary, the economy is still a long way from healthy. The mass of those accused of crimes are not leading lives of quiet desperation: They are crying out for help in plain view.
One such request came in the weekend's mail. It was scrawled on the back of a postcard sent from one of the state's prisons. Gone was all pretense of an attorney-client privilege. Present was a...
January 2, 2011

Why Defend The Accused?

December 31, 2010
"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...

Cheapskates In Wisconsin

December 30, 2010
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...

A Victim As Person Of The Year?

December 29, 2010
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...

End-of-Life Planning and A Noble Death?

December 27, 2010
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....

The Absent Character In Best Crime Reporting, 2010

December 27, 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...

To The New Year!

December 26, 2010
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...

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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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