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Hope For Hayes?

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, reading these particular tea leaves. A note can mislead. The question tonight is whether a note sent out late Friday by the jury in State v. Hayes represents real hope for a man looking death in the eye.
Late this afternoon, the jury sent a note rare in its level of detail. It suggests that the jury in this case is within two votes of never reaching the question of whether Mr. Hayes should be put to death at all. If this note reflects the jury's...
November 5, 2010

Twelve New Killers?

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. Hayes behaved like a merciless savage in July 2007 when he helped destroy a family and drove a stave into the heart of the American dream. By God, the man claims to have raped a corpse. His depravity would challenge even Dante to find a rung deep enough in Hell.
The drama is gone because the jury deciding whether Mr. Hayes shall live or die is not a fair cross-section of the community. Only jurors prepared to join Mr. Hayes on the morally...
November 4, 2010

The Great Writ Trivialized

Habeas corpus is sort of like magna carta: it’s the smattering of Latin that all lawyers know. Recite these words in public, and even non-lawyers know something important is at stake. In essence, a habeas corpus petition asserts that a prisoner is being held illegally. The writ is an important tool in the arsenal of liberty.
But the great writ has been transformed into something approaching silliness. The filing of petitions in state court is now a routine form of post-conviction relief. If a jury convicts, the next move is to attack the performance of the...
November 4, 2010

On The Fence With Spartacus

My wife keeps calling today to inquire whether I have voted. "No," I answer. I don't think I am going to this year. All of the candidates look like a bunch of phonies. I can't figure out what they are talking about most of the time.
"You need to consider the lesser of two evils," she counsels. She urges me to vote in the Senate race, if nowhere else. "Remember, the Senate passes on federal judges."
She is right in a way I hate to admit. I want to sit this election out as a form of protest. But what if you protest and no one listens? I may have but one vote, but surely that is...
November 2, 2010

A Jinxed Jury?

November 1, 2010
While most jurors stared dumbstruck at the evidence in the case of State v. Hayes, at least one could not take her eyes off one of the hunks keeping...

On The Stand

November 1, 2010
I will be on the witness stand today, an unusual role for me. My usual perch in a courtroom is in the well of the court, putting questions to police...

Chief Limon Needs To Get Out More

October 31, 2010
Let me see if I get this: The New Haven Police Department wants the assistance of a public relations firm to improve its image? If this is the best...

Emasculating Juries: Another Form Of Tyranny

October 31, 2010
I used to think we got the law enforcement we deserve. But then I realized that we the people have very little to say in the matter. The truth is, we...

Law, Morals and Salvatore Vitale

October 30, 2010
Salvatore Vitale cried in court the other day, The New York Times reports. The former hitman for the Bonanno crime family was being sentenced by...

Wire Me Up, Uncle Sammy

October 29, 2010
Just how badly do federal prosecutors want to prosecute Waterbury State's Attorney John Connelly? Pretty badly; the vision of Connelly in handcuffs...

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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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