Let's Rethink Our Love of Prisons

Delaware Judge Jan Jurden just helped to destroy the market in human souls, and for that, I am grateful. She refused to send a self-confessed child rapist to prison, letting him instead walk out the courthouse door, to begin a lengthy period of probation and treatment as a sex offender.
Robert H. Richards IV, an heir to the DuPont chemical fortune, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his 3-year-old daughter. According to press reports, he penetrated the child with his finger, a twisted and disgusting act. The allegations came to light when his ex-wife sued him for money...
April 2, 2014

A Note to New Lawyers

A friend asked me to write something to present to new members of the bar in Alabama this week. Here it is:
You are about to embark on a career as an ambassador for other people’s sorrows. Nothing you have studied in law school has prepared you for what you will see, and for the pressures you will endure as a practitioner. You have sacrificed much to earn the right to practice law, and your motives for being here are no doubt both noble and base. You can do well by doing good. But first you must learn to survive, and that will take all the cunning of Odysseus, a man, you will...
March 31, 2014

Defending Isn't About Morals

A reader wrote the other day to ask whether I ever get upset with a client for lying to me. What would I do, she inquired, if a client told me he was not guilty of murder, and I later learned that he had done the crime?
The answer is simple: Nothing.
This struck her as a revelation. All week long, I’ve wondered why.
The law is not about morals. That doesn’t stop prosecutors from strutting the well of a court demanding accountability. But to whom, exactly, are they asking defendants to be accountable? Certainly not to the prosecutors themselves, they are mere...
March 30, 2014

Criminal Defense Lawyers Need Not Apply

Word that U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton will soon take senior status makes this a good time to ask Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy why it is that no criminal defense lawyer ever makes the cut for nomination to the federal bench. It's been so long since a defender was nominated that the failure cannot be explained away as insignificant.
The latest appointee to the bench, Jeffrey Meyer, was a former federal prosecutor and law professor. There is no question that he is qualified to serve, and that he has the demeanor necessary to inspire confidence in the court. But...
March 29, 2014

Why Not Record Cops At Work?

March 19, 2014
I will never understand why police officers don’t embrace video recording of their work. But they don’t. Whether in the interrogation...

The Chief Lays An Egg

March 13, 2014
You know the state's Judicial Branch is bleeding when the chief justice takes to writing opinion pieces. I am not referring to legal opinions, mind...

Time for GAL Reform in Connecticut

March 6, 2014
Superior Court Judge Leslie Olear of West Hartford is no doubt a profoundly grateful jurist. She was nearly turned out of office by lawmakers the...

Green Haven's Utopian Tomfoolery

February 28, 2014
As read to the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday night:
My name is Norm Pattis. I live in Bethany, and I also own Whitlock Farm...

Green Haven Gets Desperate

February 26, 2014
I missed the town meeting in Bethany tonight, where residents once again debated whether to permit condominium development. But a friend was there,...

Plea Bargaining and Hypocrisy

February 26, 2014
Almost everyone pleads guilty to a crime when prosecuted. Some estimates place those pleading guilty, rather than facing trial, at more than 90...

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Press Videos


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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