Michelle Alexander's Dangerous Pipe Dream

Michelle Alexander writes in this morning’s New York Times about mass incarceration and plea bargaining. She wonders what would happen if defendants everywhere organized and refused to bargain. That would collapse the criminal justice system, wouldn’t it? Imagine prosecutors having to try all those cases! Might that not force a system that regards violations of the law as a board game designed and intended to sustain a prison-industrial complex rethink the madness of making almost any form of deviance from antiquated norms a crime? Odds are Ms. Alexander, a law professor, a...
March 11, 2012

Want To Find Out If Your Phone Is Tapped?

Lawyers who tell war stories are tedious bores. I mean, we all have stories to tell, right? What makes your story so special that I should stop what I am doing to listen to it? Yet we can’t help telling these tales. The truth of the matter is, a lawyer lives a privileged sort of life. We get front-row seats at the theater called chaos.
So let me relay a story, sanitized somewhat to protect the names of folks who might not like being memorialized in this manner.
I do not often take cases out of state. Although Connecticut is a small place, there is generally enough work to...
March 8, 2012

When Silence Can Be Golden

Any man married for more than a decade should have an intuitive grasp of the dignitary interests served by the right to remain silent when accused. I write today for those without the requisite matrimonial experience.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees a person accused of a crime the right to remain silent. The government can neither compel an accused person to speak, nor use the accused’s decision not to respond to allegations against him. In other words, the accused is afforded the dignity of silence.
As a matter of law, this right can be...
March 7, 2012

Memo To Bridgeport Lawmakers

Here's the latest in the ongoing saga of the Bridgeport school board crisis. Unless you have followed the story to date, this will not make a lot of sense. Sorry about that.
Rumor has it that Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch has been telling General Assembly members that I have concluded some sort of deal with the city and state Department of Education calling for the placement of Maria Pereira and Bobby Simmons on the city's board of education immediately. The rumors are simply untrue. There are no deals in place. Bobby and Maria remain locked out of the offices they were elected to...
March 6, 2012

The Sad Case of Tanya McDowell

March 2, 2012
I hope Tanya McDowell will forgive us, someday, for our hypocrisy and cruelty. I hope her son will as well. But first she will have to serve her...

Attacking the Vote in Hartford

March 1, 2012
I have long grown accustomed to the facts of life known to all criminal defense lawyers: little people get run over and crushed in court. When a...

A Goose-Stepping Governor?

February 29, 2012
This just in from a source watching Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's mad scramble to deprive Bridgeport voters of the right to vote for their own board of...

An Open Letter to the Connecticut General Assembly

February 29, 2012
A call came in moments ago. Mayor Bill Finch and his aides are busy at work in Hartford, lobbying lawmakers to pass legislation retroactively...

War Of Attrition Begins In Bridgeport School Case

February 29, 2012
The war of attrition has already set in on the Bridgeport school board case. Notwithstanding the 6-1 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court...

Embedding Dannel Malloy in the Courant

February 29, 2012
The Supreme Court spoke yesterday, finally, and declared six-to-one that the soul of the Bridgeport public schools is not for sale. New elections...

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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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