NSA v. USA. Who Will Win?

I confess to being among those who regard the reach of the surveillance state with a tired sense of inevitability: I’ve long since grown accustomed to the notion that the government can, and does, record everything. It’s not that I do not value privacy; I just feel that worrying about government snooping is futile. Glenn Greenwald’s new book on Edward Snowden, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, confirmed my fears, and moved me a notch or two off my sense of resignation.
I’ve watched Greenwald’s career with a puzzled...
May 17, 2014

Why A Second Trial?

“Congratulations,” the caller, another lawyer, said. “You hung ‘em up; I’d call that a win.”


“Thanks,” I replied. “But I am not so sure. We’ve got to try it all over again in October.”
My client stands accused by the United States government of possession and distribution of various quantities of crack cocaine and powder cocaine. He’s also accused of illegal possession of various guns and ammunition. Seven counts in all. Given his criminal history, he’ll spend more than 20 years in...
May 7, 2014

An Honest Look at Punishment

Robert Ferguson's book on the American criminal justice system, Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment (Harvard University Press, 2014) ought to be must reading for every legislator, judge and prosecutor in the United States. You will note that I did not include criminal defense lawyers in the list of people who need to read this book -- that is because they already know the truth Ferguson speaks: the criminal justice system is a wasteful failure.
Drawing from literature, moral and political philosophy, legal scholarship and reported cases, the book asks questions that are too often...
May 4, 2014

Green Haven's End Game

Perhaps the single most important moment in the debate about whether to approve the Green Haven condominium association project on Bethany’s Halter Farm property took place more than a year ago. That’s when Patsy Weiner, then a member of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, took the floor at a town meeting to explain the virtues of what proponent’s call co-housing plans.
“You can have co-housing associations for all sorts of purposes,” she said, in her dry, timorous sort of way. “There could be a group devoted to equestrian...
May 3, 2014

A Killing in Milford

April 30, 2014
Death comes swiftly, with a crushing finality, leaving the living numb with grief and overcome with loss. Our comings and goings remain stunning...

Prison for a Troubled Teen?

April 27, 2014
One measure of our humanity is how we treat the least among us. The future will judge us harshly, I am afraid. This is especially so regarding our...

When the Process Becomes the Punishment

April 20, 2014
The process, criminal defense lawyers like to say, is the punishment. Nowhere is this so true as in the low-level criminal courts in Connecticut,...

A Primer on Anarchism

April 14, 2014
Anarchism is given a bad rap by folks who rarely take the trouble to understand what they are criticizing. Alexander Berkman's classic text on...

Green Haven's Legacy Foreseen

April 12, 2014
April 16, 2024 – Connecticut lost a town last night, but it did not lose either territory or population. Two suburban entities...

No Trial Tax? Get Real, Judge.

April 11, 2014
I was in the chambers of a judge I respect a great deal trying to reach a plea bargain in a complex case the other day. Well before trial, he made...

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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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