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No Muzzle Needed for Judge Kopf

Richard Kopf, a U.S. District Court judge in Nebraska, writes a blog. The other day, he vented about the Supreme Court's recent decision in Hobby Lobby, the decision that extended the fiction of corporate personhood to the point of now offering the law's protection to "corporate" beliefs. The owners of Hobby Lobby can have their corporation opt out of providing contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act.
Writes Kopf about the court's tendency to decide, on a 5-4 basis, significant issues dividing the country: "Next term is the time for the Supreme Court to go quiescent – this...
July 8, 2014

Happy Fourth, Sort Of ...

Over the many years I've written this column – I think it is now 14, but who is counting? – I've taken pride in never missing a week. (Except for the couple of months years back when I impetuously quit, and then returned.) Only once has a column been spiked, or not used by the editor, and that was a wise call as I had more than the usual intemperance when it came to describing a certain clerk of the Superior Court.
But weekly opinion writing takes its toll. Some weeks the well is dry, especially when, as now, I am in the midst of a long summer vacation, idling time away at...
July 3, 2014

Can the Middle Class Afford Justice?

Despite the fact that I spend as much time as I can in courtrooms, I still enjoy reading fiction about the law and lawyering. I worry always about what I am missing as I stand in the middle of someone else’s storm. Legal fiction provides perspective, and, frankly, entertainment.
Why is it that not one writer of legal fiction deals realistically with the business of making a living at the practice of law? Is the topic too difficult to render? Or is it that we don’t want to be honest about legal fees?
Few clients can afford the lawyer they want, and few private lawyers...
July 2, 2014

Dr. Wang: A Fool for a Client?

A lawyer representing himself, the saying goes, has a fool for a client. So what of a physician who decides to represent himself in a high-stakes criminal case? Is he, too, a fool?
Dr. Lishan Wang is charged with murder. He is alleged to have shot to death another physician, Dr. Vajinder Pal Toor, in Branford in 2010. The motive? Dr. Wang's suspicion that Dr. Toor had something to do with Dr. Wang's being fired at the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn back in 2008, a move Dr. Wang appears to believe ruined his medical career.
If Dr. Wang were a better shot, he'd be...
June 27, 2014

A Closer Look At Plea Bargaining

June 21, 2014
I've noticed a certain uneasiness in the chambers of several judges. They don't like talking about plea bargaining in any public way. Indeed, in one...

Plea Bargaining as a Pathological Practice

June 20, 2014
One of the best scenes in “The Wizard of Oz” is when Toto, Dorothy’s dog, pulls back the curtain on the Great Oz, exposing a...

An "Appeal to Heaven" Fizzles

June 12, 2014
Jerad and Amanda Miller thought the revolution had begun, so they shot a couple of police officers at a pizzeria and then walked over to a local...

Sidney Powell Grows Up

June 8, 2014
I've never understood why some criminal defense lawyers feel the need to make a great public display about how they only represent those whom they...

The FBI Stalks Phil Mickelson

June 4, 2014
I have no idea whether Phil Mickelson, one of the world's premier golfers and three-time winner of the Masters golf tournament, is guilty of insider...

Cushy Judicial Pensions

May 29, 2014
Oh, Dannell, what a disappointment you are. The governor's been pumping the judiciary full of geriatric pals, positioning them for $100,000 a year...

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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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