Qualified Immunity And The Police State

I get many calls each week from people who believe they have been abused by the police. That is because for many years I was at the forefront of police misconduct litigation. But these days I rarely file a complaint against police officers. It is not that I have become a police groupie. Rather, I've read the handwriting on the wall. In the past decade, there has been a silent coup d' etat. Our courts have transformed themselves into the guardians of a police state in a stunning, and largely unnoticed, act of judicial activism. Their primary tool was a tricky legal doctrine known as qualified...
October 16, 2010

Tweeting In The Courtroom? No Thanks

Twitter, for those of you who do not yet know this, is a social networking device that permits folks to send and receive brief, instantaneous messages of no more than 140 characters. You can send and receive messages from a computer, a cell phone or another electronic device, such as an Ipad. You can "tweet" anywhere an electronic signal is available, including a courtroom: the practice is known as "tweeting." Does Twitter belong in a courtroom?

Almost certainly not, I say. Reports from the trial of State v. Steven Hayes demonstrate why.

The invasion of the Petit home in...
October 14, 2010

Trust Is Hard To Come By

I stormed out of a federal settlement conference the other day uttering intemperate words. The government has seized the life savings of a hard working couple whose son was growing marijuana in their basement. The feds also want to seize the couple's home. There is no evidence to suggest the couple was complicit in their child's activity. None. The pot was in a remote corner of the basement behind a wall. You could live in that house for a decade and never go close to the location of the plants.
But that hasn't stopped the government from launching what in the law is known as in rem...
October 12, 2010

The Defenders: A High-Flying Near Miss

My wife and I are not television watchers. We're not elitists. We're just busy. Although our three kids have all fled the nest, we each have busy and demanding professional lives. Such spare time as we can muster, we devote to our border collies, gardening and reading. Our television viewing is limited to college football on Saturday afternoons in the fall. (Don't ask me about our team, the University of Michigan Wolverines, at least not this week.)
This lack of television viewing makes us culturally deprived. There is a whole world of allusions I just don't get. This becomes especially...
October 11, 2010

The Supreme Court Ghetto

October 10, 2010
Ron Nussle was beaten in prison one day by guards who retaliated against him when he threatened to alert a friend of his, then Gov. John Rowland,...

Murder, Prison And Apple Pie

October 10, 2010
Why is the murder rate in the United States higher than that of any of the other 29 high-income member nations of the Organization for Economic...

Is The Blawgosphere Passe?

October 10, 2010
History has an uncanny way of repeating itself, especially personal history. In high school, I tried and failed to find a group in which I was...

An Activist By Any Other Name: Chemerinsky's New Book

October 9, 2010
I've attended seminars at which Erwin Chemerinsky has spoken three or maybe four times. The first time, I was persuaded he was a genius. The second...

Going It Alone

October 7, 2010
I took a younger partner in a while back. He is a brilliant lawyer; a raw talent that requires only time and effort to be burnished into a gem. I...

Can John Kissel Read?

October 7, 2010
I wonder whether John Kissel’s lips move when he reads silently. Indeed, I wonder whether he reads at all. It certainly appears...

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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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