State v. Lapointe: Boutique "Justice"?

The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Richard Lapointe's 1992 murder conviction has me rethinking the Stations of the Cross. I'm not referring to Jesus' journey on the day he was crucified. I'm thinking of the more mundane trail of tears the families of those convicted of crimes walk.
Before Lapointe, it went something like this:
"I'm sorry to hear your husband/son/lover was convicted at trial. It will be very hard to undo that, if it can be undone at all.
"First, you can take a direct appeal. All of the words spoken at trial and the various pieces of paper, whether...
April 11, 2015

A Question of Competency

Criminal defense lawyers console themselves about the self-destructive course some clients take by saying such things as: “You can lead a client to the courthouse, but you can’t make him think.” Courthouses are dark places; a courtroom rarely brings out the best in people.
Consider the case of Dr. Lishan Wang. He stands accused in New Haven of the murder of Dr. Vajinder Toor in Branford in 2010. The two men worked together in Brooklyn until Wang was fired in 2008. Suspicions abound that the shooting was in retaliation for some workplace grudge.
By all accounts,...
April 10, 2015

USA v. Tsarnaev: We're All On Trial Now

Now that the show trial is over, the real trial begins.
Now the United States of America will seek to convince a jury of 12 that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston Marathonbombers, must, in the name of justice, be killed. This next trial, the penalty phase, is the real drama. Will we look deeply into what made this young emigre into a killer, or will we simply lash out in anger and rage to kill him?
A capital proceeding is a two-step trial. In the first phase, the guilt phase, jurors decide whether a defendant has committed a death-eligible offense. Tsarnaev was found guilty...
April 9, 2015

Why We Need Civilian Police Accountability Boards

Do black lives matter? Do cops’s lives matter? The answer to both questions is obvious: yes. That’s what makes the arrest of a fifteen year-old-girl in New Haven not long ago such a combustible topic. The sparks still flying after the arrest are proof that we need civilian police accountability boards.
The arrest was captured on YouTube. The officer forced a young black woman against the back of an SUV, and then used a leg-sweep to force her to the ground. She landed face- and shoulder-first on a curb covered with snow. It’s an ugly video, and the picture of the young...
April 1, 2015

Better Call Saul? Almost, But Not Quite

March 31, 2015
Looking for a realistic portrayal of the practice of law in a small firm? Then you had better call Saul, as in Saul Goodman, the fictional creation...

Of Rats, Sinners and Trial Lawyers

March 26, 2015
I just lost a tough case and, as in any loss, I am bitter about it. My client faces 60 years for the shooting of a rival gang member in...

Straight Talk About War on Drugs

March 25, 2015
What if just about everything we think we know about the war on drugs is wrong?
Start, for example, with the oft-repeated proposition that the...

The Judas Iscariot Sentencing Argument

March 23, 2015
Only rarely have I been able to use the Judas Iscariot sentencing argument. I did so today. My client was found guilty of murder, and faces a maximum...

Call Me Lazarus

March 23, 2015
I came home after dark last night to a report from my wife that our emu had died. She spotted him lifeless in the back of an outbuilding in which he...

Using Liars to Find the Truth?

March 22, 2015
Trial, some say, is a search for the truth. That’s specious tomfoolery. In fact, trial, at least a criminal trial, is guerilla warfare. Some of...

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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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