Tap Dancing At The Gates Of Hell

Hell froze over one day last year and two men skated to freedom, set free by a judge of the Superior Court, who found that they were convicted in error and were the victims of manifest injustice. Last week, the state’s lawyers appeared before the State Supreme Court and urged the court to send the men back to prison. The state looked like the Devil on ice skates, all movement, fuss and rage, but unable to keep its balance.
Superior Court Judge Stanley Fuger ordered Ronald Taylor and George Gould set free after a habeas corpus hearing. The court concluded that the men were...
February 10, 2011

Empty Robe Syndrome

It is not at all clear why President Barack Obama has abandoned the federal courts, but he has. One of nine judgeships is vacant. There are 17 vacancies on the federal appellate court, and 85 vacant district court seats. The president has not even nominated enough candidates to fill half of these positions. It is shameful neglect from a president who ought to know better than to ignore the courts. The president did graduate Harvard Law School, after all.
But perhaps that is the problem. I've only met a few Harvard Law graduates who condescended to appear in the nation's trial courts,...
February 9, 2011

Empty Robe Syndrome

It is not at all clear why President Barack Obama has abandoned the federal courts, but he has. One of nine judgeships is vacant. There are 17 vacancies on the federal appellate court, and 85 vacant district court seats. The president has not even nominated enough candidates to fill half of these positions. It is shameful neglect from a president who ought to know better than to ignore the courts. The president did graduate Harvard Law School, after all.
But perhaps that is the problem. I've only met a few Harvard Law graduates who condescended to appear in the nation's trial courts,...
February 9, 2011

Why Ban Komisarjevsky To The Cheap Seats?

Among the many things a lawyer learns is where to sit in a courtroom. In Connecticut, there is an unwritten custom that parties with the burden of proof sit closest to the jury. Hence, plaintiffs and the State get the premiere seats at trial, the ones closest to the jury. This custom is supported by no case law or court rule. It’s simply an unchallenged practice.
The one and only time I saw this rule challenged involved a good friend of mine, Jim Nugent. He waltzed right in to a courtroom, sat down next to the jury box, and waited for the fur to fly. It did soon enough. The...
February 8, 2011

Time To Revisit Ex Post Facto Clause For Sex Offenders

February 7, 2011
Scores of folks have sent me emails generated by a group called Citizens for Change, America. They want me to hear their cries for justice, and to...

Shaken Babies, Shaken Justice

February 6, 2011
One of the most terrifying cases I ever handled involved the state’s decision to seize a child upon birth and to place it in the care of...

Plea Bargaining At The Altar

February 5, 2011
"I am confused," a client told me a long, long time ago. "You are telling me I should take the deal, but you are also telling me you are prepared to...

Why Not Responsible Juries?

February 2, 2011
My sense of things is that most jurors struggle to do the right thing. They work at the decisions we ask them to make. They try to follow...

Why Not Responsible Juries?

February 2, 2011
My sense of things is that most jurors struggle to do the right thing. They work at the decisions we ask them to make. They try to follow...

Egypt and the State of Nature

February 2, 2011
I don't much like government, and pretend to love chaos. Watching news reports from Cairo forces me to admit hypocrisy. The fact is, I want chaos on...

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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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