The Eric Garner Homicide -- A Crime? No

Eric Garner paid with his life for making a simple mistake: He played street lawyer when officers tried to arrest him. The time and place to dispute facts with a cop is not on the street. It is in a courtroom. Resist an officer trying to arrest you, and you may well end up injured, or even dead.
Store owners on Staten Island had complained to local police that Garner was selling individual cigarettes, known as loosies, in front of their shops. Apparently, that’s against the law. It may well be a silly law, but it is a law that is on the books.
Daniel Pantaleo, a young police...
December 5, 2014

The Origin of the Species

I’m a little too old for a mid-life crisis, but not too old, I hope, to admit that I’ve been wandering far too long in the dark wood of error. So let me cut to the chase: Individualism is dead; we are social creatures.
The rhetoric of individualism has sustained me for decades. It all started, I suspect, with a collegiate encounter with John Locke and his Two Treatises of Government. The notion that society, and government, are products of a social contract struck me like a thunderbolt, electrifying me for decades.
Why did it take a lifetime to realize that the notion...
December 5, 2014

Obama's Disappointing Response to Ferguson

It will take more than the Band-Aid President Barack Obama offers to staunch the bleeding wound caused by the police violence in Ferguson, Mo. The fact of the matter is the events in Ferguson reflect a broader crisis in legitimacy, a crisis brought about in large part by the federal courts.
Reacting to outrage over the shooting of Michael Brown, and to the heavy-handed reaction of the Ferguson police department in response to protests, the president wants better guidelines on the recycling of retired military equipment to local police departments. He also proposes federal funding to...
December 2, 2014

The Market in Human Souls

I sometimes wonder whether the truth really matters at all, especially in criminal courtrooms, where we play at the solemn work of justice while wearing blinders. Consider, for the moment, the case of State v. Dr. Lishan Wang, now percolating in the New Haven Superior Court. In what parallel universe do you offer a 48-year-old man a sentence of 40 years in prison and call it a bargain?
Dr. Wang, a medical doctor, stands accused of murder for gunning down another physician, Dr. Vajinder Toor, in Branford, in 2010. On the state’s theory of the case, the shooting apparently had...
November 30, 2014

The Other Victim in Ferguson

November 19, 2014
There’s little doubt in my mind that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, will not indict Darren Wilson and charge him with murder. And there...

King v. Burwell: A Ridiculous Attack on Obamacare

November 15, 2014
The Roman orator Cicero defined a commonwealth, or a republic, as a group of people drawn together by common interests and a common conception of...

Why Law Is Not Medicine

November 6, 2014
From time to time, a young person turns up at my office door looking for career advice. They are considering a career in the law. What, they ask,...

Tommy the Tax Dodger Unfit for Office

October 29, 2014
If I had Tom Foley’s tax accountant, there is one thing I most assuredly would not do: I would not run for public office pretending I had any...

Whose Best Interest Served in Child Custody Cases?

October 26, 2014
There are secret courts operating in our midst, and I am not referring to those tribunals whose focus is national security. I’m talking about...

A "Special Agent" Files Suit

October 22, 2014
I'm not a fan of the Justice Department, so I ought to be rooting for Kurt Siuzdak, a 17-year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who has...

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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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