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

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, about abuse in the prisons. So he sued in federal court to recover money damages. He did so just after the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) was enacted. He never filed an internal complaint about his beating with prison officials. As a result his case was dismissed. His case landed us in the United States Supreme Court. It was an eye-opening experience for all sorts of reasons.
Perhaps the most surprising was the number of lawyers who...
October 10, 2010

Murder, Prison And Apple Pie

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 Cooperation and Development (OECD)? We have slightly more than 5 murders per 100,000 population; the next nation in the list is Finland with less than half our rate. Just behind Findlant is Israel, South Korea and Scotland. The place least likely to get you whacked? Iceland, followed closely by Japan, Austria, and, paradoxically, Finland's near neighbor, Norway.
Certainly the threat of prison and lengthy prison sentences do not serve as a...
October 10, 2010

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...

State v. Hayes: The Real Trial Now Begins

October 6, 2010
The only surprise in yesterday's verdict in the Steven Hayes case is that the jury managed to acquit the man of one of the seventeen charges pending...

Blue Collar Blues In A White Collar World

October 4, 2010
I have from time to time been invited to present at continuing education seminars. When the invitations arrive, I almost invariably regard them as a...

Misstep In New Haven?

October 3, 2010
Tommy Ullman has tried an almost perfect case. He's let the State stumble over its own evidentiary foundations. He opened his defense with admissions...

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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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