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USA v. Rowland: A Potemkin Prosecution

Somehow, the prospect of John Rowland's returning to a federal prison does not make me all warm, fuzzy and grateful to be living in this, the best of all possible worlds. Yet, you would think I would be thrilled. After all, wasn't the former governor's latest conviction a victory for transparency in government, for assuring that "we the people" are informed of who is doing what in our names?
That's the line federal prosecutors were chirping, both in closing arguments during trial and after the verdict. Listening to their gibberish made me fear for the republic. Dark money —funds...
September 28, 2014

Courts Succumb to Sexophrenia

A future historian might one day write the following of our time:
“Despite a generally permissive culture in which sexually suggestive photographs were used to advertise products ranging from toothpaste to cars, 21st century Americans nonetheless harbored draconian and puritanical laws involving sexual misconduct. It is almost as though they were afraid of the very desire they relied upon to entertain and to titillate themselves.”
We’re a little goofy about sex offenses, in my view, a sign of a state of mind I call “sexophrenia.” Here are several...
September 25, 2014

Would You Pay A Ransom?

There’s a cold logic in refusing to pay ransom to terrorists: Holding a firm line may well serve as a deterrent to further acts of terror. Destroy the pecuniary incentive for terrorists to kidnap folks, and, the theory goes, there will be fewer kidnappings. I wonder about that logic when it comes to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, (ISIS).
But when that logic results in the public beheading of a hostage, there’s good reason to rethink such a hardline. But for this policy, James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Cawthorne Haines might be alive today, and we might not be...
September 19, 2014

USA v. Rowland: Fiddling While The Country Crumbles

Editor's Note: John Rowland was convicted today after scarcely any deliberations at all.
Why don’t jurors get a pause button, or some other instrument, so that they can stop the government mid-sentence when a prosecutor says something so craven, so stupid, so misguided and even disingenuous as to warrant scorn? If such a device existed, it would have broken on Thursday, when the government gave its closing argument in the case of United States of America v. John G. Rowland.
Prosecutor Christopher Mattei was preaching to a packed house in the New Haven courtroom where Rowland...
September 19, 2014

Why Ban Opening Statements?

September 18, 2014
During the past year, I've been surprised by the number of times jurors have requested read backs of testimony they just heard only a few days...

I'll Bet You Are An Anarchist

September 13, 2014
Folks are sometimes surprised to see a black anarchist’s flag hanging in the corner of my law office. “Aren’t you a lawyer?,”...

Ray Rice Meets an Angry Mob

September 9, 2014
I have a confession to make: I enjoy watching college and professional football. It’s the only thing I watch on television with any...

Criminal Defense Lawyers Need To Apply

August 29, 2014
I will miss United States Magistrate Judge Holly Fitzsimmons. She’s retiring effective April 2015, reportedly to spend more time writing the...

The Fire Next Time?

August 27, 2014
Odds are you never heard about the killing of 20-year-old Dillon Taylor. He was shot to death in in Salt Lake City, Utah, just the other day. The man...

Put a Leash on Sunil Dutta

August 20, 2014
I couldn’t stop thinking about the allegory of the metals in Plato’s Republic as I read the op-ed piece in The Washington Post written...

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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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