Welcoming Home A Killer

It’s hard to understand why some folks are outraged by the decision of the Connecticut Board of Pardon and Parole to grant clemency to Bonnie Jean Foreshaw. It’s not as though she was given a mere slap on the wrist after her conviction for the shooting death of a pregnant woman. Ms. Foreshaw has been behind bars more than 27 years for the killing. In November, she will walk out the door a free woman, having served far less than the 45 years to which she was sentenced.

For once, I see hope, and I am filled with wonder.

Ms. Foreshaw killed a...
October 17, 2013

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Sovereign Scorned

Who killed EugenioVega DeLeon? He was shot dead in his store on Grand Avenue in New Haven on July 4, 1993. One eyewitness claimed to have seen two men leave the store right after the shooting. She testified at a trial in 1995. Then she recanted her testimony at another trial in 2009. She then pleaded the Fifth Amendment rather than testify at a third trial in 2012. Recently, after being granted immunity by the state, she once again testified that she did not know who shot Mr. DeLeon, and that she did not see the two men at all.

So why is George Gould sitting in prison? And why is...
October 17, 2013

Juries and Plea Bargains

Should juries know about plea bargains rejected by those accused of crimes? We currently shield jurors from such knowledge. In most jurisdictions, jurors don’t even have a role in determining the sentence to be imposed if they find a person guilty. That’s the judge’s job, we say. This scrambled process yields something less than justice, and something far less than accountability, it yields an unregulated market in human souls.
Plea bargaining is the dark art of the criminal law. It takes place in secret. In the state system, there are private meetings between...
October 4, 2013

The Secret Games the Government Plays

We call trials a search for the truth, but the fact remains that what juries see at trial is often only the tip of the iceberg. Just beneath the surface, a massive and sometimes ugly reality supports the public display of testimony presented in open court. This is especially so in criminal cases, where something less than the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is not just tolerated, but expected, even condoned.
The law not only tolerates this, the law encourages deception, by granting privileges, immunities and secrecy to the very government we naively believe to operate in the...
September 25, 2013

Best Interest of the Children?

September 20, 2013
Against my better judgment, I’ve once again wandered into the family courts in yet another post-judgment war about who gets to raise a...

Prosecuting Cops and States of Mind

September 19, 2013
First a note of warning: This is a column that will make you happy never to have attended law school, and it might very well make your head hurt, an...

The Case To Bomb Syria Has Not Been Made

September 12, 2013
Reason is, and always has been, and shall forever remain, the slave of the passions. And no passion inflames the heart quite like sympathy. We love...

SPDs: Beware the New Con Job

September 6, 2013
I don’t recall how many years ago it was that I pulled the plug on my participation on the federal Criminal Justice Act panel, but I do recall...

When The Police Come Knocking ...

September 5, 2013
There must be few things more embarrassing than a policeman’s knock on the door during a domestic dispute. It’s bad enough that...

Time To Close A Few Law Schools?

August 28, 2013
We’re awash in lawyers. There are roughly 40 of them for every 10,000 people in the United States. Connecticut ranks third among the states with...

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Press Videos


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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