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Will Zimmerman Be Prosecuted By The Feds?

Six women -- five white, and one Hispanic -- acquitted George Zimmerman Saturday night for the killing of Trayvon Martin. The jurors rejected both a charge of murder, which, under Florida law, required showing of hatred or animus, and manslaughter, which required a lesser showing of a lack of justification for the shooting death. They set Zimmerman free late Saturday night in a verdict that stunned many who suspected that this crime reflected less the exigencies of self-defense than it did the raw edges of the new American frontier between white, or near-white, privilege, and the black...
July 13, 2013

FISA and Kangaroo Courts

Forgive me if I think of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as little more than an obscene joke. But what else are we to think of a court that permits only the government to appear to plead its case? That works in secret? That has never had a decision of its reviewed in any meaningful way by the United States Supreme Court? That almost never says “no” to the government?
The court looks less like an adjudicative body dedicated to the protection of the rights of ordinary citizens, than it does a checkout counter for the intelligence community, with federal judges...
July 11, 2013

The Joy of Zinn

History, it is often observed, is written by the winners. Losers die, are marginalized, are forgotten. History, then, is often a partial truth. It is the thief ignoring the cries of the dispossessed, and finding solace in various themes of necessity, such as Manifest Destiny, the White Man’s burden, God’s will, civilization -- pick your trope.
History, our story, is less the triumphal conquest of the inevitable, whatever that may be, than it is the result of raw struggle. We forget that at our peril, becoming blind, even numb, to the prospect for change in our time.
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July 7, 2013

Demystifying the DSM 5

Lawyers and judges mean well, at least most of the time. At least I think we do. But although courtrooms are theaters at which life-defining dramas are conducted, the law is blind to life's larger purposes. To explain things, we turn often to experts. To explain the twists and turns that lead some folks to ruin, we call upon psychiatrists. What if it turns out the shrinks don't know much more than we do?
I read Joel Paris's, The Intelligent Clinician's Guide to the DSM 5, with a sense of desperation. A new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Good, I thought. Surely, I can turn there to get...
July 6, 2013

Supreme Court Ambulance Chasing

July 5, 2013
Each year, the Supreme Court ends its term with the crash and bang of major new decisions. By tradition, the court seems to save its most...

The Dark Side of Justice: Plea Bargaining

June 27, 2013
“You are confusing me,” he said. “You’re telling me I should really consider the state’s offer, and that you are ready...

The Joy (and Neccesity) of Anarchism

June 23, 2013
“[T]he great emancipatory gains for human freedom have not been the result of orderly, institutional procedures but of...

A Killer of a Witness

June 22, 2013
I’ve a serious case of cross-examination envy as I read about the trial of United States v. James “Whitey” Bulger, now pending...

Paying for Travis's Rampage

June 19, 2013
No good deed goes unpunished. Ask Charla Nash. When she helped her friend and employer, Sandra Herold, try to recapture Herold’s pet, Travis,...

A Brilliant Snapshot of a Nation in Despair

June 16, 2013
There is so much to like about Chris Hedges's and Joe Sacco's, Days of Destruction Days of Revolt (Nation Books, New York, 2012), I hardly know where...

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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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