Columnists / OP-ED

Gideon

Gideon: Reining In Rogue Prosecutors Should Not Be Taboo Topic

By Gideon |

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column outlining many instances of prosecutorial misconduct occurring over the previous few months, all of which seemingly went unpunished. I didn't propose any ideas to eliminate the problem but stated that it was the start of a discussion on a subject that is otherwise taboo in the legal profession.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: It's High Time To End the War on Drugs

By Norm Pattis |

What if just about everything we think we know about the war on drugs is wrong?

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: The Barely Authorized Practice of Law

By Mark Dubois |

Back in my days of trying cases and teaching others how to do it, we had a requirement that if we could not articulate the entire case in a single sentence that our non-lawyer spouses would understand, we were not ready to go to trial.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Federal Court Won't Be The Same Without Judge Burns

By Norm Pattis |

News that Senior U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns is retiring at the end of this month should not have surprised me, but it did. At 91, I suppose she's entitled to a breather.

Patricia King

Patricia King: Too Often, Lawyers Fail to Communicate With Clients

By Patricia King |

One of the discussions in my ethics class at Quinnipiac Law School involved asking the students to articulate how they would compete with the Internet once they were admitted to the bar and trying to make a living at the law. These are twenty-somethings, with a few thirty-somethings sprinkled in, who have grown up in the digital age. It was interesting to hear their responses, which boiled down to a list of all the advantages of a personal relationship with a lawyer over an impersonal transaction done via the Internet.

Dan Krisch

Dan Krisch: Attorneys Shouldn’t Hesitate To Represent Controversial Clients

By Dan Krisch |

Last week, the Law Tribune's editorial board demonized the attorneys who represented Cassandra C and her mother before the Connecticut Supreme Court—at one point describing the case of the teenager who wanted not to receive chemotherapy for her cancer as having "the distasteful aroma of lawyer-assisted suicide."

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Cassandra C's Lawyers Should Be Praised, Not Criticized

By Mark Dubois |

I think the Law Tribune Editorial Board got it exactly wrong when it took Cassandra C's lawyers Michael S. Taylor and James P. Sexton to task for taking to the Supreme Court the teenager's case in which she sought to be treated as if she were an adult and, thus, had the right to decline chemotherapy.

Commentary: Teen's Case Not About 'Lawyer-Assisted Suicide'

By Josh Michtom |

Cassandra C's case was, without a doubt, polarizing. On more than one occasion during the last few months, I have found myself in social settings or following discussions on Facebook where people staked out strong, contrary positions on whether a 17-year-old should be allowed to refuse lifesaving medical care.

Michelle Cruz: Judge Was Wrong to Order Grieving Mom Not to Cry

By Michelle Cruz |

It amazes me to no end that in 2015 crime victims and surviving family members still experience injustice. More than 30 years after President Ronald Reagan announced the first Victims' Rights Week, the criminal justice system is still slow to change and embrace the crime victim.

Commentary: Legislature Should Approve Aid-in-Dying Law

By Duane Lueders |

Another legislative session is upon us, and an aid-in-dying bill will once again be put forth.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: State Should Consider Drastic Reductions to Criminal Sentences

By Norm Pattis |

Gov. Dannel Malloy is calling for reform of some of the state's draconian sentencing laws, proposing that mere drug possession be a misdemeanor, and calling for the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses.

Patricia King: Lawyers Who Fail to Send Invoices Invite Grievances

By Patricia King |

Greetings from the private sector. Many of you knew me from the 11 years I spent in the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel. I became the head of the office in July 2013 and retired as of Feb. 1. I am now back to being just another lawyer, staffing the New Haven office of Geraghty & Bonnano.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Lawyers, Like Anglers, Must Find New Niche

By Mark Dubois |

As I write this, I am sitting in Provincetown. The sun has just come out after a hellacious 24-hour nor'easter, which dumped more snow here, where two inches is a huge storm, than I have often seen in Vermont, where they measure it in yards instead of inches.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: It's Not Jurors' Job to Hold Defendants Accountable

By Norm Pattis |

Now that we've abolished the death penalty in Connecticut, at least insofar as future cases are concerned, the fate of those currently on death row being much at issue, there is really no cause for jurors ever lawfully to consider the consequences of a guilty verdict.

Guest Commentary: Insurers Are Leaving Patients Priced Out

By Wayne Turner, The National Law Journal |

The Affordable Care Act was designed to prevent health insurers from discriminating against people based on health status, but a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine questions how effective those protections really are.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Podcast Confirms a Dismal Truth

By Norm Pattis |

Regulars in the criminal courts develop a certain cynicism. It's a survival instinct, really. We all know the system isn't perfect.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Someday a Robot Might Write Your Briefs

By Mark Dubois |

I read an interesting article the other day concerning a reporter's attempts to determine whether the person who had called him about some sort of a sales offer was a human or a computer.

Pattis-Norm

Corrected Information: Despite Accusations, Family Courts Aren't Corrupt

By Norm Pattis |

On the rare occasions on which I step into either the family courts or the juvenile courts of this state, I always feel like a stranger in a strange land. The procedures are different. The law is different. I meet different judges and different lawyers.

Gideon

Gideon: Boston Bombing Judge Tramples Fair Trial Rights

By Gideon |

In Boston, U.S. District Judge George O'Toole plows on, adamant in his belief that an impartial jury is possible to seat in the epicenter of the terrorist attack.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Despite Accusations, Family Courts Aren't Corrupt

By Norm Pattis |

On the rare occasions on which I step into either the family courts or the juvenile courts of this state, I always feel like a stranger in a strange land. The procedures are different. The law is different. I meet different judges and different lawyers.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Survey Reveals Mixed Feelings About Law Schools, Legal Profession

By Mark Dubois |

I came across a fascinating survey done by the Florida Bar the other day. That organization, like its counterpart in Connecticut, has a number of committees exploring such issues as the effects of technology on the practice, whether law schools need to be changed, and whether different approaches to bar admission and legal service delivery should be considered.

Commentary: Sandy Hook Lawsuits Raise Painful Questions About Adults Who Were Killed

By Michael P. McKeon |

Do some of the adult victims of the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School bear responsibility for the deaths of the children slain during the attack? That is the troubling contention of a lawsuit that was initiated by the estates of two children on the second anniversary of the attack that killed 26 people at the Newtown school.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: The Courts, Health Care and Individual Liberties

By Norm Pattis |

It is perhaps too much to assert that Hartford attorney Dan Klau plays a role roughly akin to conscience in my life, but he does try to correct the error of my ways. Thus, his emails recently tweaking me for writing in opposition to the Connecticut Supreme Court's ruling requiring Cassandra C. to undergo chemotherapy to treat her Hodgkin lymphoma.

Gideon

Gideon: We Need a Better Way to Define 'Reasonable Doubt'

By Gideon |

"Truth is a matter of semantics, whether we like it or not," writes Michael Robotham in his novel "Suspect." What he has done in that sentence, perhaps unknowingly, is describe in a nutshell the modern American criminal justice system.

Roger Reynolds

Commentary: Proposal Would Roll Back Important Environmental Protections

By Roger Reynolds |

I was dismayed to read the recent Connecticut Law Tribune editorial ("Lowering the Bar for Environmental Intervenors," Jan. 5) advocating for restricting due process and appeal rights of environmental intervenors. This is the latest salvo in a years long battle by a coalition of special interests to roll back environmental protections in Connecticut and is a bad idea.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: YouTube, Snapchat and the Murky Waters of Legal Advertising

By Mark Dubois |

Though I am very unlikely to do any of them, I now understand that to communicate with another you can email, tweet, retweet, subtweet, poke, chat, snap, vine, pin, post, YouTube and a host of other things that seemingly change daily.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Boston Bombing Leads to Deeper Thinking About Death Penalty

By Norm Pattis |

I've been reading the press reports about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's jury selection in Boston with a growing sense of ambivalence. Tsarnaev, you will recall, is the surviving suspect in the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Decline in Judicial Power Results in Renegade Juries

By Norm Pattis |

Power, Moises Naim tells us, is everywhere on the decline: whether in the realm of corporations, the effective military reach of the state, or religion—leaders don't have the unquestioned clout they once enjoyed.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie Hebdo

By Mark Dubois |

The shock waves from the killings at the Paris office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo continue. After the newspaper sold millions of copies of its first edition after the massacre, riots tore apart cities in francophone North Africa where the remnants of French colonialism continue to be felt.

Dan Krisch

Dan Krisch: Charlie Hebdo, Intolerance and the Case for Free Speech

By Dan Krisch |

Je suis Charlie—but too much of the world, I fear, is not. In the aftermath of the murders at the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, grief has given way to controversy over its two covers since the attack.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: The High Risk of Flat-Fee Billing

By Norm Pattis |

Those of us walking on the wild side of the law are bemused that large firms are turning to flat-fee billing in order to keep legal fees down. Small firms have survived with flat-fee billing for a long time. Few clients can afford to pay hourly fees. But can law firms afford to survive on flat fees?

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Nonlawyers Gain Bigger Foothold in Legal Job Market

By Mark Dubois |

Michael Bower, the Statewide Bar Counsel, has many duties. One of them is keeping charge of attorney registrations.

Gideon

Gideon: 'Serial' Podcast Misses Opportunity to Examine Justice System

By Gideon |

To say that our system of laws that regulates conduct between members of society is a complex entity is an understatement. While the principles underlying the passage of laws that prohibit criminal behavior and the description of behavior as criminal itself are fairly straightforward, there is almost nothing else beyond that which can be so classified.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Ike's Famous Words Foreshadowed Cybersecurity Scares

By Norm Pattis |

I've never really thought of Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, as a prophet. The former general, politician and university president seemed more of a technocrat, a dry-as-dust sort of fellow fit for the 1950s, but not much more. He was Ozzie and Harriet's president; not mine.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Number of Jury Trials May Be On the Rise

By Mark Dubois |

I had the opportunity to hear Chief U.S. District Judge Janet Hall give her annual "state of the district" report to the Connecticut Bar Association's Federal Practice Section the other day.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: More Police Miconduct Cases Should Go to Trial

By Norm Pattis |

Under current Fourth Amendment law, police are forgiven the use of such force if it was objectively reasonable for them to believe that they faced an imminent risk of harm. The trouble with most deadly force cases is that dead men can't talk.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Sony Hacking Case Should Open Eyes at Law Firms

By Mark Dubois |

Every time client information leaks, we now have to self-report to the Connecticut attorney general and will be expected to take remedial measures, such as credit monitoring, for years to come.