Columnists / OP-ED

Kathy Flaherty

Commentary: Violent Actions of Mentally Ill People Aren't Predictable

By Kathleen Flaherty |

As the associate executive director of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, which provides legal services to adults with mental health conditions, and a member of the governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, I must respond to the May 4 guest commentary "When Rights of the Mentally Ill Affect Public Safety."

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Ignorance of Law Is Good Reason for CLE

By Norm Pattis |

I've never been a fan of arbitration and mediation. Loosey-goosey fact-finding is dangerous. The rules of evidence matter, and mastery of those rules best equips a lawyer to present reliable information.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Simplifying Divorce Is the Right Idea

By Mark Dubois |

Kudos to Beth Bozzuto, Connecticut's chief administrative judge for family matters, and the Judicial Branch for proposing a streamlined and fairly summary process for folks with limited assets and issues who wish to be divorced.

Patricia King

Patricia King: Mentors Can Help New Lawyers Avoid Ethical Lapses

By Patricia King |

The results of the February bar exam were just released, and another wave of young lawyers will be sworn in very soon. Unfortunately, the job market and student loan debt will force many of them into solo practice if they cannot find other employment.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: When Big Trials Turn Into Public Spectacles

By Norm Pattis |

I'm always amazed when I read press accounts of cases I have either tried, or am in the midst of trying: the reporter's gloss rarely reflects the complexity of the proceeding.

Commentary: False FBI Testimony Could Be Turning Point in Death Penalty Debate

By Duane Lueders |

On April 18, the Washington Post published an article headlined "FBI Admits Flaws in Hair Analysis over Decades."

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Attorneys Must Find New Ways to Monetize Services

By Mark Dubois |

I recently heard an interesting interview with Andrew Julien, editor of the Hartford Courant, and his colleague, digital editor Christine Taylor. The issue was how the reshaping of the media world was affecting the Courant, the nation's oldest continuously operating newspaper.

Monique Ferraro

Commentary: State Must Fix Flawed Process for Analyzing Digital Evidence

Every month or so we hear something about a crime lab or forensic examiner who compromised a case by lying, stealing, misrepresenting credentials or worse. And then there are cases when these experts just get it wrong.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Jenner Interview Does Little to Advance Transgender Rights

By Norm Pattis |

I missed Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer the other night, and, try as I might, I just can't seem to muster the will to go back and watch it. That the former Olympian regards himself as a woman is, no doubt, a highly significant struggle for him. But I am tone-deaf to its social significance.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Courts Impose Far Too Many Life Sentences

By Norm Pattis |

I wasn't under any illusions about what the sentence would be. My client was convicted of shooting a man in a drive-by shooting, killing him almost instantly. There were other charges pending, charges involving other shootings. The maximum sentence for murder was 60 years. We expected the full monty.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: New Media, Old Lawyers—And a Bad Biking Accident

By Mark Dubois |

I had the recent pleasure of doing an in-service training for a state agency. When my daughter learned that I would be speaking on social media, she emailed me (because I don't tweet, snap, vine or text) and asked what I knew about this stuff that qualified me to be giving such a talk.

Commentary: Boston Bomber's Body Language Won't Win Over Jury

By Duane Lueders |

As the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial enters the penalty phase, several interesting issues regarding the government's attempt to impose the death penalty, and Tsarnaev's apparent attempt to avoid it, are presented.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Faux Lawyers Succeed Without Attending Law School

By Mark Dubois |

I just saw where another lawyers was discovered never having gone to law school. Seems Kimberly Kitchens of the Pennsylvania bar kind of forgot to go to law school, but managed nevertheless to parlay her decade spent as a paralegal into a job with a Huntingdon firm where she made partner after 10 years of good work on estate and probate matters.

Ian McLachlan

Commentary: Former Conn. Justice Critical of Ex-Colleagues

By C. Ian McLachlan |

I disagree with the Connecticut Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Richard LaPointe's 1992 murder conviction, but my principal disagreement has to do with the manner in which the result was reached, as well as the tone.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: The Gradual Acceptance of the Virtual Law Office

By Mark Dubois |

A few years ago, the American Bar Association ethics solons convened something called Ethics 20/20, which followed Ethics 2000 as an attempt to examine the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and determine whether circumstances might dictate the need for changes to the existing lawyer ethics regime or new rules to respond to new technologies or business methods.

Michelle Cruz: Offenders Already Have Plenty of Second Chances

By Michelle Cruz |

Gov. Dannel Malloy recently announced a "Second Chance" initiative for criminal offenders. However, at first glance, it seems Malloy's goal is not really to reform criminals.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: TV's 'Saul' Illustrates Desperation of Small Firm Lawyer

By Norm Pattis |

Looking for a realistic portrayal of the practice of law in a small firm? Then you had better call Saul, as in Saul Goodman, the fictional creation of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, creators of the new AMC series "Better Call Saul."

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Firms Run Afoul of Law When Employing Paralegals

By Mark Dubois |

I have previously written about the independent contractor trap in the context of lawyers employing associates as independent contractors instead of employees and the problems they have when these folks leave and file for unemployment benefits.

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.