Columnists / OP-ED

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Finding Trouble While Fighting Courtroom Boredom

By Norm Pattis |

It's been about 20 years since I was last locked up against my will. The other day, I thought I saw a cell in my future. My offense? Reading a newspaper in a courtroom. Oh, my.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Judge's Research Reveals Era When Courts Relied on 'Word of God'

By Mark Dubois |

Superior Court Judge Jon C. Blue has just published a gem of a book summarizing and commenting on cases before the General Court of the New Haven Colony from 1639-63.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: A Stunning Settlement in New York Chokehold Case

By Norm Pattis |

Toward the end of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," the politically correct Atticus Finch—you know, the fellow who emerged after the more nuanced Atticus was rejected by publishers—utters the following to his children, Jem and Scout: "Don't fool yourselves—it's all adding up and one of these days we're going to pay the bill for it. I hope it's not in you children's time."

Patricia King

Patricia King: How Lawyers Can Survive a Random Audit

By Patricia King |

It seems like a pretty good day until the mail arrives. You get a letter from First Assistant Bar Counsel Frances Mickelson-Dera on behalf of the Statewide Grievance Committee, and you might think it's the beginning of your worst nightmare. You've been selected for a random audit.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Judge Shouldn't Be Blamed for Baby's Death

By Mark Dubois |

Barry Pinkus is a good man and a good judge. It is beyond sad that he finds himself in the crosshairs of public opinion over the unfortunate death of the baby recently thrown from the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown. He did nothing wrong.

Michelle Cruz: Judge Asked Wrong Questions to Baby's Abused Mother

By Michelle Cruz |

Obtaining a restraining order is not easy for a victim of abuse. Many times it takes weeks, months or even years for the victim to muster the courage and strength to ask the courts to protect her from an abusive partner.

William Clendenen

Commentary: Criticism of Judge Who Denied Restraining Order Based on Misunderstanding of Law

By William H. Clendenen |

The recent death of Aaden Moreno is a horrific tragedy. The circumstances that would drive a father to kill his child are unimaginable. However, the criticism leveled against Superior Court Judge Barry Pinkus by some because of what they perceive to be his failure in issuing a restraining order against Tony Moreno from seeing his child are unjustified.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Peering Into the Abyss With a Fictional Judge

By Norm Pattis |

By the time you read this, I will have packed up after a summer's month on Cape Cod, where my wife and I hid away with boxes of books, our dogs and walking shoes. What will I recall best about this break?

Paul Knierim

Commentary: Legislature Forces Probate Courts to Dramatically Increase Fees

By Paul J. Knierim |

When the new fiscal year began on July 1, Connecticut's method of financing the operating costs of the probate courts changed dramatically—and for the worse.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Court's Abrupt Ruling Another Twist in Long-Delayed Case

By Norm Pattis |

On a couple of occasions in recent years, I wrote here about a case of mine seemingly lost in the bowels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. It involves a claim by a former police officer that she was retaliated against in violation of her First Amendment rights.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Job-Changing Attorneys Can't Grab Files on the Way Out

By Mark Dubois |

Virginia just joined Florida by adopting a rule that makes it an ethical violation for lawyers to grab firm files on their way out the door. Maybe we should do the same thing. It would save a lot of time and effort for everyone involved.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Attorney Sues for OT, Says Document Review Work is Clerical

By Mark Dubois |

The case of Lola v. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom made it to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit the other day, and should make for some interesting reading, though I doubt it will change the law any.

Commentary: Courts Should Publicize Pot Conviction Erasures

By Duane Luede |

The Law Tribune recently published a news item titled "Pot Users in No Rush to Clear Names." It was a follow-up to a story published a couple of months earlier in which the state Supreme Court, in State v. Menditto, ruled that a person previously convicted of possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana was entitled to have that conviction erased on presentation of the appropriate petition and supporting evidence.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Delayed Case Is Like Something Out of a Novel

By Norm Pattis |

Were Charles Dickens alive, he might choose the case of Ricciuti v. Gyzenis as the topic of a latter-day "Bleak House."

Mark Sommaruga

Commentary: 'Deflategate' Offers Legal Lessons for NFL and Employment Lawyers

By Mark J. Sommaruga |

To begin with, full disclosure: I am a lifelong New England Patriots fan (and season ticket holder). However, as an attorney I am trained to be objective. The aftermath of the "Deflategate" investigation should be of interest to both sports fans and employers, and represents a cautionary tale for both a popular sports league and the workplace in general.

Noah J. Kores

Commentary: Ban on Depositions in Criminal Cases Unfair to Defense

By Noah Kores |

The rules of criminal procedure are unfair, dare I say unconstitutional, in Connecticut.

Dan Krisch

Dan Krisch: 'Serial' Shines Uncomfortably Bright Light on Justice System

By Daniel Krisch |

I am hesitant to "Serial"-ize our court system. Last week, my wife Sophia, brother-in-law Vlad and I joined a couple thousand other avid fans at the Bushnell for a Q&A with Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, the host (Koenig) and producer (Snyder) of the wildly popular, addictively engrossing "Serial" podcast.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Reckless Email Is Not True Threat Against Judge

By Norm Pattis |

Remind me next time I get a little ticked off about something a judge has done not to send an email to would-be supporters describing how one might sit outside the jurist's home, concealed, and fire a shot into a bedroom.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: The New World of Outside Investment in Law Firms

By Mark Dubois |

Our prohibition on using equity to raise capital for law firms is premised on the notion that lawyers in thrall of stockholders will be likely to do things and take chances that may disadvantage their clients. I don't buy it.

Editorial: Conn. Should Hire 'Court Navigators' to Help Pro Ses

In his recent annual report on the New York state judiciary, titled "Access to Justice: Making the Ideal a Reality," Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman called on the New York State Legislature "to pass a joint resolution that makes it unmistakably clear as a matter of policy and principle that low-income New Yorkers facing legal matters concerning the necessities of life are entitled to effective legal assistance in civil proceedings."

Gideon

Gideon: Legislative Pouting Disrupts Important Drug Law Debates

By Gideon |

In the last month, I have been interviewed by two high school classes. One was at a predominantly white, suburban prep school and the other at a predominantly minority urban high school. At both places, the students weren't interested in how to write a pseudonymous column for a local legal newspaper, but instead they wanted to know what it was like to be a public defender.

Norm Pattis: Judges Should Let Excessive-Force Claims Go Forward

By Norm Pattis |

Hard cases, the maxim goes, make bad law. So it is hardly surprising that the Connecticut General Assembly is poised to weigh in on the use of deadly force by police officers with a sloppy piece of legislation. I wonder, really, whether new laws are necessary. And if they are, I harbor doubts about the bill unanimously passed by the Senate.

Gideon

Gideon: Pouting, Posturing Disrupts Important Drug Law Debates

In the last month, I have been interviewed by two high school classes. One was at a predominantly white, suburban prep school and the other at a predominantly minority urban high school. At both places, the students weren't interested in how to write a pseudonymous column for a local legal newspaper, but instead wanted to know what it was like to be a public defender.

Dubois-Mark

Mark Dubois: Another Lawyer Engages In Crime of Opportunity

By Mark Dubois |

The rules should be amended to require all lawyers' fiduciary accounts to be registered with the Statewide Grievance Committee. Probate judges should start demanding bonds from fiduciaries and routinely auditing accounts under their supervision.

Pattis-Norm

Norm Pattis: Voir Dire Secrecy Is Indefensible, in Any Form

By Norm Pattis |

I cannot help but wonder whether the public trial rights of criminal defendants are routinely violated in Connecticut when judges conduct sensitive voir dire by means of the dreaded sidebar. Consider the implications of United States v. Gupta, a 2011 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit case.

Patricia King

Patricia King: Many Lawyers Have Trouble Managing Money

By Patricia King |

We've all become well acquainted with "income inequality," a trendy term that describes the gaping disparity between the large percentage of the national wealth that is held by a small percentage of upper-income Americans and the paltry percentage that dribbles down to the middle and lower classes. But have you heard about income inequality's cousin: income volatility?

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.