EXPERIENCED TRIAL ATTORNEY

Attorney Michael A. Fitzpatrick is one of Connecticut’s premier criminal defense and trial lawyers. He brings more than a quarter century of knowledge and experience to his statewide private practice which focuses on criminal defense and civil litigation in state and federal court.

During his esteemed career, Mike has successfully defended hundreds of clients on charges ranging from motor vehicle violations to capital felony to white collar crime. He is recognized for his unparalleled preparation and commitment to detail, keen legal mind, and exceptional courtroom skills. In 2014, the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (CCDLA) honored him with its prestigious Champion of Liberty award for his professional excellence and contributions to criminal justice.

While his cases are often in the media spotlight, Mike is steadfast in his devotion to all of his clients, whether they are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, or simply in need of sound legal advice.

Mike’s multi-faceted career is particularly noteworthy for his involvement in some of the state’s most notorious criminal cases. He represented serial killer Michael Ross in the precedent-setting appeal of his death sentences. He can also claim the rare professional achievement of obtaining complete jury trial acquittals for multiple clients in homicide cases, including death penalty cases.

His success in defending clients in serious, high-profile cases has also earned him the respect of law enforcement officers and fellow lawyers, many of whom have chosen Mike to be their legal advocate when they themselves are facing criminal charges or disciplinary proceedings.

Mike is also a seasoned appellate and post-conviction attorney. He has been retained by multiple clients to represent them in their efforts to overturn unjust verdicts. His passion for cases involving actual innocence and wrongful conviction gives him a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area habeas corpus. That interest was exemplified in 2013 when his expert witness testimony contributed to the reversal of the murder conviction of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel.

Mike also brings his substantial courtroom skills to select civil cases. He has successfully negotiated six-figure settlements and won substantial financial awards for clients injured through the negligence of others.

As a solo practitioner, Mike takes pride in handling each case personally. His clients retain him with the confidence of knowing that their interests and absolute right to justice has his complete attention.

Mike has testified on numerous occasions before the Connecticut General Assembly on proposed crime bills. He has also been a featured speaker on criminal law and procedure at numerous professional seminars.

FEATURED ON

MEMBERSHIPS

EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS

A graduate of Purdue University, Mike earned his law degree at the former University of Bridgeport School of Law (now the Quinnipiac University School of Law).

Mike is the former president of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (CCDLA).

A member of the Connecticut Bar Association, he is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is admitted to practice in Connecticut and also the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mike is also a sought-after legal expert whose commentary has been featured before national audiences on programs including HLN’s Nancy Grace, Inside Edition, the Fox News Channel, WTIC’s Face the State, John Gambling’s News Talk Radio, and WNPR’s The Colin McEnroe Show. He has been quoted in publications including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, New Haven Register, Connecticut Post, Stamford Advocate, Republican American, New London Day, Norwich Bulletin, Litchfield County Times and the Connecticut Law Tribune. He has been listed on multiple occasions in the annual Super Lawyers issue of Connecticut Magazine.

PRACTICE AREAS

CRIMINAL DEFENSE

Attorney Michael A. Fitzpatrick has established a statewide reputation for his aggressive and skilled defense of individuals accused of crime in state and federal court. A native of Torrington, he represents a diverse clientele that has ranged from doctors and fellow lawyers to business executives, municipal employees, organized crime figures and petty criminals. He has represented many police officers, as well as the families’ of judges.

His representation extends from counsel during police and grand jury investigations to plea negotiations, trial, sentencing and appeal. Mike also represents juveniles charged in juvenile and adult court.

Mike also represents individuals who seek to challenge their wrongful convictions in post-conviction proceedings, including habeas corpus petitions and petitions for new trial based on newly discovered evidence, including DNA and other scientific evidence. Mike’s post-conviction practice also includes motions for sentence reduction or modification, applications for relief from the sex offender registry, and pardon petitions.

Mike also has extensive experience representing attorneys in contempt and disciplinary proceedings and police officers in disciplinary hearings before police commissions.

Mike has considerable experience with the following defenses and claims:

  • Insanity
  • Extreme Emotional Disturbance
  • Lack of Intent
  • Intoxication
  • Self-Defense
  • Consent
  • Entrapment
  • Alibi
  • Mistaken Identity
  • False Confession
  • Bias
  • Flawed forensic science & evidence
  • Battered Woman Syndrome
  • Illegal Search & Seizure
  • Lack of Probable Cause
  • Reasonable Suspicion

STATE COURT EXPERIENCE

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  • Capital Felony
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Assault
  • Sexual Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Domestic Violence
  • Risk of Injury to a Minor
  • Robbery & Burglary
  • Larceny & Embezzlement
  • Arson
  • Corrupt Organizations and Racketeering Activity (CORA)
  • Illegal Gambling
  • Criminal Contempt
  • Conspiracy
  • Computer Crimes including Child Pornography
  • Drug Offenses including Sale & Possession
  • Unlicensed Firearms
  • Assault Weapons
  • Weapon in a Motor Vehicle
  • DUI
  • Vehicular Homicide
  • Motor Vehicle Violations

FEDERAL COURT EXPERIENCE

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  • Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VCAR).
  • Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations(RICO).
  • Conspiracy
  • Narcotics Trafficking
  • Prescription Drug Trafficking
  • Narcotics Manufacturing
  • Bank Fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Health-Care Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Currency Transactions
  • Public Corruption
  • Election Law Violations
  • Civil Rights Violations
  • Illegal Possession
  • Firearms Trafficking
  • Prohibited Purchases

CIVIL LITIGATION

Though select, Mike’s civil litigation practice is diverse. Mike has successfully represented plaintiffs in negligence and wrongful death actions against individuals and corporations stemming from automobile accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, train accidents and pedestrian accidents. He has successfully represented plaintiffs in actions against individuals, businesses and municipalities who have been seriously injured as a result of defective roads, defective sidewalks and defective premises. He has successfully represented plaintiffs who have been permanently harmed by defective products and by medical malpractice, including pharmacy malpractice.

Mike also has experience defending clients in civil actions, including unjust claims of sexual assault, sexual abuse and child molestation.

IN THE NEWS

Attorney Michael Fitzpatrick has served as a legal advocate in some of the state and region’s most notorious and high-profile criminal cases. While his cases are often in the headlines, his insight on legal issues is frequently sought by the media looking for perspective. Read about of his most noteworthy cases and legal commentary here.

Attorney Fitzpatrick in the News – Click Here
Mike, … I’m keeping myself out of trouble so hopefully I will never need to employ you again. A couple of years ago, I got custody of []. That’s pretty remarkable because there aren’t many people who go from being charged with felony endangerment of a child to custody of the child in 18 months…. I was in a position to do that … because of your help and hard work. I think about you often and am always very grateful for the help you gave me. I hope that you get some satisfaction out of helping [] and know that sometimes your contributions extend much farther than you ever see.
Mr. B, Apr. 17, 2015
You’re talking about two attorneys who are extremely knowledgeable, aggressive and intelligent…. You can probably count on two hands the number of lawyers who have the experience [Hubert Santos and Michael Fitzpatrick] have…. They’re certainly, in my estimation, the top three top lawyers in the state.
Attorney Richard Meehan, The Register Citizen (Jan. 7, 2014)
To Michael, Thank you for your great heart.
Sister Helen Prejean, Author Dead Man Walking (2005)

NOTABLE CASES

  • 2012, STATE V. GATHERS, Superior Court, New London

    2012, STATE V. GATHERS, Superior Court, New London

    The defendant was charged with murder and criminal use of a firearm on a claim that he shot and killed a man outside a Norwich rooming house. After a two-week trial, the jury was deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. Several months later, a plea bargain was reached and the defendant received a ten and a half year prison term on the reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter with a firearm.

  • 2002-1996, STATE V. DESPRES, Superior Court, New London

    2002-1996, STATE V. DESPRES, Superior Court, New London

    In this capital felony case which arose in East Lyme and inspired the book Lethal Guardian and a television movie, Mike represented Mark Despres, the alleged “hit man” hired by lawyers Haiman Long Clein and Beth Ann Carpenter to kill a purported child molester. During jury selection, Mike secured a favorable plea bargain, saving Mr. Despres from both the death penalty and life imprisonment.

  • 2003-1999, STATE V. FORTY, Superior Court, Hartford

    2003-1999, STATE V. FORTY, Superior Court, Hartford

    In this capital felony case which gripped Connecticut and the law enforcement community, Mike represented Nency Forty, an accomplice in the tragic killing of East Hartford Police Officer Brian Aselton. Mike established her diminished role in the crime, saving her from both the death penalty and life imprisonment.

  • 2004-1994, STATE V. ROSS, Connecticut Supreme Court

    2004-1994, STATE V. ROSS, Connecticut Supreme Court

    During his representation of convicted serial killer Michael Ross, Mike became the first defense attorney to brief and argue before the Connecticut Supreme Court the legal issue known as proportionately review. His work became a model for other lawyers working on death penalty cases in Connecticut.

  • 2005, STATE V. LEDBETTER, Connecticut Supreme Court

    2005, STATE V. LEDBETTER, Connecticut Supreme Court

    In this appeal before the Connecticut Supreme Court, Mike teamed with famed Attorney Barry Scheck and other members of the Innocence Project on an amicus brief that persuaded the Supreme Court to require trial judges to instruct future juries on the risks inherent in certain eyewitness identifications.

  • 2007-2000, UNITED STATES V. MILANO, ET AL., U.S. District Court

    2007-2000, UNITED STATES V. MILANO, ET AL., U.S. District Court

    In this post-conviction case which focused on the illicit relationship between Boster mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and corrupt FBI Agent John Connolly, Jr., Mike represented Frank Colantoni in an effort to overturn Mr. Colantoni’s conviction for participating in the killing of organized crime figure William “The Wild Guy” Grasso.

  • 2007-1998, MORANT V . WARDEN, Superior Court, New Haven

    2007-1998, MORANT V . WARDEN, Superior Court, New Haven

    In this highly publicized and controversial New Haven case, Mike litigated post-conviction petitions over a nine year period, seeking to overturn Stefon Morant’s double homicide conviction on the basis of an FBI report that suggested Mr. Morant was framed. Mike also developed evidence that showed the prosecution’s key witness was improperly influenced by a police officer. The evidence developed by Mike became the basis for the 2015 exoneration of Mr. Morant’s co-defendant Scott Lewis, who had been serving a 120-year sentence, and the subsequent reduction of Mr. Morant’s 70 year sentence to time served. See Lewis v. Commission, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, No. 14-193-pr (May 14, 2015).

  • 2015, UNITED STATES V. MORALES, U.S. District Court

    2015, UNITED STATES V. MORALES, U.S. District Court

    In a case that drew national attention, Elson Morales and two other Bridgeport police officers were accused of using unreasonable force in the apprehension of a fleeing suspect. The Government was prepared to indict Officer Morales on a ten-year felony. After several months of negotiation, Mike secured a plea bargain that more accurately reflected the defendant’s culpability—a plea to a misdemeanor civil rights violation and a three-month jail term.

  • 1998, STATE V. W*, Superior Court, Bridgeport    

    1998, STATE V. W*, Superior Court, Bridgeport    

    The defendant was charged with first-degree assault and faced up to twenty years in prison for the alleged near-fatal stabbing of her boyfriend in a Bridgeport apartment. At trial, the defendant testified that her boyfriend was beating her over the quality of her cooking and that she acted in self-defense. Mike supported her testimony by calling as a witness an expert on Battered Woman Syndrome. The jury found the defendant not guilty.

  • 1998, STATE V. SOLEK, Superior Court, Bridgeport

    1998, STATE V. SOLEK, Superior Court, Bridgeport

    The defendant was charged with capital felony, murder, felony murder, and first and second-degree sexual assault on the claim that he and another man raped and strangled a young, mentally impaired woman. The State announced its intention to seek the death penalty. The trial, which took approximately two weeks, centered on the defendant’s mental state and role in the crime and also the cause and moment of death. The jury deliberated for three days, finding the defendant not guilty of capital felony, felony murder and first-degree sexual assault, but guilty of murder and other offenses. As a result, the defendant was spared a penalty hearing and possible death sentence.

  • 2001, STATE V. J*, Superior Court, Bridgeport

    2001, STATE V. J*, Superior Court, Bridgeport

    The defendant was charged with capital felony, murder, kidnapping and other crimes on the claim that he participated in the abduction of the victim and that he subsequently shot and killed the victim with an assault weapon. The State announced its intention to seek the death penalty. At the two-week trial, Mike established that the prosecution’s key witnesses were biased and had falsely implicated the defendant. The jury deliberated less than three hours and found the defendant not guilty of all charges.

  • 2003, STATE V. D*, Superior Court, Stamford

    2003, STATE V. D*, Superior Court, Stamford

    The Defendant was charged with murder for allegedly shooting the victim following an argument in Norwalk. Mistaken identification was the focus of Mike’s defense strategy. After a six-day trial, the jury found the defendant not guilty in forty minutes.

  • 2004-2002, STATE V. DAVIS, Superior Court, New London

    2004-2002, STATE V. DAVIS, Superior Court, New London

    The defendant was charged with murder, attempted murder and three counts of first-degree assault on the claim that he shot and killed one man and injured three others in The Sportsman’s, a notorious Norwich bar. The trial took several weeks, with the prosecution calling more than fifty witnesses. After eight days of deliberations, the jury was deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. At the retrial in 2003, the jury was again deadlocked, this time deliberating for six days. In 2004, a third trial was held. After several days of deliberations, the jury found the defendant not guilty of murder and attempted murder, but guilty of first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and firearms possession.

  • 2007, STATE V. D*, Superior Court, New Britain

    2007, STATE V. D*, Superior Court, New Britain

    The defendant was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor on a claim that he molested his mentally impaired grandchild. After a two-week jury trial, where Mike established that the child’s memory was tainted, the defendant was found not guilty on five counts, with the jury deadlocked on the remaining four counts. Thereafter, a favorable plea bargain was reached.

  • 2007, STATE V. S*, Superior Court, Danbury

    2007, STATE V. S*, Superior Court, Danbury

    Following a fatal motor vehicle accident on I-84 in Danbury, the defendant was charged with first and second-degree manslaughter, evading responsibility and other offenses. Mike’s defense strategy included calling as a witness an accident reconstruction expert and presenting a computer simulation of the crash. After a three-week jury trial, the defendant was acquitted of nearly all charges, including the most serious ones.

  • 2008, STATE V. E*, Superior Court, Bridgeport

    2008, STATE V. E*, Superior Court, Bridgeport

    Alerted by a call from a concerned citizen, Fairfield police arrested the defendant and charged her with driving while intoxicated. No breath test was taken. At trial, Mike established that the prosecution’s evidence was equally consistent with distracted driving and that the police failed to properly administer the roadside sobriety test and to preserve important evidence. The jury found the defendant not guilty in one hour.

  • 2012, STATE V. JUSINO, Superior Court, Rockville

    2012, STATE V. JUSINO, Superior Court, Rockville

    The defendant was charged with capital felony on a claim that he bound, strangled and carved his nickname into his prison cellmate’s chest. The State announced its intention to seek the death penalty. The trial took several months, with the jury finding the defendant guilty of capital felony. In the penalty hearing, after Mike’s closing argument, the jury found the killing was not heinous, cruel or depraved and the defendant was spared a possible death sentence.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ATTORNEY FITZPATRICK’S REPORTED CASES





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