Thursday, September 16, 2010

Meehan: Respected Public Defender Takes Thrashing For Doing His Job

By Atty. Richard Meehan
Due Process Column

I read the early reports from the Hayes murder trial as the evidence began. Summoning immense personal strength, Dr. Petit took the stand and described the early horror that he and his family endured. It was the type of testimony that incites the passions of a jury. Any reasonable person listening to that would be filled with a mix of feelings, from revulsion for the perpetrators to sympathy and compassion for what this man and his family endured.

Public Defender, Thomas Ullman, wisely decided to ask no questions. When I taught trial practice at Quinnipiac Law School the first tenet of cross examination I passed on to my students was to only ask questions if there was something to gain. Like any competent trial attorney the best examination of this victim was none at all.

I have known Tom Ullman for many years. He is a dedicated and skilled trial attorney. Had he chosen to go into private practice he would have earned significantly more that what the state pays. He believes in the importance of providing even the most seemingly guilty person with a vigorous defense.

  • Complete Article

  • Rich Meehan is a senior partner in the law firm of Meehan, Meehan & Gavin, LLP, Bridgeport, Conn. For more information on Rich or his firm go to or, or e-mail Rich at

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