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jailhouse attorney

slang An inmate of a prison or jail who is or has become knowledgeable enough about the law to provide legal advice or representation to themselves or others. I couldn't afford to hire a lawyer, and the state was too slow providing me with one, so I had to rely on a couple of jailhouse attorneys I met in the slammer to help me file my appeal. I really would recommend hiring a real lawyer. You shouldn't be basing your case on what some jailhouse attorney is telling you.
See also: attorney, jailhouse

jailhouse lawyer

Someone who has not formally studied law but knows enough about it to be able to help others with legal issues (as a prison inmate experienced in dealing with the law might). Despite the name, this phrase can be used in settings other than jail or prison. Talk to Sal before your court appearance—he's a real jailhouse lawyer.
See also: jailhouse, lawyer
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

jailhouse lawyer

A non-attorney who dispenses legal advice. Properly speaking, a jailhouse lawyer is a prison inmate who, although not a law school graduate (much less a member of the bar), has the requisite skill to assist other prisoners with such legal matters as preparing and filing appeals, writs, and pardon requests. Much of such knowledge came from personal experience. The phrase also applies to any layman, behind bars or not, who offers legal advice, solicited or not.
See also: jailhouse, lawyer
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
In addition to harming the innocent, lying jailhouse witnesses hurt crime victims.
From his suburban home south of Houston, Arledge said the state should end the use of jailhouse informants.
In a full-page jailhouse letter written in longhand, Fields said she was angry at family members and "had so much rage going through my head" when she walked over to Robison's house with a shovel in her hand.
Federal law even has a special provision for jailhouse snitches.
Justice ministers were warned about staffing concerns at an open prison just weeks before rampaging inmates torched buildings in a New Year jailhouse riot.
"In fact he was having so much fun at the Badger of the Year competition that he burst into song and gave us his full singing and dancing rendition of Jailhouse Rock - it was amazing.
"When we are dancing we tend to forget why we were here in the first place," 19-year-old Torrecampo, the flamboyant lead dancer of the jailhouse troupe, told AFP after a recent courtyard performance.
"High-stakes testing and the pressure placed by tests creates the incentives to push out low-performing students, and zero tolerance is the way to do that," says Jim Freeman, staff attorney and director of Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track initiative with the Advancement Project.
SCENE: Police car outside Sheen's retreat DRAMATIC: Brooke made emergency call CLOSE UP: Sheen in mugshot SHAMED: Jailhouse notice tells of star's arrest
But viewers will have to wait until August to see whether the stunner's jailhouse rock got the thumbs-up from Cowell and fellow judges Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh.
A US inmate awaiting trial on a murder charge in Arkansas is suing the county, complaining he has lost more than seven stone because of the jailhouse menu.
Hit songs included Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley, the Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite had just been launched at pounds 455, Queen Elizabeth II had reigned for six years and Prince Charles was nine years old.
A DRUG dealer came prepared for some jailhouse rock as he faced the music in court yesterday.
The audience will be treated to a variety of hits, including Johnny B Goode, La Bamba, Jailhouse Rock and Summertime Blues.