jailhouse lawyer


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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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
There are things unique to post-conviction appeals that make the jailhouse lawyer an unsuitable solution to a petitioner's lack of legal counsel.
"Prison litigation is expensive and difficult, so relatively few lawyers are willing to represent prisoners who claim to have been abused or mistreated," says Rachel Meeropol, the primary author of The Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook.
The Record can reveal that the whining jailhouse lawyer has already successfully claimed PS805,000 in legal aid and forced Scotland's information commissioner to shell out another PS42,000.
The notorious "jailhouse lawyer" made a string of allegations in a prison magazine article about the death of pervert Neil McNeil.
Imprisoned journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal profiles the work of the jailhouse lawyer in the United States, offering a perspective of the law written from the bottom, in recognition that beyond the black and white of the law books and the statutes, "the law ain't nothing but whatta judge say the law is." In spite of that observation, made by Abu Jamal to an outside lawyer working with him on a civil action, he documents some successes by jailhouse lawyers in working on their own and others' cases while simultaneously presenting a critique of the way the American judicial system works against the less powerful in American society.
In 1998, the state Supreme Judicial Court rejected a laundry list of this jailhouse lawyer's arguments - his statements to police were involuntary, the judge instructed the jury on self-defense over his objections, and even the verdict slip was improperly filled out.
outside his quarters all night like a jailhouse lawyer,
The reliance of many prisoners on the assistance of a "jailhouse lawyer" (79) shows that the majority's concerns about a slippery slope leading to mandating the appointment of counsel to guarantee meaningful access were exaggerated.
And the notorious "jailhouse lawyer" could have to sell his house to pay his debt.
Beggs - who was jailed for the murder of teenager Barry Wallace - has gained a reputation as a jailhouse lawyer by advising his fellow cons at Peterhead.
Bosses at Glenochil prison told the jailhouse lawyer that his papers, amassed during constant legal fights with the authorities, were a fire risk.
Beggs, who fancies himself as a jailhouse lawyer, dumped the limbs and torso in Loch Lomond and the head in the sea at Troon.
Jailhouse lawyer Beggs had complained about the media coverage of his trial, the conduct of the prosecutor and an abuse of his human rights.
Then he became a jailhouse lawyer dishing out advice to fellow cons on their appeals.
Beggs is appealing against his conviction for murdering Barry Wallace and has earned a reputation as a "jailhouse lawyer".