05 April 2006

Dear Mr. Jailhouse Lawyer

Yes, I know you have looked up everything in the jail's exhaustive legal library. However, the fact that they spelled your name McIntyre on the indictment instead of MacIntyre does not mean they cannot convict you. No, the judge won't throw the case out. Yes, the judge will let the prosecutor amend the indictment. Even if the judge did throw out the indictment - which, I repeat, he won't - the prosecutor would just re-indict you. You are already serving 12 months on another charge; you won't get out of jail before he gets you indicted again next month.

No, Virginia Code § 8.8A-304 has nothing to do with your case. I know you think it does. I know you've tried to explain to me at least 6 times why it's relevant. It's not. I know I've explained this to you at least 6 times. The Uniform Commercial Code has nothing to do with your charge of assaulting a police officer. I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. No, I won't be raising this issue during your trial. I know you'll try to explain to me why I should at least two or three more times, but I'm telling you right now I will not be relying on the UCC during your trial.

And, finally, if you are going to talk about me behind my back that's okay but please be just a little intelligent about it. At the very least, don't tell the deputy escorting you back to your cell that "that lawyer's stupid" while we are in the same hallway. I know I'm at one end of the hall (waiting for a door to open) and you are at the other end (waiting for a door to open) but you should know that tile floors and concrete walls tend to carry sound. I'm not really upset with your characterization - it's just another in a long list of things we disagree on. Still, when you do something like that it makes me nervous about how you might act during the trial and you probably don't want me distracted during your trial . . .

4 comments:

Michael D. Pratt said...

Ouch, a defendant wants to use the UCC to try and defeat a criminal charge. You need to remind him there was a reaon the Supreme Court in Gideon said everyone was entitled to a lawyer.

Back when I was a public defender and I encountered a jailhouse lawyer like that, I was sorely tempted to say to him (jailhouse lawyers were almost always male) that I would let him argue that point to the Judge himself. Then I thought better of it, no reason to get him into more trouble.

Chad said...

Goodness. I don't envy you guys on the other side. Not one bit. You have a difficult job.

The Stepfather of Soul said...

"No, I will not be relying on the UCC during your trial" ... I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

I was taught that "ignorance of the law is no excuse," but I think this wins a prize.

Anonymous said...

In Washington, the attempted UCC defense is sadly common. This group of folk are known as constitutionalists. One of their theories is that their names are protected from unauthorized use; they file claims for damages when lawyers or judges call them by name. A few insist on $500k for every use.