August 10, 2006
How Did You Know He Wasn't a Lawyer?
There was a lawyer licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania named Jeffrey A. Riddell who gave up his bar card and left the state. Along came another man, one Jeffrey P. Riddell, who began representing clients by apparently assuming the identity of Jeffrey A, or at least his credentials. This went on for a while until a local prosecutor became suspicious because Jeffrey P. sent a letter described as threatening and "goofy" in connection with a drug case involving his putative client; it's not clear how the letter distinguished the correspondence from other cases. A bit of investigating turned up Jeffrey P.'s criminal record and, even worse, lack of a law license. He is now in jail on an unauthorized practice of law charge. In an unsurprising turn, an AP story (here) notes that Jeffrey P. plans to represent himself. You know the old saying about the lawyer who represents himself, although he can now write as many goofy letters as he wants. (ph)
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