jailhouse lawyer


Definition of jailhouse lawyer

: a prison inmate self-taught in the law who tries to gain release through legal maneuvers or who advises fellow inmates on their legal problems

Examples of jailhouse lawyer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web She was sentenced to a longer term — eight years in prison — and became a jailhouse lawyer there, unofficially defending prisoners. Nicholas Casey, New York Times, "Does Florida Really Want Ex-Felons to Vote?," 16 Mar. 2020 Could the show have gotten away without the convolutions required to make Aaron an actual jailhouse lawyer, when Wright only got his degree and passed the bar after ending his incarceration? Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'For Life': TV Review," 11 Feb. 2020 Haynes became something of a jailhouse lawyer, drawing inspiration from those whose convictions were being overturned because their cases were connected to disgraced Chicago police Cmdr. Jeff Coen, chicagotribune.com, "After child witness recants two decades later, an Illinois man sues both the prosecutors and public defender involved in his murder trial," 31 Oct. 2019 Clarissa couldn’t afford another attorney, so Ben persuaded a fellow-inmate, a jailhouse lawyer, to help him write a petition for a new trial, which Ben filed in January, 2014. Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker, "How One Woman’s Fight to Save Her Family Helped Lead to a Mass Exoneration," 19 May 2018 By then, Martinez had become an accomplished jailhouse lawyer. Bruce Rubenstein, The Atlantic, "'I Don’t See Much Mercy in Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions'," 9 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jailhouse lawyer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jailhouse lawyer

1969, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of jailhouse lawyer was in 1969

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Cite this Entry

“Jailhouse lawyer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jailhouse%20lawyer. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for jailhouse lawyer

jailhouse lawyer


Legal Definition of jailhouse lawyer

: a prison inmate self-taught in the law who tries to gain release through legal maneuvers or who advises fellow inmates on their legal problems

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