jailhouse lawyer

noun

: 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 But, on his own time, Sadik had channelled his inner Uncle E. and evolved into a jailhouse lawyer whose mastery of felony murder surpassed that of many professional defense attorneys. Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker, 11 Dec. 2023 Angola has produced some formidable jailhouse lawyers, but Jackson was unlike any of them. Anat Rubin, ProPublica, 4 Nov. 2023 The jailhouse lawyers set about alerting the prisoners who had petitioned the 5th Circuit during the relevant years. Anat Rubin, ProPublica, 4 Nov. 2023 His options exhausted, Mr. Phillips became a model prisoner and a jailhouse lawyer. Robert D. McFadden, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Sep. 2023 While incarcerated at Rikers Island, Kelly Harnett had already heard that Smart was an effective jailhouse lawyer. Miles Cohen, ABC News, 13 Feb. 2023 Everyone knew Cement Head: Cement Head the jailhouse lawyer, Cement Head of the bushy white Hulk Hogan biker mustache. STAT, 14 Apr. 2021 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, 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, 11 Feb. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jailhouse lawyer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1969, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of jailhouse lawyer was in 1969

Dictionary Entries Near jailhouse lawyer

Cite this Entry

“Jailhouse lawyer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jailhouse%20lawyer. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Legal Definition

jailhouse lawyer

noun
: 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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