Courtroom capers

It’s said that the person who represents themselves in place of a lawyer has a fool for a client. But anyone who hired Orlando, Florida, resident Michael Nelson to represent them didn’t have a lawyer at all. During the day, wannabe lawyer Nelson duped the families of people in jail on drug charges by calling them and convincing them that he could reduce their loved ones’ jail time. He made hundreds of thousands of dollars, had a plush office, showy car, official letterhead, partners and a convincing sales pitch. Then at night, he returned to the halfway house to serve a five-year sentence for bank fraud. He had never passed the bar, and was found out in November 2003.
In contrast was the unusual strategy of a Chicago resident charged with trafficking, who prepared for court by copyrighting his name. The man charged the trial judge $500,000 for copyright infringement every time the judge uttered his name, racking up an invoice of $151 million.

In reward for his audaciousness, the fellow received a ridiculously disproportionate 22-year sentence, which he attempted to appeal on grounds of insanity, claiming his copyright strategy as partial proof of his mental instability.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the claim in May 2003. Perhaps he should have appealed on the grounds that the judge was insane ? driven off his rocker by copyright violations!