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Old 10-20-2017, 10:29 AM
yourself yourself is offline

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Next friend parents may work for some children caught in the juvenile system, or mentally disabled caught in the criminal courts or mental health courts, but it won't work without a finding of disability. Such disability would make it impossible for the defendant to go pro se and have that pro se motion taken seriously.

So, a person charged with a crime who has a guardian/custodian (legal guardian or custodian, meaning under long term disability due to mental condition) may act on behalf of the ward - deciding whether to take a plea or not (though the courts will consider the wants and needs to the ward/person charged). This is "next friend".

A person under serious psychiatric disability will not have a best friend take over for him/her for years. Instead, the courts will seek to have the person restored to competence to make his/her own decisions. Should he then go pro se, it's all on him. He can't bow out and have his mother represent him unless Mom has a license to practice law in that jurisdiction. Next friend doesn't work that way.

If you've been practicing law or know somebody practicing law under the guise of "next friend", then you know somebody who has been committing an actionable offense in most states, and a cause to sue in all states. Btw, your "friend" may also be stuck with the results and may not have the ability to claim ineffective assistance of counsel when they screw up your case.

If you haven't passed the bar and been sworn in, you cannot practice law. You cannot practice law if you have a phd in law without passing the bar and being sworn in as a lawyer. You cannot practice law if you are a paralegal. You cannot practice law if you are an accountant. You cannot practice law without passing the bar and being sworn in to that jurisdiction.

A guardian can make legal decisions for you, but cannot argue motions in front of the court. A parent may make legal decisions for a child, but cannot examine witnesses. An attorney in fact can make legal decisions for somebody when there's a POA and a disability, but cannot make an opening statement in front of the court. An agent of a person pursuant to a POA cannot put in a Notice of Appearance with the court and expect to represent that person in court.

Suggesting that a person can decide to go pro se and then have a friend act as a lawyer in court (especially as a next friend) when that person isn't a licensed attorney is totally wrong and totally irresponsible.
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