Topeka Man Held in Prison for 3 Months Due to Unauthorized Practice of Law

November 5th, 2009

Most bar associations are state-imposed cartels. Undisputed fact. In order to practice law in the courts of a state, you must play by the cartel’s rules. Go to the right school, pass their entrance exam, pay fees, partake in continuing education, maintain good moral character, and other costs.

But what if you practice law without the Cartel’s permission? In Kansas, you go to jail, indefinitely. From the Topeka Capital Journal (H/T @KULawSchool):

Shawnee County Jail inmate David Price claims he has been unjustly locked away by the Kansas judicial system, but the state’s highest court insists he holds the key to his freedom.

“They are holding me here as hostage until I sign my paperwork,” Price, 48, of Topeka, said during an interview at the jail.

Nearly three months after being sent to jail for contempt of court, Price continues to spend his days and nights behind bars. He will stay there until he agrees he won’t offer legal advice and signs a Kansas Supreme Court consent order enjoining him of the unauthorized practice of law.

Mr. Price is being held in indefinite captivity unless he signs a waiver that he will never practice law again without a license.

The crux of the case hinges over whether the services Mr. Price provided, were in fact “legal.”

“What (the Supreme Court) is saying, what I do in helping people draft documents the way the court requires so it don’t get thrown out on technicality, then putting case law behind it to back it up — they’re saying I’m practicing law without a license,” Price said. “I’m saying it doesn’t.”

And the members of this Cartel certainly protect themselves. Why would they assist someone who can take away their monopoly:

Yet, no attorney in Kansas will touch the case, Rosemary Price said. Two federal courts have rejected Price’s motions to consider hearing or dismissing his contempt case.

I’m not really so much interested in whether he was providing legal services. What troubles me more, is how the Supreme Court, as king of the Cartel, can imprison a man indefinitely for engaging in an occupation of his choice.