ELKHART — A Wakarusa man was found guilty of practicing law without a license Monday, July 29, following a trial in Elkhart Superior Court 6.
Joshua Rebel Hays, 33, was convicted of misdemeanor engaging in practice by person not admitted, according to a press release from the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s office.
The prosecutor’s office began investigating Hays in 2012, when he repeatedly appeared in court with his wife in a case filed in Superior Court 5. In each hearing, Hays spoke for his wife and attempted to represent her, despite being told by the judge several times that he could not represent his wife.
Hays argued with Judge Charles Wicks, calling his wife his “defendant.” He shouted objections from the courtroom gallery before being removed from the courtroom.
Hays filed a federal civil rights complaint against Wicks and returned to the court in an attempt to represent his wife. He was arrested for contempt and booked at the Elkhart County Jail.
Investigators found a Facebook page soliciting donations for Hays and his wife to support a non-for-profit organization that supposedly provided legal advice to self-represented individuals.
Hays also told a Department of Natural Resources officer that he was a lawyer.
Formal charges against Hays were filed in August 2012.
According to the press release, at trial on Monday, Wicks described to deputy prosecuting attorney Patrick Dowd and that he told Hays to sit down and to stop trying to represent his wife.
Hays, who represented himself, cross-examined Judge Wicks and prosecutor’s office investigator David Gizzi.
The jury found Hays guilty the same day the trial started.