Lawyers like to say that someone who represents himself in court “has a fool for a client.” Some attribute the quote to Abraham Lincoln. Whoever first said it, there is a lot of truth in the old adage. A Norwegian man who was recently convicted of bond jumping by a Broward County jury may be one of the latest people to regret not hiring a lawyer to handle his defense.

The man, a former member of the Outlaws motorcycle gang and a Norwegian national, was accused of jumping bond and fleeing the country to avoid a trial on drug charges in the 1980s. According to authorities, he fled from the courtroom and made his way to Norway. There is no extradition treaty between that country and the United States, so the story might have ended there. He was convicted in absentia – which a court can do when the defendant’s absence is by his own doing – and eventually served a seven-year sentence after being extradited from Belgium. After he served his sentence U.S. authorities expelled him from this country.

But the man was determined to clear his name of the charge that he had jumped bond. Eventually he was allowed to return, and he was arrested and taken into custody. At his trial, the man told a bizarre tale that he was actually working for the CIA and raising a private army to overthrow the government of Haiti. He claimed he fled the United States not to avoid trial on his drug charge, but because he was told that Libyan agents were going to kidnap his wife and child.

The jury didn’t buy it, and the man has now been convicted on the bond jumping charge. He faces serious consequences, including a possible 5-year prison sentence and expulsion from the country.

Source: CBS Miami, “Norwegian National Convicted Of Bond Jumping For 1980s Drug Case,” Jan. 17, 2013

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