MOST CON ARTISTS eventually end up in court. But few are bold enough to work the hallways and courtrooms of the courthouse.
That's what Jason "Wolf" Parker is accused of doing at Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center - right under the noses of hundreds of prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and police officers.
Parker - whom court records show has previously been arrested under the names Jasheon Parker and Jason Parks - was charged during a hearing Tuesday with impersonating a lawyer.
By then, he was already in custody facing a contempt-of-court charge. That case stemmed from the fact that on April 23, Common Pleas Judge Rayford Means ordered Parker, 39, to stay out of the courthouse after receiving complaints that he was interfering with lawyers talking to their clients.
When Parker re-entered the courthouse later the same day, the judge had him arrested.
Parker's court-appointed lawyer, Perry de Marco Jr., did not know if his client was a high school graduate or whether he had any formal legal training. But he insisted he never held himself out as a lawyer - regardless of what his website says.
"What he has said from the start is that the website is actually incorrect," de Marco said. "The business cards that he's been handing out to people as well as the fliers that have been posted do not say he's a lawyer. They offer services to assist in a defense."
The only reason Parker re-entered the courthouse April 23, de Marco said, was because he had a subpoena to appear in court for an illegal-smoking charge - not to act as a lawyer.
Parker's contempt-of-court hearing took on a comical air Tuesday as Means paced the courtroom questioning a parade of lawyers and Parker's "clients" who testified about his alleged illegal practice of law.
One witness after the next spoke of seeing Parker at the Center City court building talking to criminal defendants who already had lawyers, arguing with lawyers to be allowed to sit in on meetings with their clients and hanging fliers advertising "Wolf and Wolf Legal and Financial Consulting Firm."
Defense lawyer Shaka M. Johnson testified that after one of his clients was given Parker's business card, heated words ensued.
"It was a West Philly-style conversation. I invited him to never mention my name again . . . in this building. It was not a pleasant conversation," said Johnson, a former police officer.
"I tried to give him his card back. He wouldn't take it. So I opened his suit coat and put it inside."
Public defender Carrie Evans testified that she was "unhappy" when she learned that Parker had posted a video testimonial on his website in which a former client of hers praised Parker for getting his criminal case dismissed.
She got the case dismissed, not Parker, Evans told Means.
Mary Carlin testified that Parker said he was a lawyer when she met with him about representing her son, who was jailed on assault charges.
But she realized he was no lawyer, Carlin said, when city jail officials refused to let him visit her son and he failed to appear at a court hearing.
Public defender Jordan Barnett recalled an April 17 scrape he had with Parker over the latter involving himself with public defender clients.
"He began yelling at me, and at that time, I believe he threatened to report me to the Ethics Board and to the judge," Barnett said.
Public defender Victoria Sanita told Means she withdrew from representing client Jennifer Muniz on a drug case in April after Parker began yelling and screaming and tried to stop her from talking to the client.
Muniz testified that she met Parker in front of a State Road city jail. He said he was a lawyer and that he would represent her for $100 a month until her case was resolved.
Muniz said she never gave Parker any money but he hired her at his Market Street office to hand out fliers.
Those fliers state that for $49.99, Parker's company will provide jailed clients with money for legal fees, bail and inmate accounts, and that clothing will be brought to them, their visitors will be provided with transportation and that unlimited phone calls will be made on their behalf.
Carlin said her son got no such services from Parker.
Looking pained, Parker told Means he wanted to testify but changed his mind when de Marco warned that what he said could be used against him during his upcoming trial for impersonating lawyer.
"I think what we have is a gentleman who, frankly, is an entrepreneur," de Marco said of Parker. "I think that his insinuating himself into these cases may have been annoying to some of these attorneys who are trying to practice law, but I certainly don't think it crossed that threshold of him holding himself out as a lawyer."
The contempt hearing is scheduled to conclude Aug. 19. Parker, who is being held on $500,000 bail, also faces a violation of probation hearing.