Kyle Arnold, 42, knows a thing or two about multitasking. Arnold was waiting to finalize his plea bargain for misdemeanor simple assault and reckless endangerment. He allegedly spotted the girlfriend of another defendant and decided to pose as an attorney and bilk her out of $1,300.
Arnold was out on a $75,000 bail when he spotted the girlfriend of the other defendant in a different case. He introduced himself as Arnold even though he reportedly has various aliases, including Joseph Capelli, Muhammad Khalil and Kyle Murphy.
He had the victim accompany him on a trolley to Philadelphia. Rather than take her to his “office,” he took her to the Municipal Services building and secured the money. He then said that he had to run to his office and would return shortly. He never came back. Police were able to identify Arnold and his probation officer was able to match a phone number given to the victim as Arnold’s.
The plea to the assault and reckless endangerment was meant avoid additional offenses for aggravated assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. That is not a bad deal but it may now be left in tatters with the addition of new charges. He has now been charged with unlawful undertaking, theft, and receiving stolen property.
To make matters worse, police located Arnold outside of the Delaware County Courthouse speaking with a woman at the courthouse for her son. She told police that he had introduced himself as an attorney. It is remarkably bold to return to the same courthouse with the same con.
What is most notable is the absence of a criminal charge for unauthorized practice of law:
Title 42 – JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
Chapter 25 – Representation of Litigants
2524 – Penalty for unauthorized practice of law.
§ 2524. Penalty for unauthorized practice of law.
(a) General rule.–Except as provided in subsection (b), any person, including, but not limited to, a paralegal or legal assistant, who within this Commonwealth shall practice law, or who shall hold himself out to the public as being entitled to practice law, or use or advertise the title of lawyer, attorney at law, attorney and counselor at law, counselor, or the equivalent in any language, in such a manner as to convey the impression that he is a practitioner of the law of any jurisdiction, without being an attorney at law or a corporation complying with 15 Pa.C.S. Ch. 29 (relating to professional corporations), commits a misdemeanor of the third degree upon a first violation. A second or subsequent violation of this subsection constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Even without this charge, Arnold is looking at a no-option case where prosecutors would seem unlikely to be interested in another plea bargain. There is however always work for a motivated jailhouse lawyer.