A Web site is letting defendants post their cases online — whether they be traffic fines, divorces, assaults or even murders — and wait as lawyers, bail bondsmen and private eyes bid to represent them.
JammedUp.com includes the bidders’ biographical information and reviews from clients.
Among those vouching for the service are the rapper Fat Joe, who has had his share of legal woes and was most recently sentenced to four months in jail for tax evasion.
The Bronx-born rapper, whose real name is Joseph Cartagena, says the service is sorely needed in urban communities.
“When your life’s on the line, and you only got one life, it’s a serious issue,” said Cartagena, 45, whose hit song “All the Way Up” was recently remixed with a verse from Jay Z.
“I’ve had numerous friends growing up in the South Bronx who’ve gotten in trouble with the law, and back in the day, I’ve had whatever issues I had, and I wasn’t sure I was satisfied with the attorneys I hired.”
The site was founded by bondsman to the stars Ira Judelson, who touts it as a mix of Angie’s List, eBay and Yelp for the legal profession.
“We’re one-stop shopping, the Home Depot of the legal field, whatever you need — a lawyer, a bondsman or an investigator,” said Judelson, whose clients have included French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn and rapper Ja Rule.
Michael Carpenteiri of upstate New York recently used the service for a speeding ticket and landed a lawyer to handle his case for $280.
“I was in danger of getting a suspended license. My son saw the JammedUp Facebook page. I figured I could call my regular lawyer and he’d charge me $1,000 or I could give this a try,” said the 60-year-old construction foreman.
Criminal lawyer Dawn Florio, a member of the site, called the service a convenience for clients.
“A lot of times they’ll go with the person who fits their budget,” Florio said. “This just streamlines the process. It makes it easier.”
But others were concerned about such bidding on complex cases.
Lawyer Todd Spodek, also a member, wondered whether information posted by a client could be used against the person at trial.
“If a defendant is charged with felony assault and fills out a simple questionnaire describing the case, I’d be concerned that the DA could subpoena that,” he said.