I have been reading recently that many times in small claims court, one can elect a "lay representative" on their behalf to fight their case (as oppose to pro se).
Is this possible in the criminal/civil court system (I am only aware of pro se being used in these systems)?
I was imagining a hypothetical scenario where a young African American (we will call him John) from an impoverished neighborhood was charged with a crime, but could not afford his own legal counsel.
He did not want a court appointed attorney, however, since these lawyers often carry large caseloads and have very little time to prepare.
He could not fight the case himself, since he had no knowledge of the legal system, but he did have an uncle who, while never going to law school, read many books on law as a personal hobby (and so let's assume had the knowledge of a lawyer without the law degree).
Would this uncle be able to represent John in court, even though he was not part of the ABA or had a qualifying law degree?