The Region

A man practicing law without a law degree or State Bar membership may have handled as many as 297 criminal cases, Orange County investigators said. No criminal charges have been filed against John Viscera, 28, but Deputy Dist. Atty. Jan Nolan said investigators are continuing to collect evidence. Nolan said the investigation so far has shown Vescera represented clients on narcotics and shoplifting charges as well as drunk-driving cases. About 50 Orange County lawyers have volunteered their services to Vescera's former clients for free, Municipal Judge Jacquelyn Thomason said. "These attorneys feel as badly as I do, and they are willing to help these people that have already lost their money to this man," said Thomason, who found Vescera in contempt of court after she discovered he was not a member of the State Bar and did not have a law degree from the University of Southern California as he had claimed.

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