Hurrah. The leaders of Connecticut's probate court system are suddenly concerned about Bryan Meccariello's behavior now that an oversight panel has censured the Southington judge for "egregious" mistakes and "evasive and disingenous" testimony.
"While the mishandling of a case is rare, even a single instance is unacceptable," Probate Court Administrator Paul J. Knierim said.
This is more than ironic. Over the last few years I have uncovered a stream of these rare mishandled cases in the murky world of probate court.
From Waterbury to Greenwich to North Haven to East Hartford to Southington, these single instances are piling up. If most of our probate judges are doing a good job - and I don't necessarily disagree -- how is it that a newspaper columnist who spends a few days a month paying attention to probate finds so much injustice?
The problem is that probate operates out of the public eye with too-little scrutiny over the qualifications of judges, who are elected, and the lawyers who work for and appear before the court. This allows for a handful of bad apples to sour the entire reputation of probate court.
As with the latest case in Meccariello's court, the issue again involves a judge who allows a court-appointed conservator to plunder the civil rights of an elderly, sick person. When nobody pays attention, this is what you get.
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Is Probate Court Injustice so Rare? I Wonder....