Monday, October 22, 2012
Cool Justice: Unfit To Serve: The Farce Known As Probate Court
Going to certain probate courts is still like watching a crooked card game where there is no sheriff in town. Question a fixed hand and they’ll plug you full of lead.
Silly me, I thought the great state of Connecticut reformed the probate system in the 1980s after a relatively young state representative named Chris Shays put a laser beam on one of the most grotesque corruption cases in our history.
Shays was outraged by the actions of a Hartford probate judge who oversaw the looting of a $35 million estate by lawyers acting as conservators. Ethel Donaghue, ill and in her 80s, was conserved – losing all control of her finances, health care and mansion across from the governor’s residence – without her knowledge. Two lawyers ran up fees of more than $100,000 a year each “managing” her estate while also hosting private parties and concerts in which guests said Donaghue seemed oblivious.
When no serious action was taken – other than by investigative reporters – Shays pursued complaints before a Superior Court judge, calling reprimands against the lawyers “ridiculously” lenient. Shays argued that both lawyers and the judge should have been disbarred. He refused to stop speaking when ordered to do so, was found in contempt and sentenced to jail.
Full Article and Source: Cool Justice: Unfit To Serve: The Farce Known As Probate Court