Nevada’s top judge wants to dig into problems plaguing the guardianship system far beyond the Las Vegas Valley.
Clark County Commission recommended April 21 that a local blue ribbon
panel examine issues that have left some of its most vulnerable
constituents destitute. But Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice James
Hardesty said the issue is affecting more than just the state’s most
“I think this is an issue that would be of statewide concern,” Hardesty told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday.
of a local panel, Hardesty wants to convene a committee that will
include people from across the state to examine the program.
County Manager Don Burnette said Friday in an email to county
commissioners that he recommends going with Hardesty’s proposal rather
than convening a local blue ribbon panel. He did not respond to requests
Long-running problems with the program that handles about 8,500 cases each year were laid out in a series of Review-Journal articles published in April.
guardian is appointed after someone is deemed mentally incompetent and
declared a ward of the county. In most cases, that guardian is a family
member, friend or county social worker. In many cases, especially where
the person has substantial wealth, a private professional guardian can
Cases highlighted in the Review-Journal showed a
lack of oversight by the courts that allowed people who were wards of
the county to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to their private
professional guardians. In those cases, the court failed to enforce
state laws, such as the requirement to file a yearly accounting of money
spent on behalf of wards, and ignored the wishes of wards and their
Hardesty said after several recent talks with the chief
judges in Nevada’s two urban counties, Clark and Washoe, he decided to
push for the statewide committee to solve the inherent issues
The proposed statewide panel would need to look at
the entire guardianship process, Hardesty said. Some of the main
concerns, he said, include ensuring the courts properly monitor
guardians to ensure better supervision and enforcement of annual
accountings, and providing proper court representation for wards during
“That is our responsibility to implement those
statutes and provide for those processes that assure accountability to
the parties involved in those proceedings,” Hardesty said.
said the statewide panel would include guardians, county personnel,
elder and ward rights advocates, among others. It would dig into the
problem and make recommendations for reforms of the system.
County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, who initially pushed for the
local panel two weeks ago, said the Supreme Court’s involvement will
make it easier to fix problems. Commissioners were assured they’ll be
included in discussions.
“They’ll be able to access resources that we couldn’t otherwise,” Sisolak said. “I look forward to getting to work.”
said he will file the administrative docket required to start his panel
next week. The Supreme Court then would begin discussions about the
panel around the first week of June, Hardesty said.
will discuss the development Tuesday at their regular meeting at 9 a.m.
at the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.
Full Article & Source:
Nevada Supreme Court chief justice wants statewide review of guardianship
County Commission Probing "Frightening" Abuses in Guardianship System