Saturday, April 22, 2017

Disabled woman denied food, water, and healthcare in a nursing home

ANNANDALE, Virginia, April 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A disabled Virginia woman who was being starved at a nursing home there is now getting food and water, but her family and attorneys are sounding the alarm because she is still at risk and not receiving adequate care.

Yolanda Bell, sister of Anastasia Adams, contacted Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) on behalf of Adams.

Adams was denied treatment for a blood clot and had her guardianship filched away before she was then clandestinely taken to an undisclosed facility. After several questionable injuries in a short time there, Adams was moved back to the hospital and put into hospice care, where she had been denied nutrition. Treatment is still being withheld.

“The family is Catholic and Anastasia has communicated that she wants to live,” said LLDF Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “Anastasia does not have a terminal disease — the hospital is simply refusing to treat her and instead wants to put her to death.” 

Snyder told LifeSiteNews that Adams is now receiving food and water, though only because more people were beginning to take note of the case. But in lieu of needed treatment, she’s only getting palliative care.

“This woman has family who loves her and wants to care for her,” said Snyder. “But they (hospital officials) have her on a death track.”

Adams was wheelchair bound after suffering a brain injury over 10 years ago, but she was able to speak and interact with family. Bell was the legal durable and healthcare power of attorney for over 12 years while Adams was in a nursing home. 

Several months ago, Adams developed a large blood clot while in INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital, Snyder explained. The hospital refused to treat her and ordered that Adams be discharged. 

When Bell refused to move her sister out of INOVA, the hospital took her to court and had its own guardians appointed to oversee Adams’ care. 

Snyder told LifeSiteNews, “The hospital said, ‘Instead of treating her, we’re just going to take you to court.’”

“It’s horrible,” she continued. “They don’t like her questioning their protocol. She just wanted her sister treated and released and home.” 

The guardians sent Adams to a nursing home without notifying the family, forcing Bell to have to track her down hours later because the nursing staff had been advised not to disclose any information. While in the nursing home, Adams suffered four injuries in two weeks, including a broken hip.

“To have two complete strangers come and just take her is just outrageous,” Snyder said. “They just dumped her in the facility.”

Bell has established a Change.org petition and Facebook page, where she’s telling her sister’s story. The petition is addressed to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and others. The objective is to prevent hospitals from seeking guardianship as a means to override patient rights.

“I am heartbroken beyond words,” Bell posted on Easter Sunday. “I fear for my sister’s life every minute of every day.”

“To have strangers come in and forcibly tear you from your loved ones, to abduct your person, because that is exactly what this is — an abduction — is terrifying for a person with a brain injury and other such patients,” Bell wrote in the petition. “It is terrifying for an incapacitated person who has relied heavily on and whose life, happiness and well-being has depended on a family member.”

She told of how she has watched her sister “whimper and cry out in fear since guardianship of her was awarded to Inova Fairfax Hospital appointed guardians.”

“I have had to watch the expression of fear on her face while being told lawyers would now be her guardians and that I no longer had control over where she lived, who would be caring for her, what medications she could or could not be given, or treatments she would or would receive,” Bell stated.

When Adams was transferred back to INOVA in March because of the broken hip, the guardians refused to authorize any treatment, said Snyder. Instead, they put her in hospice care at a Golden LivingCenter nursing facility in Annandale.

Snyder told LifeSiteNews that as a result of the court action before LLDF involvement, not only has the hospital seized power over Adams’ treatment decisions, Bell is not permitted to visit her sister. 

“Yolanda lost all contact,” Snyder stated.

"I miss my sister terribly,” said Bell. “I can only imagine what she is going through. She must think I have abandoned her. I have trouble sleeping. I close my eyes and see her being beaten and abused. I hear her crying out in pain begging me to help her." 

Adams now has a fever, Snyder told LifeSiteNews, but treatment is still being refused.

“Even though they’re not starving her, they’re just waiting for her to die,” said Snyder.

LLDF has release two videos, one taken prior to her being admitted to the hospital and the second taken at the nursing facility on April 8 showing Adams’ shocking decline.

LLDF is currently assisting the family in securing an attorney to recover Adams’ guardianship back to another sibling. 

“Tragically, we are seeing an exponential increase in cases where patients are intentionally starved to death because someone has determined that their lives no longer have value,” Snyder stated. 

“Anastasia was targeted for death simply because she is disabled. But she can speak, feel pain, and fully understands what is happening to her. She is being tortured to death by healthcare professionals who have it in their capacity to provide care and treatment.”

Full Article & Source:
Disabled woman denied food, water, and healthcare in a nursing home

Assisted Suicide Activist Pushing to Euthanize Mentally Ill Patients

Euthanasia/assisted suicide is NOT about terminal illness. The issue is about normalizing killing as a response to human suffering.
Sure, the initial sales pitch would restrict doctor-administered or prescribed death to the dying. But that’s just to get people comfortable with the concept. Once a society accepts the principle, logic quickly takes it to a broad euthanasia license.

Canada is a prime example. Before the Supreme Court imposed a national euthanasia right on the country, the debate was all about terminal illness. But now that euthanasia is the law throughout the country, the push is on to allow doctors to kill the mentally ill who ask to die.

The Globe and Mail’s pro-euthanasia health columnist, André Picard André Picard uses the suicide of a mentally ill person to push that agenda. From, “The Mentally Ill Must Be Part of the Assisted Suicide Debate:”
We should not discriminate or deny people rights because it makes us queasy or because of our prejudices. This case reminds us just how severe mental illness can be.
“Non-existence is better than this,” Mr. Maier-Clayton said. “Once there’s no quality of life, life is akin to a meaningless existence.”
Opponents of assisted death argue that those who suffer from mental illness cannot make rational decisions, that they need to be protected from themselves.
But we’re not talking about granting assisted death to someone who is delusional, or suffering from psychosis or someone who is depressed and treatable. The suffering has to be persistent and painful, though not necessarily imminently lethal.
I would hasten to add, as defined by the suicidal person and regardless of ameliorating treatments that could be administered. But anyone who is suicidal believes his or her suffering is unbearable. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want to die.

This ever-broadening death license is only logical. If killing is indeed an acceptable answer to suffering, how can it be strictly limited to people diagnosed with a terminal illness? After all, many people suffer far more severely and for a far longer time than the imminently dying.

The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and now Canada, demonstrate that over time, it won’t be.

Meanwhile, California has a regulation requiring state mental hospitals to cooperate with assisted suicide for their involuntarily committed patients with terminal illnesses–despite supposed protections in the law for those with mental conditions that could affect their decisions.

Meant to be compassionate, assisted suicide is actually abandonment most foul. Compassion means to “suffer with.” Euthanasia is about eliminating suffering by eliminating the sufferer.

Or, to put it another way, euthanasia endorses suicide. It’s not choice, it is the end of all choices.

In any event, this is the debate we should be having. Whether one agrees or disagrees with my take, surely as we in the USA should debate the issue with intellectual integrity and honesty.

But we won’t because pro-euthanasia forces know they would lose. The obfuscating claim that assisted suicide will only be about the terminally ill for whom nothing else but death can eliminate suffering is just the spoonful of honey to help the hemlock go down.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Secondhand Smoke.

Full Article & Source:
Assisted Suicide Activist Pushing to Euthanize Mentally Ill Patients

Gov. LePage says he'll veto "death with dignity" legislation

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage says he'll veto legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe medication that a patient may self-administer to hasten death.

The Legislature's health and human services committee on Wednesday is set to decide whether to recommend bills sponsored by Republican Sen. Roger Katz and Democratic Rep. Jennifer Parker.

The Maine Medical Association is not yet taking a position on the legislation because its members are divided.

Opponents say the bills would spur elder abuse and exploitation.

Supporters say the legislation protects against such abuse and that medications cannot treat all pain.

So-called assisted suicide is legal in Washington D.C. and six states, including Vermont.

The nonprofit Death with Dignity Political Fund says 25 states are considering similar bills this year.

Full Article & Source:
Gov. LePage says he'll veto "death with dignity" legislation

Friday, April 21, 2017

Alienation in Family Law

When it comes to families, the quality of the relationships between relatives can mean the difference between happy and unhappy ones. When it comes to family law, preserving relationships and addressing the people who would try to damage them is one of the law's most important functions. When alienation is present, it causes a rift within a family that can result in lasting pain and anguish. Whether the alienation occurs between spouses or between parents and children, laws exist to help families repair the damage caused to broken relationships.

Alienation of Affection


In 2010, a jury in North Carolina awarded a woman $9 million in a lawsuit filed against the woman she claimed stole her husband. In seven states, -- Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah -- a spouse can sue in civil court for what is called alienation of affection. Alienation of affection is the intentional act of discouraging a person from maintaining their marital relationship or willfully diverting a person's love, affection and attention away from his or her spouse. Cases of this kind are frequently brought against mistresses and paramours after a marriage ends in divorce. To succeed in an alienation case against an extramarital lover, spouses must prove that they were happily married, that the other spouse's affection was alienated from them, and that the alienation was caused by the actions of the third party.

Parental Alienation


Similar in nature to alienation of affection, parental alienation occurs when divorced or separated parents take steps to damage the relationship between their child and the other parent. This damage can be caused through words or actions that present a negative image of the other parent, which the child accepts to be true. Examples of behavior that could be considered parental alienation include telling the child that the other parent has no interest in visitation with the child, when actually the other parent is working or ill; calling the other parent names in front of the child; telling the child that the other parent is responsible for breaking up the family; and making the child choose between parents.

Child Custody


In child custody cases where parental alienation is alleged, the negative behavior of the parent causing the alienation can have an impact on the court's custody decision. Family courts consider what is in the best interests of the children. Under Ohio family law rules, for example, the court evaluates the ability of each parent to encourage the sharing of love, affection and contact between the child and the other parent.

Parental Alienation Syndrome


When a parent continually engages in behavior that undermines his child's relationship with the other parent, it can have a significant impact on the child's psychological health. The effect of ongoing criticism of the other parent can lead to the development of Parental Alienation Syndrome in the child. The syndrome exists when a child exhibits certain characteristics including a lack of interest in visitation or communication with the other parent. According to the American Bar Association, this syndrome occurs in as many as 60 percent of divorce cases. By cooperating with each other and insulating the children from the conflict between the parents, adults can do what is in the best interest of the child and prevent the onset of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Full Article & Source:
Alienation in Family Law

Arkansas judge pleads guilty in DWI case; panel to decide discipline

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission is determining how to discipline Circuit Judge William Pearson after he pleaded guilty Monday in Johnson County to charges of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

What punishment the commission decides to give Pearson will determine if or how soon he can return to the bench as a judge in Arkansas' 5th Judicial Circuit, which is comprised of Franklin, Johnson and Pope counties.

Executive Director David Sachar said Tuesday the commission will act quickly to determine how to sanction Pearson for violating ethical canons by breaking state law. The commission could admonish, reprimand or censure him or pass on a recommendation to the Arkansas Supreme Court for some other action, Sachar said.

On a petition from the commission, the Arkansas Supreme Court suspended Pearson with pay from the bench.

Circuit court records show Pearson, 57, entered guilty pleas to the two misdemeanor charges before special Circuit Judge John Langston. As part of a negotiated plea, charges of misdemeanor fleeing and refusal to submit to a breath test, a violation, were dismissed.

The sentencing order said Langston suspended imposition of a sentence for six months and ordered Pearson to pay $1,020 in fines, fees and court costs. Pearson also was ordered to pay $1,829.24 restitution to the Arkansas State Police for damage caused to a state police car the night Pearson was arrested, according to his Little Rock attorney Jeff Rosenzweig.

As part of his sentence on the reckless driving charge, Pearson was ordered to serve five days in jail. Rosenzweig said Pearson will serve one of the five days working in the Johnson County jail on a day when the state police run a sobriety checkpoint.

Pearson will serve the other four days giving speeches to young people about the dangers of drinking and driving, Rosenzweig said. He said it would mirror a statement Pearson made to Langston before he entered his pleas.

"I make no excuses for my actions," Pearson said in the prepared statement. "I never considered myself above the law then or now. I simply should have known better not to drink and drive intoxicated. The shame and embarrassment is mine."

Pearson, 57, has served since 2008 as a judge in the 5th Judicial Circuit. The Supreme Court issued a suspension order Jan. 26, almost a week after Pearson was arrested Jan. 20.

State police records state Pearson was driving north on Crawford Street south of Clarksville in Johnson County and went through the state police sobriety checkpoint without stopping about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 20.

Pearson said in his statement to police that he thought the gathering of patrol cars on the side of the road with their strobe lights flashing was for a traffic stop or an accident. Rosenzweig said Pearson's intoxication contributed to his misinterpreting the reason for the police presence.

Troopers gave chase with their lights and sirens on while Pearson continued driving north into Clarksville. At one point, he turned into a parking lot. A trooper followed him and pushed against the back of Pearson's pickup in an attempt to stop it as the truck continued. The pickup finally came to a stop against the front of the trooper's car.

A trooper wrote in a report that Pearson was so drunk he slumped to the ground as troopers got him out of the pickup. Later at the Johnson County sheriff's office, Pearson became sick, lost bladder control and was uncooperative during the fingerprinting process. He was too drunk to take a test for his blood alcohol level, according to the report.

In his statement, Pearson apologized to 5th Judicial Circuit Judges Gordon McCain, Dennis Sutterfield and Ken Coker and other special judges who took over his caseload after he was suspended.

He also apologized to residents of the circuit's three counties for his "isolated lapse of judgment," to his staff, his family and to the judges in the state and the bar association.

"I regret my actions of January 20 and look forward to redemption and making amends for this and assure all that this will never ever happen again," he concluded.

Full Article & Source:
Arkansas judge pleads guilty in DWI case; panel to decide discipline

70-year-old Fairview woman charged with exploiting elderly or disabled person


A 70-year-old Fairview woman is charged with exploiting an elderly or disabled person.

Patsy Jean Steele, 70, of Charlotte Highway in Fairview was arrested on Saturday and charged.


This charge involves two separate offenses: exploitation of a disabled or elder adult through a position of trust or business relationship, and exploitation of a disabled or elder adult lacking capacity. Steel was charged with the former.

Full Article & Source:
70-year-old Fairview woman charged with exploiting elderly or disabled person

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Michigan Owner of Sixteen Adult Foster Care Homes Indicted on Additional Charges Including Obstructing the IRS and Failing to File Tax Returns

PRESS RELEASE:  A federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Michigan returned a superseding indictment today, charging a Grand Blanc, Michigan owner of adult foster care homes with additional tax crimes including obstructing the internal revenue laws and failing to file tax returns, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Jeremiah Cheff was indicted in October 2016 on 60 counts of failing to collect, account for and pay over employment taxes. According to the superseding indictment, Jeremiah Cheff controlled the financial and business operations of 16 foster care homes that cared for individuals with mental illnesses and developmental and physical disabilities, including Hunter’s Home, Nico’s Place, Harmony Manor, Hilltop Estates and Deerwood Manor. It is alleged that from September 2010 through September 2014, Cheff withheld payroll taxes from employees’ paychecks, failed to timely file employment tax returns and failed to pay over the funds withheld to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The new charges allege that Cheff corruptly endeavored to obstruct the internal revenue laws and failed to timely file his 2013 through 2015 individual returns. According to the indictment, after the IRS informed Cheff it intended to file a lien to collect unpaid employment taxes, Cheff sent an $80,000 fake financial instrument to the IRS and falsely claimed to a revenue officer that he had paid the taxes due. Cheff also allegedly spent money from his businesses for personal benefit instead of paying it to the IRS, falsely classified his employees as independent contractors, provided false information to his return preparer and filed false 2013 through 2015 partnership returns for Hunter’s Home.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, Cheff faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for each of the 60 employment tax counts, three years in prison for obstructing the IRS and one year in prison for each of the failure to file counts. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Jeffrey McLellan and Carl F. Brooker IV of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case. Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan for its substantial assistance.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

Source:
Michigan Owner of Sixteen Adult Foster Care Homes Indicted on Additional Charges Including Obstructing the IRS and Failing to File Tax Returns

Britney Spears under conservatorship of father 10 years after mental health battle

Britney Spears
Pop star Britney Spears is still under the conservatorship of her father, almost 10 years after she battled mental health issues.

According to US law, a conservatorship is a guardian appointed by a judge to manage the financial and/or daily affairs of another due to physical or mental limitations, or old age. Jamie Spears continues to control the Piece Of Me singer's fortune but the musician is said to be "very happy" with the court's decision, say reports.

In 2008, Spears, 35, was placed under a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold and a judge subsequently permitted her father to manage her finances.

A source told the New York Post's Page Six: "Britney just keeps working and working, and everybody around her gets paid. It's astonishing how hard she works, how well behaved she is now, but she still cannot make decisions about her own finances or personal life without the approval of her conservators," before adding: "[Britney] is in the best place she's ever been."

Previous reports claimed all of Spears' monetary transactions are noted in court documents in order to protect her fortune and Jamie is allegedly paid a $130,000 (£103,000) yearly salary. Earlier in April, it was announced that the Make Me hitmaker will bring her popular Las Vegas residency to an end in December after a four-year run.

Fans should not mourn the Piece Of Me residency just yet as an insider suggests Spears could return to Sin City one day, stating: "It's definitely not the end of her onstage. She will be back. As long as they play it smart, there's money to be made. Yes, she's still under the conservatorship, but she's happy because everything is taken care of for her. She's in a Britney bubble. She's healthy, she just celebrated another year of sobriety, and she's dating a handsome guy, model and personal trainer Sam Ashgari."
Britney Spears to end Las Vegas residency
A friend of Britney Spears suggests the singer may return to Las Vegas after closing the Piece Of Me residency in DecemberGetty
One other alleged friend of Spears described the pop star as a "walking zombie", claiming she is simply a money-making machine for those in her inner-circle. However, the pop star's rep slams these claims, arguing: "This is not accurate. She is great... has shows in Asia and Tel Aviv coming up and is very happy."

Spears briefly addressed the conservatorship during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show in 2016 and explained how she took control of creative decisions for her latest album Glory because other areas of her life are spearheaded by others. The Toxic singer told Ross: "Okay, so I have this conservatorship. I've been under this conservatorship for three years and I felt like a lot of decisions were made for me, so I wanted [Glory] to be my baby and I've been really strategic about it."

Once returning from her current holiday in Hawaii, Spears will resume her Las Vegas residency at The Axis at Planet Hollywood on 3 May.

Full Article & Source:
Britney Spears under conservatorship of father 10 years after mental health battle

Legislation to Protect Elderly and Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Being Considered

Nashville, TN – Two major bills to protect elderly and vulnerable adults from financial exploitation are moving through House Committees.  House Bill 304 will be heard in the House Government Operations Committee this week, and House Bill 1064 is the House Calendar and Rules Committee.
 
This legislation gives securities officials and financial institutions the tools they need to help detect and prevent financial exploitation of those age 65 and older and vulnerable adults with diminished capacity.

Tennessee State Representative Curtis Johnson
Tennessee State Representative Curtis Johnson

The legislation comes from the Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force, which worked with Tennessee’s financial community to recommend the changes.

Approximately one in five seniors has been a victim of financial exploitation at a cost of approximately $2.9 billion annually.

Moreover, these numbers are likely low as it is also estimated that only one out of every 44 instances of financial abuse is actually reported.

Called the Senior Financial Protection and Securities Modernization Act, House Bill 304
  • Provides a pathway for voluntary reporting by giving civil and administrative immunity to broker-dealers, investment advisers, agents, representatives and other qualified individuals for reporting the suspected abuse or exploitation;
  • Allows those individuals to delay disbursements from an account for up to 15 days if financial abuse or exploitation is suspected (that delay could be extended to up to 25 days upon request by the commissioner and by court order);
  • Grants the Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance authority to create additional guidelines by rule for delayed-disbursement when fraudulent activities are suspected;
  • Authorizes notification to third parties previously designated by the elderly or vulnerable adult regarding any suspected fraudulent transactions; and,
  • Gives the Commissioner authority, under the state’s Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, to double current civil penalties to up to $10,000 to $20,000 per violation against offenders who victimize a vulnerable or senior adult.
  • It has been estimated that 41.4 percent of the offenses of financial exploitation were committed by a family member and another 13.3 percent of victims were described by law enforcement as having close relationships with the perpetrator.
Likewise, House Bill 1064 adds tools and greater flexibility as to how financial institutions can best protect their customers when they have reason to suspect financial exploitation of elderly or vulnerable adults is occurring or being attempted.

The legislation:
  • Provides new authority for financial institutions to delay or refuse to conduct transactions which permit the disbursement of funds from the account of an elderly customer or vulnerable adult when exploitation is suspected; 
  • Permits, but doesn’t require, the financial institution to establish a list of persons the customer would like to have contacted if the institution suspects the customer is a victim of financial exploitation or theft; 
  • Allows financial institutions to refuse to accept an authorized power of attorney if they believe the person is conducting financial exploitation; and, 
  • Requires the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions to consult with financial service providers, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, and the Department of Human Services to develop a public education campaign to alert the public to the dangers of vulnerable adults from financial exploitation. 
The proposals build on a new law passed by the General Assembly last year, which set up Vulnerable Adult Protective Investigative Teams (VAPIT) in each judicial district in Tennessee to foster cooperation and information sharing between different government agencies whose purpose is to protect elderly and vulnerable adults.

Full Article & Source:
Legislation to Protect Elderly and Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Being Considered

Two men to stand trial for exploitation of woman in driveway repair job

NEOSHO, Mo. — A judge found probable cause at a preliminary hearing Monday to order two men bound over for trial on a charge that they bilked money for a driveway repair job out of an elderly woman.

Waylon B. Trusdale, 27, of Yukon, Oklahoma, and Brandon G. Swartz, 28, of rural Joplin, were ordered to stand trial in Newton County Circuit Court on a charge of financial exploitation of an elderly person. Associate Circuit Judge Gregory Stremel set their initial appearances in a trial division of the court for April 18.

The defendants are accused of cheating an 87-year-old woman out of $618 on a resurfacing of the driveway at her home in Newton County that they initially told her they would do for $32. A probable-cause affidavit alleges that they completed the job in an hour and 15 minutes, and told her she owed them $618.

The affidavit states that she told them she did not agree to pay that much. But they responded that they would get their money one way or another, and she wrote them a check that they cashed at her bank, the affidavit alleges.

Full Article & Source:
Two men to stand trial for exploitation of woman in driveway repair job

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Iowa Not liable for Sex Offender Raping Women at Care Center, Court Rules

Even though state administrators helped arrange the transfer of a habitual sex offender from a state institution into a private nursing home, Iowa can't be sued by the family of a woman he molested there, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

 The victim's daughter, Becky Rassler of Rembrandt, was stunned to hear about the ruling: "I just can't believe it."
Rassler's mother, Mercedes Gottschalk, was sexually assaulted in 2011 by William Cubbage at the Pomeroy Care Center.

Cubbage previously had been convicted four times of sex crimes, and he'd spent many years in state prisons and institutions.

Yet, the nursing home's residents and their families were not warned about his past when he was transferred to the center under a 2010 court order.

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision Friday that the Iowa Department of Human Services wasn't legally liable for the attack on Gottschalk, because one judge ordered Cubbage's release from the state institution and another judge committed him to the nursing home.

Full Article and Source:
Iowa Not Liable for Sex Offender Raping Women at Care Center, Court Rules

Declaring War on Financial Abuse of Older People

Mariana Cooper
Amy A. Lecoq was a stay-at-home mother raising her young son and mourning the death of her mother. But when her grandmother reluctantly admitted five years ago that she had been swindled out of her life savings, Ms. Lecoq sprang into action.

She shed her home-centered life, first to push prosecutors to investigate and bring charges, and then, earlier this year, to become an activist, traveling around her home state of Washington to lecture and testify about the financial exploitation of older Americans. She has also become a lobbyist, exhorting state lawmakers to pass legislation that would toughen penalties for people who take financial advantage of vulnerable older people like her grandmother.

“When I tell our story, so many people tell me that, ‘Oh, that happened to my grandmother, my aunt or some other family member,’” Ms. Lecoq, 41, said in a telephone interview from her home in Camano Island, Wash. “But then they say they didn’t know it was a crime, or they didn’t know it could be reported or punished.”

Her own grandmother, Mariana Cooper, 87, whose financial exploitation was recounted in a 2015 New York Times article, was swindled by Janet Bauml, who had insinuated herself into her life and whom she had come to trust. Over time Ms. Cooper, a widow living by herself, gave more than $217,000 to Ms. Bauml, expecting to be paid back. When she sheepishly admitted to her granddaughter that she had been defrauded, Ms. Lecoq spent months calling law enforcement agents and prosecutors to help make a case for serious theft.

In late 2015, Ms. Bauml was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. After that, Ms. Lecoq said, she personally felt a calling to raise public awareness of such crimes.

“There needs to be a crime called, ‘theft from a vulnerable adult,’ so everyone knows what it is,” said Ms. Lecoq, who also works part-time for a Head Start program.

A number of states have laws like this on the books, but they vary widely. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks such laws, this type of financial abuse is an active topic in state capitals. Last year, 33 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, considered measures against the illegal or improper use of seniors’ money, property or assets, in addition to fraud or identity theft targeting the older people.

Some states have shored up their existing laws. Last year, Idaho revised its definition of neglect of vulnerable adults to include exploitation. Illinois extended the statute of limitations to seven years from three for prosecuting a person accused of taking financial advantage of an older person or a person with disabilities.

Also, last year, Alabama passed the Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Act, to add a layer of protection to existing laws by requiring brokers and investment advisers who believe a vulnerable adult is being exploited to notify the Human Resources Department and the Alabama Securities Commission.

The National Conference of State Legislatures keeps a scorecard of such laws, and, as it turns out, Washington is among about a dozen states that do not define financial exploitation of older people as a specific crime. Absent such a provision, it is more difficult, prosecutors say, to cobble together the pieces of evidence required to convict a wrongdoer, such as a financial audit or competency evaluation.

As the number of older, wealthier people grows, so does the number of people eager to prey on them. Occasionally, awareness of such misconduct is heightened by a notorious case like that of Brooke Astor, the New York heiress and socialite whose son was convicted of grand theft in 2009 in connection with her large fortune.

But financial exploitation routinely is overlooked and unreported, prosecutors say, because — unlike child abuse — there are no formal government-run systems for complaints and intervention.
Photo
After her grandmother was a victim of financial exploitation, Amy A. Lecoq worked with Roger Goodman, a Washington state legislator, to strengthen protections for vulnerable adults. Credit Matt Lutton for The New York Times
“There is a sense that this is a family matter, and we shouldn’t intrude,” said Edwin L. Walker, a deputy assistant in the federal Administration on Aging, of the low national priority such misdeeds often receive. “But we’re talking about a crime.”

Under the 2010 Elder Justice Act, the federal government is working to boost awareness of financial abuse and other crimes against older individuals, and to encourage more people to report and take legal action against the misuse of older people’s money.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, has introduced legislation aimed at improving the reporting of fraud and teaching seniors to recognize the signs of exploitation. Ms. Collins, who heads the Senate Special Committee on Aging, called financial fraud against older Americans “a growing epidemic that costs seniors an estimated $2.9 billion annually.”

In recent years, the Justice Department has trained prosecutors to handle cases of abuse of older people and offered online training to law enforcement officials nationwide. Since most older people still visit banks, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has compiled a list of tips for bank tellers on how to identify and thwart suspicious financial transactions.

Still, it can be an uphill climb to get legislators to declare such financial exploitation a serious crime. Washington state lawmakers had been trying since 2015 to strengthen legal protections, but their efforts had failed.

Two months ago, Ms. Lecoq kicked off her advocacy campaign at Washington’s State Capitol in Olympia, recounting what had happened to her grandmother. Working with the AARP’s state chapter, she helped distribute 8,000 citizen petitions to legislators.

“The person who committed these crimes stole my grandma’s financial security for the remaining years of her life,” Ms. Lecoq told a crowded town hall in March in Kirkland, Wash., a Seattle suburb. “But she took more than money. She stole part of my grandma’s person, the part that was trusting, confident, healthy, independent and proud of herself.”

Because Ms. Cooper also lost her home as a result of the fraud, Ms. Lecoq said that she and her siblings had to sell the “accumulated memories of my grandma’s lifetime to fit her into a tiny apartment.”

Washington and other states without a specific financial exploitation crime on the books typically treat such swindles as ordinary theft — similar to grabbing someone’s purse on the street — and penalties are less severe. For example, the nine-felony count conviction of the woman who stole Ms. Cooper’s money drew a 43-month jail term, longer than the routine sentence because of the large amount of money stolen, but far less than the maximum sentence of 89 months the legislation that Ms. Lecoq is backing would stipulate.

Stiffer penalties are necessary to combat a growing drain on the savings of those 60 and over, according to the National Center for Elder Abuse, a federal clearinghouse. In 2015, in Washington state alone, there were nearly 8,000 complaints to adult protective services about financial exploitation, a more than 70 percent increase over 2010. And such crimes are likely to climb simply because the retiree population is growing.

Representative Roger Goodman, the Democratic state legislator in Washington who sponsored the legislation Ms. Lecoq is championing, also has pushed to increase penalties for neglect of the seniors, and to make it easier to bring charges and secure convictions for both neglect and financial abuse, which often go hand-in-hand.

“This legislation creates a uniform way of dealing with crimes that are currently being treated inconsistently,” Mr. Goodman said in an interview.

On Tuesday, the bill was passed by a unanimous vote. Mr. Goodman said he hopes the measure will result in giving “victims the justice they deserve, and making sure their abusers are held accountable for their crimes.”

Full Article & Source:
Declaring War on Financial Abuse of Older People

Kingston attorney disbarred for excessive court filings

Kingston attorney Joseph R. Reisinger has been disbarred for excessive court filings that “wasted the time and resources of the Luzerne County Court” and forced the court to “defend itself against baseless allegations of conspiracy,” according to a state Supreme Court ruling from Friday.

Reisinger, 72, failed to appear at an argument proceeding March 7 and must pay expenses incurred by the investigation and prosecution of the complaint against him. In Friday’s ruling, the state Supreme Court accepted recommendations made by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Reisinger could not be reached for comment. A phone number listed for Reisinger was no longer active.

In 2011, Reisinger filed a lawsuit against Luzerne County Court Administrator Michael Shucosky and Judge Charles Brown with a pleading captioned, “Complaint for Permanent Injunction Because of Judicial Corruption.” At that time, Brown was assigned multiple actions that concerned Reisinger’s rental properties.

In 2012, Reisinger filed a lawsuit against Judge Michael T. Vough alleging judicial corruption. In 2013, he filed a lawsuit against Shucosky and Daniel Pillets, a law clerk to Judge Fred Pierantoni, and another suit against Judge Lesa S. Gelb.

Those cases were all dismissed, according to the Disciplinary Board.

Full Article & Source:
Kingston attorney disbarred for excessive court filings

Caregivers at Risk of Financial Fraud, Scams Targeting Elderly

Elder financial abuse and fraud is typically underreported and costs older Americans $36.5 billion per year, according to research from retirement robo-adviser firm True Link.

And it doesn’t just harm retirees and seniors, but also those who take care of them, as elder financial abuse has a profound financial impact on the caregivers of those who are victimized -- and can have a negative impact on their ability to save for their own retirement, according to a new study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

“As America’s population ages, more people will be caregivers,” said Allianz Life President and CEO Walter White. “Unfortunately, these caregivers will be at risk of experiencing the negative effects of elder financial abuse perpetrated against the person they’re caring for. While a focus on protecting seniors from financial exploitation is vital, we also need to provide resources to caregivers who increasingly will become collateral victims of the elder abuse.”

Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, discussed the study with Fox Business and offered tips on how caregivers can protect themselves.

Boomer: Why are caregivers likely to experience a financial impact when their loved one is a victim of financial abuse?

Libbe: It is well established that elder financial abuse has a significant effect on the finances of elder victims. In fact, our recent Safeguarding Our Seniors Study found that each incident costs them an average of $36,000. Perhaps more surprising, however, is that this abuse has equally negative effects on the finances of caregivers, also costing them $36,000 on average.

Although we were surprised that this number was so high, it’s understandable given the responsibility caregivers feel to protect their elders and help manage all aspects of their lives, including finances.

Three-quarters of current caregivers in the study said that providing care for their elder is almost like a full time job, so it’s logical that caregivers would take on a great deal of the financial burden necessary to help make their elder whole again after a financial abuse incident.

Boomer: Why are those providing care for past victims spending more than those caring for elders with no history of financial abuse?

Libbe: Even without any history of financial abuse, we know that caregiving is expensive. The study found that the average caregiver spends more than $7,000 per year and provides more than 10 hours per week in noncash support (driving to appointments, paying for groceries and supplies, delivering meals, social engagement, etc.). Furthermore, less than half of current caregivers receive some form of financial assistance for that support.

When you add a calamity like elder financial abuse to this equation, it’s important to understand that the elder is now behind the eight ball, facing an uphill battle to stay afloat and manage daily expenses. So, it stands to reason that meeting financial obligations may be more difficult as that elder tries to dig themselves out of the financial hole that they’ve created. As a result, it’s common for caregivers to spend more – 56 percent, or $3,000 more each year on average – than caregivers caring for elders with no history of financial abuse.

Boomer: What drives the cost of care for these seniors that have been abused?

Libbe: In cases where the elder is a past victim, the need for those elders to receive some sort of direct financial assistance from their caregiver is more than double that of situations where financial abuse has not occurred. It’s difficult to say exactly what is driving these costs, but it’s safe to assume that it takes a significant amount of time, effort and money to get a past victim back to square one.

Another unfortunate aspect of elder financial abuse is that once a victim is on the radar of an abuser, that elder is very likely to be targeted again. In fact, four in 10 of the caregivers in our study confirmed that their elder has experienced financial abuse more than once. This is bound to have an effect on overall cost of care, putting both the elder and the caregiver in a more precarious financial position.

Boomer: How does caring for victims impact the caregiver’s ability to save for their own retirement?

Libbe: Two-thirds of active caregivers said the cost of providing care is having a significant effect on their finances, and they worry about having enough money to retire. As noted before, these caregivers feel a tremendous responsibility to manage every aspect of their elders’ lives, to the point that the vast majority say they’re often overwhelmed by the task. It’s also quite possible that caregiving is impacting their ability to work full time, which will have a negative effect on their retirement savings.

Once again, when past elder financial abuse is part of the equation, that anxiety is even greater. Nearly 80 percent of caregivers responsible for a past victim indicated concern about the effect caregiving is having on both their current finances and their retirement savings.

In addition, this financial stress has created a moral gray area that many caregivers are constantly struggling to reconcile. Although the majority of current caregivers agree that it’s okay to accept some of the elder’s money to cover expenses, if offered, significantly fewer agree that it’s okay for a caregiver to reimburse themselves for any expenses without informing the elder every time.

Boomer: What can caregiver’s do to better protect their financial security in retirement?

Libbe: There are three essential steps that caregivers should take to protect their own financial security in retirement: 1) Start planning now and build your emergency fund; 2) Make sure you understand your elder’s health insurance ; and 3) Talk to your elder about their finances, including a third party in the discussion.

If you are a caregiver now or know you will likely be one in the future, it’s crucial to have a long term financial plan that addresses your role as caregiver and the budget necessary to fulfill that role for as long as necessary. But, as our study reveals, it’s probably not enough to save only for expected costs. Boosting your emergency fund is a good idea in order to help deal with the unexpected, including the fallout from elder financial abuse.

In addition to understanding their own finances, it’s crucial that caregivers understand their elder’s health insurance and everything that Medicare covers. It may be possible to qualify for respite care or home health care under Medicare, which could provide significant cost savings. The good news is that more than 90 percent of current caregivers in the study said they were confident in understanding health insurance and Medicare rules.

Another smart move is for caregivers to begin having discussions with their elder about their finances – today. Seven in 10 caregivers are currently talking to their elder about financial abuse and scams, but many feel these discussions are challenging. As a result, they are hesitant to have frequent conversations for a variety of reasons, including the belief that it’s none of their business, feeling that the elder is capable of managing their own finances, or belief that it makes the elder uncomfortable.

Full Article & Source:
Caregivers at Risk of Financial Fraud, Scams Targeting Elderly

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

FIGHTING B.A.C.K. WITH Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

You have seen her on 20/20 and read the articles now join Sandra as she hosts Fighting B.A.C.K.

On this Episode Sandra welcomes Martin Jack Patterson

Martin Jack Patterson is a former U.S. Army Ranger hear his story about his horrific Journey in the system.

LISTEN to the archive of the show!  Fighting Back With Sandra Grazzini-Rucki



What to do when an elderly neighbor needs a guardian

Tarrant County Probate Court
An elderly woman in her 80s whom we’ll call Molly recently was wandering her street at night, causing concern in her tight-knit neighborhood. Her family all lived out of the state and her caregivers were gone because she had hit them.

Molly’s next-door neighbor turned to the Tarrant County Probate Court and filed an information letter, found on the court’s website, to the probate judge suggesting the need for guardianship or an investigation.

The probate court did investigate, and Molly’s front door was ajar when Dyann McCully, a Fort Worth attorney in the case, came to talk to her.

“The neighbors kept an eye on her,” McCully said. “But she was wandering out at night, she drove, she was not eating and she had short-term memory problems.”

The neighbor testified before the judge about Molly’s condition and ultimately the family hired a temporary private professional guardian to get her in a healthcare facility to have her assessed.

“It’s all about trying to do what is best for them,” McCully said. “Usually we’re not talking about sending them to a nursing home. Most of the time they are physically fairly strong. They don’t need a nurse, they need a secure, safe environment.”

Such an alternative is one area of law to be discussed April 22 at this year’s 13th annual People’s Law School, a free clinic open to the public hosted by the Tarrant County Bar Association.

The school, which routinely draws around 300 people, covers a variety of subjects from adult guardianship to wills and trusts. This year, there are eight topics to choose from during three 50-minute sessions.

McCully, an attorney with the Blum firm, said guardianship is becoming an increasingly relevant topic as our population ages.

“It is an area of growth because of the aging baby boomers,” she said. “More folks are needing assistance. And no one wants to move out of their home.”

A call to Adult Protective Services may or may not get investigated, McCully said.

“APS will sometimes investigate, but they are overworked and understaffed,” she said. The probate court is another authority to turn to. If you have a concern about someone who may need a guardian, the procedure is explained on the court’s website at https://www.tarrantcounty.com/en/probate-courts.html.

Not all cases end up with a full guardianship and/or moving the person into a nursing home, she said.

“I would say about half the time we are successful in avoiding guardianship,” she said. “We’ve seen people get better after they were properly evaluated and treated.”

Probate and some recent probate alternatives will be discussed at the People’s Law School by attorney Louis Stefanos.

Among his topics will be Transfer on Death deeds, created by the Texas Legislature and put into effect in 2015. The deeds simplify the process for transferring a property to a named beneficiary without having to go through probate court.

Mostly designed for a single residents, a Transfer on Death deed must be signed, notarized and recorded in the deed records of the county where the property is located prior to the death of the grantor. The deed does not go into effect until the property owner dies, and it can be revoked if the property owner wishes.

The property owner still has the same rights of ownership while they are alive, such as getting a property exemption, using the house as collateral on a loan or selling the property.

The Texas Access to Justice Commission has a do-it-yourself Transfer on Death deed kit online that includes the forms and instructions for completing the deeds, a revocation form and an affidavit of death that must be filed when the property owner dies. The kit is available at www.TexasLawHelp.org.

A small estate affidavit is another way to avoid probate court, Stefanos said.

This process is designed for people without a will and must be filed by an attorney within 30 days after a person passes away. The forms and help can be found at the Texas State Law Library at www.sll.texas.gov and www.TexasLawHelp.org.

Attorney Steve Katten will be discussing when to take Social Security, as well as information on disability and survivor benefits, during his session.

“We have people coming in to ask about disability, but they don’t realize they have to have worked 20 of the last 40 quarters to qualify or they can’t get into the system,” he said.

As to when to start Social Security, Katten said many people start at 62 because they think it is the best way to get all the money back they have poured into the system during their work life.

Katten disagrees.

“The full benefit age is 66 now, but it can increase your benefit 5 percent every year after that until age 70,” he said. “I’m a big believer in delaying as long as you can, unless your health is bad, in which case you should take it sooner.”

Sign up for the People’s Law School today. It’s free, and it just might save you some money.
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Full Article & Source:
What to do when an elderly neighbor needs a guardian

Former Congressman sentenced to 10 years

Former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was sentenced Monday to a 10-year prison term by a judge who said he was "astonished" that a veteran legislator would steal government and charity funds to pay his son's debts and buy a vacation home. (Dec. 12) AP

Source:
Former Congressman sentenced to 10 years

Washington state takes new steps to stem epidemic of elder abuse

It’s a crime wave we hear little about — elder abuse.

Most notably, scammers taking advantage of people in their care, often stealing their life savings, other times physically abusing them.

But a new law just passed this week by the Washington state legislature is aiming to curb crime against what some call the ever-growing ranks of the aging known as the “Silver Tsunami.”

Adult Protective Services received more than 7,800 complaints of financial exploitation, and more than 5,400 neglect complaints in 2015 alone, according to Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

That’s why he championed the new law that creates a new category of crime for stealing from vulnerable adults, stiffening penalties and lengthening the statute of limitations from three to six years so prosecutors have more time to bring a case to court.

“Often you don’t even realize your parent has been scammed until well after that period of time has gone by. So our proposal allows for a six-year statute of limitations, creates a separate crime and allows us to prosecute these cases in a much more efficient manner,” Ferguson said.

That’s welcome news to elder advocates like Kirkland attorney Rick Gregorek, an estate and elder law specialist, and host of ‘Your Partner in Law’ on KIRO Radio Sundays at 8 a.m.

He sees the effects every day in his practice. Most troubling, the vast majority of scammers are family members.

“This isn’t the province of any particular demographic group. From people stealing grandma’s $800 social security check – her entire net worth, if you will – all the way up to people stealing millions of dollars. So no one is immune,” Gregorek said.

Gregorek says it’s most disturbing when a supposed loved one is doing the abusing, especially under the guise of taking care of them.

Full Article & Source:
Washington state takes new steps to stem epidemic of elder abuse

Editorial: TN: Funding, Investigative Resources Focus on Elder Abuse

Crimes against the elderly in Shelby County have increased in recent years, and this baffling trend only promises to get more pronounced as Baby Boomers age.

And Memphis' Plough Foundation and the Shelby County district attorney general's office have intensified their efforts to highlight the trend, provide information and step up enforcement.

Since Jan. 1, the Vulnerable Adult Protective Investigative Team, or VAPIT, a special investigative unit at the Shelby County district attorney's office, has been on the front lines in a battle to deal with elder abuse The unit, mandated by state legislation passed last year, requires a multi-disciplinary response team that is led by each county's district attorney to investigate reports of abuse of the elderly and disabled.

"It's not as if our office has never prosecuted elder-abuse claims," said Shelby District Attorney General Amy Weirich. "What is comforting to prosecutors is that the victims now have more support and someone to lean on."

Two years ago Plough committed $3.4 million over three years to fund elder-abuse programs as part of its Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse, or CREA. It was a sizable commitment for Plough, representing 10 percent of its annual grant-making. All elder issues have accounted for up to 40 percent of grant-making the last two years. The goal has been to engage advocates, law enforcement and the community in an effort to stamp out the abuse.

"Our plan was not created in a vacuum and the community helped shape the plan," Masson said.

Since the VAPIT program started Jan. 1, it has reviewed 500 cases that led to four arrests for elder abuse. While there is no comparable set of cases in previous years, Weirich said she would be "shocked if we had 500 for all of last year."

Monday, April 17, 2017

In Depth: New Mexico Supreme Court Forms Commission To Recommend Guardianship System Changes

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Supreme Court issued an order Thursday forming a 16-member commission to study the state’s guardianship system and recommend improvements.

Members of the commission include representatives from the three branches of government, attorneys with a background in guardianship law, and advocates for the interests of the elderly, disabled and others involved in guardianship proceedings.

Court-appointed guardians make personal and health care decisions for individuals who are incapacitated. Conservators are appointed by a court to manage the financial and possibly the property affairs of an incapacitated person, including those who may have dementia, traumatic brain injuries, a developmental disability or mental illness.

The Supreme Court directed the commission to hold hearings to gather public input, and recommend any necessary changes in court rules, state statutes,  funding, administrative practices or other proposals to improve the guardianship system.

The commission is to make an initial status report to the court by Oct. 1, and continue its work until completing a final report and recommendations.

Members of the commission are:

·        Wendy York, an attorney in Albuquerque will chair the commission. She served as a judge on the Second Judicial District from 1997 to 2005, and has worked in a private law firm for the past 12 years as a mediator in cases, including disputes involving family members, protected persons and guardianship organizations.

·        Patricia M. Galindo, the commission vice chair, is a staff attorney for the Administrative Office of the Courts who specializes in issues involving guardians and conservators. Before joining the AOC in 2013, she worked in a private law practice focusing on guardianship cases and represented families in contested civil proceedings.

·        Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Albuquerque, chairman of the Senate Public Affairs Committee, which handles a wide range of legislation ranging from health care issues to matters affecting children and the elderly. He has served in the Senate since 2005, and is a retired social worker.

·        Former Rep. Conrad James, Albuquerque, who sponsored legislation in 2016 for changes in the guardianship system, including a proposal to allow adult children to petition a court to compel visitation with a parent for whom a guardian has not been appointed.

·        Patricia Stelzner, a retired attorney in Albuquerque. She co-founded in 1983 the Senior Citizens’ Law Office, which provides free legal assistance to the elderly. She has represented clients in guardianship cases and worked on legislation involving probate, guardianships and advanced directives.

·        Tim Gardner, legal director of Disability Rights New Mexico, a non-profit group that promotes and protects the rights of people with disabilities.

·        Jorja Armijo-Brasher, director of the Department of Senior Affairs for the city of Albuquerque since 2009. In her position, she oversees six senior centers, two multi-generational centers as well as services and programs for the elderly such as home-delivered meals and transportation assistance.

·        Gaelle McConnell, an attorney in Albuquerque. Her practice concentrates on probate, estate planning, elder law, guardianships and business planning. She serves on the board of the New Mexico Guardianship Association.

·        Second Judicial District Court Judge Nancy J. Franchini, who has served on the court since 2014 and has presided over guardianship and conservatorship cases. She has participated in the court’s Elder and Disability Initiative, which is working to improve the guardianship process and provides training by court staff attorneys for newly appointed guardians and conservators.

·        Sixth Judicial District Court Judge Jarod K. Hofacket, Deming. A significant part of his law practice, before becoming a judge last year, involved probate and estate planning. He has represented family members who petitioned courts to become a guardian or conservator, and has served as a guardian ad litem for protected persons.

·        Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Dustin K. Hunter, Roswell. Before joining the court in 2016, much of his law practice in southeastern New Mexico involved guardianship and domestic relations cases. He is a past member of the board of directors of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of New Mexico.

·        Dr. Samuel Roll, professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico. He was a professor of psychology from 1980 to 2003, and a professor of psychiatry from 1986 to 2002. He was a visiting professor of law at UNM in 1983 and 2005.

·        Jill Johnson Vigil, an attorney in Las Cruces. Her law practice includes guardianship and guardian ad litem representation.

·        Leslie Porter, the governor’s deputy director of policy. She oversees legislation and policy issues involving the Aging and Long-Term Services Department.

·        Stephen Clampett, assistant general counsel to the governor. He handles legal issues and legislation affecting the Aging and Long-Term Services Department.

·        Emily Darnell-Nuñez, Corrales, an early childhood education training and development consultant. Her mother was involved in a contested guardianship.

Full Article & Source:
In Depth: New Mexico Supreme Court Forms Commission To Recommend Guardianship System Changes

Hubbard nursing home employee accused of forging resident's checks

HUBBARD, Ohio - An employee of a Hubbard nursing home faces fifteen criminal charges for allegedly stealing hundreds of dollars from an 89-year-old resident of that facility.
Ashley N. Dawson of Boardman was arraigned Tuesday in Girard Municipal court on one count of burglary, seven counts of forgery and seven counts of theft by deception.

According to a police report, Hubbard City police were called last month by the administrator of Elmwood Assisted Living who believed one of the residents may be the victim of a theft.

Detectives were told that five checks belonging to the elderly resident had been taken and cashed.

Police say the total amount of the suspected forged checks amounted to $2,900 dollars.

Investigators compared the signatures on the checks to the signature on a birthday card given to the victim by Dawson.

The judge set a $12,500 bond for Dawson, but placed her on house arrest until her next hearing on April 13.

Full Article & Source:
Hubbard nursing home employee accused of forging resident's checks