Friday, November 14, 2008

The Lost Years

Milous Keith was a blue-collar worker for the city of Columbus for 30 years. A Korean War veteran, he amassed an estate worth nearly $1 million through rental properties and savings, a nest egg upon which he’d hoped to retire comfortably. Never did he think his golden years would be the darkest of his life.

A call to Adult Protective Services landed Keith in a locked-down Alzheimer’s ward for nearly two years. Keith said he never saw a courtroom, never talked to a single judge, never spent time with his appointed guardian.

In less than 15 minutes, Keith lost 22 months of his life and most of his fortune to, what some say, is an overwrought probate court system. Others say it’s a failure by family to take care of their own.

In either case, it’s something that could happen to anyone.

Now, three years later, Milous Keith wants answers. Who was responsible for whittling away his $750,000 fortune to less than $150,000, according to court documents, not to mention his civil rights?

“I’m mad as hell,” said Keith, who now, at 79, lives in an assisted living apartment at Traditions at Mill Run Retirement Homes in Hilliard, where he’s allowed to come and go as he pleases within the facility, though he does wear an alarm that alerts staff when he leaves the building.

"The position that I’m in, I can’t get a fair deal."

Keith has filed a civil lawsuit against the firm Wiles, Boyle Burkholder & Bringardner, two of the firm’s attorneys—Daniel Bringardner and Jim Hughes. The suit claims the defendants acted together to deny him his rights and misrepresented information to the court, such as the value of his home.

Keith's attorney: "I want his estate be reconstituted and the return of properties that should not have been taken, or at least the equivalent value."

Judge Belskis takes offense at the idea that the probate court system didn’t properly oversee the case. "The court had to act quickly, Once Keith was assigned a guardian to care for him, it was his guardian’s responsibility to act in his best interest."

Full Article and Source:
The Lost Years

Probate Investigation

Court Administrator Paul Knierim said he will investigate a controversial Greenwich probate case where family members say Marilyn Plank, an elderly Michigan woman, has been held against her will in Connecticut.

Knierim said the law requires the courts to pay specific attention to the rights of a person who faces conservation by probate court, particularly when it comes to jurisdiction. People under conservatorship lose virtually all of their civil rights.

Plank, 85, was brought to Connecticut from Michigan under questionable circumstances in May of 2007 by one of her daughters. Plank's court-appointed conservator, and other family members, have challenged Greenwich Probate Judge David Hopper's decision to approve her move here.

Plank is not a resident of Connecticut.

Probate Court Administrator will review a controversial Greenwich case

GREENWICH: Official To Investigate Controversial Probate Case

Motion to Vacate:
Motion To Vacate Decree Appointing Temporary Conservator And To Dismiss Application For Appointment Of Conservator

Conservators Brief:
Conservators Brief In Support Of Report To Change Residence

See also:
Probate-Sanctioned Kidnapping

Judge Knierim in charge

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Judge Gets Prison Time

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price sentenced Covington County’s former probate judge to three years imprisonment. Sherrie Phillips was convicted of first-degree theft by deception, by knowingly obtaining unauthorized control of a check for $1.8 million or any proceeds of the check, which was the property of the estate of Cary Douglas Piper and/or the State of Alabama.

Her attorneys were hoping Phillips would just get probation. Prosecutors wanted prison time, arguing she has expressed no remorse for her wrong doing.

The judge ended up giving her a 10-year split sentence with three years’ imprisonment to be served concurrently. Price also ordered Phillips to pay $5,000 in victims' compensation, court costs, and to repay the $917 difference in the amounts taken from the $1.8 million Piper account and the amount repaid when investigators started asking questions about the estate. Following her incarceration, she will have three years of supervised probation, and will remain on probation for an additional four years.

Judge: "She must serve three of the ten years because greed had taken over and as a public official she had violated the public trust. Anytime you have a public - you're elected to public office you're held to a higher standard than a normal citizen."

Phillips left the Covington County Courthouse in the custody of the sheriff’s department but is free on an appeal bond.

Former Covington County Probate Judge Gets Three Years in Prison

Phillips gets 3 years in jail - Former judge out on bond pending her appeal

See also:
Others Feel Victimized

Probate Judge Convicted

Judge on Trial

Judge Arrested on Ethics Charges

Probate Judge or Not

Petition to Reopen Estate

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Registered Guardian Forcing ECT

Say "no" to mental health system censorship!

Human Rights Alert: Involuntary Electroshock
by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

The past Wednesday morning after the historic USA election what were you doing?

I know what Ray Sandford, 54, was doing.

Each and every Wednesday, early in the morning, staff shows up at Ray's sheltered living home called Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis.

Staff escorts Ray the 15 miles to Mercy Hospital.

There, Ray is given another of his weekly electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments, also known as electroshock. All against his will. On an outpatient basis.

And it's been going on for months.

Ray says the weekly forced electroshock "scary as hell." He absolutely opposes having the procedure. He says it's causing poor memory for names such as of friends and his favorite niece. "What am I supposed to do, run away?" Instead, Ray phoned his local library's reference desk to ask about human rights groups, and the librarian referred him to MindFreedom International.

Ray called me at our office here at MindFreedom International about two weeks ago. At first I wasn't sure I believed him.

Of course, MindFreedom International has documented proven cases of electroshock against the expressed wishes of the subject all over the world, including in the USA. MindFreedom succeeded in having the United Nations World Health Organization call in writing for a global ban on all involuntary electroshock.

But this is the first time I've been on the phone with someone getting court-ordered forced shock while living out in the community, on an outpatient basis.

This is the ultimate double whammy.

I confirmed Ray's story by calling two staff at Victory House as well as his court-appointed conservator, Tonya Wilhelm of Luthern Support Services of Minnesota.

Ms. Wilhelm said, "We are following the letter of the law." She said the State of Minnesota had secured a variety of court orders that require Ray to have forced electroshock against his expressed wishes. Ms. Wilehlm says it's all legal and she can't do anything about it.

Krista Erickson, chair of MindFreedom's Shield Campaign, sees it differently. "This is terrible. This is a serious human rights violation that should stop. I hope MindFreedom members and supporters speak out. Even if Minnesota is following the letter of the current law, the law ought to be changed. And Ray has not had the legal power to appeal to higher courts."

I pointed out to Conservator Wilhelm that the public -- when they find out about forced electroshock -- is passionately opposed to their taxpayer money being used to force such brutality on citizens. Ms. Wilhelm did let slip that what is happening to Ray -- involuntary outpatient electroshock -- is not that uncommon in Minnesota.

But when Ms. Wilhelm found out we at MindFreedom are issuing one of our public human rights alert to you and others at Ray's repeated request, she said something amazing.

Ms. Wilhelm claimed she had a legal right to stop us!

Ms. Wilhelm told me, "Only I can give you permission legally to say anything publicly about this."

I pointed out we are not a medical facility, and that if she falsely claims we're doing anything illegal then this is defamation. Which really is illegal.

Ms. Wilhelm laughed loudly in the phone, said "let our lawyers talk," and hung up on me. I hope she hung up and read the First Amendment.

Let's disobey Ms. Wilhelm!

Spread Ray's alert far and wide!

Speak out against this electrical torture, now!

Because... Remember...

If it's Wednesday morning, then Ray Sandford is being led from his home -- which is supposed to be his castle -- to get another weekly forced procedure that can wipe out memories and cause brain damage.

Mind Your Freedom!

Disobey Ray's conservator now!

Forward this alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet, IMMEDIATELY!

And take the below actions.

Thank you!
David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

* * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * *

E-mail your firm but polite message to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
E-mail address:
Or use this handy web form:


1) E-mail a complaint to Luthern Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN) about Ray's conservator
Use LSSMN's web page:
Or phone Luthern Social Services at: 218-726-4888

You can copy your message to headquarters of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA):

2) E-mail a complaint to Allina Hospital and Clinics, owner of Mercy Hospital
Use this web page:
Or phone: (763) 236-6000

3) Ray is open to visitors and supportive postal mail:
Ray Sandford
Victory House
4427 Monroe St.
Columbia Heights, MN 55421-2880 USA

Source: If it's Wednesday, then Ray Sandford is Getting Escorted from His Home for Another Forced Electroshock - Minnesota Resident Gets Involuntary Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) On A Weekly Ongoing *Outpatient* Basis

See also:
Forced ECT is Wrong in Minnesota, World

More on Electroshock: Click Here

Tonya Wilhelm is a registered guardian at Center For Guardianship Certification

CACI Violates Due Process

Craig and Wendy Humphries were accused of abuse by a rebellious 15-year-old daughter, were arrested and had other children taken away. A doctor confirmed the charges were false; the state dismissed the criminal case, and a court found them "factually innocent" of the charges. Their records were sealed and destroyed, but they were still identified on the CACI list as suspected abusers, and the charges were listed as "substantiated."

The California Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) reports suspected abuse and severe neglect collected from police reports and child welfare investigations.

A federal appeals court held that California's use of a list of "suspected child abusers" violates constitutional due process protections because those identified are given no fair opportunity to challenge the claims and get off the list.

According to Judge Jay Bybee, writing for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the state includes the substantiated and "inconclusive" reports on the list of suspected child abusers, and CACI has no procedure for challenging a listing.

The court held that the state created both a stigma and a tangible burden on individuals' ability to obtain their rights and burdened their liberty interests.

Calif.'s 'suspected child abusers' list violates due process, 9th Circuit rules

See also:
Humphries v. County of Los Angeles

Index of child-abuser suspects is struck down

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Probate-Sanctioned Kidnapping

Marilyn Plank, a mentally and physically fragile woman and lifelong resident of Michigan, was stealthily moved to Greenwich by two of her daughters via private jet in May 2007. She was not a resident of the state of Connecticut. She does not want to be here.

But with the assistance of some slick lawyering, daughter Linda Higgins took control of her mother's assets. Along with another sister, she brought her mother to Greenwich, unbeknownst to three other sisters living elsewhere. One of seven children fighting over control of the family's 1,600-acre ranch in Michigan, Higgins moved the elderly Plank to an assisted living facility in Greenwich. Just days before, she signed a lease in Plank's name.

Within days of her arrival in May 2007, Greenwich Probate Judge David Hopper appointed Linda Higgins as temporary "conservator of the person" for her mother, based on the fact that there was a lease with Plank's name on it. That means Plank lost her civil rights.

Superior Court Judge Joseph T. Gormley Jr. stated in 2006 in the infamous case of Daniel Gross: "The statute is absolutely clear, You can't appoint a conservator of someone's person unless that person is domiciled in the state of Connecticut or resides in the state of Connecticut."

Judge Hopper has had numerous chances to correct the mistake of May 2007. For the last eight months, even the plea of a permanent conservator appointed in July 2007 has gone unanswered. Meanwhile, Plank's expensive care in Connecticut — about $9,000 per month at the Greenwich facility — and the fees of numerous lawyers working at $300 and $400 an hour have steadily depleted her estate.

Richard J. Margenot, conservator: "every day spent in Connecticut puts Mrs. Plank deeper into financial chaos."

Rick Green's column appears on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at Rick Green's blog is at

Full Article and Source:
Another Connecticut Probate Victim

See also:
Connecticut Probate Injustice

More Connecticut Probate Abuse

Shameful Connecticut Probate

Fishy Smell in Connecticut

Making Out Like Bandits

Monday, November 10, 2008

Protective Order Against Judge

Probate Judge Paul Ganim was ordered to stay away from his home by a Superior Court judge following his arrest on domestic violence charges.

The protective order on Ganim prevents him from going to his home unescorted and prevents him from having any contact with his wife. Ganim, in his role as probate judge, will also not be allowed to hear cases involving children.

Ganim was charged with breach of peace and risk of injury to children. He is free on $15,000 bond.

Full Article and Source:
Protective order issued against Ganim - Probate judge charged in domestic dispute

See also:
Paul Ganim faces domestic charges

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Top Ten Excuses

Are you or your family member a victim of guardianship or conservatorship abuse that has attempted to receive justice for the unjust acts committed against you and your family? When seeking restitution, has every person you contacted refused to help?

It is an old song, out of tune, but still on their list of greatest hits

Here are the top ten excuses as reported to the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse:

1."Its a court matter." (law enforcement agencies)

2."Its a state matter." (congressperson)

3."Its been going on a long time."

4."How did this all begin? You must have done something wrong."

5."You must be leaving something out. What you are saying doesn't make sense."

6."The guardian and conservator were appointed by a court; right?"

7."This is the wrong agency, get a hold of the attorney generals office. Good luck."

8."We don't handle elder abuse allegations. Get a hold of AARP, elder watch...." (Attorney Generals office)

9."We called the Social Services and they said you must have done something wrong or the court would never have put your parent in a guardianship. And in any case it's in the courts so we can do nothing." (advocacy and governmental agencies)

10."So what do you want me to do? I'm a state legislator; I make laws."