Saturday, December 26, 2009

WI: Incompetent Have Right to Presence of Counsel

A guardian ad litem cannot meet with a represented ward unless the ward’s adversary counsel is present.

On Dec. 22, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed a non-final order that required a ward in guardianship to meet with the GAL alone.

Patricia M. Cavey, an attorney with Milwaukee Disability Law Center, who represents the ward, praised the holding as necessary to protect incompetent persons’ right to counsel and to hold GALs to the same standards as other attorneys.

Too many GALS, Cavey said, act like they are “the king of the courthouse.”

Jennifer M. is an adult woman subject to a limited guardianship. Her father is her guardian, and her parents are divorced. The circuit court has appointed an attorney to be her GAL, and she has also retained her own adversary counsel.

After Jennifer’s mother petitioned to remove the father as guardian, Jennifer moved to dismiss the petition, and to replace the GAL. The circuit court denied Jennifer’s motions, and also entered the following order:

“[Jennifer M.] is ordered to meet with Attorney Franz Maurer, her Guardian ad Litem, one-on-one … within 21 days of this order, to discuss [her] position regarding future contact with her maternal family. The Guardian ad Litem is ordered to report to the Court regarding the best interests of [Jennifer] regarding such future contact, as well as any participation by [Jennifer] in the mediation process initiated by the Guardian and [her] mother.”

The Court of Appeals’ granted Jennifer’s petition for interlocutory review, and reversed, in an opinion by Judge Edward R. Brunner.

Full Article and Source:
GAL Can't Meet Ward Without Attorney - Incompetent Have Right to Presence of Counsel


timlahrman said...

This is a very good ruling.

Generally, the GAL is only illusory "legal" representation.

The duties of the GAL differ from the duties of "legal counsel".

One party cannot be assigned both duties.

There is a very good New Hampshire Supreme Court decision discussing this legal nuance of the GAL.

Kudos to this Wisconsin Court for putting some clarity in this lurky area of the GAL.

StandUp said...

Finally some acknowledgement that the GAL is often the problem in unlawful and abusive guardianships!

timlahrman said...

My GAL cost me upward of 10 million plus ----

He is a judge nowdays ---

Very soon to be an ex-judge, convicted felon.

jerri said...

hey isn't wisconsin one of the few states in the minority that has CLOSED guardianship case files???? i wonder why they want to keep all that information under lock and key of who is involved who is doing what to whom and how much money is being redirected to the guardianship gang hey wisconsin let the sunshine in open those dusty files post haste

Max said...

Yes, timlahrman, the GAL's allegiance to the AIP is an illusion - well put.

Wards should be allowed to hire and fire their own counsel.

GAL's??? Well, I really don't see any need for them.

Max said...

This may be the beginning of WI coming out of the dark ages, jerri!

I hope so.

Barbara said...

The GAL is just another hand wanting money from the estate.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with Attorney Patricia Cavey and the comments posted here.

Well now doesn't this bit of news from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals open the closet door to the truth, the activities of most GAL's?

The GAL's report weighs heavy with the court.

Will you find the GAL's are in collusion with, they are not doing their job for the best interest of the proposed ward / ward, they are in bed (on the same team) with:

1) the petitioner?

2) the petitioner's attorney?

3) the pro guardianship party?


ANSWER: For profit?
Thereby allowing ALL involved to be invited to the wild feeding frenzy, to feed off the proposed wards estate?

Closed guardianship files!

How many states have this dangerous outdated clause in their guardianship statutes?

Would the legislators have us believe this secrecy is for the protection of the WARD?

Or would the legislators be truthful that they were lobbied (bribed) by a parade of probate lawyers, the group that needs the protections for the petitioners, the petitioners lawyers and the guardians?


What are you hiding and why?

Norma said...

$10 mil, timlahrman, that's shocking! And yet more evidence of GAL's not working for the AIP.

I hope to shout that you filed a grievance on your GAL at the time.

timlahrman said...

Norma --- rest assured, I have made a career of this guy.

I will let you know how the litigation goes -- we will be back in court sometime after the holidays I am sure.

timlahrman said...

The book "Behind the Black Robes -- Failed Justice" by Barbara C Johnson has some very good and useful information about the GAL.

I suggest anyone dealing with a GAL read that book, post haste.