Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ex-Judge Loses $50 K Judgment

A one-time legal assistant to ousted District Judge Elizabeth Halverson won a $50,000 judgment Tuesday in the defamation case she filed against Halverson in 2007.

District Judge David Wall on Tuesday ordered Halverson to pay the money and to return files to the assistant, Ileen Spoor. However, Wall denied Spoor’s claim for $100,000 in punitive damages.

Halverson did not attend the proceedings. Unless an appeal is filed, the order effectively ended the civil lawsuit against her.

Spoor alleged in her lawsuit that she was defamed and placed in a false light, contending the judge lied about her to the media by saying Spoor illegally fixed tickets.

Spoor also said Halverson took her Rolodex and files.

Halverson was found liable in September after she failed to show up for several court appearances.

She has been representing herself since January, after two law firms hired by her were allowed to withdraw as counsel because she wasn’t paying them.

Spoor said she is relieved the case is over.

“I feel good about this,” she said.

Halverson took the bench in early 2007. Soon after she began serving, she was accused of harassing staff and mishandling trials, among other allegations.

The Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission removed her from the bench in November 2008 and permanently barred her from serving as a judge.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-Judge Halverson Ordered to Pay Former Assitant $50,000

'Kids-for-Cash" Judges Ask for Delay

Kids-for-cash judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan have asked a federal judge to put a hold on civil-rights actions filed by hundreds of former juvenile court defendants, arguing that mounting a defense in the civil cases would reveal information that could help prosecutors in their upcoming racketeering trial.

Ciavarella, 59, and Conahan, 57, are accused of accepting $2.8 million for directing county contracts and juvenile offenders to two for-profit detention centers. The former judges are expected to stand trial in U.S. District Court next year.

Hundreds of former defendants in Luzerne County Juvenile Court who argue they were unjustly imprisoned and denied their right to counsel as part of the alleged kids-for-cash scheme have sued Ciavarella, Conahan and other entities and individuals implicated in the scandal.

U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo gave the judges, who are representing themselves in the civil-rights cases, until Monday to file responses to those suits. Instead they filed motions seeking to put off their responses while the criminal charges are pending, effectively stalling the civil cases.

"Many of the allegations, if not all of the allegations" in the civil cases "are the same or similar to the allegations raised by" federal prosecutors in the criminal case, the judges argued in separate, but nearly identical motions.

Requiring responses to the civil suits now would jeopardize the former judges' Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and "expose the basis of defendant's defense to the prosecution in advance of a criminal trial," the motions say. On the other hand, the plaintiffs in the civil cases will not be unduly harmed by a delay, the motions argue.

Full Article and Source:
Former Judges Ask For Delay in Civil Rights Suits

"A 'Breakdown" in the State's Oversight

The state court administrator conceded Tuesday that a "breakdown" occurred in the state's oversight of the Luzerne County court system, where former Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. routinely violated juveniles' rights as he and former Judge Michael T. Conahan were allegedly pocketing $2.8 million from backers of for-profit juvenile detention centers.

But, the responsibility for stopping Ciavarella and Conahan also rested with the judges, attorneys and residents who sat quiet and failed to inform state officials about the former judges' alleged conduct, state Court Administrator Zygmont A. Pines told a state panel investigating the kids-for-cash scandal.

"Obviously we were not made aware of the criminal conduct," Pines told the 11-member Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice. "We were not made aware, for whatever reason, of how juvenile cases were being disposed of in Luzerne County. To that extent, there was a breakdown, because obviously you cannot rectify a problem you are not made aware of."

Another state agency, responsible for investigating and prosecuting charges of judicial misconduct, had been aware of Ciavarella and Conahan's alleged abuses as early as September 2006, but failed to take any official action or disclose the allegations to Pines' office.

The agency, the state Judicial Conduct Board, received an anonymous complaint accusing Conahan and Ciavarella of nepotism, cronyism and case-fixing, but kept it secret for nearly two years, until federal prosecutors requested a copy in June or July 2008, board member Edwin L. Klett told the panel.

Board members never saw the complaint until after it was leaked to the media, in September 2008, Klett said.

Full Article and Source:
Court Administrator, Conduct Board Blame 'Breakdown' of Awareness

Luzerne County May Have to Repay Funds

Luzerne County may have to repay $27,979 in state funding because of problems with the way the previous court administration handled payments for guardian services involving children removed from their homes due to alleged abuse and neglect.

The finding stems from a state Department of Public Welfare audit. The county administration requested the audit after suspicions that some state funding may not have been used for the intended purpose.

The audit challenges $27,979 in state reimbursements because the county did not track or document some of the costs of guardian services. The county also obtained state reimbursement higher than the allowable rate from 2003 through 2006, the audit said.

The audit also found the previous court administration used state funding earmarked for guardian ad litem services to pay Orphan’s Court worker Michael Shucosky, also an attorney, more than $200,000 for additional work as a court master. A master presides over some court actions in place of a judge.

Children were represented, but the guardianship work was performed by John Bellino, the county’s $50,230-per-year staff guardian ad litem, since 2000.

The audit says the county paid Shucosky $481,745 from 2004 through 2008 for three different jobs – court master, contracted mental health hearing officer and a county Orphan’s Court employee. The court removed Shucosky from the mental health hearing officer post after the state’s draft audit was released in August.

Full Article and Source:
County May Have to Repay $27,979

Friday, December 11, 2009

Three Arrests in Public Guardian's Office

The Michigan State Police’s investigation into the Arenac County Public Guardian Office, which began in June, has led to three arrests.

A statement from the Ogemaw County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office issued Dec. 9 said over $300,000 worth of misappropriated funds from approximately 50 clients, during the years 1999 to 2009, was uncovered by the MSP investigation.

According to Detective Sergeant David Rivard, of the West Branch State Police Post, public guardian Robert Romps was arrested by the Michigan State Police on Dec. 8, along with Sherilyn Jones, the public guardian Romps replaced who was fired in August while her office was under investigation for criminal activity by the Michigan State Police and being audited by the Michigan Treasury Department. Jones’ mother, Sally Lebeau, was also arrested.

Charges against Jones include one count of criminal enterprise; two counts of embezzlement by a public official; one count of embezzlement from vulnerable adults; and one count of conspiring to embezzle over $200 but less than $1,000. If convicted, the penalty could be a maximum of 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $100,000.

Romps faces one count of embezzlement by a public official over $50, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or $5,000.

Lebeau was charged with conspiring to embezzle over $200 but less than $1,000. She could face up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $2,000 or three times the amount embezzled (greater amount), if convicted.

Lebeau is scheduled to appear in the 81st District Court on Dec. 16. She was given a personal recognizance bond in the amount $7,5000. Jones’ bond was set at $25,000 cash or 10 percent surety. She’s scheduled for a status conference on Dec. 14 and preliminary examination on Dec. 21. Romps, who was given a personal recognizance bond in the amount of $7,500, is scheduled to appear in court on the same dates and times as Jones. District Court Judge Allen Yenior has been assigned all three cases.

Romps fired Dec. 8, county moving away from guardian position.

Arenac County Public Guardian Robert Romps started working as the county’s guardian on Sept. 3 and was terminated the evening of Dec. 8 during a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

After going into a closed session to discuss the personnel matter, the board opened the meeting once again to announce the firing of Romps.

Full Article and Source:
Embezzlement Charges Filed Against County Public Guardians

See Also:
County Cuts Ties With Public Guardian

Lawyer Disbarred for Theft in Client Funds

A Jacksonville lawyer already in jail on grand theft charges was disbarred in the theft of $220,000 in client funds, The Florida Bar said Monday.

Pursuant to an order of the Florida Supreme Court, Stephen Edward Silkowski also was ordered to pay $228,000 in restitution to Don Drinkwater. He reported to the Bar last year that his proceeds from a condemnation settlement were being improperly held by Silkowski.

Silkowski, 45, altered trust account records to try to show that the money was still there, the Bar said.

A lawyer since 1991, Silkowski is a former president of the Jacksonville Mensa chapter. He is in the Duval County jail in lieu of $10,000 bail and claimed in court to be indigent.

According to an arrest report, the Bar referred Silkowski’s case to prosecutors in February. The file included numerous letters and e-mails from Silkowski to Drinkwater attempting to explain why the money hadn’t been paid, State Attorney’s Office investigator Leon Ortagus said in an arrest warrant affidavit.

The day before the Bar was to audit Silkowski’s books, he sent a forged doctor’s letter in an attempt to delay the audit, state Supreme Court records show. The next day he e-mailed the Bar.

“You caught me. If possible I would like to resign pending disbarment or similar. I will cooperate fully,” he wrote. “ I have already begun de-lawyering. ... Just tell me what to do — I will not fight it.”

But when the Bar conducted the audit, trust account bank statements had been altered to show balances nearly $300,000 higher than the actual amount. Ortagus said $220,000 of Drinkwater’s money was unaccounted for and $121,000 worth of checks had been written to Silkowski from the account.

Supreme Court records show Silkowski didn’t contest disbarment and pledged to try to make restitution to Drinkwater. He faces a maximum 30-year sentence if convicted of grand theft.

Full Article and Source:
Jacksonville Lawyer Disbarred for Taking $200,000 From Clients

Hibbert Gets 24 Months Probation

Former Adams County Board member John Hibbert of Paloma was sentenced to 24 months probation Monday morning by Judge Michael Roseberry.

Hibbert was found guilty in October of theft of more than $10,000 and exploitation of an elderly person, both Class 2 felonies.

"I just don't see this as a case where a Department of Corrections sentence is appropriate," Roseberry said. "I don't believe society or yourself are served by a Department of Corrections sentence."

Roseberry also said he believed letting Hibbert off without jail time would have no effect if someone else decided to attempt the same crime as Hibbert performed.

Hibbert, 67, transferred more than $200,000 from 93-year-old Eleanor Lutes' bank accounts to accounts of belonging to other family members and himself after getting Lutes to sign a Power of Attorney. Lutes testified in October that she had no intention of signing all of her assets over to Hibbert when she signed the Power of Attorney.

The money was returned to Lutes' accounts and Hibbert will have to pay her $1,130 to reimburse the cost of the early withdrawl penalty she suffered. Hibbert will also have to pay $2,500 in court costs and $25 a month as long as he is on probation.

Following his sentence, Hibbert told the court "I apologize for any inconvienence. I have learned a lesson: I will have no dealings with powers of attorney."

If Hibbert sucessfully completes 12 months of probation and performs 100 hours of community service, the second year of probation will be dropped.

Full Article and Source:
Hibbert Gets 24 Months Probation


"Octomom" Nadya Suleman wasn't in the courtroom Wednesday for a hearing on the effort by an advocacy group to gain guardianship over her eight children.

An Orange County judge ruled earlier this year that the advocacy group for child actors could move forward with its effort to have a guardian appointed to oversee the financial interests of "Octomom" Nadya Suleman's children.

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred says that Suleman's children deserve an independent guardian as Suleman puts them under the spotlight of money-making reality television, including a mini- documentary.

At Wednesday's hearing, Suleman's attorney, Arthur LaCilento, argued that plaintiff Paul Petersen, president of "A Minor Consideration" and a cast member of the old TV series "The Donna Reed Show," lacks legal standing in the case.

Allred, who's representing Petersen, cited a California Probate Code which states "a relative or other person on behalf of the minor" may file a petition seeking guardianship.

Suleman had hoped the judge would dismiss efforts to appoint a guardian to oversee the financial interests of her children.

Full Article and Source:
Hearing Held in Nadya Suleman Guardianship Case

See Also:
No Social Services Investigation for Nadya Suleman

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Passing of Maydelle G. Trambarulo

Maydelle G. Trambarulo, 79, of Monroe Township, passed away peacefully Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009, at home. Born in Danville, Ky., she lived in Red Bank for over 40 years. She was active in St James Church, Red Bank, where she was also a realtor for many years. She was a member of the Altar Rosary Society, the Red Bank Board of Education, the Shrewsbury Garden Club, and the Bell Labs Friendship Group.

She is survived by Ralph, her devoted husband of 53 years; three daughters, Anne Haines, Alice Wright, and Margaret Goss; two sons-in-law, John Haines and Dave Goss; a son, Paul, his partner, Brian Pincin; and seven grandchildren, John, Daniel and Stephen Haines, Ali and Ryan Wright, and Briyah and Twia Goss.

Memorial donations may be made to the Christian Appalachian Project either by phone @ 866-270-4227 or online @

See Also:
Maydelle Trambarulo

Great Escapes

Life Settlements: Risks to the Elderly

Life settlements is a multibillion dollar industry. A recent research report estimated that in 2008, the life settlement industry transacted business involving $12 billion worth of US life insurance policies’ face values.

However, some academics and practitioners have questioned the validity of these figures given that life settlement providers are not required to report the volume of policies purchased to a central depository, and estimate that the potential life settlement market could exceed $160 billion.

While life settlements may be a valuable way for seniors to derive previously inaccessible economic value from their life insurance policies, recent news reports, complaints by state law enforcement, and notices from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have highlighted the dangers that life settlements may pose to the elderly.

Given these potential dangers and in response to numerous reports of industry misconduct and improper marketing, the US Senate Special Committee on Aging recently initiated an investigation into the composition and business practices of life settlement providers.

The committee’s preliminary findings indicate:

(1) life settlements may create unintended consequences for seniors;
(2) the Internal Revenue Service has not clarified life settlements’ tax liabilities;
(3) most state securities regulators consider life settlement investments to be securities while the Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to clarify its position; and
(4) states are taking action to increase transparency in the life settlements market, but lack consistency.

The study can be found on

Life Settlements: Risks to the Elderly

Disbarred Attorney Indicted

A Portland attorney who was recently disbarred has been indicted under accusations of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in client money.

Michael Robert Shinn, 62, was briefly booked into the Multnomah County jail system at 9:57 a.m. Monday, before being released pending trial. He was arraigned on one count of first-degree aggravated theft for allegedly stealing settlement money he negotiated for two clients, Eric Rhodes and Max Doblie.

The prominent personal-injury lawyer was disbarred in September, after a trial before a three-judge disciplinary panel for the Oregon Supreme Court. That ended his 36-year legal career.

Full Article and Source:
Disbarred Attorney Indicted on Accusations He Stole From Clients

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Isabelle Jessich: "My Sweet Home!"

On Tuesday morning, Isabelle Jessich stood on shaky legs in the driveway of her Edina home and held out her arms to her smiling teenage daughter.

"Hello everybody," Jessich shouted. "My sweet home!"

Jessich, 56, had longed for this homecoming ever since she was taken to a hospital in June 2008, malnourished, disoriented and weakened by alcoholism. She thought it would come sooner. She has been sober for more than a year, and in May, her doctor pronounced her ready to live in her own house once again. Jessich was desperate to take care of her daughter, Allison, who was left to fend for herself after her mother was institutionalized.

But Jessich was legally barred from making the decision to go home. Where she lived, and virtually all other major life choices, were under the control of a professional guardian, Joseph Vogel, who was appointed to the case last year when a Hennepin County judge determined Jessich was incapacitated.

Vogel never earned the trust of Jessich, who found that the more she fought to regain her rights, the harder the system fought to keep her a ward of the state. For months she languished in the Robbinsdale Rehab and Care Center nursing home, feeling more like a prisoner than a patient.

After the Star Tribune published an Aug. 23 story about Jessich's situation, she felt a gradual easing of the guardian's restrictions. This fall, she began going home on weekends, and she spent Thanksgiving with her family. Her next step, according to updates from her guardian and staff at the nursing home, would be a move to a group home.

But last week, a social worker gave Jessich stunning news. On Dec. 1, she would go home. Jessich said no one explained what had changed.

On Tuesday morning, Vogel, who remains in control of her affairs, handed Jessich her driver's license and a piece of paper detailing the approximately $200 per week she would receive for expenses.

Vogel, who previously said it was either unsafe or too costly for Jessich to go home, refused to explain his change of mind.

"I think the best thing to say now is nothing at all," Vogel said Tuesday.

Full Article and Source:
Isabelle Jessich: Happy Return to "My Sweet Home!"

See Also:
Editorial: Protective Services Outdated

"I feel like I'm in jail"

Britney's Conservatorship to End?

Britney Spears is set to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in a bid to determine whether she is fit to regain control of her affairs, according to a U.S. report.

The singer's father, Jamie, was made conservator of her estate after the 2008 meltdown which saw her hospitalised on an involuntary psychiatric hold.

Jamie filed legal papers over the summer (Jun09) suggesting he would remain guardian until the end of 2009, when the courts will decide whether Spears is fit to take back control.

Full Article and Source:
Spears Conservatorship Set to End - Report

Editorial: Judges' Beaches Made of Quicksand

Who has not been smitten by the seashore? The majesty of the ocean, the fresh salt breeze and the relaxed lifestyle are indeed intoxicating. It's an attraction rendered inaccessible to most of us, except for brief periods, by multimillion-dollar real estate prices.

The beach seems to have a particularly magnetic effect on some former and soon-to-be former members of the Luzerne County Court.

Judge Michael T. Toole is the latest judge to find that ill-gotten access to some of that high-priced shore-side real estate is a beach made of moral and legal quicksand.

He is the third Luzerne County judge to sacrifice his reputation, legal career and justice itself in order to rub shoulders with legitimate millionaires at some tony seaside retreats.

Judge Toole has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges that he made biased rulings in favor of a lawyer who allowed him free use of a beach house, apparently at the New Jersey shore, and to failing to pay taxes on $30,000 he received from another lawyer.

Federal judges who handle the potential sentences for Judge Toole, and for Mr. Conahan and Mr. Ciavarella if they are convicted, must heed the Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. But, given the wayward judges' proclivity for the seaside, nice cells at a desert locale would be appropriate punishment.

Full Editorial and Source:
Judges' Beaches Made of Quicksand

See Also:
Third Luzerne County Court Judge Charged With Corruption

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Larry Speakes Estate Ruling Disputed

Was former White House press secretary Larry Speakes, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, abducted from his wife's care in 2008? Or had she already neglected and abandoned him?The state Supreme Court could hear the family feud over who oversees the care and $1 million estate of this Mississippi native. It depends on whether justices agree to hear the appeal by Speakes' wife, who is fighting a Bolivar County Chancery Court ruling that awarded conservatorship to Speakes' daughter, Sondra Lanell Speakes Huerta of Cleveland.

Jack Andrews of Kentucky, one of the attorneys for Speakes' wife, said she was never notified of an August 2008 hearing in which the judge granted the conservatorship. Speakes, 70, has hardly been able to speak to his wife since he's been abducted, he said. "The spouse of a prisoner on death row has greater rights than the wife has been given to communicate with her husband in this case."

Jamie Jacks of Cleveland, Huerta's attorney, said Speakes' wife, Aleta Sindelar, previously agreed to terms that limited her contact to two phone calls a week and a 30-day written notice for any supervised visitation in exchange for forgiving most of the $120,000 Sindelar took from Speakes' accounts or borrowed after he was diagnosed in February 2008 with Alzheimer's.

Full Article and Source:
Speakes Estate Ruling Disputed

See Also:
Twist in Speakes Battle

Allowing Elder Abuse Victims to Testify

State Rep. Sharon Tyler this week voted to allow vulnerable adults who are victims in a violent crime to testify by pre-recorded video or closed circuit television.

“Elder abuse is usually committed by someone close to the victim – a family member or trusted caregiver,” said Tyler, of Niles. “Allowing victims to address the court through closed circuit television or pre-recorded testimony will allow them to testify without fear or being intimidated.”

An individual over age 18 is considered a vulnerable adult when age, mental illness or other disability necessitates the person receive supervision or personal care. Under current law, children and the developmentally disabled are provided similar rights in abuse trials.

“This is an important tool that will allow prosecutors to better go after those who target our most vulnerable citizens, and hopefully will encourage more victims to come forward,” Tyler said.

Full Article and Source:
Tyler Votes to Allow Victims of Elder Abuse to Testify

Charged with Exploitation of Vulnerable Adult

A former Hettinger County resident has been charged for allegedly exploiting a vulnerable adult earlier this year. A preliminary hearing was held for Gregory Goetz, 47, Thursday.

James Gion, Hettinger County state’s attorney, said neither Goetz nor his wife presently reside in Hettinger County. Clarence Tuhy, Stark County sheriff, said Goetz resides in Richardton.

Goetz is out on a $50,000 surety bond, Gion said.

Goetz was appointed as the conservator of his wife and is accused of obtaining or using money held in a conservatorship, according to a Hettinger County criminal complaint.

In August, Goetz was put in charge of about $270,000 which belonged to his wife, said Pat Helfrich, special agent of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, at the hearing.

The money, which reportedly came from a legal settlement in Alaska, was put into a bank account, Helfrich said. However, the money was then removed from the bank account, he said.

“… the money had been taken out in cash and it was put in a safe,” Helfrich said. “According to the report from (Goetz’s wife), the bank strongly suggested not doing so, but she said that Greg insisted.”

Approximately $41,000 is left of the money, Helfrich said.

The money was reportedly spent on several items, such as vehicles, a trip to Las Vegas and dental work. Goetz also is accused of giving some of the money to his girlfriend and his ex-wife, Helfrich said.

Full Article and Source:
Area Man Charged With Exploitation

Monday, December 7, 2009

Family Feud & the L'Oreal Billions

The daughter of Europe's richest woman has asked that her mother be placed under judicial supervision, BBC News reported.

Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, 56, insists that her 87-year-old mother's lavish gifts to a friend -- totaling about $1.5 billion -- raise serious questions about her state of mind.

Liliane Bettencourt's fortune derives from her sizable stake in cosmetics giant L'Oreal. In 2009, Forbes estimated her worth at $13.4 billion, and declared her the 21st richest person on the planet.

Such wealth would seem to be virtually inexhaustible. But over the last few years, said the BBC, Bettencourt has showered huge quantities of money and gifts upon Francois-Marie Banier, a 62-year-old photographer and artist.

Bettencourt-Meyers has pressed charges against Banier, accusing him of manipulating her elderly mother and treating the cosmetics heiress as a human ATM. That case will come to court next week, said the BBC.

If convicted, Banier could serve up to three years in prison, said The New York Times. The charge is what the French call "abus de faiblesse" -- the exploitation of physical or psychological weakness for personal gain.

Full Article and Source:
Family Feud Over L'Oreal Billions

See Also:
Bitter L'Oreal Family Feud Set to Get Court Hearing

Hibbert Resigns

John Hibbert of Paloma has submitted his resignation from the Adams County Board.

Hibbert, a Republican representing District 6 for the past seven years, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday for his conviction in an October jury trial on a charge of financial exploitation of an elderly person and theft over $10,000.

Anyone convicted of a felony is ineligible to serve on a county board, so Hibbert had until Monday to resign or be tossed out of office. He opted to resign.

“It was expected,” said Adams County Board Chairman Mike McLaughlin, who received a letter of resignation from Hibbert postmarked Nov. 25.

Hibbert was found guilty after a two-day trial of taking about $210,000 in November 2008 from a longtime friend and neighbor, Eleanor Lutes, 93. The jury deliberated for 80 minutes before returning a guilty verdict.

Hibbert could face a prison term of up to 15 years, but there is a strong possibility he could receive probation.

Full Article and Source:
Hibbert Resigns From Adam's County Board as Monday's Sentencing Looms

See Also:
County Board Member Guilty of Exploitation

Business Owner Accused of Swindle

A St. Peters business owner is accused of swindling an elderly woman with Alzheimers out of $41,000.

50-year old Kevin Cullinan was arrested this week - he's owned and operated KC's Clock Shop for 20 years.

Police say they've received some 30 additional complaints against Cullinan since his arrest.In fact, St. Peters police spokesperson Melissa Doss tells KMOX News the ongoing case has grown so big they've turned it over to the state.

"We're asking from this point forward for people to contact the Missouri Attorney General's office," Doss explains.

Their hotline number is 1-800-392-8222.

Cullinan is no stranger to controversy, having had 20 civil suits filed against him over the past decade.

Cullinan's being held on a $35,000 cash-only bond, charged with financial exploitation of the elderly, seven counts of stealing by deceit and one count of attempted stealing.

They are all felony offenses.

Full Article and Source:
St. Peters Business Owner Charged With Scamming Elderly Customer

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sara Harvey Protests for Visitation With Her Husband

YouTube: Sara Harvey Protests to be Reunited with Dying Husband Gary

See Also:
"They Won't Let Me See My Husband"

Judge Disciplined for Second Time

For the second time in a decade, the state judicial conduct agency has disciplined San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert C. Coates for using his stature as a judge for personal matters.

The sharply worded public admonishment (PDF) handed down by the state Commission on Judicial Performance faulted Coates for using his judicial office and court resources on personal and non-court matters.

A public admonishment is the third-most-serious discipline the commission can hand out to a judge, behind censure and removal from the bench.

Coates was rebuked for similar conduct by the commission in 2000, and that past transgression was pointedly noted in the commission’s findings. It said that after that discipline, Coates had been counseled by presiding judges in San Diego and an ethics committee of the state judges association.

“Judges Coates’ recalcitrance manifests indifference toward the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary that results from irresponsible behavior by judges,” according to a statement from the commission. Coates was faulted for using judicial resources — including stationery, faxes and court employees — as well as the “prestige of judicial office” for his personal concerns when he wrote four letters in 2007 and 2008.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Disciplined for Misusing Office