Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fmr. Judge Larry Seidlin Settles Lawsuit

The civil case accusing former Broward Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin of fleecing a wealthy, widowed neighbor of money and property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars has been resolved by way of a confidential settlement, according to one of the attorneys involved in the case.

Barbara M. Kasler, who lived in the same Fort Lauderdale condo as the onetime judge, his family and in-laws, died Nov. 7, 2010, at age 84.

A confidential mediation settlement agreement was signed by the parties in September and October.

The civil lawsuit filed in Kasler's name, estimated her wealth at $5 million, and accused Seidlin — who gained national notoriety over his televised tearful handling of the Anna Nicole Smith death case — of feigning friendship with the widow, siphoning off her money and trying to hijack her estate.

The suit also accused Seidlin's in-laws, Oren and Barbara Ray, of buying a condo from Kasler at an unfair discount.

The Rays' attorney, former state Sen. Skip Cambell, on Wednesday confirmed the confidential settlement: "I wish I could tell you more, but I can't tell you more."

Kasler's niece, Corine Kasler, declined to comment.

State investigators twice cleared Seidlin, 61, of exploiting Kasler.

Full Article and Source:
Former Judge Accused of Exploiting Elderly Neighbor Settles Lawsuit

How to File a Complaint Against a Judge and an Attorney (Chapter 1-Part 3; Judges and the Court of the Judiciary)

This series is an attempt to make the public aware of recourse we have versus judges and attorneys who have “broken the rules” governing their licensed professions as public servants and officers of the court.

Most civilians aren’t even aware there is recourse, much less a governing body overseeing judges (Court of the Judiciary) to make sure they play by the rules (Judicial Code of Ethics; Judicial Code).

Considering that most civilians aren’t aware (because the legal system has kept this information in check) of their right to file a complaint with these disciplinary committees, this lack of information reveals an intentional effort by our trusted servants to cover up the errant practice of their industry resulting in the utterly compromised condition of our legal system. In other words, the legal system won’t be forthcoming with your rights to complain, for most are guilty of breaking the rules themselves. But when the rules are broken at the judicial level, even in the higher courts (and I witnessed it just last week in the TN Court of Appeals), it discredits and breaches trust in our entire government structure and furthers the chasm between public servants and the citizen-ship.

“Let the system work?” It cannot work when it is broken; and our legal system is broken, make no mistake, but not beyond repair. But If it is going to be repaired, it will require a massive effort on the part of civilians. We cannot count on the legislature, or its legislators, because it’s primarily made up of former practicing attorneys who have contributed, wittingly or unwittingly, to its broken condition. This series on filing complaints is of paramount importance, for it brings the legal system into accountability and restores the power to “we, the people”; and that’s what our forefathers intended-checks and balances.

“We, the people” have a moral imperative to spread the word and make all citizens aware of the power we do have in the legal process, separate from judges and attorneys, and the governing thereof; which could, should and would result in the much-needed moral revolution within our legal system.

Full Article and Source:
How to File a Complaint Against a Judge and an Attorney (Chapter 1-Part 3; Judges and the Court of the Judiciary)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Caregivers Accused of Waterboarding 89-Year-Old Woman

Two nursing home employees in Georgia were arrested for allegedly attacking an elderly woman in a "manner similar to waterboarding," according to local police.

Police claim that Cicely Reed and Jermeller Steed held down Anna Foley, who has severe dementia, and sprayed water from a shower in her face to make it seem like she was drowning, TV station WGCL reports.

The attack, which occurred in 2008 the station says, began when Reed and Steed argued with Foley over ice cream. The workers allegedly confined Foley to a shower room and they held her hands and wrists, according to The Daily Mail, while they used water from the shower nozzle to obstruct her breathing. The arrest warrant described the incident as "similar to waterboarding."

Full Article and Source:
Woman Waterboarded: Police Arrest Jermeller Steed and Cicely Reed For Mock-Drowning On Elderly Patient

C.A.: Legal Fees May Be Awarded for Temporary Conservatorships

A daughter who successfully obtained a temporary conservatorship over the person of her elderly father was entitled to recover her costs and legal fees, even though the convervatorship was not made permanent, the First District Court of Appeal has ruled.

Div. Four on Tuesday said the compensation and reimbursement of expenses to Bobbie McDonald, paid by the estate of her father, Bobby Cornelius, was proper.

McDonald had petitioned for temporary and permanent conservatorships over Cornelius, a 73-year old widower, last July.

She asserted that her father was of a compromised physical mental and physical state, rendering him susceptible to fraud by persons who had moved into his home and were operating a marijuana farm on the premises. Declarations from several family members also attested to this.

Investigator’s Report:
A court investigator was appointed to evaluate whether a temporary conservatorship was appropriate, and concluded that Cornelius was “urgently in need of medical and medication supervision and proper nutrition, and is at high risk of undue influence from what appear to be virtual strangers that he has allowed to live in his home.”

After reviewing the report and holding a hearing attended by Cornelius’ attorney, Sonoma Superior Court Judge Mark Tansil found that a temporary conservatorship was in Cornelius’ best interest. McDonald was appointed the temporary conservator, but she was subsequently replaced, at her request, by a professional fiduciary.

Cornelius filed an objection to the appointment of a conservator and a declaration stating his disagreement with his family members’ declarations. He also demanded a jury trial, which was set for last December.

For reasons which did not appear on the record, McDonald dismissed her petition for conservatorship before the trial began. In February she sought and received an award of $34,000 for the compensation and reimbursement of expenses to the temporary conservator, attorneys, and care providers.

Cornelius challenged this award on appeal, contending no such compensation is authorized under the Probate Code unless a permanent conservator appointed.

Sepulveda noted there was “substantial, indeed overwhelming, evidence that conservatee Cornelius was benefitted by the temporary conservatorship,” which supported the trial court’s finding that the temporary conservatorship was established in good faith and in the best interests of the conservatee.

The case is Conservatorship of Cornelius, 11 S.O.S. 6150.

Full Article and Source:
C.A.: Legal Fees May Be Awarded for Temporary Conservatorships

Thursday, November 24, 2011

'The Forgotten Ones - Compassion for the Elderly'

The causes of depression in the elderly are obvious: frustration with the loss of memory and physical ability, chronic pain or illness, moving into a nursing home, death of a loved one and financial insecurity.

The causes of loneliness in the elderly are also obvious, but for some reason, we tend to overlook them. A loss of hearing makes phone calls difficult. Trouble walking means no driving, n...o exercise and no pets. Vision problems mean no reading.

Most important, the elderly often are embarrassed and feel they can't tell anyone because someone might think they are losing their minds and need to be in a nursing home.

Imagine your life if you could not talk on the phone, go for a walk, drive to church or read a newspaper. Many of your loved ones may have died or moved away. Asking for help is not an option. Just imagine how lonely that would be.

~ by Christine Stapleton

Facebook: The Forgotten Ones - Compassion for the Elderly

'The Senior Citizens Song'

YouTube - The Senior Citizens Song

Family of Dementia Patient Suing Car Dealership

The family of a dementia patient who bought a new pickup, led police on a high-speed chase and later died of a heart attack are suing the dealership that sold it to him.

Family members of Donald Davis claim negligence, willful misconduct, elder abuse and wrongful death in the lawsuit filed against Cabral Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, owner William Cabral and finance manager Jeannette Mendoza.

"I have to go forward to show that they did indeed do something wrong," said Davis' widow, Janet. "They took away the humanity in my husband."

Davis, 67, had heart problems and dementia and was confined to a wheelchair at Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center. On Oct. 28, 2010, his sister came to visit and found his room empty. A search found the phone number for Cabral on a notepad, and the family eventually learned Davis had gone there and bought a Dodge Ram pickup.

The lawsuit claims Mendoza picked up Donald Davis from the care home. Davis was sitting in his wheelchair on the porch, wearing sweat pants, a shirt and slippers, and he fell into Mendoza as she tried to get him into the truck.

Mendoza called Cabral and "expressed concern about the safety and propriety of transporting Donald under the circumstances and was nevertheless instructed by William Cabral to bring Donald to the dealership," the lawsuit says.

Once there, Davis could not fill out the required paperwork, so Cabral employees did it for him, even forging his signature, the lawsuit claims. Then, though Davis had no money, checkbook or driver's license, they helped him into the $38,000 truck and let him drive away.

Full Article and Source:
Family of Dementia Patient Suing Manteca Car Dealership

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Conservatorship Strips 81-Year-Old TN Widow of All Possessions

Here in America, none of us expect to have our home, property or legal rights infringed upon without due process.

But things work a little differently than you might expect in one court system right here in Nashville.

One woman ended up losing everything, and it could happen to anyone.

Jewell Tinnon used to own a home. It was paid for.

But that house, and everything inside, was auctioned off to the highest bidder in March.

"I wish I was at home. I worked hard, and paid for it," Tinnon said.

Her car was sold, too, and her clothes and all her furniture.

The 81-year-old widow lost nearly everything after she came under a guardianship, also called a conservatorship.

The very people who were assigned by the court to watch over her, to safeguard her possessions, liquidated it all.

When a person is appointed a guardian, they can't sign contracts, or write checks, or buy and sell things. They can't vote, or drive, or marry. They can't decide what doctors to see or what medications to take. They can't chose where to live, or hire their own lawyer.

Ms. Tinnon was assigned a public guardian from an agency for the elderly. That guardian did not return our calls for this story, but we were able to talk to the attorney the judge had assigned to represent her, Karl Warden.

"I feel very sorry for her," Warden said.

Her guardian decided that a nursing home was the best place for her and said her house should be sold.

Judge [Randy] Kennedy agreed.

At a public auction, it brought $83,000. That's a little more than half of what the tax assessor said it was worth.

The guardian also cashed in her whole life insurance policy with the judge's permission, all in an attempt to turn her assets into cash to pay her bills.

[T]he judge ordered that a big chunk of the money from the sale of her house must be used to pay off her eight different lawyers and guardians, $37,645.

The frightening thing is, this could happen to anyone.

Once you're put under a conservatorship, it can cost every cent you have to get out. This is the third case we've profiled from Judge Randy Kennedy's court. You might remember the case of songwriter Danny Tate who lost his fortune fighting to get out from under a conservatorship case.

We also told you about Ginger Franklin. She fell down a flight of stairs, came under a conservatorship while in the hospital and ended up losing her condo and her car.

Judge Kennedy declined to be interviewed on this case.

Full Article and Source:
Conservatorship Strips 81-Year-Old Widow of All Possessions

See Video

'My Wonderful Dad'

This is me & my Daddy. I hadn’t been allowed to see him by his spouse for months. There is nothing on Earth that is worse than not being able to be by the ones you love and care about most when they need you most.

Before the court ruled, the judge allowed me to go to the property and see my Dad & take photos, videos etc. I was just happy to see my Dad & laughed at the crazy madness in the background.

I love you Dad! I know in my heart he knows in his heart I haven’t and will not give up on him. I will forgive from my heart, because I have to. I will continue to do what is right in my heart."

My Wonderful Dad

Ronald Richard Kirkwood September 19, 1942 - June 21, 2011 I love you Dad! I know you are happy now. Your heart will forever live on through mine.

Huguette Clark Left $34mil to Nurse

The controversy surrounding what will happen to the vast fortune left in the wake of the death of copper heiress Huguette Clark seems to be just getting warmed up.

Clark, who died in May at the age of 104, left a somewhat surprising will behind, cutting out friends and family and leaving $34 million to her nurse. According to MSNBC, she also left about $17 million to her accountant and attorney through fees and other bequests.

The accountant and attorney are both under investigation, and have had to account for all the transactions they've made since they took over legal power of attorney for the heiress in 1996. According to MSNBC, the investigation is the result of an incredible $1 million-a-month spending pattern for a woman who never left the hospital. Remarkably, in the course of one day, the pair apparently wrote $380,000 in checks from Clark's personal account.

The astounding sum left to her nurse, Hadassah Peri, has also raised eyebrows. The New York Post detailed just how she took care of Clark until her death, and the tremendous affection she showed the heiress.

Full Article and Source:
Huguette Clark, Reclusive Copper Heiress Left $34 Million to Nurse

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jane Branson Files Suit on Behalf of Her Mother

A Hillsboro woman is suing her brother, her mother's lawyer, Highland County Probate Judge Kevin Greer, and even Ohio Gov. John Kasich over issues involving the legal guardianship of her mother.

Jane Branson filed the suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for southern Ohio. Representing herself, Branson claims in her suit that her mother, Mollie Florkey, should be released from a nursing home in which she was placed, and also claims she has been denied proper access to Ohio's courts.

But records show she has long been involved in court in regard to a disagreement among her siblings over the guardianship and care of her mother. Records show that in 2002, Molly Florkey filed both a Living Will and a durable power of attorney form expressing her desire that her son, James Malott, be designated her guardian should she become incapacitated.

Those documents also reflect her desire to have another daughter, Helen Olberg, designated her guardian in the event her son was unable or unwilling to perform the duties.

In 2007, Malott and Branson both filed documents in court seeking to be named guardian of their mother. Greer, guided by Florkey's living will and power of attorney forms, ruled in favor of Malott's petition.

Since then, Branson has attempted to overturn Greer's decision, as well as asking Greer to remove himself from the case, which he refused to do. She has also petitioned the Ohio Supreme Court several times to have Greer removed from the case. The court has turned down her request each time, most recently admonishing her not to file any additional requests on that subject.

In her suit, Branson claims she has been denied the ability to exhaust her access to the courts, and demands that her mother "be released (from a nursing home) and restored of her liberty, and, for all just and proper relief deemed appropriate by this court and under the facts and circumstances presented."

Greer declined to discuss the merits of the case, but did say it was the first time in a 31-year career he had been sued.

Also named in the suit is Hillsboro attorney J.D. Wagoner, who is Florkey's attorney. Wagoner said he was unable to comment at this time, and Malott's attorney, William Peele of Wilmington, did not return a request for comment.

Full Article and Source:
Hillsboro Woman Sues Her Brother, Judge Greer Over Mother's Situation

Note: Jane Branson is a member of NASGA

Jane Branson Files Federal Complaint

The case is being brought by Jane Branson, written on behalf of her 93-year-old mother, who is "an adult ward under court-appointed guardianship." Branson - who is not the guardian - is acting as her own attorney (pro se) in the suit.

Highland County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Kevin Greer brought the suit to the attention of local news media on Friday and provided copies of court documents. Greer, Hillsboro Attorney J.D. Wagoner, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and James Malott - the court-appointed legal guardian of the 93-year-old - are named as defendants in the case.

Wagoner is the 93-year-old woman's guardian ad litem, according to the court documents.

Greer said that the situation began with a 2007 case in Highland County Probate Court when he presided over a case to determine guardianship for the elderly woman. Branson had filed an application to be appointed guardian of the woman's estate and person, which was denied. Branson made the appeal to Ohio's Fourth District Court of Appeals, which upheld Greer's decision.

According to the 2008 judgment from the court of appeals, Branson and Malott are two of the elderly woman's four children. Malott is her power of attorney, and according to documents she filed with the Highland County Recorder's Office, "In the event that [it] should become necessary for a guardianship of my person and or my estate, I request that the probate court appoint my attorney in fact, James D. Malott, as such guardian, without bond." The court upheld Greer's decision to appoint Malott, stating that under the Ohio Revised Code, because a guardian had been named in the power of attorney, the court had to appoint the person nominated (Malott) as long as he was competent, suitable and willing to accept the appointment.

"The court (Greer) was required to appoint Malott, absent a showing of incompetence, unsuitability, or unwillingness to accept the appointment," the court of appeals wrote."

Branson claimed in the appeal that she was more qualified to care for the woman, and that she had been caring for her for four years. "In Branson's lay opinion, (the woman) was not getting appropriate care at the nursing facility (where she is now living)."

Malott testified, the court said, that the woman was "getting appropriate care at the facility."

In the case filed with the federal court, Branson alleges that the 93-year-old, who she says suffers from Alzheimer's disease and dementia, was "granny-napped" when she was placed in a nursing home by her court-appointed guardian, that she does not receive adequate care, and that she is "forcibly" kept from friends and family members.

Branson alleges that the elderly woman has been "unlawfully deprived, denied and restrained of her liberty;" denied due process; denied her right to appear in Ohio state courts; denied legal counsel; denied access to Ohio courts; and denied a right to a review or appeal process.

Among the prayers for relief requested in the suit, Branson asks for "an award of compensatory damages in an amount yet to be determined, an award of punitive damages where appropriate and in a sum sufficient to deter future like conduct by defendants," and for attorney fees, costs and litigation expenses.

Full Article and Source:
Pro Se Complaint Filed in Federal Court Against Highland County Judge, Attorney and Gov. Kasich

See Also:
See 9/30/2011 Court of Appeals Decision

Former Guardian Sentenced to 6-30 Years in Prison

Duane Emery Kuerbitz, who pleaded no contest to sexually abusing the mentally incapacitated man for whom he was state-appointed guardian, was sentenced Oct. 20 to 6-and-a-half to 30 years in prison by Sixth Circuit Court Judge Rae Lee Chabot.

Kuerbitz, 50, pleaded no contest Sept. 26 to one count of criminal sexual conduct, first degree, as well as one count of being a habitual offender, fourth offense. In exchange for his plea, an additional count of CSC, first degree and one count of CSC, third degree were dismissed.

"It's a satisfactory ending for a case that has been ongoing since July 2009, and it serves the best interest of the victim," said Oakland County Sheriff's Office Detective Dale Brown. "I feel strongly this is a case that should have never happened to the victim had the system not failed him originally."

According to police reports, on July 25, 2009, Brandon Township deputies responded to Allen and Seymour Lake roads on a welfare check and upon arrival, made contact with the 31-year-old victim, who said he'd been abused by Kuerbitz since Kuerbitz became his guardian in 2007. The most recent assault occurred two days prior.

Full Article and Source:
Former Guardian Sentenced to 6-30 Years in Prison

See Also:
Former Guardian Charged With Sexual Abuse

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Heartbreaking Elevation of Guardian Abuse, Part IV

Dorothy was less than two weeks away from the potential of finally regaining her freedom when she suddenly had a seizure while in the nursing home. Dorothy was very happy the day before when she was taken by her daughter, Diane, to see how great it would be to stay with her. The eyes of this eighty-seven-year old brightened when she was shown the renovated bathroom that would make things much easier for her. Imagine being excited by new plumbing? It certainly expresses how depressed she was while being held against her will in a facility.

I have tried to be very careful whenever writing about the nursing homes, because they are generally not the initial cause of what is a systematic legal abuse against the elderly and others who might be health or mentally challenged. In the past three plus weeks, there has been no explanation from the nursing home Dorothy was in as to why her daughter’s call was ignored when told that Dorothy needed immediate medical help. Diane had spoken to her Mom on the phone and urgently contacted the facility because Dorothy was in distress. It appears that no one went to check on her for close to an hour and when they did her health was so bad that she was rushed to the hospital. They were unable to stabilize her, leading to the sad passing of a vibrant woman.

While it is not completely possible to say that Dorothy would still be on this side of the divide had she not been relegated to a miserable situation at the hands and insistence of her “law” guardian, Mary Giordano, of the Franchina and Giordano law firm, it is likely that she would. In my opinion, Dorothy would have been living under the close, loving care of her daughter.

Full Article and Source:
The Heartbreaking Elevation of Guardian Abuse, Part IV

See Also:
The Heartbreaking Passing of Dorothy Wilson, Part V

Feds Say Clinics Paid Off South Florida ALFs

A Miami couple sent to prison for decades could never have carried out one of the nation's biggest healthcare scams without assisted-living facilities and halfway houses supplying them scads of residents covered by Medicare, authorities say.

Now, the Justice Department has charged 10 residential operators in a first-ever Medicare investigation into people who prosecutors say pocketed bribes for providing patients with substance abuse problems to mental-health clinics owned by Larry Duran and Marianella Valera.

Miami-based American Therapeutic Corp. — owned by Duran and partner Valera, who were recently sentenced to 50 and 35 years in prison, respectively — was at the center of an elaborate plot to fleece $200 million from the taxpayer-funded Medicare program.

Medicare paid American Therapeutic, with seven clinics in South Florida and Orlando, $83 million over the past decade for group-therapy sessions that could not have helped people with drug and alcohol addictions, Justice Department lawyers say. Patients with drug addictions received treatment for mental illnesses they didn't have, such as bipolar disorder. In many other instances, no treatment was provided at all.

Last week, the controversy of ALF and halfway house operators suspected of taking kickbacks for Medicare patients dominated part of a state task force's hearing in Miami-Dade County on abuse and neglect in the industry.

So far in the federal prosecution, four residential operators in the Fort Lauderdale area have pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud. Other defendants are expected to follow their example to avoid jury trials and potentially lengthy prison sentences, according to sources familiar with the case.

Those convicted in recent weeks: Natalie Maria Evans, Irene Trematerra, and Robert and Nikki Jenkins, who collectively ran seven halfway houses. Each operator was paid $15 to $30 daily for each patient they sent to American Therapeutic's clinics, which submitted millions of dollars in false claims as a result, court records show.

The Medicare patients were pawns in the scheme, receiving little to no compensation, according to some patients interviewed by The Miami Herald.

Evans, who pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare and faces up to 10 years in prison, was president of Vision of Hope Recovery. The company operated five halfway houses in Fort Lauderdale.

Full Article and Source:
Feds Say Clinics Paid Off South Florida ALFs

Lawyers Aspiring to be Cook County Judges Lay it on Thick

Every two years lawyers in Cook County who want to be judges come before this gathering and ask to be “slated” as the party’s preferred choice for judge in Democratic primary election March 20. The November general election is irrelevant as no Republican has won in decades.

Voters are more independent these days and they sometimes opt to vote for judicial candidates with prettier names — women with Irish ones do best.

But the official party imprimatur still works wonders. Slated candidates’ names go on the palm cards that the still-strong army of precinct captains across the county pass out to voters as they walk into the polling place. Five of the 10 slated candidates won last year.

Voters can make up their own minds on governor or senator — candidates they have heard something about. But chances are they will have heard nothing about the 100-plus names of lawyers running for 16-20 judgeships until they see the ballot on Election Day.

Judge Maureen Connors: “I was born and raised in the 11th Ward, and I still have many friends and family and I group in with those friends Commissioner [John] Daley,” she says. “I then was adopted by the 14th Ward, by a wonderful man named [Ald.] Edward Burke (14th). I want to thank him for all the wonderful mentoring he has done for me over these many years both in the law and in politics.”

But even after naming two of the most powerful ward committeemen in the room, Connors has just begun to name-drop.

“I got married, moved to the 19th Ward — my husband is from the 19th ward,” she tells the committeemen. Some at the pizza-and-coffee table turn their heads as she names more names. “For 20 years I lived in the beautiful 19th Ward and, (She scans the room) Committeeman [Matt] O’Shea, are you here today? (He has left the room) He has promised to support me as well...”

She throws in a few more committeemen from the west suburbs — Daniel McLaughlin and Barrett Pedersen — then, almost as an after-thought, drops the big name:

“So I’m thrilled to be with you today — Oh, Senator Madigan also sends his regards — he says he is going to be supporting me as well. I am proud to be a member of this...”

Full Article and Source:
Lawyers Aspiring to be Cook County Judges Lay it on Thick

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NY: Complaints Against Judges are on the Rise

It may be the Internet or public disclosure of past disciplinary cases, but the number of complaints against New York’s judges hit a new record in 2010.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct, chaired by Perinton Town Justice Thomas A. Klonick, received a record 2,025 complaints in 2010, according to its just-released report. That is 170 more than in 2009 and 102 more than the previous high of 1,923 in 2008.

Klonick said sometimes the number of complaints spike when higher-profile cases of judges being removed or disciplined makes statewide news. He said the Internet has also created more awareness of the commission and makes it easier for people to download a form and post a complaint.

“Overall, although the number of complaints has increased, the number of judges disciplined has been about the same,” Klonick said.

The commission is responsible for investigating complaints of misconduct against judges of the state Unified Court System and, where appropriate, disciplining them for ethics violations.

In 2010, it conducted 439 inquiries, authorized 225 full-fledged investigations and rendered 15 public decisions, including a Saratoga County Family Court judge, Gilbert L. Abramson, being removed from office in October.

There were also seven public censures, five public admonitions and two public stipulations in which judges agreed to leave and never again hold judicial office.

Fourteen judges resigned during commission proceedings, 36 confidential cautionary letters were issued and 226 matters were still pending at the end of the year.

Most complaints were unfounded. Some were referred to other agencies such as 29 matters that were sent to the Office of Court Administration, typically dealing with relatively isolated instances of delay, poor record-keeping or other administrative issues. Five matters were referred to an attorney grievance committee; two to a district attorney’s office; four, the state comptroller; and one to the Justice Department.

“By far, the greatest number of complaints have been litigants who feel that they didn’t get a fair shake by the system and oftentimes they’ll go after a judge,” Klonick said, noting many times there is no basis for the complaint and litigants are simply unhappy the case didn’t go their way.

“The commission is there to protect the public, in large part, but it’s also there to protect our judiciary who often cannot respond publicly to frivolous complaints,” he said. “They can’t respond about pending cases or cases that may be taken up on appeal.”

Full Article and Source:
Complaints Against Judges are on the Rise

NJ Lawyer Indicted for $1m Theft From Client Arrested on the Lam

A lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ, charged with stealing $1 million from a client was apprehended [11/9] in Alabama after an apparent attempt to flee prosecution.

Michael Kwasnik, 42, was arrested by local police in Dothan, Ala., on an arrest warrant stemming from Monday’s indictment, according to Peter Aseltine, spokesman to state Attorney General Paula Dow.

Kwasnik was travelling by taxi to a bus station when the driver, suspicious of Kwasnik, alerted local police, Aseltine says. Police stopped Kwasnik at the bus station and arrested him upon discovering the outstanding warrant, Aseltine says, noting that Kwasnik was carrying several thousand dollars in cash, prepaid cell phones and his passport.

“It would appear to us that he was on the lam from our charges,” Aseltine told the Law Journal.

Full Article and Source:
Indicted Lawyer Who Stole $1million From a Client, Arrested on the Lam