Saturday, June 2, 2012

Attorney Ken Ditkowsky: The Constitution vs. Whores of Justice

What is most amazing is the fact that the Courts should be so benign in their defense of the victims of Elder Abuse/Financial Exploitation of the Elder and so pro-active in their defense of the criminals who are appointed by it and who misuse their offices as guardians to exploit and abuse senior citizens (or assist others in their endeavor of abusing and exploiting grandma). What is also amazing is the fact that decent and normally caring people can sit on their hands and allow this tragic situation to continue. Two faced and disingenuous members of the political elite who ‘rape’ grandma and then boast about the fact that they are distressed that she might have her social security reduced by a dollar are expected to be miscreants. The Courts and Law Enforcement are expected to be vigorous in defense of liberty, justice, and the American way. It may all sound trite – but ****.

The Illinois ARDC prosecution of yours truly for the exercise of my First Amendment Rights has opened my eyes and generated the realization that the slogan “democracy is not a spectator sport” is not only true but a dire warning. The bulwark of America is her Bill of Rights and in particular the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The Right protected by the Sixth Amendment to counsel is also important but I am not of record in any of the cases that I are mentioned in the ethics complaint filed by the ARDC against me. The rights of citizens to employ a lawyer who is not married to the ‘status quo’ or the current politics is only a tangent. So the fact that I stand accused of doing a FRCP 11 investigation and communicating with my clients and reporting serious misconduct on the part of some ‘august’ court appointed vultures is relevant only as it relates to whether or not the ARDC can engage in a prior restraint of my continued calls for an investigation and my advocating for the Right of a senior citizen not to be wrongfully deprived of his/her liberty property or human rights to further the avarice of some ‘whore of justice.’

As an American Citizen and a lawyer who takes the oath that I took in 1961 seriously, I will and intend to continue to call on Law Enforcement to Investigate the Mary Sykes case and all of those similar cases regardless of the personal consequences to me. Indeed, I call for an honest and comprehensive investigation of the Sykes, Tyler, Wyman and similar cases. I call for the investigation of Farenga, Stern, and Schmiedel and their conduct in relation to the Sykes case, their wrongful prosecution of a sanction motion against me knowing that the Court had no jurisdiction, their interference with the property rights of Gloria Sykes etc. This is America. Mary Sykes who just weeks before a petition was filed to determine her incompetent and eligible to be deprived of her liberty, her property, civil rights and human rights is reported to have passed a written examination administered by the Illinois Secretary of State in addition to filing a Petition for a Protective order against the very person who was appointed her plenary guardian. Thanks to efforts of the two guardian ad litem appointed in the Sykes case this petition was never addressed or heard in the Circuit Court.

If legal justification for my conduct is necessary, the rationale and justification is ‘set in stone. The New Times vs. Sullivan case and the Pentagon Papers cases affirm that the effort to silence me and/or intimidate me whether by the actions of Mr. Stern, Ms. Farenga or Mr. Schmiedel or a government agency is wrong. The ‘assault’ on the liberty, property and civil rights of Mary Sykes, Gloria Sykes, their family, their friends et al is not necessitated by National Security - the avarice of the plenary guardian and her co-conspirators does not meet the criterion set forth by the United States Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case.

The Gulag mentality that is robbing the senior citizens of the liberty, their property, civil rights and human rights reported on the blogs and on the inter-net (and virtually ignored in the press and by law enforcement) is foreign. Our heroes are not the guardian ad litem who aid and abet a plenary guardian who isolates a senior citizen and separates her from her family, her activities, her friends and her property. Today we live in the year 2012, however, we have allowed a small group of miscreants to create in seniors the fear, desperation, and hopelessness that millions of Europeans felt in 1936.

The Sykes case and all those cases in which senior citizens are either losing their liberty, property, civil rights, human rights need to be investigated and the miscreants given free room board and time to contemplate the error of their ways. A Free society cannot tolerate or condone the events that have been reported in the Sykes case and similar cases! Citizens have to speak out and avoid the 1936 scenario for grandma! Grandma’s protectors cannot be silenced or intimidated. We have law enforcement to protect us! It is time for them to start doing exactly that.

Ken Ditkowsky

Alabama Lawyer Suspended

A Dothan attorney recently had his license to practice law suspended after he apparently misappropriated funds from a trust account.

Tony McLain, the general counsel for the Alabama State Bar Association, said the law license for Terry Bullard has been suspended for a period of 91 days, but it won’t become effective until June 1.

McLain said trust accounts are those that lawyers have to maintain for a client’s property or property of a third person.

“He misappropriated funds from a trust account, and that was improper under state bar,” McLain said.

McLain said the suspension came after the state bar association received a complaint. He did not recall when the complaint was made.

“Probably in the top 10 this would be around 6 or 7 of most often violated rules of professional conduct,” McLain said. “It’s not always theft. A lot of it sometimes is a dispute who the money belongs to and for what purpose was that lawyer holding that money.”

Full Article and Source:
License Suspended for Dothan Attorney

Friday, June 1, 2012

Linda Kincaid Reports: Assemblyman Jim Beall, Jr. Investigates Eder Abuse at Wildwood Canyon Villa

On May 16, 2012, Assemblyman Jim Beall, Jr. contacted Will Lightbourne, Director of California's Department of Social Services. Lightbourne oversees Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD), the agency that licenses residential care facilities for the elderly.

Beall asked Lightbourne the following questions.
•What are the legal timelines to investigate complaints?
•How does the department prioritize complaints?
•Standards used to substantiate complaints.
•What legal authority, aside from a restraining order, do Wildwood Canyon Villa administrators or a conservator have to restrict a family member’s visitation?

Beall’s letter follows nearly two years of complaints against Wildwood Canyon Villa in Yucaipa, CA. Family reported that Wildwood held resident 76-year-old Jean Swope against her will and isolated her from phone calls and visitors for fifteen months. Court records include many allegations of elder abuse and neglect.

Swope’s case falls under Beall’s purview as the Chair of the Human Services Committee. The case was brought to Beall’s attention many times since 2011.

Beall finally acted on Swope’s case after elder advocates brought a second and very similar case to Beall’s attention. Gisela Riordan, 84, is an elder abuse victim at Villa Fontana in Beall’s District 24 in San Jose, CA.

Villa Fontana has denied Gisela nearly all phone calls and visitation for over two years. Gisela has been allowed to see her son, Marcus Riordan, less than two hours in two years. She has been subject to profound neglect, losing a third of her body weight.

Full Article and Source:
Assemblyman Jim Beall, Jr. Investigates Eder Abuse at Wildwood Canyon Villa

Judge Appoints Lawyer to Witherspoon Case

A Nashville judge has appointed a lawyer to investigate what’s going on with actress Reese Witherspoon’s father who is accused of bigamy and possibly has dementia, according to documents released in a sealed court case.

Earlier this month, Witherspoon’s mother, Betty Witherspoon, said her husband of 42 years married another woman even though he remained wed to her.
A hearing in that case, which was scheduled for Thursday, has been indefinitely postponed. In the meantime, documents released from another Nashville court indicate that John Witherspoon was placed in a conservatorship at the request of the Academy Award-winning actress and her brother.

The actress appeared in a Nashville courtroom on May 11 with her father, a Nashville otolaryngologist, but a judge barred the media from covering the hearing.

The Tennessean newspaper and WSMV-TV have filed an emergency petition with the probate court asking that the judge to unseal the documents and open all future court hearings to the media.

The limited documents released in the probate case mostly involved filings from the media.

A hearing has been scheduled on June 25 that will decide whether the judge will unseal the files and open any future court hearings.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Appoints Lawyer to Investigate Reese Witherspoon's Father's Well-Being

MI Bill Would Increase Prison Time and Fines on Senior Swindle

Those planning to swindle money from Michigan's elderly would be most deterred if they faced mandatory minimum jail time and fines for the crime, Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte said.

So far, the Legislature is taking the opposite approach by proposing increasing maximum sentences for scamming senior citizens.

A bill has been approved in the Senate, and awaits a final House vote, that would increase prison time and fines for those convicted of swindling money or property from senior citizens or fraudulently obtaining their signatures.

Bezotte called for mandatory minimum one-year county jail sentences or minimum 18-month state prison sentences for those convicted of defrauding seniors.

He said maximum sentences in cases of swindling seniors are rarely, if ever, handed down in Michigan.

On Wednesday, he warned seniors gathered at the Hartland Senior Center of such scams, most of which he said have ranged from $5,000 to $25,000 in the county in recent years.

"The sentences have got to fit the crime, and you've got to know if they're going to rip off a senior citizen, it's going to be this amount" of punishment, Bezotte said.

"Take some discretion away from the judges," he added.

Senate Bill 459 would create maximum penalties of 15 years in prison, a $15,000 fine, or both, for theft valued between $50,000 and $100,000.

Full Article and Source:
Heat is Rising on Senior Swindles; Bill Would Increase Prison Time, Fines

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Still No Decision in Rosa Parks Case

A legal showdown over the estate of civil rights icon Rosa Parks came and went without a decision by Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. about whether to disqualify himself from continuing to preside over the Parks’ estate fight.

Burton told lawyers in a five-minute hearing that he would issue a decision on the disqualification motion in 30-45 days without hearing legal arguments from lawyers in the case. Then, he ended the hearing, leaving lawyers to argue their positions with newspaper reporters.

“It’s outrageous that Judge Burton needs 30-45 days to decide a completely unopposed motion for disqualification,” said attorney Steven G. Cohen, of Farmington Hills, who sued Burton last week on the grounds that he conspired with probate lawyers John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr., allowing them to bankrupt Parks’ estate with unnecessary and excessive attorney fees. “He obviously can’t serve as a presiding judge in a case where he is the defendant.”

Full Article and Source:
Still No Decision in Legal Battle Over Rosa Parks Estate

See Also:
Lawyer Sues Judge, 2 Others, In Rosa Parks Estate Case

Hung Jury in Trial of Woman Accused of Bilking Elderly Boulder Man

A jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the trial of a woman accused of trying to swindle an elderly Boulder man into leaving much of his nearly $1 million estate to her.

A 12-person jury spent seven hours deliberating the case against Julianna Rigby, 50, of Fort Collins. Rigby was facing one count of attempted theft after prosecutors say she befriended retired University of Colorado professor Louis Hall and tried to manipulate him into changing his will before he died in 2011 at the age of 93.

The jury voted 9-2 in favor of conviction, with one undecided juror. The result was a mistrial.

Full Article and Souce:
Hung Jury in Trial of Woman Accused of Bilking Elderly Boulder Man

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mother Faces Set Back in Bid to Get Daughter

Renate Arnold has sued in federal court in an attempt to overturn a 2011 ruling by Davidson Probate Judge David Randy Kennedy that placed her daughter Lisa Arnold, who was born with Down syndrome, in a conservatorship.

Renate Arnold and Lisa, now 21, drew widespread attention as the two worked the streets selling The Contributor , the newspaper of the area’s homeless community.

Renate Arnold was accused of exploiting and abusing her daughter. Advocates came to her defense, stating that she was being unfairly targeted.

Full Article and Source:
Mother Faces Setback in Bid to Get Daughter

Press Release: Introduction of Legislation to Support Caregivers

We commend Senator Amy Klobuchar for reintroducing the Americans Giving care to Elders (AGE) Act as a manifestation of her commitment to caregivers and the elders that they serve. Caregivers are the backbone of service delivery for elders with chronic diseases. Thirty-one percent of U.S. households have at least one person that has served as an unpaid caregiver within the last 12 months.

Senator Klobuchar recognizes that a tax credit and increased funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) that funds adult day services and in-home care are cost effective approaches to help caregivers succeed in their goal of caring for a loved one in their own home. The National Family Caregiver Program has been an underfunded part of the Older Americans Act for many years. It pays for less costly long-term services and supports, and ultimately reduces the need for more expensive care. This important legislation also implements the National Resource Center on Family Caregiving that will be an important resource on best practices for states, agencies and caregivers concerning best practices for caring for an elder at home.

Full Article and Source:
LeadingAge Statement on Introduction of Legislation To Support Caregivers From Larry Minnix, President & CEO

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sister Allegedly Exploits Sick Brother

An employee of the Jefferson County Clerk's Office is facing charges accused of exploiting her brother's health condition so she could dip into his finances.

According to the arrest warrant, 40-year-old Jennifer Reardon was awarded guardianship of her brother from August 2009 to November 2011. Police said she was put in charge of her brother and his finances due to his numerous health issues.

The money was supposed to benefit her brother, but instead investigators said she spent $17,000 on other things.

Reardon is being charged with exploiting an adult.

Sister Allegedly Exploits Sick Brother

Senators Want Antipsychotic Drug Use Better Controlled in Nursing Homes

Senators from both parties joined with the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., to propose legislation to combat the costly and inappropriate – yet widespread – use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes.

Joining with Sen. Kohl, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., offered the amendment to S. 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act.

It will require the Health and Human Services Secretary to issue standardized protocols for obtaining informed consent, or authorization from patients or their designated health care agents or legal representatives, acknowledging possible risks and side effects associated with the antipsychotic, as well as alternative treatment options, before administering the drug for off-label use.

“The overuse of antipsychotics is a common and well-recognized problem that puts frail elders at risk and costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” Kohl said.

“We need a new policy that helps to ensure that these drugs are being appropriately used to treat people with mental illnesses, not used to curb behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementias.”

Full Article and Source:
Senators Want Antipsychotic Drug Use Better Controlled in Nursing Homes

Two Indicted in Vicksburg for Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

Two Vicksburg residents have been indicted by a Warren County Grand Jury on charges of conspiracy and exploitation of a vulnerable person.

Angela Palmer, 44, was charged with one count of conspiracy and four counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person, said Attorney General Jim Hood.

Palmer is accused of taking more than $6,700 from an elderly relative who was a patient at Vicksburg Convalescent Center.

Palmer is also accused of conspiring with Lee Martin, 38, who was the business office coordinator for both Vicksburg Convalescent Center and Shady Lawn Health and Rehab.

Martin has been charged with 29 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of conspiracy.

Martin is accused of taking more than $101,000 from vulnerable persons at both facilities.

A trial is set for April.

Two Indicted in Vicksburg for Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

Monday, May 28, 2012

Veteran Caught in Web After Stroke: "I just want to be free"

Ed Baker has gone through enough already.

The 53-year-old Dolton native spent 22 years in the Navy, serving in the Persian Gulf War before eventually retiring as a lieutenant commander. Then, four years ago, he suffered a major stroke that left the left side of his body paralyzed.

Now, all he wants is to come home from Colorado to his family in Illinois. And family members in Midlothian and New Lenox want that, too.

But Baker can’t. He can’t go anywhere, in fact. He hasn’t been free to make such decisions since almost two years ago, when a judge in Colorado — based on Baker’s condition after his stroke — approved a petition by the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services to appoint a guardian and conservator for him. The decision made Baker a ward of the state of Colorado and stripped him of many of his rights.

Baker now is a resident of the Sierra Healthcare Community nursing home in Lakewood, Colo. — apparently against his will. This despite the fact the Colorado Department of Veterans Affairs declared in January that Baker is competent to make personal decisions and handle the VA funds to which he is entitled, such as his monthly pension checks.

“I just want to be free,” Baker said during a telephone interview with the SouthtownStar earlier this month. “If I was in jail or if I did something wrong, I understand. But I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Full Article and Source:
Veteran Caught in Web After Stroke: "I just want to be free."

Judge Calls Conservatorship a "Celebration of Family"

For 18 years, Dora Sanchez Hernandez has fiercely protected her son.

From the time Erik Esequizel was born prematurely at just 24 weeks, she has been there for him. Through 50 surgeries and two near-death episodes. Through the daily demands of feeding, bathing and dressing. Through abandonment by his father and advice from doctors to pull the plug.

Now — in what L.A. County Superior Court Judge Michael I. Levanas called a "celebration of family" — Hernandez and 14 other families have been granted limited conservatorships over their disabled children. It allows them to make medical, educational, business and other decisions for their children even after they turn 18.

"Erik is my disabled son, and he means the world to me," Hernandez said. "Now there is no stopping me to advocate for him."

The courtroom session last week marked a unique collaboration among the L.A. County Superior Court, the Los Angeles Unified School District, private attorneys and Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a nonprofit that assists the poor. To make what can be an intimidating process efficient and comfortable, the parties come together four times a year to act on the conservatorship cases in one courtroom over one afternoon.

The Family Matters project was launched in 2010. Bet Tzedek, the only legal aid agency in Los Angeles County that handles conservatorship cases for free, had been helping low-income families and their disabled children for years. But Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, presiding judge of the probate department, suggested giving the families special hearing dates in the same courtroom to lesson their anxiety and discomfort. L.A. Unified provides campus space for the project's education and training sessions on the conservatorship process.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Calls Conservatorship a "Celebration of Family"

Man Given Probation, Jail for Bilking 96 Year-Old AZ Woman

A Tucson man accused of bilking roughly $250,000 from a woman in her 90s was sentenced to three years' probation and 312 days in jail Thursday in Pima County Superior Court.

Within a matter of three days in December 2010, Sergio Alberto Cordova was both indicted and sued in Pima County Superior Court in regard to his dealings with a 96-year-old Tucson woman.

According to court documents, Cordova met the woman while working on her house for his employer in 2006. She later hired him, his mother and his wife to provide services for her, including walking her dogs, doing her grocery shopping, bookkeeping, etc.

In December 2010, the woman's daughter, who lives in Texas, asked for someone to be appointed guardian and conservator for her mother to ensure her mother was being cared for adequately and to protect her assets.

At the time, the woman was living in a home valued at more than $815,000 and had cash and investments totaling $450,000.

On Dec. 20, 2010, Carol Severyn, the appointed conservator, filed a lawsuit against Cordova and his wife alleging the Cordovas wrote checks for more than $150,000 to themselves between January 2010 and December 2010 and had the woman sign them.

Full Article and Source:
Man Given Probation, Jail for Bilking Woman 96

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Phoenix Arizona Press Conference: Clean Up the Courts!

Dear Concerned Citizens and Victims of Judicial Corruption,

You are invited to join us for a Press Conference:

Date: May 31, 2012

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location: 1700 West Washington (the state Capitol) Phoenix, Arizona

Purpose: Andrew Thomas will discuss new judicial reform legislation SCR 1001. And some victims of the corruption in Maricopa County Probate Court will tell their stories.

If you have been a victim of judicial corruption, we want you to attend. Please bring banners and/or signs that read, "CLEAN UP THE COURTS!"

RSVP to:

Read SCR 1001

MD Press Release: Daughter Pleads Guilty to Misappropriating Elderly Mother's Funds

John J. McCarthy, State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, announced that Lynda LaTour pled guilty today to Misappropriation by a Fiduciary in front of the Honorable Judge Robert A. Greenberg, Circuit Court, Montgomery County, Maryland. The Defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years incarceration. LaTour will be sentenced on July 13, 2012 by the Honorable Robert A. Greenberg.

Starting in 2009, LaTour embezzled almost $250,000 from her mother, Yola Cardinali, by abusing the authority her mother gave her through a power of attorney. Mrs. Cardinali was born in 1926, and began showing signs of dementia in 2008 while she was living independently in New York City. In 2009, the Defendant obtained power of attorney to handle her mother’s finances and, in March of that year, moved her mother to Sunrise at Montgomery Village. In early September 2009, the Defendant signed a residency agreement with Sunrise of Rockville, as well as a responsible party contract under which she agreed to pay for her mother’s apartment, residential assisted living services, meals, medication,and respite care. The Defendant carried out her contractual obligations until she told Sunrise staff, in November 2010 that her mother was out of money. In fact, when attorneys for Sunrise contacted the State’s Attorney’s Office in April 2011, the Defendant owed Sunrise approximately $30,000. (In September 2011, when Sunrise filed a separate civil action against LaTour for breach of contract, she owed more than $52,000; in February 2012, Sunrise won a default judgment against LaTour for almost $76,000).

“Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults and seniors is serious crime in Maryland, and we are committed to aggressively prosecuting these offenses,” McCarthy said in reaction to the plea. “This was one of the first cases investigated under the special Senior Financial Exploitation Initiative that we started last year due to the rampant increase in this type of case in the County. The circumstances are especially egregious when, as here, family members abuse a trusted relationship to take advantage of their older relatives.”

Full Press Release and Source:
Daughter Pleads Guilty to Misappropriating Elderly Mother's Funds

WI: Involuntary Committment of Alzheimer's Patients

[T]he Wisconsin Supreme Court clarified that persons with Alzheimer’s disease or incurable disorders cannot be involuntarily committed under a statutory scheme designed for short-term commitment and treatment of mentally ill individuals.

In 2010, Fond Du Lac County instituted proceedings under the state’s Alcohol, Drug Abuse, Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Act (Wis. Stat. ch. 51) for the involuntary commitment and treatment of an 85-year-old woman (Helen).

In general, ch. 51 allows a county to petition for involuntary commitment of persons with mental disorders or illnesses, developmental disabilities, or alcohol or drug problems.

Helen, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and had been living in a nursing home, began exhibiting aggressive behavior toward caregivers. She was eventually transported to an emergency room for medical treatment, resulting in the petition for involuntary commitment.

Ultimately, a circuit court granted the county’s petition for involuntary commitment under ch. 51, which would allow the county to place Helen in a psychiatric unit, initially for up to six months, and administer psychotropic medication if deemed necessary to treat her.

However, the court of appeals reversed, concluding that Helen was not a proper subject for treatment under ch. 51. In Fond Du Lac County v. Helen E.F., 2012 WI 50 (May 18, 2012), a Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the court of appeals.

Full Article and Source:
Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease Cannot Be Involuntarily Committed Under Chapter 51