Saturday, June 30, 2012

An Open Door

Guardians will find any crack in the crevice to get into our lives and our loved one's pocketbook; but oftentimes, we've unwittingly opened the door and invited them in ourselves, following a family feud. This is the phrase the guardians like to use - or "family squabble."

It could start because one family member feels slighted - discovering another will inherit more of the eventual estate. Theft by a family member is often actually involved. Or maybe one sibling is taking care of Mom and the others think that he/she is taking advantage of her or not treating her properly. Maybe the siblings have never gotten along. Worse, maybe one sibling is actually abusing Mom and she's in danger. Sometimes families call an APS-type agency to complain about each other. The problem escalates very quickly and often ends up in court, where the siblings expect the disagreement will be settled -- by a judge who will hear all sides. Each side may believe they're clearly right and the others are wrong.

The day you take the matter to court is the day you lose your loved one! Almost without exception, the judge will appoint a third-party guardian - regardless of whether advance directives (durable power of attorney, health proxy, wills, trusts, etc.) are in place or not.


Disabled Vets' Families Fight VA Over Fiduciaries

Across the country, disabled veterans' families are in bitter battles with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, trying to oust VA-appointed fiduciaries from their lives.

Two attorneys, Doug Rosinski of Columbia, S.C., and Katrina Eagle of San Diego, have taken on VA in cases involving allegations of bureaucratic mistreatment. Both said regional program managers sometimes overlook the misdeeds of paid fiduciaries while coming down hard on veterans' relatives who do the work for nothing.

The agency's policy is that family members get priority in fiduciary appointments, but it does not always work that way. And while many family members serve successfully as fiduciaries for disabled veterans, some get into trouble, often because of a lack of training or knowledge of the rules

R. Dean Slicer, a top regional program manager in Indiana, boasted in a November 2010 email to an Indianapolis bank official that they would have "fun" battling with a war veteran's daughter. Carolyn Stump, a registered nurse, was trying to free her seriously ailing 81-year-old dad, William Evans, from a fiduciary at the bank who had tangled with the family and had recently been slow paying some bills, according to court records.

Slicer, who last year was promoted to oversee the fiduciary program in 13 states, declined to comment.

Full Article and Source:
Disabled Vets' Families Fight VA Over Fiduciaries

Missing Florida Millionaire May Be Alive and 'Suffering from Psychosis'

Troubled millionaire Guma Aguiar who disappeared at sea may be alive and in a "delusional state or be suffering from psychosis," according to a legal document obtained by ABC News and filed by Aguiar's mother.

Ellen Aguiar filed the court documents with the Broward County Circuit Court on Thursday to become the conservator or temporary guardian of Aguiar's estate, which is valued at more than $100 million.

Full Article and Source:
Missing Florida Millionaire May Be Alive and 'Suffering from Psychosis'

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jeffrey Schend's attorney asks for dismissal because of delays in prosecution

APPLETON — A former Appleton guardian accused of stealing about $500,000 from his elderly and disabled clients wants a judge to toss the felony case because of unreasonable delays in his prosecution.

The attorney for Jeffrey M. Schend filed a motion for dismissal in Outagamie County Court on Wednesday.

Schend was charged in May 2011 and demanded a speedy trial in July. His trial was first scheduled for September, but a judge granted prosecutors a postponement so a forensic accountant could investigate Schend’s financial practices.

Michael Petersen, attorney for Schend, said he met with the forensic accountant in March, but hasn’t received a report on the findings. During a court hearing in March, attorneys said the accountant’s review was complete.

“Clearly, it is not the role of the judiciary to baby-sit cases while they are investigated by the state,” wrote Petersen, who also is asking for a ruling that would prohibit prosecutors from refiling charges in the future. “The defendant deserves his day in court.”

Full Article and Source:
Jeffrey Schend's attorney asks for dismissal because of delays in prosecution

See Also:
Bonds in Jeffrey M. Schend's Appleton guardian case won't cover losses

'Bringing Dorothy Home'

Purpose: to raise awareness of the growing phenomenon of nursing homes bypassing families' legally established authority in order to seize the assets of their "residents" ~ whether there by choice, or, as in my mother's case, not. Families can even lose their rights to VISIT their loved ones, as these predators follow their usual procedure of: "Isolate, Medicate, Liquidate."

I kept my mother out of a nursing home for more than seven years before she went to Wilton Meadows for stroke rehab and was kidnapped by them. We also paid considerably into a "state-wide asset protection plan" ~ a partnership between her LTC insurance carrier [Met Life] and the state, to protect the house. This was paid into for several years, earning "credits" against potential Medicaid claims on the property. Under the Medicaid "Caregiver's Exception," I am also entitled to keep the house. And, finally, under her Durable POA I also could have (and should have) transferred everything into my own name. This never would have happened to her if I had done so, to my terrible regret now. I was never in a rush to do that, however, because I never intended to allow my mother to go into a nursing home. It was always my intention to create whatever she needed at home. Had I ever anticipated this turn of events, I would have sold the Roton Point property to pay for the house, and put it into my name, for her protection. But I was preserving her familiar status quo for her sake and simplicity for tax purposes.

Blog: Bringing Dorothy Home

New Jersey Considers Adopting New Elder Law Protections

If lawmakers in New Jersey adopt a newly proposed law, the state will join about 30 others that have enacted so-called anti-”granny snatching” legislation. Known as the New Jersey Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, the proposed law would make it much more difficult for family members with incapacitated elderly relatives to circumvent the state adult guardianship protections.

When a state court appoints an adult guardian for an elderly person, it typically appoints a family member to that position. With granny snatching, a family member who was unhappy with the guardianship determination can move the elderly person to a new state and ask a court in that state to name the family member as the guardian. If the court agrees, the new guardian will effectively from the old guardian’s rights because the old guardian was given powers under a New Jersey court and not the new states court.

Full Article and Source:
New Jersey Considers Adopting New Elder Law Protections

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors turns blind eye to elder abuse

At numerous Board of Supervisor meetings, county residents expressed concerns about elder abuse by the Santa Clara County public guardian. Residents specifically addressed the plight of Gisela Riordan, an 84-year-old San Jose resident who is unlawfully imprisoned and isolated at Villa Fontana. The San Jose residential care facility for the elderly is acting on unlawful instructions from the public guardian.

Gisela Riordan is denied visitation, phone calls, and mail. Her dentures are missing. She needs eyeglasses. Her hearing aid is locked at the nurse’s station. She has lost 1/3 of her body weight.

Elder advocates also introduced “Rose”, another victim of abuse by the public guardian. Rose is also imprisoned and isolated at Villa Fontana. Rose’s family asked that her true name be kept confidential, as they fear retaliation against their loved one.

Full Article and Source:
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors turns blind eye to elder abuse

Florida: When Are Guardians and Attorneys Entitled to Fees in Contested Guardianships?

Thorpe v. Myers, --- So.3d ----, 2011 WL 2731937 (Fla. 2d DCA Jul 15, 2011)

In this case a 93-year-old ward had nine children who seemingly couldn’t agree that the sky was blue. After lengthy litigation, the trial court appointed a plenary guardian for the ward, who suffered from dementia. In separate appeals, the emergency temporary guardian and attorneys for two of the children appealed the court’s denial of their respective fee requests.

Guardian's Fees:

The 2d DCA held that the trial court’s complete denial of fees to the guardian was based on a misreading of F.S. 744.108(1), which requires that attorneys, but not guardians, demonstrate the “beneficial nature of services rendered” to the ward. Unlike those of attorneys, guardians’ services are presumed to benefit the ward. However, a circuit court may reduce the requested compensation to the extent that the guardian’s services were “unnecessary or unproductive.”

Not only was the legal basis for denying the guardian any compensation flawed, but so too was the factual basis, the 2d DCA found. It disagreed with the circuit court’s finding that the guardian’s services “were of minimal, if any[,] benefit to the Ward, and were intended to benefit [two of the Ward’s children] in the Petition for Emergency Temporary Guardianship.” Instead, there was “nothing in the record suggesting that [the guardian] was working for [the two children] in disregard of her obligation to act in the best interests of the Ward. . . . The guardian works in the interest of the ward under the supervision and control of the court, not at the behest of the person or persons who sought the appointment.”

As evidence to support that claim, the 2d DCA pointed out that the “circuit court actually extended [the guardian’s] tenure as emergency temporary guardian for another four months.” It would make little sense, the 2d DCA implied, for a guardian providing “minimal, if any, benefit” to be asked to continue her responsibilities.

Attorneys' Fees:

The 2d DCA also addressed the circuit’s order denial of attorney’s fees and costs requested by the attorneys of the two children of the Ward who submitted the original petition for guardianship. As alluded to above, attorneys are entitled to “reasonable compensation” only to the extent that their services demonstrably benefit the ward.

The circuit court found that the two children’s attorneys did not provide any services for the ward. By an abuse of discretion standard, the 2d DCA acknowledged that some of the attorneys’ services amounted to “unproductive litigation over who would be appointed as guardian or other goals that did not benefit the Ward or her estate.”

2d DCA: When Are Guardians and Attorneys Entitled to Fees in Contested Guardianship Proceedings?

CT: Restructured Probate Court System Sends Dollars Back to State's Coffers

Two years removed from the verge of fiscal collapse, Connecticut's restructured Probate Court system has returned more than $10 million to state's coffers over the past two fiscal years.

And though the restructured system's administrative budget now includes an annual assist from the General Fund, probate courts will return nearly three-quarters of the state money they received this fiscal year.

"Court consolidation dramatically cut costs, and the savings will benefit the taxpayers of the state on an ongoing basis," Judge Paul J. Knierim, the state's probate court administrator, said Friday.

The courts, which are projected to spend $33.5 million this fiscal year, cover the bulk of their operating costs through service fees, though the system also received $7.5 million from the state budget.

Knierim's office reported last week that $5.5 million of those dollars will be going back.

One of the oldest probate courts systems in the nation, with roots dating back over 300 years, the Connecticut courts underwent a dramatic restructuring in January 2011 to reverse growing financial woes.

The state's 117 court districts were consolidated into 54, while judges' salaries were reset based on caseloads and capped at 75 percent of the $146,780 annual salary for a Superior Court judge.

Knierim said that these changes have kept probate judges' pay essentially flat since the restructuring. That, along with the overall reduction in judicial posts, has been the biggest, single, cost-control measure.

Full Artice and Source:
Restructured Probate Court System Sends Dollars Back to State's Coffers

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Panel Rules Against Lawyer in Smoron Probate Case

A panel that oversees the professional conduct of state lawyers found that local attorney John Nugent violated ethics laws in his handling of the estate of Josephine Smoron, according to a decision released this week.

The Statewide Grievance Committee ruled that Nugent knowingly ignored knowledge that Smoron had a signed will leaving her 80- to 90-acre farm to caretaker Samuel Manzo. It further found that Nugent sought to intentionally deceive and defraud Smoron of her final wishes, and lied during testimony last fall.

The committee ordered that Nugent be reprimanded for the violations, which means a copy of its findings will be published in the state’s law journal.

“We conclude that the respondent knew that Ms. Smoron had a will that left her estate to the complainant,” the report stated. “Rather than actively search for this will and confirm Ms. Smoron’s testamentary wishes, however, the respondent chose to ignore the information presented to him and develop a mechanism that would give him control over Ms. Smoron’s estate after her death and allow him to determine who would inherit her estate.”

Nugent’s attorney, James Sullivan, said the ruling was based on vague rules of administration of justice and he will appeal the decision.

“We disagree with the findings and we are going to request a hearing,” Sullivan said.

Nugent was Smoron’s conservator when she died in June 2009. Several months before she died, Nugent created two trusts and funded them with her cash assets and real estate while naming himself trustee. He also made a deal with local developer Carl Verderame to buy the property for $1.5 million for use as an access road to Verderame’s proposed sports complex off Interstate 84. Three local churches were to be named beneficiaries, not Manzo.

Shortly after Smoron’s death, Manzo learned there was only $6,000 in the estate and hired local attorney Barry Pontolillo. The case is now in the hands of three probate courts and Hartford Superior Court.

Full Article and Source:
Panel Rules Against Nugent in Southington Probate Case

See Also:
Jambed Gears of Justice in CT Probate Case Over Farm

OH: Bill Aimed at Helping Victims of Elder Abuse

Ohio Rep. Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) is sponsoring a bill aimed at helping victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation.

According to a press release from Gov. Mike DeWine's office, the Ohio Elder Justice Act will update current law to improve the response to elder abuse victims by strengthening Adult Protective Services in Ohio. Dovilla worked with DeWine's Elder Abuse Commission to draft the proposed legislation.

Some of the key provisions of the bill include:

• Requirement of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to create a registry to help identify patterns of reported abuse.

• Obligation of employees in various financial service industries to report suspected elder abuse to help prevent the elderly from falling victim to financial crimes.

• Establishment of a statewide Elder Abuse Commission to increase awareness and research, formulate and recommend strategies to improve policy, funding and programming, and identify opportunities to coordinate statewide efforts to address elder abuse.

Bill Aimed at Helping Victims of Elder Abuse

Witherspoon case closed: Judge to seal records

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A judge agreed to dismiss the emergency conservatorship request by Reese Witherspoon in her father's interest Monday morning and ordered that the court file remain sealed from the public.

In May, Witherspoon filed an emergency motion to have her father, Dr. John Witherspoon, placed under a conservator after he was accused of marrying another woman while still married. Betty Witherspoon filed a lawsuit protesting his marriage to Tricianne Taylor, saying he was suffering from depression and possibly early onset dementia.

Circuit Judge Randy Kennedy has ordered nearly all proceedings in the conservatorship case be secret, in addition to any court records detailing John Witherspoon's situation. The Tennessean and WSMV-Channel 4 sued to unseal the proceedings and records.

On Monday, attorneys for Reese Witherspoon, Betty Witherspoon and John Witherspoon, in addition to the temporary guardian assigned to the case, agreed to drop the conservatorship. Reese Witherspoon's attorney, Andra Hedrick, said vaguely, "The situation has changed" and that the parties had all "dealt with this in a private way."

In a separate ruling, Kennedy said that the media and public do not have a right to see records filed in the conservatorship, accusing the media of tabloid journalism. Kennedy's ruling means the case will remain sealed from public eyes unless a higher court overrules him.

Full Article and Source:
Witherspoon case closed: Judge to seal records

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bonds in Jeffrey M. Schend's Appleton guardian case won't cover losses

APPLETON — Bonds obtained by former Appleton guardian Jeffrey M. Schend to guard against theft would cover only half of the $500,000 he’s accused of stealing from his elderly and disabled clients, The Post-Crescent has learned.

Outagamie County had an option in its contract with Schend to require additional protection, but didn’t exercise it.

“I think part of the issue is we’ve never had a problem with guardians in the past,” said Joe Guidote, lead attorney for Outagamie County. “Bonds are expensive and difficult to obtain at times.”

Outagamie County could recover up to $250,000 from Schend’s bonds if he’s convicted of theft charges. Schend, 45, was charged last year with six felony counts of theft and one misdemeanor theft count. His trial is set to begin Aug. 20.

Investigators have been unable to locate about $500,000 that should have been in the accounts of Schend’s clients. Court documents show one of Schend’s clients had net assets of more than $633,000 when he assumed guardianship in 2006.

During the course of the investigation, county officials spent $36,000 on the services of a forensic account to piece together Schend’s financial history.

Outagamie County required Schend’s business, JMS Guardianship Services, to obtain a minimum bond of $75,000 as protection against theft. Schend’s contract also allowed the county to ask for court orders for additional bonding when the value of estates showed a need for additional protections. Guidote said Schend’s bonds above the minimum weren’t the result of any such request.

Guidote said “anything over that was from Mr. Schend’s initiative.”

Sylvia Rudek, a director of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, said insufficient bonding hasn’t been a frequent concern brought to her organization. Still, she wasn’t sympathetic to the notion high bond prices could impact those working as professional guardians. It’s a cost of doing business, she said.

Elaine Renoire, president of the organization, said Outagamie County “dropped the ball” in the Schend case.

Full Article and Source:
Bonds in Jeffrey M. Schend's Appleton guardian case won't cover losses

See Also:
Jeffrey Schend, the Guardian Accused of Theft, Seeks Out of County Jury

Disability Vermont Alleges State Failed to Protect Elderly Man

A watchdog group has issued a report alleging that a state agency didn’t do enough to prevent an 80-year-old Vermont man from being neglected and financially exploited by his son over a five-month period in 2011.

The man, identified as John Doe, later died in a nursing home in October of that year.

John Doe had dementia, diabetes and depression, and he needed 24-hour care because of his frail condition. He lived with his son who neglected his caregiving needs, according to the report.

Disability Rights Vermont charges that the Vermont Adult Protective Services (APS) program failed to investigate allegations of abuse in a timely way, failed to provide adequate protective services, denied the elderly man access to emergency care and failed to substantiate clear neglect by a caregiver.

In addition, the federally funded watchdog organization says APS failed to maintain records that adequately demonstrated the reasons for these failures.

Disability Rights Vermont reported that although John Doe did not die as a result of the neglect, he suffered for months while the state could have taken action to protect him and ensure he received 24/7 care.

Full Article and Source:
Disability Rights Vermont Alleges State Failed to Protect Elderly Man

TN FBI Investigates Patient Abuse Allegation

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigated allegations of patient abuse against a 24-year-old former caregiver of a dependent adult which has resulted in an indictment and subsequent arrest.

Corey London, 24, was indicted by the Davidson County grand jury on one count of abuse of neglect of an impaired adult, a felony, on June 1, 2012.

In February, an agent with TBI’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit began investigating an abuse referral from Adult Protective Services regarding an incident that occurred on January 24, 2012 while London was employed as a paid care giver for individuals with physical or mental challenges. London, who worked for Restoration Residential Services in Madison, Tenn. was caring for a 26-year-old dependent adult when he put the victim’s foot into bath water so hot it resulted in a second degree burn. London then put the patient to bed and did not seek medical attention. The injury was discovered by staff the next day and London was suspended from his position.

London was arrested by Metro Nashville Police on June 12, 2012 and released on a $7,500 bond.

TN FBI Investigates Patient Abuse Allegation

Monday, June 25, 2012

Disabled Woman Victimized Twice

If Sabrina Masangcay could speak for herself, she might express horror about the repeated mishandling of her money by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The agency designated a dishonest uncle to receive her VA benefit checks despite a red flag, his bankruptcy filing back in 1997. For years under the noses of VA bureaucrats in Oakland, Ruben Yumang Masangcay deceived family members and stole Sabrina's money, records show.

But Sabrina's $15,000 in restitution got lost in an "unclaimed fund" at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. It was discovered in January and released to her family. Not the fault of the court, said court clerk Richard Wieking. Once again it was the VA's fault, records show.

Sabrina, 51, lives in a group home in Castro Valley. She can't speak for herself because of "chronic schizophrenia and mental retardation," court records show.

California has almost 11,000 mentally disabled veterans and family members who, like Sabrina, are assigned VA fiduciaries to handle their finances. But a Hearst examination of criminal court records nationwide shows California may be a dead zone for VA oversight of the money.

The Sabrina Masangcay case is perhaps the state's most egregious because she was victimized twice.

After the uncle was removed as fiduciary, Sabrina's financial affairs were shuffled from a kindly sister to a brother and then to an aunt because of deaths. The VA is by law supposed to visit the new fiduciaries and regularly examine the accountings.

Full Article and Source:
Disabled Castro Valley Woman Victimized Twice

Professor Testifies That Hospitals and Nursing Homes Should Act as Partners

Dying patients would get better care if hospitals and nursing homes act as partners, a Brown University medical professor told a Senate panel.

Dr. Vince Mor, a professor of community health at Brown University in Rhode Island, testified before the Senate Aging Committee that patient choices could be better carried out if "a single health-care provider, or health-care system, is accountable for an episode of care." Mor said, "Hospitals and nursing homes must become partners in order to decrease inappropriate health care transitions, particularly in the last months of life."

Full Article and Source:
Brown Professor Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing on Care for Patients With Advanced Illness

Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing

"Empowering Patients and Honoring Individual's Choices: Lessons in Improving Care for Individuals with Advanced Illness"

June 13, 2012

Watch the Hearing

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lawsuit Alleges Two Residents Repeatedly Abused at NJ Assisted Living

Two residents at an assisted living home in Morris County filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming staff repeatedly and extensively beat them.

Henry Glowacki, 92, and Robert Prochazka, 89, allege they were both assaulted in late 2010 at Sunrise Assisted Living of Morris Plains, leaving both men with dark purple bruises and one with fractured ribs and a broken finger.

"These are completely defenseless old men with Alzheimer’s getting smacked around by the hired help," said Gregg Trautmann, a Rockaway attorney who filed the suit Wednesday. "It’s horrendous. It really is."

A police report prepared days after the alleged attack said "the victims appear to have been physically abused."

"We take all allegations seriously," said Katherine Preede, spokeswoman for Sunrise Senior Living’s corporate headquarters in Virginia. "Our first priority is, and will continue to be, protecting the health and safety of our residents. We are always looking for opportunities to improve our operations and have confidence in the current team to serve our residents and their families. It is Sunrise’s policy not to comment on pending litigation."

Full Article and Source:
Two Residents Repeatedly Abused at Morris County Assisted Living Home, Lawsuit Alleges

CA: Sunrise Sterling Canyon ALF Accused of Elder Abuse, Negligence, and Wrongful Death

The R. Rex Parris Law Firm filed a suit on behalf of the family of a resident at the Sunrise Sterling Canyon Assisted Living of Valencia and its parent company in relation to the events leading up to her death on August 24, 2011

The suit was filed in Superior Court on behalf of Ronald Corn seeking medical and related expenses, punitive and exemplary damages and attorneys' fees from defendants.

In July 2007, 89-year-old Loretta R. Hooker (Decedent) became a resident at Sunrise because she needed assistance with the activities of daily living due to dementia, generalized weakness and fragility. She could walk short distances with the aid of a walker, but needed frequent reminders to use her walker for support because she was unstable and had a history of falling after forgetting to use the walker. Ms. Hooker required assistance with dressing, toileting and personal hygiene. Sunrise designated her a "non-ambulatory" resident because she was unable to leave (or re-enter) the building without assistance.

Over time, Ms. Hooker's dementia progressed.

On August 17, 2011, Mr. Corn arrived at Sunrise to visit his mother and he found her outside on the concrete patio alone and under the hot summer sun with no shade or supervision. She was in obvious discomfort, appeared weak and was sweating profusely. Mr. Corn immediately brought her inside the facility and urged her to drink plenty of fluids.

Mr. Corn went to Sunrise on August 24, 2011 to report his concerns about the patio incident to Mr. McKie, the Executive Director. He planned to visit his mother right after that meeting. The temperature that day was over 100 degrees. While waiting to speak with Mr. McKie, a staff member asked Mr. Corn to follow him to the same outside patio area where they found Ms. Hooker again sitting alone on the concrete patio in the sun. This time however she was unresponsive, drenched with perspiration and in obvious respiratory distress. 911 was called and Ms. Hooker was transported to the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital emergency room in full cardiac arrest. Upon arrival at the hospital, Ms. Hooker received emergency treatment including placement of ice packs under her arms, neck and groin.

Despite the heroic efforts of emergency room staff, Ms. Hooker died of heat stroke shortly after arriving at the hospital. Her body temperature was 103.3 degrees at the time of her death. The autopsy report attributed her death to environmental heat exposure.

Ms. Hooker's death was the direct result of defendant Sunrise's failure to monitor, observe, protect and keep Ms. Hooker out of harm's way, alleges Robert A. Parris of the R. Rex Parris Law Firm.

Full Article and Source:
Sunrise Sterling Canyon Assisted Center Accused of Elder Abuse, Negligence and Wrongful Death by the R. Rex Parris Law Firm

CA: Unwell Protester Gets Long Awaited Intervention

As the temperature rose late Wednesday afternoon, several police officers and a crew of emergency medical technicians arrived at Ninth and G streets.

They loaded Ramon Alvarez into an ambulance for a trip to the hospital.

Whether long overdue, just in the nick of time or strictly precautionary, the move enables behavioral health experts to assess whether his mental state is killing him physically on the sidewalks of downtown Modesto.

My column Sunday detailed the plight of the 61-year-old Modesto man who, in 2006, began staking out various corners in downtown Modesto to protest perceived injustices he alleges on signs plastered all over his minivan. Among them, he claims a judge raped his 10-year-old daughter and that a sheriff's deputy gave his son drugs.

He recently went on a hunger strike. By his gaunt appearance and obvious weight loss, it certainly appears he isn't getting much nourishment. He refuses to talk, scribbling his curt answers on a notepad.

He's got serious mental issues, though the police just last week contended he didn't yet rise — or fall, depending upon your perspective — to the level that merited a trip to the Behavioral Health Center for a 72-hour evaluation.

His condition obviously changed by Wednesday afternoon, when officers went to check on him and called for the ambulance — something Alvarez's family has wanted for some time, a family member said. The concerns for Alvarez's health were legitimate, with temperatures reaching 90 on Wednesday and expected to climb near 100 later in the week. He stays in the direct sun or holes up inside the shaded but Dutch-oven-like minivan.

Alvarez has rejected repeated offers of help, the family member told me. And family pleas to police and mental health officials until Wednesday all elicited the same answer — that Alvarez's condition didn't merit the 5150 detainment.

The paradox: Without the physical exam, he wouldn't get the 72-hour hold and psychological evaluation that could lead to a 14-day stay or possibly conservatorship. The latter would, in effect, make him a ward of the local government or place him under control of a relative. It can be a complex and costly process.

Full Article and Source:
JARDINE: Unwell Protester Gets Long Awaited Intervention