Saturday, December 22, 2012

Petition: Remove Sonoma County Judge Mark Tansil

We, elders and disabled consumers of California licensed fiduciaries, are being forced to pay large billing fees to court appointed self-dealing fiduciares, guradians, and trustees, and their greedy attorneys.

The culprit: Judge Mark Tansil, of Sonoma County Califonria, awards these fees to those self-dealing fiduciaries the court appoints. When we attempt to object, Judge Mark Tansil forces us to go without legal representation, and then awards large billing fees to these self-dealing fiduciaries and their attorneys.

We believe Judge Mark Tansil is a disgrace to the Judicial systen, and that he should be removed from the bench, therefore we are petitioning the California Governor, and the California Commission on Judicial Performance to take action against Judge Mark Tansil.

SIGN the petition to remove Sonoma County Judge Mark Tansil

Medford Student Beats Odds With Brain Injury

With just a year left of college, Tessa Venell was looking forward to her senior year. But a car accident in July 2006 left the then 21-year-old Medford resident in a coma with broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

Doctors told the family their daughter had a 10-percent chance of making a functional recovery, meaning there was a 90 percent chance she might never be able to take care of herself again."We didn't have a good prognosis," said Tessa's mother, Julie Venell. "I think you kind of protect yourself from believing that." We’d hoped she’d be in the other percentage. You don’t even let that sink in.”

Despite the dismal forecast, Tessa overcame the odds. One year after her accident, she returned to finish her degree at Brandeis University. She went on to film an environmental documentary in China and is now writing a book about her recovery and rehabilitation.

“She’s had remarkable accomplishments for people who didn’t have a brain injury,” said Dr. Douglas Katz, medical director of the Acquired Brain Injury Pogram at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. “The fact she was able to return, complete college a year after and complete a documentary movie is just remarkable in and of itself.”

Tessa, who has lived in South Medford for the last three years, now works as a grant writer for the Ivy Street School in Brookline, which treats and educates a growing number of young people with brain injuries and other neurological difficulties.

Full Article and Source:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation - Medford Student Beats Odds With Brain Injury

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lawless America: Jennifer Goings

Source: Lawless America: Jennifer Goings

Prominent Milwaukee lawyer loses license for misuse of funds

After practicing law for more than a half century and being president of one Milwaukee's better known law firms, Joseph W. Weigel will be leaving the profession next year as a disbarred lawyer.
The state Supreme Court Wednesday unanimously agreed to revoke Weigel's law license for misusing client funds by using the money to pay vendors or other clients. Special prosecutor Paul Schwarzenbart has argued that Weigel ran the firm's client trust account like a Ponzi scheme. That is, Weigel, 77, ran hundreds of millions of dollars through the fund and used money won in new cases to pay off clients in older cases. Others, such as consultants and experts who assisted in cases, went unpaid.
"A six or seven figure deficit in an account that holds client funds is an ethical failure of epic proportions," the court said in its 37-page decision.
Schwarzenbart has handled the case since 2006 because Weigel's son, William Weigel, is a top official at the court's Office of Lawyer Regulation and he often is involved in prosecutions of lawyers who violate ethical rules. Schwarzenbart made all decisions in the Joseph Weigel case and did not consult William Weigel or other agency officials, said Keith Sellen, agency director.
Full Article and Source:
Prominent Milwaukee lawyer loses license for misuse of funds

CANHR Lawsuit Targets Nursing Home Management and Fees

A lawsuit filed by CANHR against the Department of Public Health and Country Villa Service Corp, challenges the state-approved practice of allowing Country Villa nursing homes to contract out their operations to another entity owned by Country Villa.

The “management’ company then receives a percentage of revenues (often 5%) from the facilities they operate. Besides CANHR, the plaintiffs include Gail Dawson, an individual. CANHR and Ms. Dawson are represented by Russell Balisok and Silvo Nardoni of Glendale. The lawsuit asks for declaratory relief invalidating state statutes as in conflict with federal law; for an order requiring disgorgement of all management fees paid; and for a permanent injunction.

CANHR Lawsuit Targets Nursing Home Management and Fees

See Also:
Read CANHR's Lawsuit

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Compassion for the Elderly: Ways to Help the Elderly at Christmas Time

Christmas is a season of giving. People often pick certain groups of individuals to help, such as the elderly. Here are eight ways you can help the elderly this Christmas season.
Volunteer with Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels is a national program that provides meals to home-bound senior citizens. During the Christmas season, they need extra volunteers to cover for their regular volunteers. Go to for more information.

Take seniors Christmas shopping. Many senior citizens lack the ability to drive themselves to shopping. Your assistance with transportation can make a difference this Christmas for a senior citizen. You can dedicate as little as an hour to this and make a big difference in a senior citizen's life.

Help a senior citizen with Christmas cards. Offer to spend an afternoon with an elderly neighbor helping them to address and to mail their Christmas cards. You actually need not supply anything, though it may be helpful to supply some stamps.

Visit seniors at a senior center or nursing home. The Christmas holidays can a lonely time for people, especially for senior citizens. One of the quickest ways to brighten someone's day is to visit him or her. Many senior centers and nursing homes especially welcome visitors during the holiday season. School groups are particularly favored visitors. Be certain to contact your local senior center or nursing home well ahead of your visit so you can be sensitive of their scheduling needs.

Help prepare or serve a Christmas dinner for the elderly. Almost every major city's commission on aging will offer Christmas holiday meals for the elderly. Those dinners need volunteers to help prepare and to help serve meals. Your time commitment could be as little as two hours, and it may or may not be on the Christmas Day. This way, you still have time to enjoy your Christmas dinner.

Gather Christmas food boxes for the elderly. Local service organizations often organize food drives for the elderly during the Christmas season so that the elderly can fix a Christmas dinner for themselves. Check with your local food bank or service organization in your city to see if there are already formal food drives in existence in your city. If not, you can always organize your own through your community group or place of worship.

Make Christmas gift bags for the elderly. Often, the elderly do not have any family members to spend Christmas with or even to give them a gift. You can make a difference this Christmas by assembling a small gift bag for them with treats and maybe a few practical items such as warm socks. A little goes a long way.

Do a good deed. Finally, Christmas is a season of giving, and it doesn't need to be season-specific giving. Any kind of good deed you can do for an elderly person is in the spirit of the season. It can be as simple as looking in on your elderly neighbor or clearing their sidewalk of snow.

~Nicole Hubbard

The Forgotten Ones:  Compassion for the Elderly

Elderly Brains Can't Process Scams, Misleading Information, Two Studies Show

A psychological study conducted by Professor Shelley Taylor reported this week that a section of the brain known as the anterior insula is to blame for elderly people being more susceptible to fall victim to scams. This new information creates an interesting addition to a study conducted earlier in the year by researchers at the University of Iowa, which recorded that aging of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex results in a lessened ability to process doubt and skepticism when taking in visual information.

Prof. Taylor, of the University of California Los Angeles, conducted a study wherein 119 elderly residents of a senior living home, between the ages 55 and 84, were shown photos of both neutral/trustworthy faces and faces which showcased visual cues that alert us to non trustworthiness, such as a shifty gaze, smiling without the eyes and facial hair, and asked to rate their level of trustworthiness. The same faces were shown to a group of 24 staff and students between the ages of 20 and 42. While both groups reported equal ratings of trustworthiness while assessing the neutral faces, the elderly group was found to be incapable of picking up on the visual cues provided in the untrustworthy photos.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Brains Can't Process Scams, Misleading Information, Two Studies Show

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

YouTube: Re-Evaluate Sue Lee

In 2008, Sue Lee suffered a severe stroke. Sue was declared permanently disabled and incapacitated by the state of Oregon. Eventually, a state-appointed Conservator took control of Sue's business, home, and financial assets.

4 years later, Sue Lee has shone great strides in recovery. While struggling to regain her speech, she is a fully capable person.

Despite her recovery, state appointed doctors as well as her conservator have continued to list Sue as INCOMPETENT.

Sue Lee IS competent and this film stands to show her ability to communicate her wishes and care for herself on a daily basis.

Re-Evaluate Sue Lee

See Also: "It's Just a Lack of Concern for a Human Being"

Website: Center for Judicial Excellence

CJE is dedicated to public education and community outreach about individual rights in the court system.

Since it's founding in 2006, CJE has filled a critical void, shining a light on a vital branch of government that wields tremendous power over the lives of average people.

CJE has empowered citizen leadership, inspired government action, and become a major catalyst in building a national movement for family court reform.


See Also:
Jury Finds Nevada County Superior Court Guilty of Retaliation: Verdict of Whistleblower's Historic Case Exposes the Flaws of an Unregulated Legal System

GA: Camden Co. Judge Pleads Guilty to Charges, Resigns

The just-elected probate judge of Camden County left office after pleading guilty to three criminal charges.

Wise had worked in the office for 20 years and was the associate probate judge when the charges were brought against her earlier this year. She was elected probate judge in July and was scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 1 to the seat of retiring Judge Martin Gillette.

District Attorney Brian Rickman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Judge Shirley Wise pleaded guilty to three counts -- theft by taking, theft by deception and violation of her oath of office.

Among the charges against Wise was that she took cash payments for vital records from December 2008 until earlier this year and failed to account for and deposit the money. According to records from the Judicial Qualifying Commission, Wise tried to hide the acts by shredding or destroying the original duplicate cash receipts that had been given to customers.

Rickman said Wise was sentenced under the First Offender Act to seven years on probation and fined $1,000.

He said Wise also gave more than $5,500 in restitution to the Camden County Board of Commission. Wise also agreed to not seek or accept appointment to a judicial office in the future.

Full Article and Source:
Camden Co. Judge Pleads Guilty to Charges, Resigns

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FINR: Caregivers Bloodied Patients as Complaints Drew Laughter

Caregivers at a Florida center for the brain-injured beat patients, goaded them to fight each other and fondle female employees and in one instance laughed at complaints of mistreatment, according to investigative reports released under a court order to Bloomberg News.

The center, the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, is fighting a state directive that it move about 50 patients to other facilities. That order followed a Bloomberg story revealing a history of violence at the center southeast of Tampa. At least five patients have died from alleged abuse or neglect there since 1998, two in the last two years.
The newly released records summarize 15 probes conducted by the Florida Department of Children and Families since 2008, including 12 that have never been disclosed before. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Kevin J. Carroll ordered the state to provide the reports, with the names of victims blacked out, after Bloomberg petitioned the court, arguing there was a compelling public interest.

The Wauchula-based facility, known as FINR, draws patients from across the U.S. and abroad and is said by competitors to be the largest such rehabilitation center in the country. It often finds customers among the relatively few brain injured with legal settlements or insurance payments that enable them to pay premium prices. FINR charges some of them $300,000 a year.

In all of the 15 cases summarized in the reports --involving 17 patients and 20 staff members -- the allegations were classified by investigators as verified, meaning they were supported by a “preponderance of credible evidence.”

‘Difficult Population’

Until now, the state had released only a summary of complaints, indicating there have been 526 allegations of abuse and neglect since 2005. Of those, 37 were deemed verified. Another 117 fell into a category defined by state regulations as when “there is credible evidence that does not meet the standard of preponderance.” The rest are still being investigated or involved cases where the agency discovered no evidence of abuse.

Joe Brennick, FINR’s owner and chief executive officer, declined to comment on individual cases. In an e-mailed statement, Brennick said the center “has consistently acted in the best interest of its patients, and has one of the toughest self-reporting policies in place for a facility of its kind.”

“It is important to understand that FINR serves one of the most difficult populations of patients in the country,” he said, “and that these patients often act out aggressively and are extremely difficult to manage. This is not to absolve wrongdoing by staff members, but is a fact that is often overlooked in media reports.”

Full Article and Source:
Caregivers Bloodied Patients as Complaints Drew Laughter

See Also:
Florida Brain Injury Center Fights Order to Move Patients

Philadelphia Traffic Judge Removed From Bench by Discipline Panel Because of Lewd Photo

A Philadelphia traffic court judge was removed him from office by a judicial ethics panel for showing a female court clerk cellphone photos of his genitals.

The Court of Judicial Discipline issued the one-sentence order Thursday in the case of Willie Singletary, who had been deemed to have engaged in judicial misconduct.

Singletary's lawyer, John Summers, called it "a one-time, accidental mistake" and said that Singletary resigned from the bench in February. He said Singletary is working, got married this year and is moving on with his life. "The court looked at all available sanctions, looked at past cases, and it selected removal," Summers said. "Surely it knew that he had already resigned."

Full Article and Source:
Philadelphia Traffic Judge Removed From Bench by Discipline Panel Because of Lewd Photo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Appellate Court: Disabled San Jose Man Owes Nothing to Trustee and Attorneys in Bitter Probate Dispute

In a stunning ruling, a California appellate court on Thursday declared that a Silicon Valley trustee and his two attorneys are not entitled to a penny of compensation, after a years-long dispute over their six-figure bill to briefly manage a disabled San Jose man's life savings.

The decision is a major victory for Danny Reed, a brain-injury victim whose story was featured in July in this newspaper's investigation "Loss of Trust" -- an exposé of how the Santa Clara County Superior Court long allowed estate managers to receive outlandish fees for their court-appointed duties serving the disabled and elderly.

Not only was the ruling major vindication for the 37-year-old man who waged a rare fight against powerful interests in the local courts, it also sets legal precedent that strengthens the rights of others to maintain control of their court-overseen trusts.

"This is much bigger than me," Reed said Thursday. "It's for all the people who can't understand what's going on. This is something that will help them too."

Reed's life became entangled in Santa Clara County's probate court after a pair of accidents left him partially disabled. The money he received in legal settlements was set aside in a special needs trust overseen by a judge.

While Reed never sought help, a probate judge appointed trustee Thomas Thorpe in 2010 to temporarily oversee Reed's trust -- including $650,000 and a townhouse -- when questions arose over  his mother's handling of the funds.

Thursday's opinion, written by 6th District Court of Appeal Acting Presiding Justice Eugene Premo, reversed a lower court's order that Reed's trust must pay $51,285 to Thorpe and his two attorneys, Diane Brown and Michael Desmarais. The trio originally sought $108,771 for Thorpe's 4½ months on the job.

The appellate court said the judge had the power to appoint Thorpe but should not have awarded him and his attorneys any fees, because the trust document included a provision that explicitly denied any new trustees payment for"> their services. That was a provision of Reed's trust document that Thorpe and his attorney had tried unsuccessfully to change.

Thursday's ruling, however, did not address another $146,000 in fees that the lower court ruled Reed's trust must pay Desmarais for his work defending Thorpe's original bill. That dispute is part of a second case that the appellate court is still to consider.

It remained unclear whether Thorpe would appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court. Calls to Thorpe and his attorneys were not returned.

Full Article and Source:
Appellate Court: Disabled San Jose Man Owes Nothing to Trustee and Attorneys in Bitter Probate Dispute

See Also:
Document:  Ruling in Favor of Danny Reed

San Jose Appeals Court Justice Accuses Estate Trustee of 'Feeding Frenzy'

NJ Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing $600K

A Mahwah man has been indicted by the Essex County Grand Jury after allegedly stealing over $600,000 from clients of his East Orange Law Office, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced in a release Tuesday.

According to Murray, Raymond Roche, 54, a Mahwah resident, was served with a three-count indictment after allegedly stealing settlement checks from his personal injury clients.

Roche faces 20 years in prison if he is convicted of second-degree theft, misapplication of entrusted funds, and first-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity charges, the release said.

Roche, a lawyer with a practice in East Orange, allegedly “accumulated unpaid medical liens on personal injury cases,” Murray said in the release. “He received settlement checks from the insured but failed to pay off the medical liens.”

Roche is accused of depositing the checks into his attorney’s trust fund, and writing checks from the trust account to his law firm, Roche and Associates, in 2006 and 2007, Murray said.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing $600K

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Elder Abuse in Florida

Join us this evening as we explore the probate system in Florida.

Kevin Pizzarillo joins the show to discuss an ongoing case which was predicated upon the filing of fraudulent petitions. Even after the court was informed that the petitioners were fully aware of pre-existing directives and other legal instruments, the Judge refused to reverse the ruling granting temporary guardianship.
In the mix are numerous attorneys who obtained retainers and then withdrew from the case just before court.

Even with a massive collection of legal documents as evidence, the Florida state Attorney General refuses to act on the criminal activity taking place.

What is happening in this case and in hundreds of other cases in Florida, is the practice of human trafficking for profit.

5:00 PST … 6:00 MST … 7:00 CST … 8:00 EST

LISTEN live tonight or listen to the archive later

Judge OK's $18M Settlement in 'Kids-for-Cash' Case

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has given final approval to a settlement that will pay out nearly $18 million to juveniles who allege they were wrongly jailed by corrupt judges.[Former Luzurne County Judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella]

The approval granted Friday in Scranton allows attorneys to begin distributing money to about 1,600 teens and their parents.

The funds come from developer Robert K. Mericle (MEHR'-ih-kuhl), who built a pair of for-profit youth detention centers.

Two Luzerne County judges accepted payments from Mericle and routinely jailed teens at the facilities. The judges are now serving lengthy prison terms.

Mericle pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony. He awaits sentencing in the so-called "kids for cash" scandal.

Affected youths will receive between $500 and $5,000. Some will get more based on the circumstances of their incarceration.

Source: Judge OK's $18M Settlement in 'Kids-for-Cash' Case

Ben Alfano is Still Footing the Bill

While Ben Alfano will be much with his children this week, if only in memory, Thanksgiving eve would seem a callous time to render "final" judgment on the draining of the veteran's estate.

But as Washington County Circuit Judge Rita Batz Cobb has scheduled the hearing for 11 a.m. Wednesday, let's review the charade that has brought us this far.

Twenty-seven months ago, Cobb dismissed the pleas of Alfano, his four doctors, four of his five children and Cobb's own court visitor, and awarded control of the veteran's life to Chris Farley, a professional guardian.

Farley -- like Alfano's court-appointed attorney, Richard Pagnano -- was enlisted by the Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs, the conservator of Alfano's sizable estate.

Alfano, a 72-year-old amputee with full benefits, would survive only another six months.

As I wrote in a series of February columns, Farley moved the veteran out of the Raleigh Hills Assisted Living facility he loved and eventually into a locked-door dementia-care unit in Gresham, and strenuously isolated him from his children.

Alfano's heart burst, literally, in February 2011, and he died at the VA Medical Center.

As Judy Bridges, the Raleigh Hills administrator, submitted in an affidavit, "I believe with all my heart that the move killed him."

Full Article and Source:
Steve Duin: Ben Alfano is Still Footing the Bill

No Charges for Algonquin Woman Who Abandoned Disabled Daughter

While her actions were “inexcusable,” an Algonquin mother will not face criminal charges for abandoning her 19-year-old disabled daughter at a Tennessee bar, according to the district attorney general in Campbell County, Tenn.

That was the conclusion of a grand jury that investigated whether Eva Cameron, 45, should be charged with willful neglect and exploitation of an impaired adult, according to a news release issued Monday by Lori Phillips-Jones, district attorney general.

“There is no disagreement that the actions of the mother, Eva Cameron, in this case were inexcusable,” the news release states. “However, Tennessee law has not anticipated such behavior and thus the Grand Jury was faced with conduct which was not necessarily indictable.”

Cameron could not immediately be reached Monday. She has said previously that she did not believe Illinois would provide adequate medical services or housing for her daughter, who functions at the intellectual level of a 3-year-old.

Tennessee officials at first said they would not charge Cameron because her daughter is legally an adult, but reversed course after learning the circumstances of the case. On June 28, the teen, who has a limited vocabulary, was discovered without an ID or money at a bar in rural Caryville.

Full Article and Source:
No Charges for Algonquin Woman Who Abandoned Disableld Daughter