Saturday, January 11, 2014

ABC7 News I-Team: Woman Hiding From Santa Clara County Public Guardian

Eighty-five-year-old Reta Cook can't get around without the help of her family and a wheelchair but she says she doesn't need Santa Clara County's help with anything.

"I really don't know why they would want to take over my life," Cook says.

In Spring 2008, the Santa Clara County Public Guardian planned to conserve Cook, taking over her financial decisions. It was concerned about how cook was spending her money, including taking a large loan out on her home with hopes of fixing it up and selling it, purchasing cars for her grandsons and a RV for her daughter. Cook also tried getting one of her grandkids into the music business by investing in a hip-hop artist.

"I think that's my right; to spend my money on what I want to spend it on. I had enough. I knew what I was doing," she told the ABC7 News I-Team.

After Cook's primary doctor diagnosed her with dementia, the County also petitioned to take control of Cook's healthcare.
But Cook had one problem with that.

"I wasn't demented at all," she says.

She tells us that's when she decided to get out of Santa Clara County.

"I called my daughter and we immediately made the decision to leave. We had to do something," according to Cook.

Full Article, Video and Source:
Woman Hiding From Bay Area County

See Also:
Reta Cook Pleads Mercy - I do not have dementia!"
Tentative Rulings
Superior Court Supplemental Filing

Ex-councilor’s trial on alleged larceny of former judge to resume Wednesday

Kim Allard

FALL RIVER — The larceny trial of former City Councilor Kim Allard scheduled today in Fall River Superior Court will resume on  Wednesday after her lawyer asked a judge to dismiss the charge against her.

Allard is charged with larceny from a person over 65, stemming from her relationship with the late former Probate Court Judge Edward F. Casey, who purchased a house in Attleboro and placed it in Allard’s name.

Casey had been described in court documents as suffering from memory loss during his later years. He died last August.

Allard lost her bid for re-election after being indicted by a Bristol County grand jury in 2011. The trial was originally set to begin last year, but was bumped by other cases.
Allard’s lawyer, Seth Roman, asked the judge this morning to dismiss the charge, saying the statute in the grand jury indictment was not appropriate.

He said the charge, as stated, requires the accused to have physically taken something from the alleged victim’s person.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-councilor’s trial on alleged larceny of former judge to resume Wednesday

Supreme Court suspends judge pending final discipline

The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown as justices consider a recommendation that she be removed from the bench for multiple violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

“The final disposition of the matter by this court will occur in due course,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote for the court in an order issued Thursday.

Dickson said Brown will be paid during the suspension.

A panel of three special masters appointed by the court recommended the Marion Superior judge's removal in late December.

The panel determined the commission proved more than 80 rule violations by clear and convincing evidence on 46 of 47 counts against Brown.

Full Article and Source:
Supreme Court suspends judge pending final discipline

Elmwood Park cop allegedly stole $20K from elderly man with dementia

John Wasilenk
An Elmwood Park police officer has been charged with official misconduct and financial exploitation of a senior citizen

John A. Wasilenko, 39, of Norridge, was taken into custody Friday morning. He is charged with official misconduct and financial exploitation of a senior citizen.

Police say they were contacted by an elderly man who said he did not write a $20,000 check that was made out to Wasilenko. Investigators say Wasilenko deposited a check in that amount in December 2012.

Police say the victim is an 84-year-old man with advanced dementia, whom Wasilenko allegedly befriended after speaking to the victim about thefts at his Elmwood Park home.

Full Article and Source:
Elmwood Park cop allegedly stole $20K from elderly man with dementia

Friday, January 10, 2014

Woman’s financial watchdog failed to pay taxes on house

In a stark petition to the court last year, the Maricopa County public fiduciary asked permission to sell Cathy Jarnigan’s home of 41 years and move her to an apartment.

The fiduciary’s office said the move was “prudent and needed” because the 52-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, lacked the funds to pay three years of delinquent property taxes and that the sale of the house would keep it from foreclosure.

The fiduciary’s petition did not mention the property taxes became delinquent after the county stopped paying them in 2008. Nothing in court records, however, noted that a fiduciary office employee specifically notified Jarnigan that her taxes weren’t paid before the office sought to sell her home.

“I can’t say she wasn’t notified,” Public Fiduciary Catherine Robbins said in an interview last week. “I am also not going to say that she was.”

County fiduciaries largely limit their service to the poor. The county fiduciary is responsible for managing the health, welfare and finances of residents who are incapable of taking care of themselves. The fiduciary’s office is usually appointed by Maricopa County Probate Court judges to serve as someone’s guardian, conservator or personal representative.

The Jarnigan case underscores the potential for problems for people whose finances are administered by private and public fiduciaries and overseen by county probate court judges. A 2011 investigation by The Arizona Republic found that Maricopa County Probate Court judges rarely curtail fiduciary and legal fees, even when wards of the court end up broke and on state-paid care.

Robbins blamed the foreclosure on Jarnigan, saying she should have known her finances were running low and that she made personal decisions to use her money for home repairs and other expenses that prevented the fiduciary from being able to pay property taxes.

Robbins said Jarnigan put her “immediate needs” over paying property taxes and that case workers approved the expenses at the time.

Jarnigan said county officials never gave her any notice that her property taxes weren’t being paid until they sought to remove her from her home. She acknowledged making home repairs, buying college supplies and paying for dental work but said she was never advised the consequences of those decisions resulted in unpaid taxes.

“They never told me anything at all,” she said.

Nearly 20 years ago, in 1994, Jarnigan said she sought the county’s help to manage her finances because she realized that she was squandering a meager trust set up by her father to ensure that she could continue living in the family’s north Phoenix home after he died.

Jarnigan, who has had the debilitating illness since birth, didn’t have much. Her primary source of income is her parents’ Social Security payments, which today total about $1,400 per month. Court records show her only real asset is her house, where she has lived since 1972. It is valued at about $70,000.

By asking the county fiduciary to serve as her conservator, Jarnigan relinquished control of her finances. Decisions about expenses were made by case workers. The fiduciary’s office each year submitted detailed accounts of expenditures to probate court. Judges regularly approved the accounting without raising red flags, even when the county stopped paying taxes.

Full Article and Source:
Woman’s financial watchdog failed to pay taxes on house

Guardian: Court shouldn't change Ohio Amish ruling

TOLEDO, Ohio A lawyer assigned to make medical decisions for an 11-year-old Amish girl who later went into hiding to avoid resuming chemotherapy told a court that it shouldn't overturn a decision appointing her as guardian even though she wants off the case.

The guardian wants to stop trying to force Sarah Hershberger to undergo chemotherapy for her leukemia because the girl and her parents fled their farm in northeastern Ohio and went into hiding three months ago.

But she also said in a filing this week that an Ohio appeals court should not grant the Hershberger family's request to reverse the ruling that made her the girl's guardian.

The family decided this past summer to halt the cancer treatments because they feared the chemotherapy could end up killing the girl. Doctors at Akron Children's Hospital believe Sarah's leukemia is treatable, but they said in August that she will die within a year without chemotherapy.

The guardian, Maria Schimer, an attorney who's also a registered nurse, was given the power to make medical decisions for Sarah after an appeals court ruling in October said the beliefs and convictions of the girl's parents can't outweigh the rights of the state to protect the child.

Schimer and her attorney said in court documents opposing the request to reverse the decision that the Hershbergers are flouting the court's original order by hiding their daughter.

She also said the Hershbergers' attempts to argue that their constitutional rights were violated should not be allowed because they didn't raise that issue in the trial court. "The parents have forfeited the arguments they now wish to make," Schimer and her attorney said.

Read more here:

Full Article and Source:
Guardian: Court shouldn't change Ohio Amish ruling

See Also:
Ohio Amish argue against guardian in chemo case

Ohio Appeals Court Again Sides With Hospital Seeking to Send Amish Girl Back to Chemotherapy

OH Judge Delays Decision on Guardian's Request to End Effort to Forced Chemo for Amish Girl

Charges filed in caretaker abuse case

 The Tulsa County District Attorney's office filed 20 counts of financial exploitation by a caregiver against a Bristow woman Monday.

Mandy Baker, 22, was arrested on December 10th.  According to Baker's arrest report, she was accused of taking personal checks from a patient and cashing them for more than $4,000.

According to court records, the exploitation ran from March to October 2013.

Full Article and Source:
Charges filed in caretaker abuse case

Thursday, January 9, 2014

10 Reasons People Get Railroaded into Guardianship


1. A Misconception of Guardianship
The first factor that contributes to unnecessary guardianships is a misconception of guardianship itself. The word “guardian” creates a warm and fuzzy image. Guardianship is, however, a severe loss of liberty.
2. Trolling for Clients
Some professional guardians petition the court to have themselves appointed guardian of persons with whom they have no prior relationship. If appointed, the professional guardian becomes entitled to an income stream, i.e. , fees from the person’s assets. This practice has been termed “trolling for clients.”
3. Ageism
Ageism is “prejudice or discrimination on the basis of age.” In the context of guardianship, ageism can influence whether a guardianship is imposed.
4. Court Visitors Recommend the Lawyers
Court visitors also contribute to the imposition of unnecessary guardianships because in many states, the visitor recommends whether the proposed ward should be given a lawyer. The proposed ward does not have an automatic right to counsel. This situation creates a conflict of interest.

5. The Visitor’s Fee Creates Another Conflict of Interest
If the guardian ad litem recommends counsel for the proposed ward, or if the guardian ad litem recommends against the guardianship, the petitioner may object to the guardian ad litem’s fee. The “smart” guardian ad litem, who wants to get paid, is thus under pressure to go along with the petition, not “make waves.” The guardian ad litem is, regardless, more likely to be paid if the guardianship is imposed. This is because with the appointment of a guardian, there is an official person (the guardian) who will be ordered to pay the guardian ad litem’s fee from the ward’s assets.
6. Vague, “Politically Correct” Statutes
In many states, persons subject to guardianship were formerly deemed “incompetent.” To eliminate the stigma, many states passed statutes employing the word “incapacitated” instead. This terminology is also contained in the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act (1998). This change in terminology has caused an implicit lowering of the burden of proof. A judge or jury might think twice about deeming someone “incompetent” to handle his affairs. But deeming someone “incapacitated” or as having “incapacities” is not that big a deal.
7. Sudden Change and Potential Heirs
Another factor that contributes to unnecessary guardianships is sudden change, especially change that threatens potential heirs. More common examples include changing one’s will, selling family property, seeing a younger woman and/or marrying her. Any such action by an older person can result in a petition for guardianship.
8. Court Visitors Are Not Always Neutral
As custody attorneys know, guardians ad litem and evaluators are not always neutral; they instead follow their own value systems or other private criteria. With this situation, custody attorneys often advocate for the appointment of a guardian ad litem/parenting evaluator whose views are compatible with their cases. They may also move for the appointment of a guardian ad litem or parenting evaluator with whom they have an established relationship. The person appointed can be prealigned to one side.
9. Court Visitors Effectively Lower the Burden of Proof
Case law provides that the constitutionally required burden of proof for a guardianship is “clear and convincing evidence.” In many cases, this burden is easily met. The proposed ward is demented. There is no alternative to guardianship such as a power of attorney because the proposed ward is incompetent to execute such a document. In other cases, however, the burden would not be easily met i.e., if the petitioner would actually be required to show clear and convincing evidence. The petitioner, however, is often not required to meet this burden because as a practical matter, he only needs to convince the court visitor.
10. Incentives to Sell Out the Client (No “Dream Team” for the AIP)
Like the guardian ad litem, the “smart” lawyer who wants to be paid will not do anything that causes the petitioner to be unhappy, such as vigorously fighting the petition. The “smart” lawyer will also avoid disagreeing with the court, as the court has direct authority to appoint him, approve fees and order payment. The bottom line, there is pressure on the lawyer to sell out his client. For this reason also, a person may be placed under guardianship when it is not appropriate.

Politically Correct Statutes
Eliminate Court Visitors/Mandatory Appointment of Counsel
Remove the Conflicts of Interest
Public Awareness

The law provides that guardianship not be imposed unless there is clear and convincing proof. In practice, this proof is often not required due to the factors identified above: vague, politically correct statutes; the role of court visitors; and in many states, the lack of mandatory counsel for the proposed ward. More broadly, there are numerous conflicts of interest that allow competent individuals to find themselves forced into guardianship. The next time, it could be you.

Full Article and Source:
Margaret Dore - AJFL 2008 (pdf)

Did Indicted Former Nevada Guardian Patience Bristol Get a Sweet Deal on New Year's Eve?

Patience Bristol Released on O.R. - 19 of 20 Felony Counts Dropped

[According to an email blast from Steve Miller, Inside Vegas reporter,  former Nevada guardian Patience Bristol’s criminal record with 20 felony counts has apparently been reduced to only one felony count. ]

..."After having a public defender for several weeks, suddenly Bristol gets an expensive attorney with connections to DA Steve Wolfson, her case is transferred to another court, there is a plea deal, she's released on her own recognizance, and then ONLY ONE CHARGE remains?

Because her hearing was on December 30, the eve of a holiday (which may have been deliberate) no reporters attended.

Bristol WAS RELEASED on New Years Eve!"

See Also:
Nevada Guardian Patience Bristol Arraigned on Robbery Charges

Grave Robbery Under Color of Law

NASGA:  Lupe Olvera, NV/CA Victim

NASGA:  Marcy Dudeck, NV/CA Victim

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Jahi McMath in 'Very Bad Shape' After Weeks of Starvation, Medical Neglect

The attorney for the family of Jahi McMath says the teenage girl is in “very bad shape” following three weeks of starvation and medical neglect while the family battled Children’s Hospital in Oakland over her fate.

Late Sunday night, Children’s Hospital Oakland released Jahi to her family after a protracted legal battle over whether the hospital had the right to remove her from life support.

On Friday, the hospital reached an agreement with McMath’s family to allow a medical team to enter the hospital to perform the procedures necessary to move her to a medical facility that will continue her care and treatment.

Although the hospital maintains McMath is “brain dead,” her mother and family say she is alive  following a tonsillectomy gone awry that has left her in an incapacitated state since early December. The family in the case says the hospital  has been starving Jahi for three weeks.  .

Family attorney Christopher McMath says that has taken its toll, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The family’s attorney, Christopher Dolan, told the San Jose Mercury News, however, that Jahi’s body has deteriorated badly in the weeks since she was declared brain-dead.

“She’s in very bad shape,” he said. “What I can tell you is that those examinations show that her medical condition, separate from the brain issue, is not good.”

Full Article and Source:
Jahi McMath in ‘Very Bad Shape” After Weeks of Starvation, Medical Neglect

Remember the Humanity of Jahi McMath

As in the case of Terri Schiavo, people with severe brain injuries are treated like second class citizens, often being denied the treatment, care, and love that their humanity demands

The tragic facts surrounding 13 year-old Jahi McMath are now well known. She underwent routine surgery at Children’s Hospital Oakland December 9 for removal of her tonsils and some other tissue to alleviate her sleep apnea. After surgery she was alert and sitting up in bed, chatting with her family. However, as her family watched, Jahi began bleeding profusely, the blood on her gown matching the pink popsicle she held in her hand. The bleeding went on for several hours before she went into cardiac arrest and was medically declared  brain dead on December 12.

Ever since, Jahi’s family has been locked in a battle of attrition with Oakland Children’s: The hospital says she’s dead; her family says she’s severely brain-injured.

Oakland Children’s position is brutally cold: Because Jahi has been declared brain-dead, she is therefore completely dead, only staying warm via the life-giving oxygen being pumped into her system by a mechanical ventilator. The hospital leadership has taken every opportunity to make clear that they are following California's legal definition of brain death to the letter. For the hospital, Jahi is a hollow mass of flesh devoid of meaning; the administration has refused to refer to her as a child of a loving family. Instead, they have said that she is a “dead body” and a “deceased person.” Hospital spokesman Sam Singer rubbed even more salt into the wound, noting that “no amount of hope, prayer, or medical procedures will bring her back.”

The hard-nosed corporate line is very simple: Jahi is a mere shell, bereft of humanity, and using up precious resources only because of the naïve and uninformed hopes of her loving but pesky family.
Unsurprisingly, Jahi’s family sees things differently. They watched a vibrant young teenager morph into a starkly silent child, her hopes and potential dashed by a relatively simple medical procedure. They have also made clear that despite her current condition, Jahi is still their beloved child, not some washed-up husk ready for disposal. They have also been clear that Jahi is perhaps not as “dead” as Oakland Children’s Hospital would have us all believe. Jahi’s mother and several family members report that Jahi has responded to familiar voices. They have made the case that at the very least Jahi’s medical condition should be given some time before a radical hospital decision deprives her of her life for good.

For the hospital, Jahi’s medical diagnosis is certain and final, a diagnosis they want to leverage to close the book on a public relations crisis that has already badly diminished the reputation of the facility.

It’s not that simple, however, because no medical diagnosis is absolute. The research literature is rife with clinically observed instances of patients outstripping their physicians’ dire predictions by months, years, and even decades.

And that includes diagnoses of brain death.

Full Article and Source:
Remember the Humanity of Jani McMath

Girl brain dead after surgery: Terri Schiavo family joins fight over Jahi McMath

The family of Terri Schiavo has joined the battle over Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old girl on life support who has been declared dead by doctors.

"Together with our team of experts, Terri's Network believes Jahi's case is representative of a very deep problem within the U.S. healthcare system -- particularly those issues surrounding the deaths of patients within the confines of hospital corporations, which have a vested financial interest in discontinuing life," the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network said in a prepared statement.

The organization said it has been overseeing the efforts of several groups to help get Jahi transferred out of Children's Hospital Oakland and brought "to a safe place."

Jahi's family said Tuesday it had found a facility in New York willing to take her. The Oakland hospital "refused to agree to allow us to proceed in that matter," Jahi's uncle Omari Sealey said.
The hospital denied the accusation.

"We have done everything to assist the family of Jahi McMath in their quest to take the deceased body of their daughter to another medical facility," hospital spokesman Sam Singer said.

"To date, they have been unwilling or unable to provide a physician to perform the procedures necessary, transportation, or a facility that would accept a dead person on a ventilator. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them in this tragic situation, but the statements being made by their attorney and some family members are misleading and untrue."

Family attorney Christopher Dolan had accused the hospital of being "hell bent" on ending Jahi's life.
A judge has declared Jahi brain dead as well. Doctors say there's no chance she will come back to life.

Omari Sealey, Jahi's uncle, said Wednesday that the family still hopes to move her to another facility.
He accused the hospital of starving his niece by not using a feeding tube to provide her with nutrients.

Full Article and Source:
Girl brain dead after surgery: Terri Schiavo family joins fight over Jahi McMath

Tragedy follows scandal, and not for the first time

Lisa Willardson is sworn in
before testifying at the
disciplinary hearing of
Family Court Judge Steven Jones
on Dec. 4.
The news broke Friday morning that former Clark County prosecutor Lisa Willardson was dead. It was as shockingly unexpected as it was predictable. Another attorney in a high-profile scandal found dead. David Amesbury, suicide, Homeowners Association imbroglio. Nancy Kwon, suicide, also HOA scandal-related. David Schubert, suicide after crack cocaine conviction. Now Willardson? Was the woman at the heart of Judge Steven Jones’ fall from grace the latest in a long list of shamed attorneys who suffered public humiliation and then ended it all?

Willardson caught the attention of colleagues (who caught it on camera) when Judge Steven Jones, whom she appeared before in her official capacity, fondled her knee under a table. That led to her firing at the hands of then-District Attorney David Roger, who also filed a complaint against Jones with the judicial discipline commission.

Willardson sued the D.A, continued seeing the now-suspended judge and began her own campaign for a seat on the family court bench. Hardly the actions of a defeated, suicidal woman. Yet friends and colleagues posting on her Facebook page hinted Willardson took her own life, with one attorney noting it was a lesson for all. Another poster spewed venom at the two attorneys who exposed the lovesick couple, as if Willardson’s colleagues should have allowed the tryst to flourish, even as public integrity eroded.

The coroner says Willardson died on the day after Christmas, just hours after word came down that the Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission ruled her relationship with Jones violated judicial rules. According to news reports the judge returned from Utah when Willardson failed to answer text messages that morning. Was she incapacitated all day and unable to answer? Jones says he found her dead, slumped over a toilet. The coroner said she died at 6:40 p.m. But if she hadn’t returned messages all day, did she even know of the commission’s findings, reported just before noon?

By most accounts Willardson was a talented, passionate and committed advocate for abused and neglected children.

Now, she’s likely to be best remembered for being found dead by her legally troubled lover, who she once described in an email as “freaking hot.”

Full Article and Source:
Tragedy follows scandal, and not for the first time

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year?

In 42 U.S.C. 3001 of The Public Health and Welfare law, Congress made the following declaration:
"The Congress hereby finds and declares that, in keeping with the traditional American concept of the inherent dignity of the individual in our democratic society, the older people of our Nation are entitled to, and it is the joint and several duty and responsibility of the governments of the United States, of the several States and their political subdivisions, and of Indian tribes to assist our older people to secure equal opportunity to the full and free enjoyment of the following specific objectives:
“(6) Retirement in health, honor, dignity - after years of contribution to the economy.
“(10) Freedom, independence, and the free exercise of individual initiative in planning and managing their own lives, full participation in the planning and operation of community-based services and programs provided for their benefit, and protection against abuse, neglect, and exploitation."
42 U.S.C. Sec. 3002 defines various terms applicable in guardianship as follows:
“(20) The term ‘fiduciary’-
(A) means a person or entity with the legal responsibility-
(i) to make decisions on behalf of and for the benefit of another person; and
(ii) to act in good faith and with fairness; and
(B) includes a trustee, a guardian, a conservator, an executor, an agent under a financial power of attorney or health care power of attorney, or a representative payee.”

Monday, January 6, 2014

In Churn of Assisted Living Deals, An Island of Misery

The one-story beige building on Southwest Hill Road in McMinnville, Ore. – an old mill town between Portland and Salem – has seen plenty of trouble over the years of its operation as an assisted living facility.

Two men have been jailed for committing sex crimes inside its walls. Residents of the facility have repeatedly assaulted one another. There has been at least one case of severe, near-fatal neglect. To be sure, then, the building has been something less than the refuge it has held itself out to be for local seniors, many of them afflicted with dementia. State records have chronicled the damage.
The episodes of violence and neglect inside the McMinnville facility, if sad, are not particularly unique. Page through the regulatory records and court files of any state and one will come across such horror stories.

The history of the facility itself reflects a larger reality of the assisted living business. Hundreds of such facilities -- some exemplary, some deeply troubled -- change hands each year, many of them scooped up by the large chains that have come to dominate this swiftly expanding industry.
Such deals typically well serve the large companies that drive them. Often enough, however, they do little to improve conditions in places like the facility in McMinnville, where ownership turmoil can compound the unaddressed problems that undermine care.

In less than three years, the McMinnville facility came under the ownership of three different companies, including two of the most prominent chains in the country. The first, Sunwest Management, collapsed under nearly $2 billion in unpaid debt, a spectacular implosion that led federal prosecutors to label the company a Ponzi scheme and file criminal fraud charges.

The second was a three-way joint venture between Blackstone, the private equity firm, Emeritus Senior Living, the nation’s largest assisted living company, and a real estate company. As part of the deal, Emeritus took over the operation of the facility, dubbing it Emeritus at Osprey Court.

The joint venture held onto the property for a few years before selling it in 2012 to a real estate investment trust with a vast portfolio of health care properties. That trust immediately leased the facility back to Emeritus. Today, Emeritus, under close scrutiny from Oregon regulators due to the continued problems in McMinnville, has decided to subcontract the facility’s operations to an outside firm.

Throughout all the changes, there has been one constant for the elderly people who call the place home: dubious living conditions.

Just last April, citing the facility’s “chronic” inability to follow state laws, the Oregon Department of Human Services, which regulates assisted living in the state, moved to revoke its license and shutter it permanently.

Full Article and Source:
In Churn of Assisted Living Deals, An Island of Misery

Suspect Strikes Plea Deal in Elder Abuse Case

A woman who pleaded guilty Friday to stealing more than $500,000 from an elderly man with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will be sentenced to three years of felony probation and is ordered to pay full restitution. Rosemary Baugh, 57, was charged with financial elder abuse and perjury, and faces 11 years and eight months in prison if she doesn’t comply with the terms of her plea deal.

Rosemary Baugh
Prosecutor Brian Cota explained after Friday’s hearing that while the probation sentence may seem somewhat lenient (considering the circumstances of the crime and the amount of money involved), the victim’s family and the District Attorney’s Office agreed it made legal and financial sense because a good portion of the stolen money is recoverable, lengthy and costly civil cases will be avoided, Baugh suffers from mental health problems, and the victim would likely not want to see her imprisoned. “Notwithstanding those issues,” Cota said, “this would have been a prison case.”

Baugh was arrested November 27 after an investigation by the Santa Barbara Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit discovered she had taken a small fortune from the 80-year-old victim. Baugh became his caretaker following the death of his only local relative in 2011. The two had known each other for many years prior and lived together at one point approximately two decades ago. Once she became his caretaker, however, Baugh used the victim’s money to buy a mobile home, shop online, make multiple purchases per day from QVC and the Home Shopping Network, and pay for psychic services. When out-of-town relatives recently visited the victim, they found him sickly, malnourished, and living in squalor.

As part of her plea deal, Baugh agreed to relinquish ownership of the mobile home — worth approximately $250,000 — back to the victim and his family and vacate it within 30 days. Cota said Baugh had given her daughter $100,000 to purchase property in Texas and that those funds are in the process of being returned as well. Baugh must also provide a full accounting to a civil court attorney of how she spent and gave away the money, Cota said.

Full Article and Source:
Suspect Strikes Plea Deal in Elder Abuse Case

Ex-Texas judge gets 4 years for corruption

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A federal judge on Friday sentenced a former West Texas county judge and a local businessman to four years in prison each on public corruption charges.
Anthony Cobos, who was the highest administrative official in El Paso between 2007 and 2010, pleaded guilty in September to taking bribes from local businessman Lorenzo Hilario Aguilar in exchange for his vote and influence to steer a $40 million county bond refinancing contract to an investment bank. U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo handed Cobos a $10,000 fine Friday, in additional to the prison sentence, while Aguilar will have to pay $50,000.
Cobos apologized for his actions and his "defiance" during the investigation.
"I ask for forgiveness, I am a changed man. ... I pray for leniency," he said, adding that as a result from the indictment he had the opportunity to recommit his life to Christ.
Montalvo was not easily swayed.
"I'm having a difficult time taking this statement as truthful," Montalvo said as he questioned the veracity of statements made by Cobos to probations officers about his drug and alcohol use. Montalvo's questions escalated into a back and forth with Cobos about his use of marijuana for more than 20 years.
Montalvo also doubted Cobos' valuation of the worth of his income tax return business. With a profit of $7,700 dollars and $60,000 in wages paid to Cobos and his wife, Montalvo said Cobos "grossly undervalues the business" at $5,000.
Aguilar's statement of contrition also fell flat before Montalvo. Aguilar said he has about $800 worth of furniture in his house. According to the El Paso appraisal district the house is worth $370,000.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-Texas judge gets 4 years for corruption

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Probate Court: Human Trafficking and Milking the Helpless

Join us this evening for news on the epidemic of probate and family court corruption occurring across the nation.

 Probate courts are facilitating the abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of elderly individuals who have committed the new age crime of aging with assets.

 Professional guardians and unethical attorneys are gaming the system and getting rich off the elderly, and disabled adults. No assets? Not a problem! You are virtual cash cow in the federal and state subsidy, grant, and benefits programs. Keven and Theresa will join us from Florida later in the show to discuss the new data base they are building to track corruption from city to city, state to state.

We will take phone calls the last 30 minutes of the show.

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

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

When 'life support' is really 'death support'

(CNN) -- Two young females, both brain dead without warning, remain on ventilators while their devastated families challenge the judgments of their hospitals.

In one situation, the family believes a miracle is possible, and wants to prolong the patient's biological functioning. In the other case, the family wants to disconnect the patient to honor her wishes. But both families are facing obstacles.
The way we talk about neurological death has created a misperception, ethicists say: that "brain death" is somehow not as final as cardiac death, even though, by definition, it is.
The term "life support" exacerbates the problem, too, because those who are brain dead do not have a life to sustain, said Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. This seems to be a fundamental problem in both cases that have entered the national spotlight, he said.
"I think these cases have been botched, horribly," he said. "They're giving the impression that dead people can come back to life."

Full Article and Source:
When 'life support' is really 'death support'

Bond reduction denied in ‘financial exploitation’

Thomas Terry
Local businessman Thomas Terry has been denied a bond reduction.
Thomas Terry, 62, is charged with five Class A felony charges of financial exploitation of the elderly. The charges involve the five of the 42 affected investors who were over the age of 60 at the time the alleged crime occurred.
On Thursday, Terry’s attorney Stephen Welby asked Associate Circuit Court Judge Wendy Wexler Horn to deduce Terry’s bond from $250,000 cash or surety to a $10,000 bond.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pat King argued against a bond reduction, stating that he felt the current bond was probably too low for what Terry is charged with.
Terry’s charges are Class A felonies which, if convicted, can carry a sentence up to 30 years or life in prison. King said he thought the reason the legislature made these felonies so severe is because the charges deal with the elderly and “about people’s life savings that won’t be replaced.”
He said Terry had been through numerous investigations and had been walking around free for about five years. Now, he said, Terry will be on trial for his life.
The judge told Welby that she felt the bond was entirely appropriate and denied the motion for a bond reduction. Welby then asked the judge to consider a 10 percent bond but she also denied that request.

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Bond reduction denied in ‘financial exploitation’