Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chemically Restrained on 5 mg Haldol Daily for Five Months

This is what being chemically restrained does. He has been administered 5 mg of Haldol daily for 5 months straight at the time of this video. Medicare/Medicaid guidelines have 2 mg a day as their threshold amount. Haldol is not recommended for older people with dementia by doctors at respectable institutions. Watch out for this drug being administered unnecessarily to your older loved ones.

Chemically Restrained on 5 mg Haldol Daily for 5 Months

Abuse findings continue at developmental centers, despite state scrutiny

In 2012, a resident at the Lanterman Developmental Center in Los Angeles County was found to have blunt force trauma in her genital area. The case is unsolved. 

She is known in public records as Client 98, a disabled woman living at the Lanterman Developmental Center, a state-run board-and-care facility in Los Angeles County that houses roughly 100 men and women with disorders such as cerebral palsy and severe autism.

On the morning of Nov. 6, 2012, an aide was helping Client 98 from the shower to the bed when the aide noticed drops of blood on the floor. A health services specialist found that the woman had a tear in her genital area.

An on-site physician examined Client 98, whose age was not included in public records, and concluded that someone might have sexually assaulted her. She was taken to the hospital for a full examination.

“It was some type of blunt force trauma, but I cannot tell what,” said a nurse who examined her, according to public records. The nurse confirmed an assault had occurred.

The unsolved case of Client 98 was in reports by the California Department of Public Health documenting life inside Lanterman Developmental Center and another state board-and-care facility, the Fairview Developmental Center in Orange County. Totaling more than 500 pages, these reports offer a dispiriting glimpse into alleged violence and other misconduct harming severely developmentally disabled residents in these two facilities.

The violations include suspicious deaths, poor treatment and improper supervision. Inspectors visiting Lanterman in September, for example, recorded incidents of staff giving unnecessary drugs, providing incontinence care in view of others and inadequately supervising residents, during which times one person assaulted another with a wooden stick and another was suspected of ingesting foreign objects, among other incidents.

The state inspectors, who complete the compliance surveys on behalf of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, focused on about 30 residents at the facilities, which together house more than 400 residents. Although the reports are public, the names and other identifying information about patients were kept confidential for privacy reasons. The surveys occur no more than 15.9 months apart, according to federal guidelines. On average, they occur 12 months apart, according to a state Department of Public Health spokesman.

Both the Department of Public Health, which inspects the state’s five developmental centers, and the state Department of Developmental Services, which runs them, have been under intense scrutiny for overlooking obvious cases of abuse at the facilities, which collectively house more than 1,300 men and women. A series of reports from The Center for Investigative Reporting found the developmental centers’ on-site police force, the Office of Protective Services, has failed to conduct thorough investigations into claims of abuse.

“The fact that they're finding all of these problems at all of these facilities now really suggests they have not been doing thorough survey investigations over a number of years at these facilities,” said Leslie Morrison, director of the investigations unit at Disability Rights California.

In response, a spokesman for the health department said all surveys are conducted according to a process laid out by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Each survey is dynamic, and findings from surveys stand independently,” Corey Egel said in a written statement.

Since December 2012, federal regulators have penalized all four of California's large developmental centers, located in Sonoma, Orange, Los Angeles and Tulare counties. A fifth, smaller developmental center in Riverside County was found to have compliance violations in 2012, but it faced no state or federal penalties.  

In January, the health department began removing Medicaid funding for Fairview, Lanterman and the Porterville Developmental Center in the Central Valley for failing the compliance surveys, but recent agreements between the Department of Developmental Services and the California Department of Public Health to improve conditions halted the decertification process.
Full Article & Source:
Abuse findings continue at developmental centers, despite state scrutiny

Boulder Lawyer Faces Discipline, Criminal Charges

The Colorado Supreme Court on Friday temporarily suspended the law license of Boulder immigration attorney Emily Cohen. According to a press release, the suspension shall remain in effect while pending disciplinary proceedings continue against her based on allegations that she failed to perform work for which she was paid $18,000.

The Supreme Court’s Order of Suspension means Cohen cannot practice law until further action by the Court.

During Cohen’s suspension, the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel will continue its prosecution of a separate disciplinary case against Cohen for seven other matters involving conversion of client funds. As a result of both pending cases, Cohen could face disbarment or suspension of her license to practice if the allegations are proven by clear and convincing evidence, the press release said.

Cohen also faces separate felony theft charges filed by the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office.
On Feb. 14, the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel filed a Petition for Immediate Suspension against Cohen with the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge. The petition asserted that Cohen had “converted funds from at least three clients by failing to perform work for which she was paid and failing to return substantial amounts of unearned fees.”

On March 21, Presiding Disciplinary Judge William Lucero recommended the Supreme Court grant OARC’s petition. In his recommendation, Lucero found “reasonable cause to believe respondent converted funds and caused immediate and substantial harm.” The Supreme Court issued its Order of Suspension that same day, March 21.

Under Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 251.8, OARC may seek immediate suspension of an attorney’s license when there is reasonable cause to believe the attorney is causing immediate and substantial public or private harm and the attorney has been convicted of a serious crime, converted property or funds, abandoned clients or engaged in conduct which poses an immediate threat to the effective administration of justice.

Full Article & Source:
Boulder Lawyer Faces Discipline, Criminal Charges

Friday, March 28, 2014

Nashville Federal Judge Orders $700K Paid by Former Conservator to Victims

Citing "the horrific abuse of power and misuse of trust by a court-appointed conservator," a federal judge in Nashville has awarded nearly $700,000 to a mentally disabled Clay County couple victimized by sexual and financial abuse for more than six years.

In a 12-page order issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp ordered Walter M. Strong of Celina to reimburse the couple for money he misappropriated and to pay damages to the wife for sexual battery charges.

Sharp cited testimony that Strong, 77, promised the woman candy or something from the store in return for sex.

"Defendant had complete control over plaintiffs' lives and their money and he used that control for his own needs and evil desires," Sharp wrote.

Strong already had pleaded guilty to theft and sexual battery charges and served nine months of a 385-day prison sentence before being released in October. He is on probation and has been ordered to pay restitution of $105,480 in the criminal case.

The case first came to light last year as the state General Assembly was considering a series of reforms in the state conservatorship laws. Those changes, including provisions to provide additional protections to wards, were approved and went into effect July 1.

As Sharp noted, Strong appeared as his own attorney and offered little or no defense to the charges, though he did dispute some of the claims of how he had used the couple's funds.

"Defendant utilized plaintiffs' funds as if they were his own," Sharp wrote, adding that Srong coerced the wife into performing sexual acts and required the husband "to provide labor and services without remuneration."

Full Article and Source:
Ex-Conservator's Control Over Couple Fed 'Evil Desires'

Another complaint against Judge Steven Jones moving forward

 The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline is moving forward with another complaint against suspended Family Court Judge Steven Jones.

Paul Deyhle, the commission’s executive director, said Tuesday that Jones has 30 days to answer the complaint, and the commission will then meet to decide whether to file a formal statement of charges against the judge.

The case, launched in 2006, includes allegations Jones was involved in several investment schemes, associated with ex-felons, improperly handled drug evidence and once had an “intimate relationship” with a law student who worked for him.

Jones, 56, who was first elected to the Family Court bench in 1992, went to the Nevada Supreme Court to block the investigation, but the high court last month refused to do it.

The allegations are separate from charges the commission sustained against Jones in December that were tied to his handling of an affair with the late former prosecutor Lisa Willardson while she appeared before him.

The commission suspended Jones without pay for three months Feb. 3 after finding his relationship with Willardson violated rules of conduct for judges because he didn’t disclose it.

The Clark County coroner ruled Willardson’s death an accident. She had a combination of lethal anti-anxiety and sleeping medications in her system, the coroner concluded.

Jones and his lead lawyer, James J. Jimmerson, sought relief in the 2006 case from the high court on grounds the commission violated the statute of limitations and his due process rights when it waited until July 2012 to formally inform Jones of the investigation.

But the Supreme Court concluded that the judge’s rights were not prejudiced by the commission investigation and the court’s intervention was not warranted at this time.

The court said Jones could lodge an appeal if the judicial commission takes further action against him.

Full Article & Source:
Another complaint against Judge Steven Jones moving forward

House approves bill creating new crime for financial exploitation of older Iowans

The Iowa House has approved the creation of a new crime of financial exploitation of a vulnerable elder in a scaled back version of elder-abuse legislation that previously passed the state Senate.

The House version of Senate File 2239 makes financially exploiting vulnerable adults who are age 65 or older and unable to protect themselves a crime ranging from a simple misdemeanor up to a class C felony punishable by 10 years in prison. The penalty would depend on the dollar value of the exploitation.

The Senate package also included a state-sponsored referral and investigative services for individuals concerned about being victims of such abuse. House leaders have said those state services could not be funded in the coming years budget and that lawmakers should take a narrower approach this year.

Full Article & Source:
House approves bill creating new crime for financial exploitation of older Iowans

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TX Parents Win Guardianship of Adult Son on Life-Support

The parents of 43-year-old Terry Mace won temporary guardianship of their son Thursday after Mace’s wife moved to have his life support removed amid protests from his parents and friends.

Mace’s wife, Yvonne, did not show up for the court hearing.

Mace suffered a massive heart attack March 6 that landed him on life support at Seton Medical Center Williamson.

Two of his friends were with him when he collapsed. One of them, Sgt. Rudy Salinas, performed CPR immediately. Salinas had just finished 10 years in the military, including three tours in Iraq. Mace was working as a defense contractor at Ft. Hood, friends said.

Yvonne flew in from Colorado after hearing about her husband’s condition. She directed doctors on March 22 to remove him from life support.

But because the Maces are in the midst of a bitter divorce, and because Yvonne stood to inherit Mace’s money upon his death, Mace’s parents and friends had concerns about her making his life changing decisions.

“We were disgusted with the decision,” said Salinas. “It was two weeks he had been in the hospital and no one gave him a chance. Especially the woman he was married to for 20 plus years. You would think three children and a marriage would give you inclination to care for the man.”

Full Article and Source:
Parents Win Guardianship of Adult Son on Life Support

NASGA on HB5573 (Illinois)

NASGA  was asked to provide input regarding  HB5573 which was recently introduced by Illinois Representative David Harris (53rd District) to protect Power of Attorney and Advance Directives. 

NASGA Member and Director,  Sylvia Rudek, consulted and worked with Representative Harris on this bill. 

 Below is NASGA's response to the Assistant Counsel to the Speaker.
Mr. Richard Stake, Jr.
Assistant Counsel to the Speaker
Illinois House of Representatives
Technical Review Unit
616 State Capitol Building
Springfield, IL  62706

Dear Mr. Stake:

In preparing your analysis for Representative Harris’ bill, HB5573, NASGA believes it would be prudent to send you a short summary of case 2010 P 437.  This case clearly illustrates the importance of protecting advance directives for all Illinois ‘adults’ with focus on the elderly and disabled adults from guardianship we believe is being abused and misused in a retaliatory manner.

In September of 2010, suffering from excruciating pain and severe nausea, Dolores Bedin was taken to the Emergency Room of a major Chicago hospital by her daughter, Janet, in her capacity as Power of Attorney for Health Care.

During this time, the patient, Dolores, learned the hospital failed to disclose CT scan results taken six months earlier as well as another set of results dating three years earlier, each showing a mass in her pancreas.  The hospital failed to disclose that their own radiologists recommended (in a written report) specific further testing, which the hospital failed to perform over a three (3) year period.

The Hospitalist assigned to Dolores’ case (Dolores’ physician was not allowed to be active on her case) informed Janet that Dolores no longer met Medicare criteria (based on false statement) and that she would be discharged.  Both Dolores and Janet vehemently disagreed with the discharge plan; but the hospital stood firm. 

In order to be certain her daughter had every tool necessary to protect her and speak on her behalf, Dolores went the extra mile to better protect herself; she executed another Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney, naming Janet as her Attorney in Fact.

In response to Janet’s advocacy for her mother, the hospital retaliated against their patient, Dolores, and her PoA agent, Janet.   The hospital repeatedly tried to persuade their patient, Dolores, to revoke her Power of Attorney.   Dolores refused.  Janet was threatened by 15 members of hospital staff and administration with a warning:  if she did not accept their discharge plan for her mother, the hospital would take immediate action to take Dolores away from her and put Dolores under the control of the Public Guardian – and even worse - Janet would never see her Mother again.

Shortly thereafter, the hospital took action on their threats; they filed petitions:
     1) Petition for Appointment of Guardian for Disabled Person
         (estate & person);
     2) Petition to Invalidate, Suspend and/or Revoke Power of
         Attorney (healthcare); and
     3) Petition For Temporary Guardian (estate & person)
         which would result in an emergency court hearing to
         declare Dolores 
a ward of the state.

The hospital’s petition alleged that Janet failed to act for her mother’s benefit and refused to participate in appropriate discharge planning; that Dolores lacked the capacity to revoke Janet as her DPoA; and that Janet’s refusal to yield to the hospital’s demands put her mother in harm’s way because of the “increased risk of infection due to unnecessary continued hospitalization.”   Fortunately, before the scheduled hearing, Janet found NASGA; we advised Janet to take her Mother home, warning her of the risks of litigation in guardianship matters.   Janet removed her Mother from the hospital and in the end, her Mother ultimately avoided guardianship.  

Upon Janet yielding to the hospital’s demands, the hospital withdrew their petition.  The court sealed the entire court file, which we believe protected the hospital while covering up the great lengths the hospital took to retaliate against Janet and Dolores Bedin. (Dolores died a few months later of inoperable pancreatic cancer). 

The court’s sealing of the complete record not only prevented Janet from securing court records and interfered with her legal standing to bring civil actions against the hospital and/or physicians, but it also prevented Dolores Bedin herself from accessing her own records.  The sealing of the entire record was completely to the hospital’s advantage.

Dolores’ wishes, along with her legal documents, were not strong enough to protect her from the hospital’s legal aggression and attempted hostile takeover of her life and estate.  The hospital could simply file a petition for ‘temporary’ guardianship with intent for total control of their patient, Dolores, and her estate and dispense with Dolores’ advocate daughter, Power of Attorney agent Janet, at the same time. 

Had the hospital been successful, what would have become of Dolores?   Predicting the outcome and the impact based on the direct threats made by the hospital itself to Janet, NASGA case studies, as well as the pattern from the numerous news articles along with the daily letters to NASGA, we believe Dolores likely would have been placed in a state facility, totally isolated from Janet, her family, and her friends until the day she died.

NASGA believes this highlighted example case shows the retaliation by a health care provider, a hospital, accomplished exactly what it intended.  After Janet acquiesced to the hospital’s demands, all of the conclusory statements the hospital made (alleging Janet did not have her mother’s best interest at heart) suddenly didn’t matter to the petitioner.  Dolores was quickly released to Janet’s care without any further inquiries or follow-up procedures by the hospital or any state agency. 

HB5573 would have protected Dolores’ legal documents and prevented the hospital from retaliating against Dolores and her daughter.

HB5573 would have protected Dolores, the patient; not the hospital. 

The Bedin case[1] is one of many.  NASGA enthusiastically supports HB5573 and we very much appreciate Representative Harris for his legislative efforts to better protect the elderly and disabled citizens of Illinois.

Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Elaine Renoire

[1] State of Illinois in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit, County of Winnebago Probate Division:  In the matter of the Estate of Dolores Bedin, An Alleged Disabled Person, Case number 2010 P 437

See Also:
NASGA Members in Legislative Action

Read the Full Text of HB5573

NASGA:  Dolores Bedin, Illinois Victim

(Pope Francis Blessing the Bedin family at the 15th Anniversary of the passing of Dolores's husband, Emeric Bedin.)
A little over a month after his installation, Pope Francis met with daughter, Janet Bedin,  and blessed Dolores Bedin's photo (Dolores was a devout Catholic.)  Janet wrote a letter to him about what happened to her mother and told him how guardianship can be used as an abuse of process in a retaliatory manner by a hospital (April 22, 2013). 

Read More About Representative Harris

11    (755 ILCS 5/11a-8.2 new)
12    Sec. 11a-8.2. Petitions; previously executed documents. No
13petition under this Article shall seek relief that is in
14conflict with any properly and previously executed will, trust,
15power of attorney, durable power of attorney, health care
16directive, advance directive, or other directive unless undue
17influence is proven in the creation of the document, by clear
18and convincing evidence, at a hearing conducted under the rules
19of civil procedure of this State.

Justina Dying Under Care of Massachusetts

Lou Pelletier, the father of 15-year-old teenager Justina Pelletier is speaking out against a Tuesday ruling in which a judge gave permanent custody to Massachusetts Department of Children and  Families.

A juvenile court judge ruled that the Department of Children and Families has "permanent" custody of Justina, until May 25, according to the Pelletier family's attorney, Matt Staver.

"She needs to be home," Lou told FOX 25's Maria Stephanos. "She is mentally, and more importantly physically, dying under the care of the state of Massachusetts."

On May 25, the judge will then revisit the issue of who is granted custody of Justina in another follow-up court hearing.

Staver said the Pelletier family will now pursue an appeal to send the case to a higher court.

"This is not justice for Justina, or the family," Staver said.

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families released a statement on the judge's ruling on Tuesday evening.

"DCF's primary goal has always been the health and wellbeing of Justina, and finding a solution that would allow her to return to Connecticut. That has not changed in the face of this ruling," the statement read. "The Department is exploring all options that will allow Justina to return to her home state where she has the support of her friends, family, school and community."

Full Article, Video,  and Source:
Lou Pelletier: Justina dying under care of Massachusetts

See Also:
Boston Children's Hospital May be Investigated by the MA Department of Health Over the Justina Pelletier Case

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Who Have I bribed? What judges? What Bull***!"

On September 30, 2010, private guardian Jared E. Shafer charged one of his elderly "wards" for 1.5 hours of his time to read Ripoff Reports that he felt disparaged his good name. After reading hundreds of complaints about himself and his crew, he wrote the statement "Who have I bribed? Which Judges? WHAT BULLSHIT!" on his PFSN, Inc. Invoice, and then charged the ward $375.00 for his aggravation.

On May 22, 2013, Shafer answered his own questions; "Who have I bribed? Which Judges?" through his actions as a private citizen ordering Clark County Family Court Judge Jon Norheim to close the public hearing when tough questions began to be asked about a deceased ward's missing $500,000.  Keep in mind that Shafer is not a public official or attorney. He's just a 1961 Las Vegas High School graduate with friends in high places. In a Family Court video record obtained by INSIDE VEGAS that Shafer and Norheim never wanted the public to see, Shafer stood up in the audience, and as a private citizen business owner, bullied Norheim into throwing the public out of the hearing after four attorneys asked the whereabouts of over $500,000 missing from one of Shafer's deceased ward's accounts. Just before he issued his "order," Shafer can be seen staring at his office manager/secretary/bookkeeper Amy Deittrick who was sitting to Shafer's right in the gallery. This 1:26 sec. video record, and Judge Jon Norheim's flaccid "Okay" in response to Shafer's demand for privacy, speaks a thousand words.

After viewing the video, most people ask why? This may be the answer:

Jared Shafer illegally commingles funds from a company known as Signs of Nevada, LLC, with funds from his "wards" in his PFSN, Inc. bank account. Commingling of ward's funds is a violation of NRS 159.073 (III) (IV).
Hundreds of A-frame portable billboards are owned by two of Shafer's closest associates, guardianship attorneys Patricia Trent and Elyse Tyrell, who often represent Shafer in Family Court disputes. Shafer's PFSN office manager/secretary/bookkeeper, Amy Deittrick, is listed as their sign company's manager by the Secretary of State. Sign companies such as theirs have the ability to make or break a judicial campaign by discounting the 8' by 12' movable political signs to certain Judge, DA, and Attorney General candidates during election season. The majority of Trent and Tyrell's signs now appearing during this election season contain ads for Family Court and District Court incumbent Judges, selected candidates seeking to fill court vacancies, or attorneys wanting to replace less cooperative Judges.
Sources say that Shafer is the go-to guy when it comes to cheap political billboards - a sure fire way to endear himself to those with power over the lives and fortunes of his hapless wards and their heirs.
See Also:
Grave Robbery Under Color of Law

A Birthday Card Campaign for Mike

From his loving sister, Tracey Anne Miller:

Please donate birthday cards by April 3 at:

Michael David Miller
c/o Tree of Life, Inc.
13458 North Gayton Rd.
Richmond, VA. 23233

And tell him that I love him so very much. He is my hero!!!

This was taken four years ago after my last trip to visit and discovering that my brother had been tied into a chair and left in his room for over a year and he could hardly walk.

He more strength than any other man that I have known in my lifetime (except for my father and my younger brother in all that we went through).

Happy Birthday Brother Michael - "The Power of Love"

Other organizations will control Council on Aging services

LA PORTE - La Porte County's transportation and guardianship services for the elderly and disabled are being taken over by a partnership of Michiana Resources and Harmony House/CASA.

At least that was the verdict of the commissioners' task force on Wednesday.

Task force members voted unanimously to transfer control of the La Porte County Council on Aging's transportation services to Michiana Resources and its guardianship program to Harmony House/CASA, contingent on gap funding from the county, until January of 2015, when the overseeing organizations can reassess the finances of the services.

Back in February, the La Porte County Commissioners and the Parents and Friends (PAF) organization reached a settlement regarding the elimination of the group's Council on Aging program.

Utilizing a total of $50,000 from the La Porte County prosecuting attorney's deferral funds, the groups agreed to continue the transportation and guardianship services for 60 days while stakeholders worked to find a replacement.

Toward the start of the meeting, members listened to a presentation regarding the Council on Aging's finances.

Ed Abel of Blue and Company, the organization hired to study the council's finances, said he was only able to review the certified audits from 2011 and 2012.

He noted that the financial director for Parents and Friends, the parent company of Council on Aging, indicated there were no "clean/accurate financials" since the audit ending on June 30, 2012.

"They really need to get financial reporting up to speed so people making decisions know what they are working with," Abel said at the meeting. His group was expected to analyze finances through 2013 to see where it went wrong.

Full Article & Source:
Other organizations will control Council on Aging services

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NASGA Members in Legislative Action!

NASGA is pleased to announce the introduction of HB5573 to the Illinois Legislature by Representative David Harris (53rd District).

HB5573 protects the validity of previously properly and legally executed Power of Attorney (PoA)  and Advance Directives, stating in clear and concise language that these documents shall stand --only to be overturned if undue influence in the creation of the document(s) is proven at a due process hearing conducted for that purpose. 

Representative Harris consulted and worked with NASGA member and Director, Sylvia Rudek on this bill.  Addressing the problems with PoA and Advance Directives is essential to guardianship reform because many NASGA members have been designated as PoA for their loved one, only to have their PoA wrongfully ignored by the court and a guardianship forced upon their loved one instead.  In most cases, the guardian is a third-party - a total stranger who does not have a personal relationship with the ward nor an intimate knowledge of the ward's preferences or needs. 

Strengthening Power of Attorney and Advance Directives is one of the best ways to avoid guardianship.  Avoiding guardianship is one of the best ways to stop guardianship abuse.

NASGA very much appreciates the hard work and effort Representative Harris, his staff, and NASGA Director Sylvia Rudek have dedicated to the making of this bill, and we look forward to its passing. 


Amends the Probate Act of 1975. Provides that guardianship of a disabled adult may not be used in a retaliatory manner or as a convenience for a health care provider or family member. Provides that no petition for guardianship shall seek relief that is in conflict with any properly and previously executed will, trust, power of attorney, durable power of attorney, health care directive, advance directive, or other directive unless undue influence is proven in the creation of the document, by clear and convincing evidence, at a hearing conducted under the rules of civil procedure of this State. 


11    (755 ILCS 5/11a-8.2 new)
12    Sec. 11a-8.2. Petitions; previously executed documents. No
13petition under this Article shall seek relief that is in
14conflict with any properly and previously executed will, trust,
15power of attorney, durable power of attorney, health care
16directive, advance directive, or other directive unless undue
17influence is proven in the creation of the document, by clear
18and convincing evidence, at a hearing conducted under the rules
19of civil procedure of this State.

Representative Harris (R) is a retired senior army officer.  He served as a State Representative in the 1980s and 1990s. He left state government in 1992 and became the Senior Vice President of the Illinois Hospital Association.
He returned to government service in 1999 as The Adjutant General (Commanding General) of the Illinois National Guard.  He was inducted into the Ft. Benning (GA) Infantry OCS Hall of Fame in 2002, and he retired from the Army as a federally-recognized Major General in 2003 after 33 years of service. He serves as the Chair of the Governing Council of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. Harris is a Life Member of the Association of the US Army, the Military Officers Association of America, the National Guard Association of the US, and the Illinois National Guard Association. He lives in Arlington Heights with his wife, Michelle, and they have two grown sons.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes doesn't have to undergo psych exam; plans to fight order barring her from hearing criminal cases

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes plans to fight Friday's order barring her from hearing criminal cases.

Stokes said in a written statement Sunday night that the order, filed and signed by the municipal court's administrative judge, Ronald Adrine, is "warrantless."

"It is unfortunate that, as a sworn officer of the court, Judge Adrine would continue to try to deny me due process," she writes. She said Adrine's actions are premature because a Supreme Court of Ohio investigation examining her courtroom behavior is not complete. (Her full statement appears below in the window.)

In October, the Supreme Court of Ohio's Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a lengthy complaint against Stokes. The 49-page complaint filed with the court's Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline charges she abuses court resources, lawyers, court staff and defendants who appear before her. The complaint is based in part on 337 incident reports filed in municipal court against Stokes.

Adrine made the move after receiving 100 additional complaints about the judge since the Disciplinary Counsel started its investigation. The Cuyahoga County Public Defenders office also added pressure last week when it filed a motion to transfer cases -- and its lawyers -- from Stokes' courtroom.

Full Article & Source:
Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes doesn't have to undergo psych exam; plans to fight order barring her from hearing criminal cases

See Also:
Cleveland Municipal Judge Angela Stokes needs to surrender her gavel: editorial 

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes barred from hearing criminal cases 

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes says she will defend against court complaint recommending she undergo psych exam

Local bank employee charged with bilking thousands out of elderly customer

(KMOV) -- A former bank employee is being accused of bilking an elderly customer out of thousands.

St. Louis police say Kathryn Smith, 63, is facing charges of financial exploitation of the elderly and forgery.

According to police reports, Smith is responsible for the disappearance of $22,000 between June and December of 2013 from an 85-year-old customer at the Regions Bank on New Halls Ferry Road.

A spokesperson for Regions Bank said they fired the personal banker immediately after the accusations and are now working closely with investigators in north St. Louis County.

Police say Smith was directed to move the money from a money market account to an ACD but while the accounts were created, the money never made it there.

Investigators say Smith made the withdrawals on her own, first claiming to police the accounts belonged to her mother and then making no comment when police say they showed her evidence.

The Regions Bank spokesperson said they have reimbursed stolen money back to the elderly victim.

Full Article & Source:
Local bank employee charged with bilking thousands out of elderly customer

Make judiciary discipline process open again

So if there is a proposal to change the way complaints against judges are handled, specifically to deny the public access to the process, who would be among those qualified to review it?

The chief justice of the state Supreme Court, of course. The head of the Judicial Standards Commission, which investigates disciplinary matters and recommends penalties, to be sure. Some past presidents of the N.C. Bar Association would be appropriate reviewers.

Sorry, you’d be wrong. Republicans in the General Assembly apparently could care less what those who are invested in the legal system for their careers think. Last year, they approved and Gov. Pat McCrory signed a change in North Carolina law that basically pulls down the curtain on disciplinary proceedings involving judges.

This is bad law courtesy in part of Republican Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam of Apex, who’s a lawyer and ought to know better. Stam declined to comment on the new law in a recent N&O report. He said at the time of its passage last August that the bill moves the authority to discipline of judges to the Supreme Court. Previously investigations involving Supreme Court members were settled by senior members of a lower court, the N.C. Court of Appeals.

“Why should we let a lower court discipline the Supreme Court? That’s why we call it ‘supreme,’ ” Stam said.

A problem with the changes is that the public cannot see the judicial discipline process until the final stage where the Supreme Court approves a punishment. And the process as it existed was fair and supported by those in the highest levels of the system. Some 30 past presidents of the state Bar Association, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker and the chairman of the Judicial Standards Commission, Judge John Martin, all opposed the change making the process secretive.

The North Carolina Bar Association so adamantly opposed the bill that it asked for a veto for the first time in its history.

The previous disciplinary process provided protections and confidentiality for judges who were the subject of a complaint until the standards commission determined evidence was sufficient to warrant punishment. Then the charges would be made public. That delayed disclosure was as it should be. Given the power in their positions, judges could indeed be targets of disgruntled defendants who would file baseless complaints in an attempt to damage a judge’s reputation. The system thus tried to ensure that only when a responsible oversight group determined that charges were valid would the public be able to see them.

Read more here:

Full Article & Source: 
Make judiciary discipline process open again

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Guardianship Abuse, The Stalking of the Elderly by Professional Predators

Join us tonight as we discuss various laws that are surfacing in several states that address the targeting and exploitation of elderly individuals who have sizeable assets.  This exploitation is NOT done by family members or friends. It is perpetrated by professionals who operate under the protection of the BAR Association and facilitated by probate court judges. In less than 5% of the cases of exloitation is the involvement of family members.  95% of the time on average, it is by professional strangers to the victim and family.

As billions are stolen annually by predatory guardians and immoral attorney's, our legislative representatives feign ignorance of the theft and exploitation.  In a few cases, there appears to be some movement towards ending the least by family members.  The professional predators appear to be untouchable.

We will take call-ins after the first 1/2 hour.  Calls must be limited to the discussion at hand.

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST7:00 pm CST 8:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Private Guardian, Jared E. Shafer, Orders Judge to Close Court to Public

Clark Co. Family Court Judge Jon Norheim cowers when a private citizen orders him to throw public out of hearing during discussion of missing $500,000.  (Jared E. Shafer is the person on the far right on this video.)

Private Guardian Jared E. Shafer Orders Judge to Close Court to Public

See Also:
The Jason Hanson - Jared E. Shafer Story:  "Special Administrator" Jared E. Shafer takes house and inheritance from 24-year-old man with cerebral palsy

Women from Northfield, Linwood accused of stealing assets of elderly

Lieberman & Van Holt
A Northfield attorney and a former Atlantic County social worker were supposed to help elderly clients with financial and legal services, but instead stole their money to buy cars, vacation homes and pay off six-digit credit card bills, according to charges announced Thursday.

Barbara Lieberman, 62, and Jan Van Holt, 57, of Linwood, were arrested Wednesday for taking more than $2.4 million from 10 victims beginning in 2006, acting Attorney General John Hoffman said. Nine of the victims — all from Atlantic County and in their 80s or 90s — have died. A Cape May Court House woman who allegedly had $20,000 taken from her is now 88 years old.

Two other women are charged with helping the enterprise, including Van Holt’s sister, Sondra Steen, 58, of Linwood. The fourth woman, Susan Hamlett, was the one who sparked the investigation, said her attorney, Stephen Funk.

“It is, therefore, somewhat baffling that she is included in this indictment,” he said. “She is a conscientious employee, not a criminal.”

Hamlett worked for Van Holt’s A Better Choice, an in-home senior service that offered nonmedical help to seniors, including legal and financial planning.

Van Holt and Lieberman allegedly referred clients to one another, targeting seniors with substantial assets and no immediate family.

Van Holt even used her former position with Atlantic County Adult Protective Services, which she left in 2006, to find at least one victim, according to the charges. A 94-year-old died in a nursing home because she could no longer afford the payments on her Ventnor home after Steen allegedly took out a $195,000 reverse mortgage, claiming to be the woman’s niece.

“These defendants were wolves in sheep’s clothing,” said Elie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “(They entered) the lives of their vulnerable victims as caregivers, only to shamelessly steal all they owned.

Lieberman — a leading specialist in elder law in Atlantic County — met one of her alleged victims while giving a legal seminar to seniors at Atlantic City’s Jeffries Tower, where the woman lived. The woman lost $320,000 after hiring Van Holt, who then got power of attorney and was named executrix of the woman’s will. She continued to be robbed even after her death in an Atlantic City nursing home, according to the charges.

Lieberman would prepare powers of attorney and draft wills for the victims, giving herself or one of the other defendants power of attorney in some cases, according to the charges. She even transferred some of the victims’ money into her Interest on Lawyers Trust Account — which is supposed to be maintained as a safeguard for funds entrusted to lawyers. Checks from that account were allegedly then cut to Lieberman or one of the other defendants.

Full Article & Source:
Women from Northfield, Linwood accused of stealing assets of elderly

Virginia mental health: Lawmakers have yet to see report on Deeds attack

More than two weeks ago, Doug Bevelacqua resigned from his position in charge of "The Bath County Critical Incident Report" for Virginia's Office of the State Inspector General claiming that his work had been censored.

The report, not yet released, details the November 2013 stabbing of state Sen. Creigh Deeds by his mentally ill son, Gus, who subsequently took his own life. "If I had been writing it, it would have been out two months ago," Bevelacqua said in a phone interview with the Daily Press.

In his resignation letter, Bevelacqua objected to deletions from the report, including a reference to Department of Behavioral Health inaction following his 2012 report about failed temporary detention orders contributing to the incident, and Sen. Deeds' statement that the system had failed.

"The facts will remain. While accurate, they're not useful to policymakers," Bevelacqua said, citing the need to make the connection to "what should be," rather than simply "what is."

State Inspector General Michael Morehart said Bevelacqua's report would be released soon. "Maybe in a week, but I can't guarantee it. The report is effectively done," he said.

Morehart attributed its delayed release to an investigation by the Virginia State Police, who are looking into possible criminal charges. "I apologize for the delay. We were asked to hold off. We don't want to interfere with them," Morehart said.

Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, said the criminal investigation is "parallel and separate from the OSIG's." She wasn't able to estimate a timeline for its completion, but said when it's finished it will be turned over to the commonwealth's attorney's office for consideration of any future action.

Full Article & Source:
Virginia mental health: Lawmakers have yet to see report on Deeds attack