Saturday, April 5, 2014

NJ group home worker convicted of faking, stealing medical records to cover mistake

UNION COUNTY — An East Orange woman was convicted today of falsifying medical records to cover up her own mistake, then stealing the records after she was fired, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park announced.

Joy Ebuzor-Onayemi, 48, was convicted of third-degree burglary and fourth-degree falsifying medical records, following several hours of jury deliberation after a five-day trial before state Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim in Union County.

Ebuzor-Onayemi called a doctor instead of calling 911, an infraction that was uncovered by the management. But in the days leading up to a disciplinary hearing, she altered the medical record to cover up her misstep, Tomlinson said.

Ebuzor-Onayemi was fired on April 8, 2011, and after leaving the company's headquarters she drove back to the group home, broke in, and stole the records implicating her, according to Tomlinson.

In 2011, Ebuzor-Onayemi worked at a Berkeley Heights residence for people with developmental disabilities, where she took patients' blood pressure readings. On one occasion, though, she failed to follow protocol after taking an abnormally high reading, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Tomlinson, who prosecuted the case.

Full Article & Source:
NJ group home worker convicted of faking, stealing medical records to cover mistake

Disciplinary committee files complaint against Mercer County judge accused of mistreating employees

TRENTON – A state court disciplinary committee has filed an official complaint against Mercer County Judge Gerald Council alleging that the judge mistreated employees in the Drug Court Program, which he oversees.

According to the formal complaint filed by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, Council was demeaning toward a drug court coordinator, on one occasion shushing her and telling her he did not want to hear from her in front of a drug court participant and another employee.

On another occasion the woman, referred to as A.J., alleges in the complaint that Council pulled her by the ear toward the exit of the courtroom saying “come on, come on, come on” and referred to her as “my problem child.”

Council also allegedly referred to one employee who was a senior probation officer as his “little pet” at a staff meeting.

The officer felt uncomfortable after the comment and corrected Council in front of other employees that she was not his “pet,” according to the complaint. The complaint alleges that Council also referred to an investigator on his Drug Court team as “hop-a-long” on a few occasions after that employee underwent hip replacement surgery.

Full Article & Source:
Disciplinary committee files complaint against Mercer County judge accused of mistreating employees

Creation of public guardianship office should address problems disclosed by audit

Sen. Colby Coash
Photo courtesy of
Unicameral Information Office
A change in state law should address problems with public guardians disclosed by a state audit.

Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln sponsored LB 920, creating the Office of Public Guardian with the judiciary branch of state government.

The law gives Nebraska courts authority to appoint public guardians from the office, an option courts didn’t have before, leading to the alleged abuse of the system by Judith Widener of Scottsbluff.

A state audit raised questions about the spending of Judith Widener of Scottsbluff and led to criminal charges being filed against her for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands from many of the more than 600 people whom she served as guardian.

According to the auditor’s office, “Widener masked her alleged embezzlement through a complex array of credit cards and over 40 bank accounts containing more than $600,000.”

The Scottsbluff Star-Herald reported Widener, who is 70, was formally charged with theft by taking, a felony. Widener ran Safe Haven Inc., a company claiming to be an online debt and credit counseling firm. The company handled accounts of persons appointed legal guardians to handle the financial affairs of the elderly or disabled.

Coash says a lack of options led to the alleged abuse.

“And when they couldn’t find anybody, people like Judy Widener got appointed,” Coash tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Now the court has a different option and I think that’s going to go a long ways to protecting vulnerable people.”

Full Article & Source:
Creation of public guardianship office should address problems disclosed by audit

Friday, April 4, 2014

Oliver Lewis - "Litigation and the Right to Legal Capacity"

Some of the many highlights of this speech, delivered at the 2012 World Congress on Guardianship:

"An outrage about the wrongs committed by a majority onto a minority..."

"Guardianship is not only inappropriate in itself but it often facilitates the long-term or life-long segregation of people with disabilities into institutions...."

"Guardianship, I submit, increases the risk of exploitation, violence and abuse instead of preventing it..."

"And guardianship, in my submission, rips families apart and plays a role in our legal frameworks which goes completely against celebrating the diversity of humanity...."

Oliver Lewis - Litigation and the Right to Legal Capacity

See Also:
Mental Disability Advocacy Center

Note:  The 2nd World Congress on Adult Guardianship was held in Australia, so we thought it prudent to include a case of guardianship abuse from Australia in this post: 

Bendigo Bank (Christine Frankham) This Will Not Go Away
(This is an overwhelming story of the Watts family's ongoing fight to seek justice with supporting evidence against a Bendigo Bank Manager (Christine Frankham) who used her position and Trust to take advantage of their elderly mother Yolanda Hutton.)

See Also:
BendigoBanksters on Facebook

Attorney General Greg Smith NSW Minster of Justice and State Member for Epping, who is also responsible for the NSW Trustee and Guardian, with its off shoot the NSW Guardianship Tribunal.

Senator wants information about Branstad’s allegations of state employee abuse

DES MOINES — A Democratic state senator on Wednesday asked Republican Gov. Terry Branstad to provide specifics on incidents of elder abuse, child abuse and sexual misconduct involving state employees that the governor cited in comments to reporters earlier in the week.

Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Senate colleagues during a floor speech that he was disturbed to read Branstad comments to reporters that state employees had been dismissed for incidents of elder abuse, child abuse and sexual misconduct that have gone unreported to the public because of employee confidentiality agreements and personnel protections in state law.

Asked during Monday’s weekly news conference how many incidents of abuse or assault by state employees are taking place, Branstad responded, “I don’t know, but there are a lot of them.”

Hogg said the governor “laid down some very serious allegations” that beg for more information. He wrote the governor’s office requesting details about the incidents, when they happened and within which state agencies, as well as information on when the governor’s office was informed about the allegations and how the administration responded.

“It is unacceptable to have state employees, if it’s true, engaging in criminal conduct, and it’s also unacceptable to not have that criminal conduct reported to the proper authorities,” Hogg said.

“We need to know for each incident when the governor’s office was informed, and for each incident, we need to know what the governor or his office did in response to the information that they were provided,” the state senator said. “There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Iowans, who when confronted with allegations of child abuse, elder abuse or sexual abuse, are under a legal obligation to report that to law enforcement authorities, and I would certainly hope the governor’s office has met that standard.”

Before a town hall meeting in Newton Wednesday, Branstad said he was unaware of Hogg’s request but noted it points up his concern that Iowa law makes personnel items confidential that cannot be disclosed. He said that’s why he is asking the Legislature to change the law to allow more disclosure and hoped Hogg would work with his administration to accomplish that “and not just play politics.”

Branstad said state government has “a few bad apples” who have been guilty of the offenses he cited but “unfortunately the law doesn’t permit us to release that. I think it should be available to the public in the future.”

During his weekly news conference, Branstad called on state lawmakers to ease what he considered to be overly broad confidentiality protections for state employees who are dismissed or disciplined for inappropriate on-the-job action.

Branstad told reporters it is not enough to prohibit secret employment settlements from taking place as he directed last week in an executive order.

“I want to see us go further and also require the reasons for the dismissal also to be made public,” he said, noting that some workers have been cited for incidents of abusing elderly Iowans and children or for sexual misconduct that have not been publicly disclosed.

Full Article & Source:
Senator wants information about Branstad’s allegations of state employee abuse

Pets Prove to be Valuable Companions at Senior Housing Communities

Longtime animal lovers Norma and Bynner Martin have five pets, and they certainly didn’t intend to leave their bevy behind when they transitioned to a retirement community.

So when the staff at Rose Villa Senior Living didn’t bat an eye at their menagerie of two cats, two dogs and an African Grey parrot, the Martins knew they found their new home.

“Most of the places would allow a couple of pets,” says Norma Martin, 71. “When I introduced the idea of all of our pets, they were very amenable.”

The demand for pets at senior living centers in Oregon has been fairly steady, says Joni Keith, a senior living advisor at A Place for Mom.

“It’s very rare to see a community that doesn’t allow pets,” says Keith, whose company provides resources and assistance to families seeking senior care for a loved one. “What has evolved is the way the facilities are dealing with them.”

Many places now include pet caretaking as part of the resident’s service plan, such as ensuring a pet gets vaccinated, taking a dog for a walk, or caring for a pet when a resident is ill. Facilities might also provide dog-friendly accommodations, such as walking areas, or fence in a yard.

Administrators at local senior communities say they allow pets because they acknowledge the benefits animals can bring to their residents.

Full Article and Source:
Pets Prove to be Valuable Companions at Senior Housing Communities

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Northshore "Live" Cooper's Corner

Bev Cooper is producer and host of North Shore “Live” Cooper’s Corner, a weekly cable Comcast TV program that is broadcast live every Wednesday night from a studio in Highland Park and then shown throughout Lake County. 

Bev has dedicated these programs to those who are victims of Cook County Probate Court.

This is Bev’s 30th year as producer of the show.

Bev Cooper's Contact Information
Email -
Phone - 224-365-5770

Northshore "Live " Cooper's Corner

Guardianship reform advances after judges, victims share concerns

The Nebraska State Legislature will consider a plan to reform the state’s guardianship system.

The bill (LB 920) advanced by the Judiciary Committee would budget around $1 million to create a new office of guardianship under the supervision of the state Supreme Court.

While Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has yet to weigh in, there appears to be little resistance in the state Legislature to the idea of overhauling the system. Currently Nebraska is the only state in the nation that does not provide such a service for elderly, disabled or children unable to manage their own finances or make critical life choices. 

In most cases a family member or acquaintance will be appointed by a county court judge to assist. However, the pool of volunteers to help has nearly disappeared according to judges across the state, leaving them little choice but to appoint sometimes unwilling and in some cases unscrupulous guardians.

Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln advocates a change in the system that currently relies on volunteers, whether they are family members or helpful community members.  “Beyond that the courts don’t have much of another option (when) there is no family member who is willing or able to step in,” Coash told NET News.

The bill sponsored by Coash would create an entirely new office employing 20 trained caseworkers available to be appointed as guardians when a court has no other option.  A review of current court cases by a state commission dealing with the issue estimated there are currently around 400 people in need of the service. 

Coash has been emphasizing Nebraska is the only state in the union that has no central office for guardianship.  “What my bill does is mirror what is done in 49 other states,” he said.

Recently Nebraska state senators on the Judiciary Committee took testimony from people with first-hand, and in some cases disturbing, experiences with guardians.

Judge Curtis Evans recently retired as a county court judge after more than 36 years on the bench.  Before retiring he became a driving force in reforming what he saw as a broken guardianship system. 

Full Article & Source:
Guardianship reform advances after judges, victims share concerns

See Also:
County Attorney Amends Charges in Guardianship Embezzling Case

See Also:
Nebraska State Auditor-Guardian Fleeced Wards

Mobberley home celebrates its three 'extraordinary' centenarians

Peggy, 101, Agnes, 100, and Joan, 102, pose for a ‘Royal’ photo at The Willows Nursing Home in Mobberley
A MOBBERLEY nursing home is delighted to be home to three ‘extraordinary’ residents – who have a combined age of 303 years.

Joan Vollmer, 102, Peggy Bentham, 101, and Agnes Cameron, 100, all recently celebrated their birthdays at The Willows Nursing Home.

All three ladies were born within the reign of King George V and have lived through both World Wars.

Activities Co-ordinator Amanda Drayton said: “I thought it was really special to have three ladies who have lived 303 years between them – I just think, ‘Wow’.

“That’s something so special and as a home we wanted to celebrate and commemorate that.”

Full Article & Source:
Mobberley home celebrates its three 'extraordinary' centenarians

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Linda Kincaid Reports: Autistic Arizona woman imprisoned and isolated by Ohio APSI

Danielle Murphy, a twenty-something woman with autism, is denied all contact with friends, family, and loved ones. Since June 2012, Ohio’s private non-profit Advocacy & Protective Services, Inc. (APSI) has kept Danielle imprisoned and isolated in a Cleveland assisted living facility.

Danielle lived with her aunt and guardian Nancy Vallone in Scottsdale, Arizona since Danielle was three months of age. Danielle and her Aunt Nancy had a loving relationship. Danielle was mainstreamed into public schools and participated in community activities.

In June 2008, Nancy took Danielle to Ohio to obtain better services than Arizona offered for adults with developmental disabilities. In August 2008, APSI seized total control of Danielle. APSI confined Danielle in a series of dismal facilities and denied the specialized care that Nancy moved to Ohio to obtain.

Danielle begged to return to Nancy's care. The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse posted Danielle’s letters pleading to live with her aunt.

Nancy filed many complaints about neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse under APSI's care. Court records show that APSI retaliated by restricting visitation, and then APSI denied Danielle all visitation and phone calls.

For nearly two years, APSI has denied Danielle any contact with family or loved ones. Nancy does not know Danielle’s location or condition.

November 2008

Nancy believes that Danielle was sexually assaulted by a 25 year old man.
APSI refuses to investigate, perform rape kit, follow-up on assault, [Danielle] restrained to 4 point restraints, sedated…
March 2009
Broken finger
August 2009
[Danielle] experienced staff abuse reported by staff at meeting – neck ligature marks.

While at Cleveland Clinic, Charlie confiscated Danielle’s cell phone.
January 2010
[Danielle] states she is not allowed to go to court hearings and wishes for an attorney.
May 2010

APSI placed restrictions on visitation: 1 hour, supervised, no discussion of attending school or changing guardian.

June 20, 2012 

APSI Regional Program Director Russell Kinnebrew wrote to Nancy:
Effective immediately as guardian of the person, Advocacy & Protective Services, Inc. (APSI) is restricting all phone calls to and from you. APSI is not permitting any visitation anywhere until further notice.
October 23, 2012

APSI’s Russell Kennebrew emailed Nancy:
After reviewing Danielle’s request for a visit with the Protective Services Representative, I have decided to continue the moratorium indefinitely. Apparently, there has been some phone contact with you and that resulted in Danielle refusing medical appointments and exhibiting non-compliance with routine activities.
January 14, 2013

APSI’s Russell Kinnebrew wrote to Nancy:
Effective immediately as guardian of the person, Adult & Protective Services, Inc. (APSI) is restricting all contact (i.e. phone calls and visitation) with you for an indefinite period of time.
February 1, 2013

APSI’s Russell Kinnebrew wrote to Magistrate David Mills of Cuyahoga County Probate Court:
In January, another letter (a copy is enclosed) was sent to Ms. Vallone notifying her that all contact with Miss Murphy would be restricted for an indefinite period of time. It appears that Ms. Vallone is continuing her attempts to contact [Danielle] and disrupt the Team’s treatment plan for Miss Murphy.
January 2014

Danielle is missing. The facility at 4462 West 28th Street in Cleveland, where Danielle was last held prisoner, now lies vacant. APSI did not inform Nancy of Danielle's change in residence.

March 31, 2104: 

Nancy emailed Russell Kinnebrew asking for visitation with Danielle.

Future postings will follow the progress of Danielle’s case.

APSI’s Administrative Office is located at:
Adult & Protective Services, Inc.
4110 N. High St., 2nd floor
Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-262-3800 OR
Fax: 614-262-3838

APSI’s Executive Director is:
Karla Rinto

Full Article & Source:
Autistic Arizona woman imprisoned and isolated by Ohio APSI

Alan Dershowitz offers to help #FreeJustina, says law is CLEAR and on the side of the parents

Alan Dershowitz told Huckabee tonight that if everything we know about the #FreeJustina case is true, then this is a horrible abuse of human rights and of civil liberties. He said that Massachusetts law is clearly on the side of the parents, pointing out that if there is a conflict in medical opinion over a child under Massachusetts law, the dispute is settled by the parents, not the hospitals or the state. He even offered to help the parents get custody back of their daughter.


Full Article & Source:
Alan Dershowitz offers to help #FreeJustina, says law is CLEAR and on the side of the parents

See Also:
Justina Dying Under Care of Massachusetts

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

Attalla caregiver charged with exploiting elderly person's finances

GADSDEN, Alabama -- An Attalla woman has been charged in connection with financially exploiting an elderly person.

Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin said in a news release that Jennifer Nicole Rosson, 38, was arrested on March 25 and has been charged with one count of financial exploitation of a elderly person.

Investigators say Rosson was the elderly person's caregiver. She allegedly transferred money from that person’s savings account into a checking account belonging to the person, and then withdrew the amount that had been transferred. She transferred and withdrew more than $2,500, authorities said.

The charge of financial exploitation of an elderly person comes under the Protecting Alabama’s Elders Act, which went into effect last August.

Rosson is being held in the Etowah County Detention Center on $5,000 property bond.

Full Article & Source:
Attalla caregiver charged with exploiting elderly person's finances

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lawyer Story (Joke) of the Year!

This took place in Charlotte, North Carolina.  A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against, among other things, fire.
Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars, the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company.  In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires."  The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued - and WON!  (Stay with me.)

Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous.  The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company, in which it had warranted that
the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable 'fire' and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars that perished in the 'fires'.


After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!!  With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.

This true story won First Place in last year's Criminal Lawyers Award contest.


Lawyer Joke!

An investment counselor decided to go out on her own. She was shrewd and diligent, so business kept coming in, and pretty soon she realized that she needed an in-house counsel. She began to interview young lawyers. 

“As I’m sure you can understand,” she started off with one of the first applicants, “in a business like this, our personal integrity must be beyond question.” She leaned forward. “Mr. Peterson, are you an honest lawyer?” 

“Honest?” replied the job prospect. “Let me tell you something about honest. Why, I’m so honest that my father lent me $15,000 for my education, and I paid back every penny the minute I tried my very first case.”

“Impressive. And what sort of case was that?” 

The lawyer squirmed in his seat and admitted, “He sued me for the money.”

Monday, March 31, 2014

Response from FL State Representative Mike Hill to NASGA Member, Doug Franks

NASGA member Doug Franks received a letter from Florida State Representative Mike Hill (District 2. We thank Representative Hill for his interest in guardianship and conservatorship abuse and look forward to his legislative help working  toward reform. 

Dear Mr. Franks:

Our office has reviewed the letter we received on March 18, 2014 via email, as well as the other information you have provided regarding your mother, Ernestine. as happened in your mother's situation is unacceptable for anyone who is placed in these types of scenarios.

We have learned some bills have been filed that may pertain to your type of situation.  We have asked for more information from the committee staff regarding the issue to learn more the bill has the capability of correcting and to see if it is something that relates to your issue specifically.  We'll stay in tuned to correct these problems throughout the State as they appear throughout the legislative session. Thank you for providing us with detailed information about a situation that must not go unnoticed.

Please let us know if our office can ever be of further assistance for this or another State matter.  850-595-0467.

I am respectfully,

/s/Mike Hill
State Representative Mike Hill
District 2

Learn More About Florida State Representative Mike Hill

See Also: 
NASGA: Ernestine Franks, Florida Victim

Elder abuse on the rise


Snow, freezing rain and harsh winds buffeted the house on River Road in Tinicum. When the power went out, some people flicked on generators to keep the essentials going — heat, hot water. Others drove to the homes of family or friends who had power.

Angelina Darago had nowhere to go. The 91-year-old, who has Alzheimer’s, couldn’t even get out of bed to get another blanket. She was soaked in her own urine. There was no one to help her. When police arrived, the temperature inside her house was in the 40s.

Darago had been left alone for four days while the woman who was supposed to care for her, Danawa Buchanan, was more than 400 miles away in Maine, according to authorities. They said the caregiver had neglected the woman for more than a year and spent more than $300,000 of Darago’s money (including buying a house) during that time.

Buchanan, who’s now 65, reached a settlement with prosecutors last year in which she avoided charges and forfeited the house she had bought with Darago’s money to Darago. Buchanan has since moved out of state.

“For (Darago), now she is in a nursing home, she’s getting Social Security disability and medical assistance,” said Marc Furber, chief of the Bucks County District Attorney’s Arson and Economic Crimes division. “We wanted to get as much money back as quickly as possible to give her the best standard of living possible.”

The elderly can make easy targets for scams, financial abuse and physical abuse and neglect, according to Furber and assistant district attorney Michelle Laucella, who prosecutes elder abuse.

Full Article & Source:
Elder abuse on the rise

Conservator will suffer for his abuse of disabled

As a second-generation native of Clay County and Celina, I am upset, dismayed and disturbed about the March 27 story  “Ex-conservator’s control over couple fed ‘evil desires.’

A person who is put in the position of conservator is granted a special trust by the granting of jurisdiction to someone else. It is understood that this person will act in the best interest to protect the person, or people, he oversees.

In this case, this is far from what hap­pened. To coerce and manipulate a couple with candy or groceries for favors such as sex is so horrendous it would not make good fiction. Restitution and a suspended sentence does not seem just.
Full Article & Source:
Conservator will suffer for his abuse of disabled

See Also:
Nashville Federal Judge Ordered $700K Paid by Former Conservator to Victims

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Guardianship: Brain Injured are Targets Too

Marti's guest is Tracey Anne Miller:  My brother Mike has been in approximately 13 institutions over the years as Chevron Workman's Compensation insists that Mike be with professionals. None of these institutions (including a community based center) has been professional.

I pulled Mike out of UCP/CLASS of Pittsburgh after 11 years for dehydration, mal-nutrition, social deprivation, neuro-toxicity of the drugs, falls (one resulting in a dropped foot), loss of teeth (never took him to a dentist), many charges that I had intentions of filing criminal charges per the Pennsylvania Department of Protection and Advocacy, who got involved in 2006 to help me get Mike out of this facility.

The Co-Guardian and Attorney, Laurel Hartshorn refused to help me in any way. I fired her as Attorney back in 2006. To my knowledge she has only seen my brother maybe 5 times since 1993 and the last time being 2005 at a meeting about abuse at UCP/CLASS.

I moved Mike to Tree of Life in Richmond, VA with Dr. Nathan Zasler, not knowing that he and Al Condeluci (CEO of UCP/CLASS) were very good friends. I filed three times with the Human Rights 2007, 2011, 2013 in Richmond, VA, and with their Medical Boards 2013.

I have been given restrictions in visits, and now cannot contact my brother unless I contact that Guardian, Laurel Hartshorn who took me off guardianship in 2009 (she got involved 20 days after Chevron offered me a settlement) for supposed misuse of funds. Dr. Zasler has threatened me with a lawsuit. I was rendered homeless and bankrupt throughout my advocacy.

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

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Guardian Bill Will Help Nebraska's Less Fortunate

The Nebraska Legislature is on the verge of rectifying a situation that has jeopardized some of the state's most vulnerable residents for too long.

LB920 has reached final reading and would create the Office of Public Guardian. This office would give legal guardianship for elderly and disabled residents who lack other options.

Nebraska is the only state without a guardianship office. Many would hope that such a government office wouldn't be needed. That families or friends would serve as guardians for people unable to make decisions for themselves.

Unfortunately, that's not how it is in society today. Families are often spread throughout the country. In some cases, there may not be any close family. Friends often aren't willing to take on the responsibility.

"Nebraskans take care of their own," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln. "But as the last state, what we're going to find is a growing need (for volunteers) and a diminished capacity."
What the state has found, unfortunately, is that the current system left the courts no choice but to appoint guardians from private services who had no connection to the person and were doing it for profit.

For example, Judith Widener of Scottsbluff was named guardian for 688 people in 60 counties. Providing the needed attention to these 688 cases was impossible. In fact, Widener appears to have been taking advantage of the system and has been charged with embezzling $600,000 from her clients.

LB920 would help rectify this with oversight of the state's guardian system. In the new office would be a director, deputy public guardian and up to 12 associate guardians. Of course, these 14 people couldn't handle all of the cases in the state. But they would provide education, training and support to current and future guardians. They also would serve as guardians when no one else could be found.

Full Article & Source:

Judicial Candidate Faces Possible Discipline For Professional Misconduct

Threat to use IRS
 A San Diego lawyer running for Superior Court judge faces disciplinary action after a judge found that he threatened to report someone to the Internal Revenue Service to get settlement talks going in a civil case.

 The State Bar Court of California has found that Douglas J. Crawford threatened to report the opposing side in a civil dispute to the IRS to trigger an audit.

In September 2010, attorney Douglas J. Crawford sent an email to lawyers for Kearny Mesa Towing and Crusader Insurance. Crawford had filed lawsuits on behalf of a client against the companies and several individuals.

Crawford told the lawyers it was apparent one of their clients had under-reported income to the IRS for several years. He gave the attorneys a deadline to start "mature, reasonable settlement negotiations" or Crawford’s client would report the matter to the IRS.

“The legal system is undermined by making threats,” wrote Judge Richard Honn of the State Bar Court of California. He found Crawford culpable of one count of misconduct.

“Incivility and scorched-earth tactics jam the judicial system, are costly to parties in both time and treasure and tarnish the image of all lawyers, not just those who engage in them,” Honn wrote.

Full Article & Source:
Judicial Candidate Faces Possible Discipline For Professional Misconduct

Bill O’Reilly calls for impeachment of judge who cut molestation sentence to a year in prison

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday called for impeachment of a Nevada judge who cited a clerical error and reduced a child molester’s sentence to one year in prison.

The judge, Brent Adams of Washoe County, is one of the most respected legal authorities in Nevada, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. He is a member of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline and a faculty member of the National Judicial College. Adams is not seeking re-election this year.

Adams had sentenced Isaac Onsurez, 69, to 10-years-to-life in prison on March 12. A week later, citing a “clerical error,” Adams changed the sentence to a year in jail and five years of probation. He did not provide prosecutors with a more detailed explanation, the Gazette-Journal says.

Onsurez pleaded guilty to lewdness with a minor in December after prosecutors accused him of committing more than 100 sex acts with a child during a two-year-period in the late 1990s, the story says. The girl was 6 years old when the abuse started, according to the Gazette-Journal. The plea deal had indicated a sentence of 10 years to life.

At the time Onsurez committed the crime a probation sentence was allowed under Nevada law. Current law calls for a minimum 10-year sentence.

O’Reilly called for impeachment, although the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline has the power to remove judges. “This guy acts like he is the Roman emperor out there, this judge,” O’Reilly said on his television show on Tuesday. “This guy should be impeached immediately.”

The judicial commission can remove a judge for willful misconduct, failing to perform the duties of office or intemperance, the newspaper says. In this case, Adams’ sentence was permitted by law, the story says.

Paul Deyhle, executive director of Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, spoke with the Gazette-Journal about the commission’s authority. "If a judge makes a decision and follows the law, whether right or wrong, our commission does not have jurisdiction to address those issues," he said.

Full Article & Source:
Bill O’Reilly calls for impeachment of judge who cut molestation sentence to a year in prison