Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lawyer ethics violations in New York are punished too slowly and inconsistently handled, study finds

A study of lawyer discipline cases in New York has found that punishment is slow and sanctions for similar conduct are inconsistent.

New York University law professor Stephen Gillers studied lawyer discipline cases dating to 1982 and read 577 court opinions imposing sanctions in the last six years. He found several instances of unacceptable delays and disparity in punishment in courts in different parts of the state, the New York Times reports in an op-ed.

In upstate New York, appeals courts rarely explain decisions on sanctions, and often they don’t follow earlier precedents, the story says.

“Perhaps most troubling,” the Times says, “is the overall lack of transparency that pervades the system. Unlike 40 other states, New York does not inform the public of pending charges against lawyers. It is also unnecessarily difficult to learn when a lawyer has been officially sanctioned.”

The Times includes some examples of problematic cases. One lawyer accused of stealing client funds was allowed to continue practicing for three years before he was disbarred. In another case, a lawyer received a two-and-a-half year suspension for filing false documents, making false statements and improperly notarizing a client’s signature. But a different lawyer accused of similar conduct received only a formal rebuke.

Full Article & Source:
Lawyer ethics violations in New York are punished too slowly and inconsistently handled, study finds

Even After Doctors Are Sanctioned or Arrested, Medicare Keeps Paying

Mark Greenbain and Anmy Tran (Photos courtesy of WDIV Detroit)

In August 2011, federal agents swept across the Detroit area, arresting doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals accused of running a massive scheme to defraud Medicare.

The following month, several of those arrested —including psychiatrist Mark Greenbain and podiatrist Anmy Tran — were suspended from billing the state's Medicaid program for the poor.

"Health care fraud steals funds from programs designed to benefit patients, and we all pay for it," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a press release at the time of the arrests. "We hope that the strength of our efforts will have a deterrent effect."

But the indictment and Medicaid suspensions didn't deter Medicare from continuing to allow the doctors to treat elderly and disabled patients — and billing taxpayers for their services.

In 2012, Medicare paid Greenbain more than $862,000, according to newly released data on Medicare payments to physicians. Tran received $155,000.

Greenbain and Tran were among dozens of doctors identified by ProPublica who Medicare kept paying after they were suspended or terminated from state Medicaid programs, indicted or charged with fraud, or had settled civil allegations of submitting false claims to Medicare.

Full Article & Source:
Even After Doctors Are Sanctioned or Arrested, Medicare Keeps Paying

Friday, April 18, 2014

Better Rules for Bad Lawyers

In 2009, a lawyer in New York helped his client settle a claim for $30,000. The lawyer then had the check issued in his own name, deposited it into his own account and used all of the funds for himself. The client demanded his money to no avail.

It took more than three years before the lawyer was disbarred for stealing a client’s funds. During all that time, the lawyer, who already had a history of serious disciplinary infractions, kept working.

This is a disturbingly common story in New York, which has more lawyers than any other state. Punishments for those who violate obligations to a client — if not the law — are slow, inconsistently levied and often hidden from the public.

Professional discipline is essential to the integrity of any legal system. Unfortunately in New York, the process for dealing with lawyer misconduct is “deficient in design and operation,” writes Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law in an article to be published next month in N.Y.U.’s Journal of Legislation and Public Policy.

Professor Gillers examined attorney-discipline cases going back to 1982 and all 577 court opinions imposing sanctions issued over the past six years. In addition to the many instances of “unacceptable” delay in the official response to complaints about lawyers, he documents the great disparity in the way similar violations are handled by courts in different parts of the state.

For example, a lawyer who filed false documents, made false statements and improperly notarized a client’s signature was suspended for two and a half years by the appeals court in Manhattan. But, in Brooklyn, comparable actions by a different lawyer resulted only in a formal rebuke but not a suspension. In upstate New York, appellate courts rarely explain the reasons for their decision to sanction or not sanction, and, when they do, they often don’t follow their own earlier rulings.

Full Article & Source:
Better Rules for Bad Lawyers

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What You Should Know Before Requesting a Third Party to be Named Guardian of Your Adult Child

A very sad article appeared on the Times Online recently entitled, "Who Knows Best? Dispute over disabled man's care magnifies guardianship's complexities." (Read it in full here.) The article recounts the story of Nancy Pantoni and her ongoing legal battle with the guardian of her adult, special needs son, Dominic.

The article's claims seem shocking. According to the article, Dominic's current guardian, the nonprofit Jewish Family & Children's Services of Pittsburgh, refuses to allow Dominic's mother to speak with him on the phone or to visit him more than one hour every month. She is not informed of his medical condition or even of his hospitalizations.

According to the article,
"She [Nancy Pantoni] said she feels decisions made by the guardian have been detrimental. 'His health has significantly deteriorated so much that I'm concerned for his life,' she said. 'I'm on a mission to save my son's life, I really am. I'll do anything.' "
Why was the nonprofit, and not Nancy Pantoni herself, appointed guardian of Dominic? The article explains that when it first became necessary for Dominic to move into a residential care facility paid for by the state, no openings were immediately available. Ms. Pantoni was apparently advised that a nonprofit agency might be able to get Dominic into a home faster than Ms. Pantoni herself could -- but only if that agency was appointed Dominic's guardian. (As a side note, this seems like speculation and I do not know if it is accurate. However, it is true that wait time for openings in residential facilities can be long, depending on one's locale.)

The nonprofit agency was then appointed Dominic's guardian. The agency did, in fact, find placement for Dominic in a group home. The agency has continued to serve as Dominic's guardian.

What is Nancy Pantoni's present goal? "'Ideally, I would like to be his guardian,' she said, 'and if that's not possible, at least have a guardian who will cooperate and honor family choices.' "

As an attorney who specializes in guardianship matters and elder law, I would like to give context to some of the issues raised in the article.

Full Article & Source:
What You Should Know Before Requesting a Third Party to be Named Guardian of Your Adult Child

Congratulations ABC Action News I-Team and Adam Walser!

The Society of Professional Journalists gladly recognizes the recipients of the Sigma Delta Chi Awards,  which recognize exceptional professional journalism produced in 2013.

Judges selected 85 honorees from nearly 1,800 submissions. Entries included selections from television and radio broadcasts, newspapers, online news outlets and magazines:

Investigative Reporting (Large-Market Station: 1-50 market)
Incapacitated: Florida's Guardianship Program — Adam Walser, Fran Gilpin, Randy Wright & Doug Iten, WFTS-TV

Announcing the 2013 Sigma Delta Chi Award winners

See Award Winning Report!

Police: Meth Lab Was Being Run Out Of Senior Housing Complex

Hudson, Mass. – Two people in their 40s were charged with running a meth lab out of a senior housing complex, WCDVB reported.

Ronald Royce, 46, and Joann Miles, 44, were arrested after a smoke alarm led authorities to a meth lab that forced the evacuation of 100 seniors. The TV station reported that no one was hurt, but the bomb squad did have to be called in.

Police told WCVB that Royce and Miles attempted to cook meth in one of the senior units.

Full Article & Source:
Police: Meth Lab Was Being Run Out Of Senior Housing Complex

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shocking Note Apparently Penned by Justina Pelletier to Her Parents

The Connecticut teen who has been in state custody for more than a year after her parents were accused of medical child abuse after disputing a diagnosis has apparently penned a note, giving a look into how she says she’s being treated.

“They hurt me all the time push me all the time and more,” the purported note from Justina Pelletier says. It also says “[they] do not let me sleep vary [sic] much."

Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, a group helping lead the Free Justina Coalition, told TheBlaze that Justina gave the note to her parents a few weeks ago.

“There has been some hesitation to release it because of how tyrannical the DCF has been,” Mason said. Mason called the note “troubling” and said it’s “part of the reason we’ve put a lot of urgency on this campaign.”

He said he thinks Justina is referring to her treatment by DCF employees and staff at Wayside Youth and Family Network, a facility in Framingham, Mass., where Justina has been living for the last few months as a ward of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

Lou Pelletier, Justina’s father, told TheBlaze that Justina snuck her parents the note. “She’s very intelligent and figures out ways to sneak us stuff,” he said. “She’s been risking life and limb to get any bit of information to us.”

Full Article and Source:
Shocking Note Apparently Penned by Justina Pelletier to Her Parents

See Also:
Justina Pelletier's Parents File Emergency Petition With Supreme Court to Gain Custody

SENIOR SIGNALS: Questions about power of attorney and conservatorship

We continue to receive lots of questions from elder care professionals and members of the community about power of attorney and conservatorship.  It has been a while since we have devoted a column to this topic and we decided it was time for a review.

A power of attorney is a legal document in which one person (the principal) authorizes another (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on the person’s behalf.  There are financial powers of attorney which allow your agent to make decisions for you regarding financial matters, and health-care powers of attorney which allow your agent to make decisions for you regarding your health-care needs.

Your power of attorney can be broad in scope, giving your agent the ability to make any and all decisions for you (a General Power of Attorney).  You may choose to sign a Durable Power of Attorney, meaning that the power of attorney document remains in effect when and if you become incapacitated.  Another option is to sign a Springing Power of Attorney which would not go into effect until you become incapacitated.

 A conservatorship is a legal relationship in which the Probate Court gives a person (the conservator) the power to make personal and financial decisions for another (the ward).  A family member or friend initiates the proceeding by filing a petition in the court where the individual resides.  A medical examination by a licensed physician is necessary to establish the mental capacity of the individual.  If the judge finds that the person does not have the necessary mental capacity to care for his or her personal needs, the judge will appoint a conservator to make personal decisions for the individual.  Unless limited by the court, the conservator has the same rights, powers and duties over his ward as parents have over their minor children.  The conservator is required to report to the court on an annual basis.

It is always preferable to have a power of attorney in place rather than having to file for a conservatorship proceeding.

By signing a power of attorney now, you can determine who will be able to make financial and healthcare decisions for you in the future should you be unable to make them for yourself and it costs relatively little to get the proper powers of attorney in place.  Conservatorship proceedings, on the other hand, can be very time consuming, costly, and they take decision-making authority away from you.  A judge may appoint someone different than you would have appointed to make decisions for you.  As always, you should consult with a knowledgeable elder law attorney regarding the options that are best for you and your loved ones.

Full Article & Source:
SENIOR SIGNALS: Questions about power of attorney and conservatorship

"Examining the Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs"

Consumer Voice Leadership Council members Toby Edelman, Center for Medicare Advocacy, and Dean Lerner, Dean Lerner Consulting, have released a report entitled Examining the Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs, which delves deeper into the pervasive problem of antipsychotic medications being wrongly prescribed to nursing home residents.

This report contains three parts, the first of which analyzes deficiencies given for the misuse of antipsychotic medications in nursing and skilled nursing facilities located in seven states during 2010 and 2011. The second part of the report focuses on the perspectives of state surveyors on the nursing home survey (inspection) process in general as well as their perspectives on the citing of the misuse of antipsychotic medications specifically. Lastly, the third and final part of the report puts forward recommendations to improve the citing of this issue, serving to better protect the health and safety of residents.

Toby Edelman and Dean Lerner Report on Antipsychotic Drug Deficiencies in Nursing Homes
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Illinois Victims and their Stories

Bev Cooper & Alice Gore
Alice Gore was living in an apartment building owned by Mr. Morris Esformes.  The apartment building was at Park Plaza, 6840 N. Sacramento, Chicago.  Alice was required to divulge her complete financial information when she moved into his facility.   

Alice had previously chosen her daughter, Bev Cooper, to be her power of attorney (POA) for health care and financial issues. Bev, in accordance with Alice’s wishes, had promised her mother she wouldn't place her in a nursing home, and would never make a decision to withhold medical treatment.   Bev visited her mom almost daily to help care for her mother’s needs . 

Bev has a daughter, Kimberly Cooper, who was born with infantile Autism; she spent her childhood in and out of 54 foster homes; she had well-documented psychiatric illness, and was diagnosed as a child with Schizophrenia and Borderline-Personality Psychosis with Suicidal Ideations.  This condition was known by both the Lake County and Cook County courts.  During the guardianship proceedings, Bev had provided the Cook County Court with the documentation of Kimberly’s severe mental incapacity, but the court refused to enter it into the public record.   Additionally, Bev believes that Kimberly receives disability benefits from the government; this could have been easily ascertained by the court. 

Karen Bowes was a business and family attorney for the Cooper family for 27 years.   She had represented Kimberly Cooper in the juvenile court of Lake County and was well aware of the psychiatric issues and legal issues that Kimberly Cooper endured during childhood. 

After Bev’s mother, Alice Gore, had moved into the Esformes building and divulged her financial records, Karen Bowes approached Bev.  Karen told Bev that she should go to court to seek guardianship of her mother, rather than relying on her Power of Attorney.   

Ms. Bowes stated to Bev that “Guardianship trumps Power of Attorney”, which is the opposite of what is stated by Illinois law.  Illinois law states that if a power of attorney is in place, a guardian is not required. 

Bev followed the advice of her long-time attorney.  Bev went to court to change her Power of Attorney to Plenary Guardian.    

On January 20, 2006:  petition for guardianship was entered.   

Karen Bowes sent an attorney named Miriam Solo to Alice Gore’s apartment.  Miriam Solo is a cousin of Morris Esformes, the apartment building owner who required that Alice divulge her complete financial information when she moved into his building. 

Miriam Solo interviewed Alice; Solo did not allow Alice’s daughter, Bev, to participate in the discussion, and closed the door so Bev could not hear the interview.  Karen Bowes told Bev that she did not really know Solo prior to these proceedings, and instructed Bev to pay Solo $500.00 for her attorney services. Bev was also instructed by Bowes that she didn’t need to attend court hearings.  

On January 24, 2006:  Miriam Solo was appointed by Judge Lynne Kawamoto to serve as Guardian ad Litem on the case. 

Karen Bowes apparently facilitated the appointment of Miriam Solo as GAL, telling Bev that Miriam Solo was just to be an attorney on the case.  It later became apparent to Bev that Bowes and Solo had a business relationship during the preceding ten years, despite Bowes having told Bev that she didn’t really know Miriam Solo.

Most, if not all, of Alice Gore’s financial records disappeared from her apartment building during this time frame.   Additionally, Karen Bowes elicited the legal help of Bruce Lange, an attorney/accountant who works for Harris Bank and Trust.  Lange and Bowes instructed Bev to make repeated trips to Alice Gore’s bank to secure Alice’s bank statements for them so they could determine Alice’s net worth.  Despite the fact that Lange was paid for his services as an attorney, he never supplied the court with the financial information that he and Bowes had obtained from Bev. 

On February 27, 2006: Kimberly Cooper, granddaughter was appointed as guardian of the person and estate for Alice Gore. 

Bev Cooper’s Power of Attorney was revoked. 

The court is aware Kimberly Cooper has a history of psychiatric illness. 

Subsequent to her appointment, Kimberly told her mother, Bev, that she intended to place Alice into Hospice, a decision that Alice had many times told Bev she did want not enacted.  Alice’s primary diagnosis was arthritis, and she had no qualifying medical diagnoses to support a DNR/Hospice order. 

Other medical decisions made by Kimberly were of concern to Bev, including the removal of the Alice’s gold teeth.  Additionally, Kimberly authorized the placement of a feeding G-tube, while the patient still had the ability to eat and drink without difficulty. 

Alice Gore, the ward, was removed from Esformes' apartment building to the Carlton on the Lake Rehabilitation Center at 725 W. Montrose in Chicago. 

Alice Gore was moved into a nursing home with which Esformes had ties, Lakeview Nursing Rehab, at 735 W. Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL.  Michael Elkes was administrator at Lakeview Nursing Rehab at that time. 

Alice Gore's health declined in this facility.  When Bev requested an accurate weight on her mother, Michael Elkes contacted Miriam Solo.

Attempts by Bev to bring her concerns about her mother’s declining condition to the judge resulted in her being restricted from visiting her mother without supervision for a number of years.   

Rehab Assist, which is owned by Tom Kleinheinz, was assigned to supervise Bev when she visited her mother.  False statements were made by Rehab Assist to the judge about Bev’s interactions with her mother, resulting in further visitation restrictions.  Thomas Kleinheinz, owner of Rehab Assist, and his employees, Melody (last name unknown) and Ben Topp were all participants in these actions.
Full Article & Source:
New Illinois Victims and their Stories

Valparaiso attorney charged with stealing $1.6M resigns

A Valparaiso attorney charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $1.6 million from business clients he represented has resigned from the Indiana bar.

Clark W. Holesinger, 52, tendered his resignation which was accepted last week by order of the Indiana Supreme Court. But the justices aren’t finished dealing with the Holesinger matter just yet.

The order dated March 12 does not specify the nature of the disciplinary proceeding against Holesinger. It notes, though, that his resignation affidavit “requires an acknowledgement that there is presently pending an investigation into or a proceeding involving allegations of misconduct and that (Holesinger) could not successfully defend himself if prosecuted” by the court’s Disciplinary Commission.

The commission filed no verified complaint against Holesinger – the public disclosure of disciplinary action – and the court order accepting his resignation is the only public information available about his disciplinary case, according to Supreme Court outreach coordinator Sarah Kidwell.

Under Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23(17), Holesinger’s resignation affidavit “shall not be publicly disclosed or made available for use in any other proceeding except upon order of this court.”

Holesinger was charged in February with four counts of Class C felony theft of more than $100,000, and the charges last week were amended to include a fifth count of Class D felony theft.

The charges are an outgrowth of a civil suit filed against Holesinger in Porter Superior Court on behalf of four Valparaiso businesses. Holesinger is accused of stealing more than $1.6 million over the past three years from companies owned by Chris Andrews. Holesinger had been Andrews’ family attorney since the mid-90s, according to the lawsuit.

Full Article & Source:
Valparaiso attorney charged with stealing $1.6M resigns

Timeshare complaints allege deceit, fraud that targets elderly consumers in Myrtle Beach area and across country

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — Tony and Carrie Mendoza walked into the Wyndham Vacation Resorts office here in September hoping to sell four timeshares they had purchased years ago back to the company that had sold them. They walked out of the office unknowingly owing more than $18,000 to a credit card and finance company they say they’d never heard of.

“Wyndham pulled the wool over our eyes,” said Carrie Mendoza, 80, whose 86-year-old husband, Tony, is a World War II veteran. “The people at Wyndham work with this stuff every day. They talk so fast and flip pages so fast that only they know what’s going on.”

Documents show the Mendozas signed up for a program called Pathway by Club Wyndham – promoted by the timeshare company as an easy way for owners to sell back their unwanted vacation plans and eliminate the monthly maintenance fees. The Mendozas say they do not remember signing the documents, but they do not dispute that the signatures are theirs.

Timeshare critics say in lawsuits filed in Florida, California and other states that the program and Wyndham’s sales techniques are deceptive and target elderly victims.

Read more here:

Full Article & Source:
Timeshare complaints allege deceit, fraud that targets elderly consumers in Myrtle Beach area and across country

Monday, April 14, 2014

Justina Pelletier's Parents File Emergency Petition With Supreme Court to Gain Custody

Justina Pelletier’s parents have field an emergency appeal with the state Supreme Court in Massachusetts to regain custody of their daughter.

Today, Linda and Lou Pelletier filed a Habeas Corpus pleading with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The detailed Petition and Memorandum of Law requests that Justina be released from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and be returned to the custody of her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier.

On March 25, 2014, Suffolk Juvenile Judge Joseph Johnston ruled that the custody of Justina will remain with Massachusetts DCF.

“Massachusetts DCF has no right to hold Justina captive. This is unacceptable. Justina needs to return home,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Staver tells LifeNews that the petition argues DCF has no authority to hold Justina and that DCF’s actions violate the constitutionally protected rights of parents. Among other things, the Petition also argues that the requirement to issue detailed written findings of fact and conclusions of law justifying DCF’s intervention has never been met. Never has the juvenile court issued such required findings of fact or conclusions of law.

“This case comes down to the simple fact that new doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), who had no experience with Justina, came up with a different diagnosis than her expert treating physicians at Tufts Medical Center,” said Staver. “The state cannot take children from their parents when the parents make reasonable choices for their medical care. This case is outrageous.”

“The psychological experiment of Boston Children’s Hospital, under the sanction of DCF, has miserably failed. Justina has gone from a competitive figure skater to being confined to a wheelchair,” said Staver.

Full Article and Source:
Justina Pelletier's Parents File Emergency Petition With Supreme Court to Gain Custody

See Also:
Justina Dying Under Care of State of Massachusetts

Lawsuit: L.I. Nursing Home Workers Hired Stripper To Put On Show For Residents

WEST BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island nursing home is being sued after workers allegedly hired a male stripper to put on a show for residents.

The multi-million-dollar lawsuit was filed last month on behalf of Bernice Youngblood, an 86-year-old resident of the East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in West Babylon, owned by Cassena Care.

Youngblood, who has partial dementia, was subjected to an unwanted performance by a male stripper and “photographed by nursing home staff as a muscular, almost nude male dancer gyrated in front of her,” according to the lawsuit.

Full Article & Source:
Lawsuit: L.I. Nursing Home Workers Hired Stripper To Put On Show For Residents

Two Henrico women convicted of defrauding 84-year-old neighbor

Amber Woody
Two Henrico County women have been convicted of defrauding a well-meaning, elderly neighbor who feared one of the women was losing custody of her four children and who believed the other was a drug counselor.

Henrico Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael S. Huberman said the 84-year-old target lost in excess of $130,000 over several months to the women who befriended him in the West End Manor neighborhood and pleaded for money.

Richmond resident Crystal Marie Wells, 33, who played a minor role in the case posing as a drug counselor, was sentenced to serve eight months in jail Thursday. Her co-defendant, Amber Woody, 30, who lived across the street from the victim, was sentenced to seven years in prison last month, more than double the high end of sentencing guidelines.

The victim, who is not identified at his family’s request, had lived alone in the home where he’d lived for decades and raised a family.

Woody’s four children are now in foster care, Huberman said, an ironic twist to what Woody had claimed she needed money to avoid.

Full Article & Source:
Two Henrico women convicted of defrauding 84-year-old neighbor

Former attorney pleads guilty in theft of death benefits intended for a child

A former Upper Arlington lawyer pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of theft and tampering with governmental records for stealing death benefits intended for a child.

Lindsey T. Burt, 33, of Berwyn Road, could be sent to prison for as long as 4 1/2 years or placed on probation when she is sentenced on May 21 by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Laurel Beatty.

Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Bond said Burt was supposed to file paperwork with the probate court to recognize the child’s father as guardian after the child’s mother died. The parents weren’t married, and the father, Mark Chapa, lives in Texas.

Instead, Burt altered a document to make it appear as if she was the child’s guardian, and she sent it to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, where the child’s mother had worked. From April 2008 to April 2013, the retirement system deposited death benefits totaling $67,183 in Burt’s personal savings account.

Bond told the judge that Burt used the money “to make her life easier.” 

Full Article & Source:
Former attorney pleads guilty in theft of death benefits intended for a child

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Ken Ditkowsky - Sanctioned for Bucking the System

Join us this evening as Ken Ditkowsky discusses the case that resulted in him being sanctioned by ubiquitous BAR Association. 

Why?  Ken actually tried to represent his client against the
kangaroo probate court.  We can't have that!

Ken will join us for the first hour, at 7:45 pm CST

At issue is the theft of estates, the kidnapping, isolation and profiting from the abduction of seniors who committed the new
age crime of "aging with assets".

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

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Supreme Court suspends former Phila. judge's law license

PHILADELPHIA It's been 18 months since Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Willis W. Berry Jr. retired on the day he was to pay a $180,000 civil fraud judgment involving a property that a jury found he acquired by deceiving a client.
Now, that same ethical violation has cost the 71-year-old Berry his license to practice law for the next year. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday approved without comment the suspension recommended in October by its lawyer Disciplinary Board.

The board's report called Berry's violation "serious misconduct" that requires suspension to "protect the public and preserve the integrity of the legal profession."

Samuel C. Stretton, who represented Berry before the Disciplinary Board in 2012, said he was "very disappointed that he has been disciplined for something that occurred . . . 19-plus years in the past. He's done a lot of good."

Full Article & Source:

New Law Could Shed Light on Elder Abuse

PEORIA – A new law is helping tackle what experts are calling the big issue of elder abuse.

“The problem is huge it's only going to continue to grow as our population ages,” said Joyce Derenzy, director of adult protective services at the Center for Prevention of Abuse. She said the six locations throughout Central Illinois work with about 300 of those clients every month.

“Statistically speaking we know that for every one reported we get there are at least 13 we don't get and if it's financial exploitation there are at least 25 we don't get,” Derenzy said.

Tazewell County Coroner James Baldi said a lot of times abuse happens at home.

“Sometimes family members aren't always as skilled, trained, patient as they should be,” Baldi said.

One of the more recent cases is that of Washington woman Carole Levin, who died in July. In March, her daughter and caregiver, Jennifer Levin was indicted, facing three counts of criminal neglect of an elderly person.

Baldi's office was only clued in when the funeral home noticed something suspicious. He said if they hadn't said anything, “we probably we would have missed it.”

Full Article & Source:
New Law Could Shed Light on Elder Abuse

A Bright Idea: Think of the Elderly as a Resource!

“Right now, we see the elderly as a problem. Why don’t we look at the elderly as a resource? We want to help. We don’t want to just be trying to keep ourselves busy. I hate that. There are important things to do in life and we need to be able to continue being useful. I’m a great believer in being useful.

“We’ve got all these healthy, “young old,” people who go into retirement from 60 to 75 [years old] — and what do they do with themselves? They want something meaningful to do. I think we need to look at ways in which they go into caregiving. They understand it. They’re close to it, they see it. They know that they’re going to be there.”
-Alene Moris, women’s rights leader

Look to Older People to Fill Caregiver Need