Saturday, June 7, 2014

Board moves to suspend ex-DA’s license

AUSTIN — The State Bar of Texas’ Commission on Lawyer Discipline is seeking to suspend the law license of ex-Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos.

A civil trial has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 25 before the Board of Disciplinary Appeals, which is appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas, according to public records.

The BODA recently suspended the license of Austin attorney Marc G. Rosenthal.

Villalobos and Rosenthal were both convicted of federal public corruption charges in connection with the favors-for-cash bribery schemes of former 404th state District Judge Abel C. Limas.

Villalobos and Rosenthal are appealing their convictions.

Limas also was convicted of racketeering on a guilty plea. Limas surrendered his law license in 2011 in lieu of disciplinary action by the State Bar of Texas. He is serving six years at the federal prison camp in Pensacola, Florida.

Villalobos is serving a 13-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Ashland, Kentucky.
Rosenthal was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. He is held at the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont.

In seeking the suspension of Villalobos’ license to practice law, the Commission on Lawyer Discipline noted the serious and intentional crimes for which Villalobos was convicted.

Full Article & Source: 
Board moves to suspend ex-DA’s license

See Also:
Ex-District Judge Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

TX: Ex-Judge Testifies in Lawyer's Corruption Trial

Ex-TX Judge Takes Plea in RICO Case

TX Lawyer Charged for Paying Judge for Ruling

LETTER: Amendment would make discipline proceedings public only if probable cause is found

Dear Editor,

Thank you for devoting space to two statewide judicial reform initiatives in the story “Let more citizens judge the judges?” in the May 30, 2014 issue.

Based on judicial discipline commission annual reports, the total percentage of all dismissals by the commission from 2003 to 2012 is actually 97 percent. The 89.5 percent figure that I used regards only those complaints that were dismissed without the commission even considering the merits.

Those percentages do not account for complaints that were not filed because the commission inappropriately discouraged individuals from filing complaints. During that 10-year period, the commission received more than 15,000 phone calls and had additional contact via its website. The commission regularly misinformed people that it could not proceed on complaints that were based on appealable orders.
The Colorado Constitution states that a judge may be disciplined for any violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct. If a judge violates the Code of Judicial Conduct in an appealable order he may be disciplined. Unfortunately, the constitution provides the Supreme Court with procedural rule-making authority. In the 1980s, the Supreme Court made a rule requiring the executive director of the discipline commission to dismiss any complaint based on an order that can be appealed. The overbroad rule is directly contrary to the constitution, and is why there has not been a published case of judicial discipline in Colorado since 1986.

The Honest Judge Amendment would only make discipline proceedings public if probable cause is found. Other states such as Washington use the probable cause standard for determining when a case becomes public.
I actually contacted Luis Toro before I started Clean Up The Courts. He informed me his group focuses solely on executive and legislative branch officials. Stacy Carpenter says the public should receive more information on judges but opposes discipline proceedings becoming public. Her statements are inconsistent.

Neither Toro nor Carpenter have listened to or responded to the research and facts in support of the initiatives. Even the two-thirds amount is supported by research.

They claim, without support, that qualified judicial candidates will not be found if the system is changed. Have they considered that people might not currently be applying because they do not want to be associated with what is going on in Colorado’s judicial branch? Have they considered that more qualified candidates might be attracted to the integrity and honor of an ethical and accountable judiciary?

Have they considered the possibility that many appellate court judges in Colorado should not be on the bench? After all, those judges are aware of the unconstitutional rule protecting them from discipline and they choose to do nothing to correct it. All members of the legal profession have the duty to uphold the constitution and the Rules of Professional Conduct. I am upholding my duties by pursuing these initiatives.

More information is available at If a reader wants to ensure discussion over these topics continues, petitions can be downloaded and mailed in to help these initiatives get on the ballot. The public should be provided with the opportunity to vote for an ethical and accountable judiciary.

Chris Forsyth
Clean Up The Courts

 Full Article & Source:

Ex-DA's law license suspended in sexting case

MADISON — Former Calumet County district attorney Kenneth Kratz, who drew fire for sending unwanted, sexually charged text messages to a domestic abuse victim, will lose his law license for four months.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday issued its decision in a long-running disciplinary case against Kratz. In addition to the suspension, Kratz was ordered to pay almost $24,000 to cover the costs of the proceedings.

“This was exploitative behavior, harassing behavior, and a crass placement of his personal interests above those of his client, the State of Wisconsin,” the decision stated.
“The recommended four-month suspension is deserved,” the decision stated. “In short, whatever his qualities and accomplishments as a lawyer, Attorney Kratz proved himself during the period in question to be sanctionably sophomoric.”

Kratz eventually left office amid heavy pressure once the series of text messages became public in 2010. The texts — through which Kratz sought a relationship — were sent the year prior while he was in the midst of prosecuting the woman’s ex-boyfriend.

In one of the texts, Kratz called the 25-year-old woman a “tall, young, hot nymph.” In another, he asked, “Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA?”

The woman, who lived in Kaukauna at the time, took the texts to Kaukauna police.

“I’m afraid that if I don’t do what he wants me to do, he will throw out my whole case, and who knows what else,” she told an officer.

Full Article & Source:
Ex-DA's law license suspended in sexting case

Friday, June 6, 2014

MT Supreme Court Orders Suspension, Public Censure

KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT
BILLINGS - The Montana Supreme Court orders the suspension and public censure for District Judge G. Todd Baugh.

In an opinion filed Wednesday, the court writes Judge Baugh's actions warrant suspension from the bench without pay for 31 days, starting December 1, 2014. Baugh’s current term in office ends on December 31, and he is not seeking re-election.

The matter comes after last August’s sentencing of former Billings teacher Stacey Rambold, for the rape of a 14-year-old student, who later committed suicide. Baugh made comments, saying the victim acted “older than her chronological age,” sparking a public outcry across the nation. The court also orders Baugh to appear on July 1 for the delivery of a public censure.

A formal complaint was filed by the Judicial Standards Commission against Judge Baugh in February. Judge Baugh has waived formal proceedings.

Full Article & Source:
MT Supreme Court Orders Suspension, Public Censure

Starving Dog Eats Elderly Man Alive, Dog Owners Sent To Jail

Two UK women have been sentenced to a year in jail after it was discovered that they allowed their dog to eat an elderly army veteran alive.

According to reports, Hayley Sulley and Della Woods starved their dog for two days before he attacked the 79-year-old Clifford Clarke. Sulley and Woods ignored their dog Charlie for two days and allowed him to run around their yard freely, so when neighbor Clifford Clarke opened his door, the dog ran and mauled him to death.

Prior to eating Clarke alive, the dog was so hungry that it attempted to eat a plastic bowl and some cigarette butts. When a neighbor noticed the dog foaming at the mouth, the police were called, but by the time they arrived, Clarke had already been eaten by the ravenous dog. Police say that the dog even tried to eat the end of the gun used to kill it. The brutal killing was described in court proceedings, as it appears the dog literally amputated one of Clarke’s arms.

“I am satisfied this dreadful and forceful attack on Mr. Clarke was entirely avoidable,” said Judge Mark Brown to the women in court. “Mr. Clarke was literally eaten alive by Charlie when large amounts of tissue were ingested by the dog and that is a very shocking, appalling and tragic event. Mr. Clarke suffered a horrific death and you have taken away from his family the love and companionship he would have provided.”

Prosecutor Gary Simpson said that the women deserve their sentence for allowing their dog to get to the point it did, ultimately ending in an innocent man’s death.

Full Article & Source:
Starving Dog Eats Elderly Man Alive, Dog Owners Sent To Jail

Police identify person shot to death after threatening officer

NORFOLK -- Police said an officer shot 72-year-old Lawrence Faine after Faine threatened the officer with a knife Wednesday afternoon. Faine died as a result.

The officer was helping to serve an emergency custody order at Faine's home in Calvary Towers, an assisted living community, located at 850 East Virginia Beach Boulevard.

The shooting happened on the sixth floor of the apartment building at about 3:30 p.m.

Norfolk Police Department spokesman Officer Daniel Hudson said when officers tried to take Faine into custody, he threatened them with a knife, which is when he was shot.

Full Article & Source:
Police identify person shot to death after threatening officer 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Scandal-Ridden Massachusetts DCF Agrees to Free Justina Pelletier

The Connecticut girl kidnapped by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and imprisoned in Boston Children’s Hospital for more than year has been cleared to return home by the courts. But she has not yet been released, as the legal system continues to drag its feet.

Last week, Justina’s family and attorneys with the Liberty Council filed a motion in Juvenile Court requesting she be returned to her parents, Linda and Lou Pelletier. Massachusetts DCF indicated it would not object to the motion.

In mid-May, Justina was transferred from Massachusetts to a Connecticut facility. Since then, she has been receiving treatment from Tufts Medical Center, the same place she received treatment before her kidnapping by the State of Massachusetts in February 2013.

“Today is a significant event for Justina and the Pelletier family,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, who is representing the Pelletier family, said May 30. “We believe and hope that the Pelleteir family will soon be reunited.

Full Article and Source:
Scandal Ridden Massachusetts DCF Agrees to Free Justina

See Also:
New Placement Gives DCF Hostage Justina Pelletier More Privileges

Two home health aides at Hackensack agency charged with submitting bogus Medicaid bills

TRENTON – Two home health aides working for a Hackensack agency were charged with submitting bogus Medicaid bills for services that they never provided, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said Monday.

Anatoli Rountsev, 52, of Totowa, and Naum Lavnevich, 56, of Oakland, worked for Confident Care Corporation, a company that is headquartered in Hackensack and has 10 satellite offices throughout New Jersey, as well as offices in Florida, Hoffman said.

In separate indictments, Rountsev was charged with 43 counts of health care claims fraud and Lavnevich was charged with 154 counts of health care claims fraud. Both men were also charged with one count of Medicaid fraud and one count of theft by deception.

According to the indictment, Rountsev caused 463 false claims to be submitted to Medicaid for services that he did not provide between January 2008 and June 2009.

He allegedly failed to provide home health aide services for Medicaid beneficiaries on hundreds of claims because he was actually at another, unrelated job, the indictment said, adding that Medicaid paid $12,598 as a result.

The separate indictment against Lavnevich said that between January 2008 and October 2010, he caused 178 claims to be submitted to Medicaid for services that were not provided, resulting in payments of $5,614.

Full Article & Source:

Lawmaker promises fix after KXAN uncovers flawed elder abuse investigation

AUSTIN (KXAN) - A Texas lawmaker saw our investigation that exposed alleged sexual assaults at an Austin assisted living center and the state's admitted failure in investigating the incidents. He now guarantees action to help better protect your aging loved ones.

Also because of our investigation the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services finally reported the incidents to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. That report comes more than two years after the incidents and the day after our investigation first aired on May 19th.

“I think that’s a major failure,” said State Representative Elliott Naishtat.

Representative Naishtat, who is the vice-chairman of the House Public Health Committee, said he never again wants to find out the state did not do its job investigating allegations of elderly abuse.

“This is something which I will be working with DADS, the Department of Aging and Disability Services, and the commission (Texas Health and Human Services Commission) to make sure that they know this is unacceptable,” said Representative Naishtat, who was appalled by what KXAN uncovered.

Our investigation uncovered a lawsuit alleging an elderly woman was sexually assaulted by a male resident at Longhorn Village, which was established by the University of Texas alumni association, Texas Exes. According to the lawsuit, filed by the woman’s legal guardian and her family, there is no way legally she could have consensual sex because a doctor determined she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia so severely that she could no longer make decisions for herself. A judge agreed and ruled the woman “incapacitated,” and appointed a legal guardian to handle her affairs and make decisions for her.

Full Article & Source:
Lawmaker promises fix after KXAN uncovers flawed elder abuse investigation

Failure to report elderly abuse punishable under new law

DENVER – A new law requiring people to report elderly abuse will go into effect July 1. The elderly are often targets for physical and financial-exploitation crimes.

Claire Morgan practically raised her granddaughter, Jennifer Myers. As an adult, Myers hit a setback in November and Morgan took her in. But after six months, Morgan said she'd had enough.

"She was a user and an alcoholic," Morgan said. "We have to protect ourselves against people like that."

Morgan said police helped get her granddaughter out of the house. According to court records, Myers tried to break in and ended up in jail.

See the law for a complete list

"She's just ripped out my heart," Morgan said. "I would be satisfied never to see her again, because she's just really done me wrong."

At 84, Morgan was able to take care of herself. But too many elderly can't.

Starting July 1, it is mandatory for many people who work with or for the elderly to report abuse within 24 hours. The law defines elderly as anyone 70 years old or older.

Full Article & Source:
Failure to report elderly abuse punishable under new law

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Brevard judge tells attorney, 'I'll beat your ass,' allegedly throws punches

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Court deputies had to break up a physical fight between a Brevard County judge and a public defender after an argument during a hearing on Monday.

Judge John Murphy is accused of punching veteran public defender Andrew Weinstock after the two had words during court in which Murphy allegedly pressured Weinstock to get his client to waive his right to a speedy trial.

"You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now," Murphy tells Weinstock. "Stop pissing me off. Just sit down."

"You know I'm the public defender. I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my client," Weinstock said in the video.

The judge allegedly asked Weinstock to come to the back hallway, an area where there are no cameras, which is where the fight broke out.

"If you want to fight, let's go out back and I'll just beat your ass," Murphy tells Weinstock before the two head out of the courtroom.

Full Article & Source:
Brevard judge tells attorney, 'I'll beat your ass,' allegedly throws punches

Kids-for-Cash Developer, Robert K. Mericle, Reports to Prison

Kids-for-cash developer Robert K. Mericle may be a multimillionaire, but his spending power in the prison commissary will be the same as everyone else: a maximum $160 every two weeks.

Mr. Mericle on Monday morning reported to a prison camp on the grounds of Federal Correctional Institution at Schuylkill, interrupting his life of privilege to begin a one-year jail stint that subjects him to a strict list of rules.
If Mr. Mericle, Inmate No. 15135-067, intends to remain in control of his real estate empire, he’s allowed business associates as visitors but is forbidden from conducting business by telephone, according to a copy of the prison’s rules and regulations handbook.
A federal judge in April sentenced Mr. Mericle to one year in prison for concealing information from federal agents investigating two Luzerne County judges, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan, in the infamous kids-for-cash scandal. The 51-year-old’s federal crime stems from his paying $2.1 million to the judges who were accused of conspiring to shutter a county-run juvenile detention center and sending scores of juveniles to two facilities built by Mr. Mericle’s construction firm.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

DA May Have Let "Guardian" Patience Bristol Take Rap for Her Ex-Boss, Jared Shafer

When for-hire guardian Patience Bristol was handcuffed and led out of court last Wednesday morning, it may have been one of the luckiest days of her life! Instead of spending dozens of years in prison, a deal was cut so she can get out in three years or less.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez had her hands tied by a plea bargain cut by Bristol’s attorney Warran Geller with DA Steve Wolfson who dropped twenty of twenty-one felony charges requested by Las Vegas Metro Police. At the end, Judge Gonzalez gave Bristol the harshest sentence she could - three to eight years in the Nevada Women’s Correctional Center in North Las Vegas - based on the one remaining category B felony count of Exploitation of Older or Vulnerable Person that Wolfson allowed in his stipulated sentence. Courts are usually bound by valid stipulations and are required to enforce them.

However, Patience Bristol did not exploit just one older or vulnerable person. She ripped off dozens during the ten years she was employed by Jared Shafer, the owner of Professional Fiduciaries of Southern Nevada, Inc. (PFSN), the company given full power of attorney by certain Clark County Family Court judges to control the persons and property of well-to-do wards of the court who have no relatives living in Nevada to provide them care and manage their assets.

Jared Shafer has not yet been charged with a crime.

Full Article and Source:
DA May Have Let "Guardian" Patience Bristol Take Rap for Her Ex-Boss, Jared Shafer

See Also:
Coming Monday on Rick Porrello's

Casey Kasem Hospitalized. Wife Throws Raw Meat at His Daughter

The sad and very public Casey Kasem saga continues.

Just days after Kasem’s daughter Kerri was able to see him for the first time since his wife took him out of a California facility without telling his family, the feud continued Sunday when his wife, Jean, chucked a pound of raw hamburger meat at Kerri.

Jean Kasem told NBC News that she was following a King James Bible verse when she threw the meat at her stepdaughter. “In the name of King David, I threw a piece of raw meat into the street in exchange for my husband to the wild rabid dogs,” she said.

Kasem is the legendary radio DJ famous for his nationwide Top 40 broadcasts in the 1970s and 1980s.Kerri Kasem became her father’s legal caretaker last month after battling Jean Kasem in court. The judge also ruled that, if needed, the daughter could take her father to see a doctor or to the hospital, which is what she was reportedly trying to do this weekend.

Full Article and Source:
Casey Kasem Hospitalized. Wife Throws Raw Meat at His Daughter

See Also:
Casey Kasem's Wife Jean Kasem Ordered to Appear in Court Over Ailing Star's Care

Monday, June 2, 2014

3rd World Congress on Adult Guardianship: Putting Personal Autonomy Ahead of 'Best Interests'

The World Congress on Adult Guardianship is a grand-sounding name for a gathering of lawyers, judges, social workers and legal guardians from more than 20 countries who have come to a Marriott near the Reagan National Airport to discuss some lofty goals having to do with human dignity.

I am here to learn the latest thinking on how very vulnerable adults — both elders with dementia and people with severe developmental disabilities — can lead self-directed and authentic lives instead of being sacrificed to well-meaning but heavy-handed government intrusions. Everyone at the conference readily admits that these ideas are a long way from the bleak realities on the ground in most of the places they come from.

But at least they are talking about them. They use phrases like “person-centered guardianship” and “supported decision-making.” They are making an earnest attempt to connect the dots between the murky, hidden and highly bureaucratic world of adult guardianships and the newly accepted broader social agenda of helping dependent people stay in their communities instead of being shuttled off to institutions.

And because this is Washington, D.C., the way talk turns to action is in creating a layer of government to prod society further along. Two years ago, the Department of Health and Human Services came up with something called the Administration for Community Living, putting money and a mouth toward the goal of giving America’s elderly and disabled access to what all of us say we want: the right to decide where and how we live.

Assistant Secretary of Aging Kathy Greenlee, who is administrator for this new federal agency, says it’s the first emergence on such a level in 20 years. The compelling numbers — 35 million people with dementia worldwide, expected to triple by 2050 — have certainly helped to drive the change. But Greenlee believes we have to stop framing that demographic phenomenon as some sort of apocalypse, as in the “silver tsunami.”

“I am on a one-woman campaign to get rid of this language,” she told the audience here. “A tsunami will drown you. Older people are not a threat.”

In a culture that worships youth and abilities, she said, it is time to challenge our assumptions with new questions.

“At 90, what you have more than anything else is your self,” she said. “Can you be yourself in a guardianship? It all starts with knowing more about the lives and the hopes and the goals and the self of that person.”

Supported decision-making is being discussed here as an alternative to the all-or-nothing powers that court-appointed guardians now have to act in the “best interests” of their adult wards. When it comes to people with dementia, Greenlee admitted, this is easier said than done.

“Supported decision-making becomes even more complicated when you try to reduce it to practice,” she said. “We have socially constructed negative images of the very people we want to help. How do we do this well? How do we provide the right support at the right time?”

A day after Greenlee spoke, her deputy made the announcement that the Administration for Community Living had just decided to establish a national center on supported decision-making, and fund pilot projects to see how the concept can work. Sharon Lewis, principal deputy administrator for the agency, said she knew it would be a tall order for existing guardianship programs.

“Our role is not just to protect people,” she said. “Now we are saying, ‘Oh, by the way, everyone has to be served on a person-centered basis, and you have to take into account what they want.’ We’re a long way from that ideal that I describe. But I also think we can get there.”

Kristin Glen, a former New York Supreme Court judge and law school dean and an advocate for guardianship reform, said recognizing the right of an elder with dementia to more autonomy is a “radical concept.” But she pointed out that this kind of mass paradigm shift has happened before.

“Half the people in this room,” she said, would have once had all major decisions made for them because they were considered “too delicate, too childlike, and they needed protection. Everybody understood that. Now we see things very differently. Of course, I’m talking about women.”

Putting Personal Autonomy Ahead of "Best Interests"

Measure calls for elder-care facilities to obtain consent for psychotropic prescriptions

BOSTON -- Nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Massachusetts would be required to receive informed written consent from a patient's family, guardian or health-care proxy if doctors prescribe psychotropic medications to a patient, under an amendment added to the Senate budget last week.

Family members of those with dementia and Alzheimer's have pushed for years to have legislators strengthen laws around informed consent of anti-psychotic drugs for patients in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, arguing the drugs have unwanted side effects in dementia patients, including seizures.

The drugs are overprescribed, often without a family's consent, as a way for nursing care staff to quell unwanted behavior among patients, they say.

Alzheimer's Association of Massachusetts spokeswoman Betsy Campbell said the organization has been watching the use of these medications for years, and advocating for families to be informed when they are prescribed.

Banker White, whose mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease at 61, said having discussions with his mother's doctor about her medication made all the difference. His mother, who lives in Dedham and is cared for by his father, was prescribed Risperadone, a psychotropic drug that was used to control violent episodes. White would like to see informed written consent be required.

"There needs to be a real understanding of why they are being used; how they are being used, and there is a game plan in place," he said.

Full Article & Source:
Measure calls for elder-care facilities to obtain consent for psychotropic prescriptions

Video: 'Corrupt Limited Guardian Says She Can't Handle Mental Health Caseloads...'

My autistic son has a limited guardian named Erin Sanford. Sanford is a corrupt, lying attorney that was appointed by the neglectful and incompetent Probate Court of Franklin County, OH. On this tape you will hear Sanford tell me and another corrupt attorney that she cant handle a mental health caseload and that type of caseload!

Corrupt Limited Guardian Says She Can't Handle..."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

COMING MONDAY on Rick Porrello's

DA may have let "guardian" Patience Bristol 
take the rap for her ex-boss Jared Shafer
Was there a secret quid pro quo contained in Bristol's plea bargain? 

Was Bristol coerced into not incriminating her ex-boss in exchange for dropping twenty felony charges?

"The District Attorney recommended less than
maximum sentence"
 - Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez

DA Steve Wolfson  
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller 
June 2, 2014

So far, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and Nevada Attorney General Catherine-Cortez Masto have failed to investigate any citizen complaints concerning ongoing abuse of elderly and vulnerable clients of PFSN Inc. and  Jared Shafer. Then after police conducted an exhaustive investigation and presented Wolfson with 21 valid charges, the DA draconically discounted their efforts. But because most of the crimes involve civil rights violations, this serious case is expected to supercede local politics and draw the attention of federal law enforcement officials in the near future.

COMING MONDAY on Rick Porrello's

Steve Miller writes internationally syndicated columns on organized crime and political corruption for Rick Porrello's, and the Canada Free Press.

See Also:
Patience Bristol escorted from court in handcuffs

First of Many Expected Lawsuits Just Filed Against For-Hire "Guardian" Jared E. Shafer and Two of His Employees

Court-Appointed Guardian Arrested for Stealing READ the two complaints filed with the CGC

READ the 16 page complaint

READ the full Berger Complaint

The Jason Hanson - Jared E. Shafer Story

New Lawsuit Filed Against Nevada "Guardians" Patience Bristol and Jared E. Shafer

Nevada Guardian Patience Bristol Arraigned on Robbery Charges

Former Public Guardian

Guardian Jared Shafer's Public Signs Become a Public Nuisance

Elder abuse, neglect hits close to home

Anthony Cottey
Each day, in our communities, across the commonwealth and the nation, some of the most vulnerable among us, the elderly become victims of abuse or neglect. Often times, it comes at the hands of those they have come to trust the most, family, friends of caregivers. Other times it comes from complete strangers. The abuse can manifest in many forms – physical, verbal, emotional or financial. Neglect comes when those who may be charged with caring for a dependent adult simply fail to do so, depriving them of basic necessities like food, shelter and medical care.

Over the next few days, we will take a look at the issue from a local perspective, finding how some who should be enjoying their golden years are instead finding it tarnished.

For adults who may suddenly find themselves under the guardianship or care of others, relief of having a caregiver is sometimes short and the aftermath painful.

In the past year, there have been three people prosecuted in Bracken County alone for how they cared for a dependent adult family member.

Obtaining guardianship of an adult is a legal process which ultimately requires a jury to decide if the person petitioning the court becomes an adult's guardian, or if the person in question is in need of a guardian at all, officials said.

Others may assume the responsibility, but through other means.

“A person in their right mind could give someone a power of attorney due to illness or needing care,” said Bracken County Circuit Court Clerk Kathy Free.

To get legal guardianship of an adult there must be petitions filed to determine if the adult is disabled, in addition to an application to approve fiduciary, and evaluations by a mental health professional, a general practice physician and a social worker, and a jury trial, Free said.

“At a trial, the social worker usually testifies about the medical information and the person petitioning to be the guardian describes why they believe the person should have a guardian,” Free said. “That may include describing day-to-day things, like caring for themselves, eating habits, ability to do certain tasks.”

The jury decides after weighing the testimony, she said.

Some of the actions can be expedited -- if the person needs emergency medical care, an emergency appointment of fiduciary can be done, Free said.

An attorney-ad-litem, representing the adult, is also appointed when a guardianship is requested.
The Bracken cases were different but alike in the results. One went through the legal process and the other did not.

With guardianship papers in hand, Anthony Cottey appeared to use fear and intimidation as weapons on his victim.

According to court records, Cottey used his sister's need for supervision and intimidation to take thousands of dollars from her and from her inheritance.

Full Article & Source:
Elder abuse, neglect hits close to home