Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lawsuit filed against juvenile court judge, magistrates

The lawsuit names Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person and magistrates Larry Scroggs, Herbert Lane, and Dan Michael. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)

(WMC) - A complaint filed in Shelby County Chancery Court on Tuesday alleges longstanding violations of due process in the juvenile court system of Shelby County.

The lawsuit names Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person, Chief Administrative Officer Larry Scroggs, Chief Magistrate Dan Michael, and Magistrate Herbert Lane as defendants.

Judge Person is the only elected official of the bunch. According to the complaint, people with business before the court have the right to have their cases heard before the elected judge. The complaint alleges that the elected judge declines to hear cases and has passed that responsibility on to appointed magistrates who are not elected.

"This practice in itself is a civil rights violation of the highest order that has a far reaching and negative effect on out entire community," said the attorney who filed the suit, Ray Glasgow, in a written statement.

Juvenile court fired back, saying it handles approximately 50,000 cases each year and that state laws do authorize Person to appoint magistrates who have the power of trial judges.

"The Juvenile Court judge also is authorized by state statute to appoint a magistrate as a special judge. This authority has been affirmed by the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals," Juvenile Court of Memphis & Shelby County Chief Administrative Officer Larry Scroggs responded in a written statement.

Chancellor Walter Evans set the first court date for July 16 at 10 a.m. in his courtroom.

Juvenile Court of Memphis & Shelby County Chief Administrative Officer Larry Scroggs' statement

"Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County handles approximately 50,000 cases each year. The cases involve contested issues relative to delinquency, dependency and neglect, custody, visitation and child support.

According to the law of the State of Tennessee, the Juvenile Court judge, the Juvenile Court magistrates, and the child support magistrates hear these cases.

The Juvenile Court judge is authorized by state law to appoint Juvenile Court magistrates. According to the law of the State of Tennessee, these magistrates have the powers of a trial judge. The Juvenile Court judge also is authorized by state statute to appoint a magistrate as a special judge. This authority has been affirmed by the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals."

Filing attorney W. Ray Glasgow's statement

"Thank you for your interest in a lawsuit filed yesterday in Shelby County Chancery Court. The purpose of the lawsuit is twofold. One is to stop the long standing practice of having non-elected magistrates sit as special judges on a daily basis in our local Juvenile Court. This practice in itself is a civil rights violation of the highest order that has a far reaching and negative impact on our entire community.

The other is to bring transparency to the manner in which the Department of Justice findings are being addressed. I do not mean to imply that the personnel involved in addressing these issues have not been forthcoming, but rather, that the DOJ has touched only the tip of the iceberg. Their focus thus far has been on the systemic defective practices that have resulted in civil rights violations in the delinquency side of the court. Nothing has been mentioned about the deficiencies in other areas of the court's responsibility that include hearing matters on dependent and neglected or abused children, custody and visitation issues, child support, termination of parental rights, and a myriad of matters brought by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and heard by the court on a daily basis. Each of these areas of law is equally as important as the delinquency issues and should be included and addressed in the court's reforms.

For these and other reasons it is both appropriate and necessary that all of these deficiencies and the reforms intended to address them be made crystal clear to the public, and that they be thoroughly scrutinized in a court of law. This lawsuit is intended to accomplish that."

Full Article & Source:
Lawsuit filed against juvenile court judge, magistrates

Mixed Reactions on Proposed Rules for Ohio Guardians

Judges, advocates and attorneys in Ohio cannot seem to agree on how to fix a broken system meant to protect the elderly and disabled from abuse and exploitation.

The subject of a yearlong Dispatch investigation, the rules for adult guardianships in Ohio are largely left up to individual county probate courts to decide. The Dispatch series, “Unguarded,” revealed that a lack of oversight has allowed some attorneys and family members entrusted to care for the state’s most vulnerable residents to take their dignity, money and freedom.

Despite an outcry from lawmakers and advocates to create changes, the Ohio Supreme Court received conflicting opinions on a draft set of rules that would strengthen the requirements for guardians. In general, judges and attorneys who serve as guardians argued against the rules, while advocates and those who work with volunteer guardians called for quick adoption of the rules and wanted them to be even stronger.

Such differing opinions contributed to delays in drafting the rules, leaving Ohio as one of the few states without a uniform system for overseeing guardianship.

The draft rules would, for the first time, require guardians in Ohio to:
• Meet personally with their wards at least twice a year.
• Undergo a criminal-background check (but not a financial check).
• File an annual report on the health and care of the ward. (Some Ohio counties require a report only every two years.)
• Avoid conflicts of interest and not serve as a direct-care provider for the ward unless authorized by the court.
• Undergo a minimum of six hours of training before serving as a guardian for the first time and attend three hours of training per year thereafter.

Full Editorial and Source:
Reactions Mixed on Proposed Rules for Guardians

See Also:
Columbus Dispatch "Unguarded" Series Page With Links to All Reports
Thousands of Ohio’s most vulnerable residents are trapped in a system created to protect them but instead allows unscrupulous guardians to rob them of freedom, dignity and their money. Even judges who oversee the system acknowledge that it is broken and allowing harm to innocent people. Anyone could end up in this system that currently controls the lives of 65,000 Ohioans. And almost anyone can become a guardian — even a felon.

Florida Judge Who Punched Attorney Returning to Bench

A Florida judge accused of punching an assistant public defender during an altercation outside a courtroom is returning to the bench but in a different capacity.

Brevard County Court Judge John Murphy returns to the bench on Monday.

But instead of hearing criminal cases, he will handle civil cases.

Chief Judge John Harris said Friday that the reassignment isn't a form of discipline.

He says Murphy has been receiving anger management counseling since the altercation earlier this month.

Murphy allegedly hit assistant public defender Andrew Weinstock outside a courtroom after the two exchanged words over whether his client could have a speedy trial.

Judge Who Punched Attorney Returning to Bench

Friday, July 4, 2014

Documentary: ALIVE INSIDE

ALIVE INSIDE is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity.

Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.

This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Rossato-Bennett visits family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain) and musician Bobby McFerrin (“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”).

An uplifting cinematic exploration of music and the mind, ALIVE INSIDE’s inspirational and emotional story left audiences humming, clapping and cheering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.

Alive Inside - Trailer and Theater Schedule

Summit County (Ohio) Probate Court Launches Volunteer Guardian Program

Last week, Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer of the Summit County Probate Court announced the formation of a volunteer legal guardian program to bolster the ranks of attorneys representing the growing number of the elderly in the Akron area.

The initiative, a collaboration with the County Executive’s Office, the Department of Public Health, the ADM Board and the Summit DD Board, chose Jewish Family Services to train citizens to represent those under the guardianship of the probate court.

In September 2013, Judge Stormer created a program to train volunteer visitors who visit wards in long-term car facilities more regularly than the overworked guardians could manage. In January, the court began requiring background checks for new legal guardians following the removal of 10 guardians after complaints of malfeasance and inattention.

“The sheer volume of wards appointed to each guardian often allows for only one visit per year. The attorneys are already working for free as guardians, so you can’t expect them to go out and visit the wards more often,” Judge Stormer told the Legal News in September.

Court staff cited the aging Baby Boomer generation for the rise of indigent guardianships – over 2200 currently in Summit County. Last year, the Scripps Gerontology Center projected Ohio’s 60-plus population to increase by 30% by 2020.

“The JFS Volunteer Guardian Program volunteers will make a real difference to someone facing the most challenging time of their life,” Judge Stormer said. “Our court works every day to protect those who cannot care for themselves.”

The probate court will provide a significant portion of the funding to the program along with training and oversight.

The court chose Jewish Family Services as its provider because of its compatible mission, senior services and existing fiduciary relationship with the county, according the staff.

Full Article and Source:
Probate Court Launches Volunteer Guardian Program

Floating Wheelchairs - What a Great Idea!

Entering the beach water, let alone floating or swimming, has always been a dream for people with disabilities, but not any more.

Dubai’s public beaches in Al Mamzar and Jumeirah have become the first beaches in the region to offer the service of 15 floating wheelchairs to fulfill the desires of the elderly and the disabled to splash some water and enjoy on the beach.

Full Article and Source:
Floating Wheelchairs for Elderly at Dubai Beaches

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Court-Appointed Guardianship Program is a 'Huge Injustice'

A Medina woman says her life has been nothing but stress ever since a judge appointed an attorney to oversee her husband’s medical affairs.

Former Medina County Probate Judge John Lohn in 2011 declared now-78-year-old Larry Nauth incompetent to handle his own medical and financial decisions because he has Alzheimer’s disease.

Lohn appointed an attorney as medical guardian because Marie Nauth and her husband’s children from a previous marriage couldn’t get along and couldn’t agree on which family member should oversee his affairs. Nauth became financial guardian.

The appointed attorney later resigned and in January 2012 a new one stepped in.

That’s when Nauth said her troubles began.

“She has full power over my poor husband and I’m just kind of stuck with that,” Nauth said. “It’s not what I thought it would be like at all.”

She’s had trouble getting in contact with the guardian via email and telephone, Nauth said, which could seriously damage her husband’s health.

“As soon as the hospitals find out there’s a guardian, they don’t know who they can talk to — even though I’m his wife,” she said. “Huge mistakes can be made if they can’t get ahold of her.”

Full Article and Source:
Wife:  Court-Appointed Guardianship Program is "Huge Injustice"

When Advance Directives Are Ignored

In the final two years of her mother’s life, Lisa McAllister started carrying copies of her mother’s do-not-resuscitate and power-of-attorney forms in her purse and her car. Her mother was cycling between the hospital, assisted living and rehab — “a round robin of craziness,” said Ms. McAllister, a retired copy editor — and was clear about not wanting to be kept alive with substantially diminished quality of life.
One night in 2012, after her mother had fallen in a nursing home in Silver Spring, Md., Ms. McAllister looked at her mother’s medical chart and saw that someone had checked the box that said, “No D.N.R.”
“I said, ‘There’s a D.N.R.,’ ” Ms. McAllister recalled. “The floor nurse said, ‘No, there isn’t.’ ” Ms. McAllister got testier. “There is, it’s in the file. I’ve seen it there.”
They went to the director of nursing, who checked the records — and yes, there was the D.N.R. form.
It wasn’t the only time Ms. McAllister had to intervene to stop aggressive treatments. “It was a common occurrence,” she said. “There’s a lot of bodies and a lot of files and people coming and going.”
Health care professionals, ethicists and advocates continually urge older people to document their preferences about end-of-life medical decisions, and a growing proportion do. A recent large national study, tracking more than 6,000 people over age 60 who died between 2000 and 2010, found that the proportion with advance directives climbed to 72 percent from 47 percent.
Full Article and Source:
When Advance Directives Are Ignored

See Also:
NASGA Members in Legislative Action

NASGA on HB5573 (Illinois)

Letter of Support to Illinois Representative David Harris Regarding HB5573, Introduced to Strengthen and Enforce Power of Attorney and Advance Directives

Montana Judge Suspended Over Rape Case Opposes Suspension

A Montana judge who made disparaging remarks about a teenage sexual assault victim and issued an unusually light sentence to her attacker last year is asking the state's Supreme Court to withdraw his suspension..
Judge G. Todd Baugh, who was soundly rebuked when he suggested that the 14-year-old victim of a 2008 sexual assault case was "as much in control of the situation" as her assailant, Casey Rambold, contends in court papers filed Friday that inaccurate news accounts helped lead to his suspension.

The victim killed herself before Rambold was arrested, though it is not clear if the suicide was linked to the assault. Baugh issued a suspended sentence to Rambold, a teacher who pleaded guilty to one county of sexual intercourse without consent and faced 20 years in prison, meaning he served 30 days in jail.

In Montana, the minimum sentence for that crime is two years. Baugh later tried to have the sentence modified, but the Supreme Court blocked him on procedural grounds.

The Supreme Court in May ordered a different judge to resentence Rambold and the former teacher could face additional prison time. Baugh has admitted in court filings that he erred by issuing the light sentence, but comments he made during and after the sentencing made the veteran judge the target of a torrent of criticism.

He suggested that the victim was "a troubled youth" and "older than her chronological age."

When questioned by reporters last year, Baugh also downplayed the crime, describing it as "horrible enough as it is given her age, but it wasn't this forcible beat-up rape."

Full Article and Source:
Montana Judge Suspended Over Rape Comments Opposes Suspension

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Is That Hospice Safe? Infrequent Inspections Mean It May Be Impossible to Know

Inspectors showed up at a hospice agency here in March 2012, and then issued what amounted to a 161-page catalogue of end-of-life neglect.

A woman dying of liver cancer, battling nausea and breathing difficulties, waited weeks for someone to drain fluid from her swelling abdomen and died still waiting, according to records. Another cancer patient had a feeding tube that oozed pus where it pierced his skin and did not actually reach his stomach. He had received no fluids from it for five days, emergency room doctors said. At the same time, a patient complaining about chest pain waited two days for a recorded visit and eventually was taken to a emergency room and diagnosed with pleurisy.

In all, the state health inspectors found treatment problems in the records for nine of 14 patients from early 2012.

The discoveries at the hospice, known as Expect Care, highlight how weaknesses in the inspection system can allow agonizing lapses­ in care for the terminally ill.
The typical hospice in the United States undergoes a full government inspection about once every six years, according to federal figures, making it one of the least-scrutinized areas of U.S. health care — even though about half of older Americans receive hospice care at the ends of their lives. By contrast, nursing homes are inspected about once a year, and home health agencies every three years.

Even as the U.S. hospice industry has grown rapidly, caring for some of society’s most vulnerable, the companies that provide hospice services are rarely reviewed for competency.

It is impossible to say precisely how many hospice companies might be cited for violations if there were more scrutiny, but a significant portion of them appear to be providing scant care, Medicare statistics and interviews show.

Full Article and Source:
Is That Hospice Safe?  Infrequent Inspections Mean It May Be Impossible to Know

Dying Man's Wish to Return to the Forest Comes True

A former forest ranger at the end of his life had one wish: to return to the outdoors.
Ed, a hospice patient at Evergreen Hospice in Kirkland, Washington, hadn't been outdoors in years because his terminal illness prevented him from traveling. After he told hospice chaplain Curt Huber that he wanted to go outside one last time, hospice staff connected with local firefighters to make sure it happened. 
"When he was healthy, Ed had been a forest ranger, and at that time, he said, he had lived for the outdoors," a post on the hospice center's Facebook page reads.
According to the post, Ed got his wish in March, when a team of firefighters from the Snohomish County Fire District escorted him to the Meadowdale Beach Park, just north of Edmonds on the Puget Sound.

According to the hospice's Facebook page, Ed was elated by the sight and smell of the forest:
"Together, the group took Ed up and down the trails, bringing him the scents of the forest by touching the fragrant growth and bringing their hands close to Ed’s face," the post reads.

Full Article and Source:
Dying Man's Wish to Return to the Forest Comes True

How to Choose a Hospice

~by David Casarett, M.D.

Ben Hallman's June 19 HuffPost blog paints a stark and scary picture of today's hospice industry. Hospice, he warns us, is big business. And it seems that business is booming. But his focus on for-profit hospices is not very helpful to patients and families who need hospice.

When people make a decisions about which hospice to enroll in, they don't need scare tactics. They don't need fear mongering about the evils of for-profit hospices. They need to choose a hospice that will deliver the best possible care for whatever time they have left. That is, they need advice. So here's my advice, based on 15 years as a hospice and palliative care physician.

First, ask your doctor for advice. Which hospices deliver the best care? Which have the most skilled staff? Which are the most responsive?

But also ask your doctor if he or she has a financial relationship with that hospice. Some doctors are employed by hospices, and may have a financial incentive to refer. So beware.

Second, pick up the phone and ask questions. Here are a few:
"Do you provide all four levels of hospice care?" (That's routine home care, inpatient care, continuous care at home, and respite care). Medicare-certified hospices are required to provide all four, but many don't.
"Is your hospice certified by The Joint Commission or the Community Health Accreditation Program?" Abbreviated as TJC and CHAP, these are organizations that visit and inspect hospices regularly.
"Are your physicians board-certified in hospice and palliative care?" This is a good indication that a hospice takes its medical care very seriously.
"Do you measure and improve the quality of care that you provide to your patients? How?" Any hospice that doesn't have a quick and clear answer for this question probably isn't serious about patient care.
"How much charity care do you provide?" This may seem like an odd question to ask, but in my experience, it's a pretty good indicator of whether a hospice's heart is in the right place. There's no "right" answer, but beware of a hospice that doesn't offer any.

Third, interview a hospice. That's right, just as you'd interview a job applicant. (Because that hospice is applying for a job to work for you.) Ask the hospice representative to tell you what you can expect. What services will they provide? And when? Ask the representative to explain to you how they'll work around your needs and preferences.

Finally, some general advice. These aren't hard-and-fast rules. But they've served me well in finding hospices for friends and families in cities where I don't know the lay of the land.

Full Article and Source:
How to Choose a Hospice

See Also:
Hospice, Inc.

Learning to Embrace Empowerment in the Last Chapter of Life

~by Jeanne Dennis, Senior VP at VNSNY Hospice Care.

It was Georgia's* 90th birthday party. Unlike several of the other guests (who were at least two decades younger), she was lively, bright and full of optimism. While her party guests shared their fears of disease and economic disaster when they reach the age of the new nonagenarian in their midst, Georgia laughed it off. "There's really nothing to be afraid of," she winked. "The ultimate empowerment is living each day to the fullest, having determined how the end of your life will take place."

 "I can't stop aging, and while I take good care of myself, I don't know if or when I might get terminally ill," Georgia explained. "But it doesn't mean I'm powerless. I don't have to spend my days wondering 'what if.' I made sure I discussed ahead of time with my family what's important to me. That gave me such peace of mind that the last chapter of my life will be the way I want it, and it also gave my loved ones guidance on how to make decisions on my behalf."

Our nurse was impressed by this forthrightness -- it's not often that we encounter such acceptance in our day-to-day hospice work. Georgia must've read her mind, because she continued, "I looked around and saw that too many people die in a manner they would not choose, hooked up to machines or unable to express their needs or preferences because they'd been afraid to prepare when they had the chance. I was determined that wouldn't happen to me. After all, I'm not the only one who would suffer -- think of the toll it would take on my family and friends. I couldn't put them through it."
One of the first steps for anyone, young or old, to prepare is an advance directive. An advance directive is a type of written or verbal instruction about health care which is to be followed if a person becomes unable to make decisions regarding his or her medical treatment. There are four types of advance directives, each enabling an individual to convey end-of-life wishes, in the event that he or she is unable to communicate:
  • A Health Care Proxy (also known as a Health Care Power of Attorney) allows you to appoint a person you trust as your health care agent who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf.
  • A Living Will allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatments at the end of life.
  • A Do Not Resuscitate Order (also known as a DNR) is a physician's order that directs health care professionals and/or emergency medical personnel to refrain from performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), if your heart or breathing stops. [A DNR is only completed when someone is chronically or seriously ill.]
  • An Organ Donor Designation allows you to document your wishes regarding donating your organs after your death. Even if you have indicated that you would like to be an organ donor, your family or health care proxy/agent must give their permission in order for the donation to take place.
Full Article and Source:
Learning to Embrace Empowerment in the Last Chapter of Life

See Also:
Hospice, Inc.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Celebrate! Judge Rules Public Guardian (Jeanan Mills Stuart) is NOT Immune From Lawsuit!

A circuit court judge has ruled that a Hendersonville woman placed in a conservatorship without her knowledge can sue Davidson's former public guardian for not acting in her best interests.

In an 8-page ruling, Judge Hamilton Gayden ruled that former Public Guardian Jeanan Stuart is not immune to a suit charging that she failed to fulfill her duties.

Gayden had previously ruled that Ginger Franklin, the Hendersonville woman, could not sue based on allegations that Stuart mishandled her financial affairs. But late last week, he found that Franklin could sue for the personal toll Stuart's handling of her affairs had taken.

That includes "mental anguish" and other damages.

"Thus, the court holds that Stuart is not entitled to absolute judicial immunity for the alleged actions (or inactions) in this case," Gayden wrote.

Franklin filed suit last year charging that, while under Stuart's control, she lost all of her possessions and was forced to work for no wages in a group home where Stuart had placed her.

Gayden concluded that Franklin could not contest the financial losses but can pursue claims that Stuart failed to act in her best interests by failing to investigate the living conditions at the group home where she placed Franklin..

Citing a prior ruling, Gayden said the precedent "stands for the principle that failure to act in the best interest of the ward is actionable."

He cited Franklin's claims that she was "abused in various ways, including being forced into slave labor."

Franklin already has won a ruling over the operators of the group home but she said she has yet to collect the $23,050 awarded by a Sumner County judge, who ruled Franklin had been abused durung her stay at Salim Homes.

Stuart resigned last year on the same day that Probate Judge David Randy Kennedy announced he would not appoint her to any more conservatorships because of questions over her billing practices as first reported by the Tennessean. Her position has remained unfilled.

Judge Rules That Public Guardian Isn't Immune from Lawsuit

See Also:
NASGA:  Ginger Franklin - Tennessee Victim

Four Charged in Virginia Nursing Home Fraud Case

Four former officials of a now-defunct southwest Virginia nursing home have been charged with defrauding Medicare and Medicaid by operating the facility without sufficient personnel and supplies.

Vendors and employees were defrauded, and residents of the Brian Center Health and Rehabilitation Center in Weber City lived in unsanitary conditions, a 71-count indictment said.

Three of the defendants pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in Abingdon. They are Avi Klein, 45, of Miami Beach, Florida; Alicia Dietrich, 52, of Lancaster, Ohio; and Charles R. Menten, 62, of Wilton Manors, Florida. Klein owned and operated the center before closing it in 2012, according to the indictment. Dietrich was a vice president, and Menten was the facility's chief accountant.

The fourth defendant, Vickie Cox of Kingsport, Tennessee, was the facility's administrator for a little more than two years.

A jury trial has been scheduled for Jan. 5.

Full Article and Source:
4 Charged in Virginia Nursing Home Fraud Case

Theft Suspect Attends Victim's Guardianship Hearing

Samuel Perkins, 45, the suspect in a case involving the alleged theft of an elderly East Side man’s home and life savings, made an appearance in court Monday, although the hearing he attended did not involve him.
The hearing, instead, was to determine guardianship of the alleged victim, Isiah Bradwell.
Bradwell son’s, Isaiah Bradwell Jr., filed the motion seeking legal guardianship of his father.
He testified in court that his father, who is 86 years old -- not 84 as previously reported -- suffers from dementia, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
“Speaking to the doctors, it's not going to get any better as time goes on,” the son said after the hearing.
It was under that mental state that the elder Bradwell signed over his home and his life savings -- more than $92,000 -- to Perkins, according to the charges.
Judge Tom Rickhoff decided in favor of awarding legal guardianship to Isaiah Bradwell Jr., who already has his father living in his Massachusetts home.
He said he removed his father from the San Antonio nursing home where Perkins had placed him earlier this year, and he appears to be adjusting.
Perkins, meanwhile, is awaiting trial in the criminal case.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Missouri Man, John Flentie, Fights for Freedom from Guardianship

Two years ago, Flentie had more than $660,000 in various bank accounts and stock investments, not including the equity in his home. He had zero credit card debt, paid every bill on time by automatic withdrawal and, documents show, had a perfect credit rating of 990.

Now, with the Platte County public administrator as his conservator, he gets $50 a month of his own money to spend. Moreover, because the law permits the administrator to use Flentie’s own funds to pay for his room, board and care at the nursing home as well as to pay for the mortgage, utilities and upkeep on the home he has not lived in for two years, documents show he is more than $80,000 poorer than when the conservatorship began.

“They’re even using his funds to pay for the county’s legal representation in his appeal,” said Leawood friend and former classmate Mike McCowen, 72, a pilot who worked for Phillips Petroleum for 38 years. That sum so far is just over $10,000.
“So he’s fighting against his own money.”

Full Article and Source:
The Saga of John Flentie:  Platte County Man Fights Against His Guardianship

R“What’s happened to John Flentie is simply disgusting,” said his attorney, Jonathan Sternberg. “This is a story about a perfectly good, law-abiding, hardworking person who has had the government step into his life, railroaded him and has taken away everything

Neglect or Bureaucracy?

What happened to Tina Glantz one Saturday night in February was either medical neglect or an effort to treat a fragile person as quickly as possible.

Staff members at the city-run West Neck Residence noticed that Glantz's stomach was distended and that she was uncomfortable. She also hadn't used the bathroom for a while. A nurse called supervisor Lora Schwarz, who thought the situation required immediate action and authorized a catheter.

But Schwarz failed to get a doctor’s approval for the procedure, which violates state law, according to a state investigation, and two months later she lost her job.

Investigators from the state and Adult Protective Services, which looks into abuse and neglect related to incapacitated adults, cited the home for developmentally disabled adults for neglect and uncovered numerous problems, including medication errors and medical record inaccuracies.

Schwarz says the bureaucratic system is to blame.

Considered by some residents' families as a second mother to their loved ones, she is fighting to get her job back and avoid repercussions from the state Board of Nursing.

In a statement to the board, Schwarz criticized a health system that focuses on rules and regulations and not on patients' health, calling it a "hostile nursing environment. It's stressful knowing anytime you make a mistake there is a high probability of an investigation."

The 24 residents at West Neck have intellectual disabilities, physical impairments and chronic health problems. Many have limited vocabularies, require wheelchairs and have complicated medical conditions.

Full Article and Source:
Questions of Neglect, Bureaucracy Arise at Care Home

TN Abuse Suspect's Lawyer Has Ties to Local Judges

Bryan Lewis, the attorney at the center of controversy over whether his friendship with Judge Casey Moreland prompted the early release of one of his clients from jail, is a well-known figure in General Sessions courtrooms.

He often represents his family and their business interests in lawsuits and, occasionally, defends high-profile clients, such as former Titans player Keith Bulluck, once accused of assaulting a taxi driver.

Lewis also is a business owner and political donor. In addition to giving money, he has hosted campaign events at the Italian restaurant, Giovanni's Ristorante, for candidates running for Nashville judgeships.

Giovanni's has served as the venue for receptions featuring cocktails and food for campaign events for at least five judicial candidates in recent months — including Moreland, who held a combination birthday party and campaign kickoff at Giovanni's on Nov. 20.

Moreland is under fire for intervening in the case of David A. Chase, a prominent contractor who was charged with domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend. A night court commissioner ordered Chase held for a 12-hour "cooling-off" period on June 8, but after Lewis called the judge that Sunday morning, Moreland ordered Chase released from jail.

After his release, Chase attacked the woman for a second time in one day, police said.

Full Article and Source:
Abuse Suspect's Lawyer Has Ties to Local Judges

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"Probate Judge Kathryn George Jails Mom, Seizes Daughter and Estate"

Mailauni Williams begged to hug her mother Lennette Williams and her sister before Judge Kathryn George ordered the mother jailed 10 days for contempt during a chaotic, hostile hearing June 13 in the chambers of Wayne County Probate Court Chief Judge Milton Mack.

“I am her daughter,” Mailauni cried out from the audience to the judge. “I just came to give her respect.” She told the judge “I cried,” when she was taken away from her mother during a raid May 22 by Grosse Pointe Farms police and deputy sheriffs.

She got up and hugged her mother during the hearing after she heard the judge berate her. Her temporary guardian, Pamela Reid of Faith Connections, took her out of the courtroom later so that she would not have to watch sheriffs put her mother under arrest.

Williams has been her child’s guardian for over 20 years, but George stripped her of that role. She also denied her access to a $30 million lifetime support settlement paid by Henry Ford Hospital for birth trauma that left Mailauni with cerebral palsy and her mother, now 62, with physical injuries.

Under Mack, that estate had already been substantially stripped by attorney fees, with mother and daughter relegated to monthly payments at the court’s whim. Investigative reporter Curt Guyette did a comprehensive expose of the family’s ongoing troubles in Wayne County Probate Court which was published in the Metro Times in 2002. (See link to “Mother and Child Rebellion” in “Related Stories.”)

Without access to those funds, Williams is in danger of losing the home she purchased for herself and Mailauni in Grosse Pointe Farms. She has been a full-time caregive for her daughter since her birth.

George, blatantly hostile towards Williams and her attorney, denied an alternate petition for guardianship from Mailauni’s sister Monique Williams, despite estate trustee Walter Sakowski’s recommendation in favor of it.

Judge Kathryn George

Full Article and Source:
Shady Probate Judge Kathryn George Jails Mom, Seizes Daughter and Estate

Pastor Pleads Guilty to Exploiting Elderly Woman

An Austin pastor accused of bilking an 82-year-old woman with dementia out of more than $40,000 has pleaded guilty to one of four felonies against him.

The Rev. David Vernon DeFor entered the plea Friday in Mower County District Court. He'd been charged in June 2013 with four felony counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. DeFor, 70, is a pastor at Austin Church of Christ.

In exchange for the plea, the remaining charges are expected to be dismissed. Sentencing has been set for Aug. 15.

DeFor and the victim initially became friends while serving on the Salvation Army Board together about six years ago, according to the court complaint.

DeFor was granted power of attorney for the victim on July 27, 2010.
Authorities reviewed "voluminous documentation" during the investigation and found a number of questionable transactions.

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Church of Christ Pastor Pleads Guilty to Exploiting Elderly Woman

Florida: Former Home Health Care Aid Jailed

A former home health care aide was escorted from a Palm Beach County courtroom in handcuffs on Monday after admitting to ringing up more than $13,000 in charges on an 81-year-old  West Boynton patient's credit cards in 2010.

Ericka Dominique Walker, 25, of West Palm Beach, pleaded guilty to one count of exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult and one count of fraudulent use of a credit card greater than $100 — charges punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

But Circuit Judge Sandra McSorley, noting Walker's lack of prior arrests and willingness to accept responsibility, agreed to sentence the defendant to three years of probation, with the first year to be served in Palm Beach County  Jail.

Over the objection of Assistant State Attorney Kathryn Lewis Perrin, McSorley withheld adjudication, meaning Walker will not be considered a convicted felon.

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Former West Boyton Home Health Care Aid Jailed