Saturday, July 19, 2014

Severely Abused and Severely Tortured, Left with Nothing

Tarrant County Family Court
Multimillion Dollar Estate
Southlake Texas Family
19 year Marriage

My spouse was allowed to prepare the Final Decree in my case, awarding ALL of our Financial Community Property to himself.. approved by the District Judge.

My Family Attorney promised for months to present my Court Approved Forensic CPAs evidence of severe fraud committed by my spouse who was our Court Appointed Receiver and in full control of our entire estate during our Divorce Process..

Instead, My Family Attorney quit on me before minutes before the Final Hearing leaving me with no Legal Representation to “Object” to this. Approved by the District Judge. My Attorney never presented my Court Approved Forensic CPAs evidence of fraud committed by my spouse.

I was left with nothing. I am in shock and devastated.

Full Article and Source:
Severly Abused and Tortured, Left With Nothing

OH: Discipline Possible in Legal Fee Complaint

A Columbus lawyer faces possible discipline after being accused of keeping unearned fees and other professional misconduct.

Joseph D. Reed will be summoned to appear before the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline to answer to a complaint filed by the Columbus Bar Association.

The complaint accuses Reed of keeping $1,525 from two clients whose cases he never filed and belatedly returning money to a client stemming from a bar association legal-fees arbitration case.

He also is accused of failing to honor a subpoena issued by the Ohio Supreme Court’s disciplinary counsel and failing to respond to another legal-fees arbitration case sought by a former client.

A disciplinary panel will review the case and recommend potential discipline against Reed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Discipline Possible in Legal Fee Complaint

NE: Investigator Receives Award for Work on Elder Abuse

Investigator Cindy Koenig-Warnke didn’t become a Lincoln police officer to champion a cause, but since she took a job with the Technical Investigations Unit in 2006, she has gained attention for her work on cases of elder abuse. Last month, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services officials named her the statewide Elder Abuse Prevention Advocate, a new annual award designed to recognize those who protect elderly people.

Social services officials call Koenig-Warnke a tenacious investigator who genuinely cares for victims and goes above and beyond her police duties to educate the public about elder abuse and neglect. “She’ll go the extra mile,” said Cynthia Brammeier, administrator for the state Unit on Aging, Medicaid and Long-Term Care.

Koenig-Warnke said convictions bring her victims great joy, but she wishes offenders convicted of adult abuse faced tougher sentencing. She educates people at hospitals and in gerontology groups and advises the Elder Rights Coalition under the state’s Unit on Aging.

Older adults should be careful in granting power of attorney and review documentation to make sure a selected representative is still the person they trust to care for their affairs, Koenig-Warnke said.

And, she encouraged those who believe abuse has occurred to come forward, even if they may be embarrassed.

“I want them to see that even (though) they are a victim," she said, "they deserve justice.”

Full Article and Source:
Investigator Receives Award for Work on Elder Abuse

$145M: Philadelphia Archdioces Sells 7 Senior Living Facilities

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia entered into a deal Tuesday to sell five nursing homes and two senior living communities to a New York health-care management company for $145 million.

Center Management Group of Flushing, N.Y., is acquiring the long-term-care facilities, which oversee a total of about 1,400 beds and are now operated by Catholic Health Care Services, under an agreement expected to close by the end of the year.

In a statement the Philadelphia Archdiocese selected Center Management Group because of its track record in retaining the “Catholic identity” of the facilities it acquires.

The sale was pursued, the Philadelphia Archdiocese said, to help it deal with its “underfunded balance sheet liabilities" that it said last year measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The liabilities were first disclosed when the Philadelphia Archdiocese published its fiscal 2012 audited financial statements, which contained a $39.2 million operating deficit, last summer.

The five skilled nursing facilities included in the transaction are: Immaculate Mary Home, Saint John Neumann Home, and Saint Monica Manor, all in Philadelphia; Saint Francis Country House in Darby; and Saint Martha Manor in Downingtown.

The two senior living communities are Villa Saint Martha in Downingtown and Saint Mary Manor in Lansdale, both of which include assisted and independent living units.

Full Article and Source:
$145M:  Philadelphia Archdioces Sells 7 Senior Living Facilities

Friday, July 18, 2014

Disgraced Former TX Judge Abel Limas Sentenced to Prison

A former judge who turned his South Texas courtroom into a money-making operation was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced former state district Judge Abel Limas, 59, on one count of racketeering in Brownsville, on the border with Mexico.

In a tearful statement Limas made to the court before he was sentenced, he said that he willingly had done everything the government asked of him because as a former police officer, lawyer and judge, he knew the "writing was on the wall."

"I believe, judge, that I righted this wrong," Limas said, while apologizing for the damage he had done to the justice system. "It wasn't a mistake. I knew what I was engaging in."

Limas drew the FBI's attention in late 2007 as he neared the end of his second term in office. Investigators intercepted some 40,000 phone calls and collected surveillance photos documenting how Limas had converted his courtroom into a criminal enterprise, collecting bribes and kickbacks totaling $257,000.

Limas pleaded guilty in 2011 and became the government's star witness in four related trials that shook Cameron County's justice system. He could have faced up to 20 years in prison but received credit for cooperation.

Former Cameron County District Attorney Yolanda De Leon, who was prosecuted in Limas' court by her successor in the DA's office, made an emotional statement before Limas' sentence was handed down. The charges against De Leon were later dropped.

"Every single judge that sits in the state court now is suspect," De Leon said. "That is the legacy he has left."

Full Article and Source:
Disgraced Texas Judge Sentenced to Prison

Drug Abuse: Antipsychotics Overprescribed in Nursing Homes

When Patricia Thomas, 79, went into a Ventura, Calif., nursing home with a broken pelvis, the only prescriptions she used were for blood pressure and cholesterol, and an inhaler for her pulmonary disease. By the time she was discharged 18 days later, she "wasn't my mother anymore," says Kathi Levine, 57, of Carpinteria, Calif. "She was withdrawn, slumped in a wheelchair with her head down, chewing on her hand, her speech garbled." Within weeks, she was dead.

Thomas, a former executive assistant, had been given so many heavy-duty medications, including illegally administered antipsychotics, by the Ventura Convalescent Hospital in November of 2010 that she could no longer function. If one drug caused sleeplessness and anxiety, she was given a different medication to counteract those side effects. If yet another drug induced agitation or the urge to constantly move, she was medicated again for that.

Yes, my mom had Alzheimer's, but she wasn't out of it when she went into the nursing home. She could dress and feed herself, walk on her own. You could have a conversation with her," says Levine. "My mother went into Ventura for physical therapy. Instead, she was drugged up to make her submissive. I believe that my mother died because profit and greed were more important than people."

A Ventura County Superior Court judge agreed that Levine had a legitimate complaint against the nursing home. In May, attorneys from the law firm Johnson Moore in Thousand Oaks, Calif., joined by lawyers from AARP Foundation, agreed to a settlement in an unprecedented class-action suit against the facility for using powerful and dangerous drugs without the informed consent of residents or family members. "It is the first case of its kind in the country, and hopefully we can replicate this nationwide," says attorney Kelly Bagby, senior counsel for AARP Foundation Litigation.

A national problem
Tragically, what happened to Patricia Thomas is not an isolated incident. According to Charlene Harrington, professor of nursing and sociology at the University of California, San Francisco, as many as 1 in 5 patients in the nation's 15,500 nursing homes are given antipsychotic drugs that are not only unnecessary, but also extremely dangerous for older patients.

Full Article and Source:
Antipsychotics Overprescribed in Nursing Homes

See Also:
Kickbacks to Doctors

AARP Wins Class Action Against Over Drugging of Seniors

A California nursing home has settled with AARP in an unprecedented class-action lawsuit against the facility for using inappropriate kinds and amounts of psychiatric drugs on elderly residents without the consent of the residents or their families, according to AARP Bulletin. University of California nursing professor Charlene Harrington told AARP Bulletin that the use of “unnecessary” and “extremely dangerous” antipsychotics as chemical restraints in US long-term care facilities is widespread.

AARP lawyer Kelly Bagby said of the successful legal action, “It is the first case of its kind in the country, and hopefully we can replicate this nationwide.”

AARP Bulletin says over-medicating of seniors in long-term care facilities “stems from inadequate training and chronic understaffing, as well as an aggressive push by pharmaceutical companies to market their products.”

Attorney Toby Edelman of the Center for Medicare Advocacy told AARP Bulletin, “The misuse of antipsychotic drugs as chemical restraints is one of the most common and long-standing, but preventable, practices causing serious harm to nursing home residents today. When nursing facilities divert funds from the care of residents to corporate overhead and profits, the human toll is enormous.”

Full Article and Source:
AARP Wins Class Action Against Over Drugging of Seniors

KS: Panel Recommends Public Censure of Judge Timothy Henderson

A state panel has recommended to the Kansas Supreme Court that Sedgwick County Judge Timothy Henderson be disciplined by public censure for violating rules of judicial conduct.

The findings, filed Tuesday, say among other things that Henderson “engaged in harassment as well as gender bias by making repeated inappropriate and offensive comments in the presence of female attorneys employed by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.”

The panel of judges and lawyers, which in May heard testimony from Henderson and the witnesses against him, concluded that many of his “explanations, or denials, of the allegations are not credible.” The panel determined that the evidence substantiated each of the three counts against him.

The panel concluded that Henderson violated judicial rules including that a judge “shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary.”

The panel’s recommended discipline – public censure – is a published reprimand by the court and, while serious, is the least severe sanction the Supreme Court can impose on judges.

Full Article and Source:
Panel Recommends Public Censure of Judge Timothy Henderson

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WI Police: Appleton Man Misspent Disabled Son's Trust Fund

An Appleton man is accused of stealing more than $360,000 from his disabled son's trust fund to pay for drugs, pornography and vacations.

Todd D. Laseke, 48, admitted to spending thousands on himself and chalked it up to "stupidity," police said. He is charged in Outagamie County Circuit Court with theft in a business setting, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police said Laseke withdrew or transferred $502,672 from the trust fund to his personal bank accounts from March 2008 to November 2011. While $135,000 can be attributed to Laseke's monthly allowance, $367,672 was spent beyond his stipend, officials said.

Medical lawsuit provided $1.3 million for son
In 2008, Laseke was awarded guardianship of his son, 11 years after the family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette, federal court records show. In 1999, the child received $1.37 million from the hospital and one of its doctors, and Laseke was awarded $100,000. Laseke's son, now an adult, suffered a brain injury as a child that left him mentally disabled, prosecutors said.

As his son's guardian, Laseke was responsible for maintaining the trust fund and was allotted $3,000 per month for his own living expenses, according to the criminal complaint filed June 12. By law, he was required to submit annual accounting reports to the Outagamie County register in probate's office, which is responsible for oversight.

From 2008 to 2009, Laseke reported spending $154,762 of his son's settlement, court records state.

Full Article and Source:
Police: Appleton Man Misspent Disabled Son's Trust Fund

PA Common Pleas Court Judge Stephanie Domitrovich Faces Ethical Charges

An Erie County Common Pleas Court judge is facing ethics charges after the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board filed a complaint against her Monday with the state Court of Judicial Discipline.

Judge Stephanie Domitrovich, who graduated from Duquesne Law School in 1979 and 10 years later became the first female judge in Erie County, is accused of six violations of the state Constitution and Code of Judicial Conduct. The board has requested that she be suspended pending resolution of the charges.

The Judicial Conduct Board complaint also said that the judge had improper communications about a case showing bias against one party and failed to properly train her new secretary. Then, the judge tried to fire the woman who was out on medical leave.

Another allegation in the complaint is that Judge Domitrovich improperly consulted with her husband, attorney Ronald Susmarksi, about cases before her, even though he was not a court employee. The board also alleges that Judge Domitrovich gave “misleading and false answers” to questions asked of her by its attorneys during an investigative deposition earlier this year.

The complaint characterized the judge as being “impatient, intemperate, belittling, overly critical or disrespectful” of attorneys, litigants, witnesses, county employees and personal staff.

Full Article and Source:
Erie County Common Pleas Judge Faces Ethical Charges

Retirement Career: Managing Affairs for Older Adults

Diana Meinhold, 64, of Costa Mesa, Calif., is at an age when many people are thinking about retiring, but she is busy with an encore career, managing the lives and estates of 22 people who are older than she is.

Meinhold worked for 38 years in the travel industry, including owning a company and working for AAA. At age 58, she was an executive, making a generous salary and earning bonuses, but she felt something was missing. "All I was doing was analytical reports that seemed to go into a black hole. There wasn't the satisfaction that I was really helping someone," she says.

So she decided she wanted to leave her career "while I was still young enough to create a new direction." She did a couple of other jobs and volunteer work before she became a licensed legal fiduciary, sometimes referred to as a guardian or conservator depending on state, and she loves it.

"It's so rewarding because every day, you feel the satisfaction of helping someone have a better quality of life, often near the end of their life."

Full Article and Source;
Retirement Career, Managing Affairs for Older Adults

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Conservator's Theft Prompted 24 State Audits

In my Sunday column I returned to a subject that I have explored for the past five years - the power that court-appointed guardians and conservators exercise over their wards, and how that power can be abused. One of the good things that has emerged from the revelations of wrongdoing by a small number of these people has been a new emphasis on oversight by the state court system.

After the staff discovered the discrepancies in one account at Alternate Decision Makers, Inc., in the spring of 2013, the state chose 24 accounts at random for auditing, according to Kyle Christopherson, a court system spokesman.

Christopherson provided each of those audits to me. Ten of them found some kind of problem, some as minor as missing documentation, others indicating potential thefts of assets.

There there was the case of a Brooklyn Park woman who was briefly under guardianship before regaining her rights earlier this year. During that time, the audit points out, fees for the guardian, attorney and accountant totaled more than $50,000, and the guardian authorized a home renovation project for the ward for $45,000. The auditor recommends a judge order the refund of any fees "that the court determines to be unreasonable and unnecessary for the benefit of the protected person."

Since the court system began its centralized audit program in the summer of 2012, about 14 percent audits find evidence of loss that judges should consider in a subsequent hearing, according to Christopherson.

Full Article and Source:
Conservator's thefts prompted 24 state audits

See Also:
Lawyers Still Unraveling Depth of MN Conservator's Stephen Grisham's Theft

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Justice Roadmap: Advocates Note Deficiencies in Elder Abuse Policies

On July 9, 2014, the U.S. Government released the Elder Justice Roadmap. The document reviewed what we know and what we don’t know about elder abuse and elder justice. Advocates noted the report lacked a review of law enforcement policies and procedures.
Some advocates take the position that outdated or deficient law enforcement policies are at the root of law enforcement’s failure to curb elder abuse. Family after family tells of police officers and district attorneys insisting that abuse of their loved ones is a civil matter.

Readers may send comments to the Committee at

Full Article and Source:
Elder Justice Roadmap:  Advocates Note Deficiencies In Elder Abuse Policies

Ohio Attorney, David Keith Roland, Accused of Hiding $961K in a Divorce Case

A Hubbard attorney is being investigated for allegedly helping a Boardman chiropractor hide hundreds of thousands of dollars from her husband during a divorce case.

The Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Commissioners and Discipline is investigating a complaint filed against Attorney David Keith Roland.

According to the complaint filed by the Trumbull County Bar Association Certified Grievance Committee, Roland had been representing Dr. Denise Carradine in her divorce proceedings filed in 2009.

The complaint alleges that between 2006 and 2009, Dr. Carradine gave Roland a total of $961,426.

The bar association alleges that Carradine would turn over amounts typically less than $10,000 to Roland, who would disperse the money at Dr. Carradine's direction.

Attorney Roland claims to have no knowledge of what happened to the money after he turned it over to an investment firm. Dr. Carradine says most of the money was lost through bad investments.
The complaint alleges that Roland used his Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) to hide money  from her husband, Eric Martin.

IOLTA allows a lawyer to place funds that belong to a client into a trust account separate from the lawyer's own money.

Full Article and Source:
Hubbard Attorney Accused of Hiding $961,000. for Boardman Chiropractor

San Fernando Valley Men Facing 40 Counts for Scamming

Two unlicensed contractors from the San Fernando Valley were charged today with scamming elderly victims throughout Los Angeles, including Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Northridge and Sherman Oaks, officials said.

Eldad Syton, 33, of Valley Village, and Yair Zilberman, 30, of Encino are facing more than 40 counts, including theft from elders and first-degree burglary.

Between 2012 and 2014, Syton would enter into contracts for pest extermination at the homes of elderly clients for a set fee but would then claim they had mold, termites or other problems, said Deputy District Attorney Michelle Dodd of the Elder Abuse Division in a statement.

Syton then would propose a new contract for large amounts of money for work never performed, she said.

Full Article and Source:
Valley Men Facing 40 Counts for Scamming<

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Money Magazine's Money Heroes

What does it take to be a MONEY hero?

Here’s what it takes: hard work, a little financial savvy, and a lot of desire to help others. MONEY started giving a shout-out to folks who fit that bill in 2012, and this year we’re on a mission of our own: proving heroes are everywhere, doing creative and extraordinary work.

Throughout the U.S., people are making extraordinary efforts to improve the personal finances of others. Meet some of those unsung MONEY heroes on this cross-country goodwill tour.

We sought out a hero from each state and the District of Columbia, taking nominations from past honorees, leaders of nonprofit groups, community-service coordinators at for-profit firms, and you, our readers.

The result is a remarkable lineup of people doing good works all across the United States. So see who we’ve spotlighted in each region of the country, watch videos about some little-known heroes, and read some of the good advice that our honorees have for you.

50 Heroes/50 States

Money Magazine Names NASGA Director Sylvia Rudek as Illinos "Money Hero"!

Hometown: Mount Prospect
Cause: Protection for the infirm

“I’ve had two lives,” says Rudek.

“Before 2001 and after, when I had my eyes opened to guardianship.”

That’s the year a cousin was appointed temporary guardian to Rudek’s aunt and embezzled more than $78,000 before Rudek, who lived 100 miles away, discovered the abuse.

After a five-year battle, the cousin pled guilty to theft and was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

Rudek has been fighting against guardian abuse ever since. She joined the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse in 2006, volunteering 40 hours a week, counseling others about the issue, referring people to lawyers, and pushing for reform. In May, the Illinois legislature unanimously passed an amendment that promises greater protection.

Says Rudek:
Do your power of attorney before your will. You could get in an accident, not recognize anyone, and the court could appoint anybody. There is no age limit on this.”
Money Magazine:  Money Heroes

Money Magazine: How to Protect Your Family's Finances

Since our heroes have worked hard to safeguard other people’s money, they have expert advice for protecting your own money in different situations.

Home buying: “Get your free credit report and address any errors before applying,” says Juliana Eades of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. Also, make sure to understand all of a loan’s terms and conditions — any prepayment penalties, for example — not just the interest rate.

Financial education: “Take advantage of free financial workshops,” says Sandra Olson, who teaches financial skills to refugees in Minnesota. Many credit unions, banks, community centers, and libraries offer them. But be aware, she adds: Some speakers are there to sell products.

Illness: Make health care and property powers of attorney and advance directives known to your loved ones before the need arises, says Sylvia Rudek of Illinois, director of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse. This reduces the chance of a dispute that might end up in court.

How to Protect Your Family's Finances

In Appreciation to MONEY MAGAZINE

NASGA extends deep appreciation to MONEY MAGAZINE for recognizing guardianship and conservatorship abuse as a financial threat to elderly and adult disabled citizens and to Baby Boomers who are fast reaching the age of vulnerability. 

We are honored MONEY MAGAZINE sought out a Money Hero specifically related to this topic.  

NASGA Director Sylvia Rudek epitomizes the title, "Money Hero." 

After the loss of her beloved Aunt, Helen Fabis (a victim of an emergency guardianship) Sylvia dedicated herself to this cause and she has never waivered.  She has not seen a 40 hour workweek for years; she puts in far more hours every week -- all volunteer.   And she has already been a hero to many of our members for a long, long time.  She is completely dedicated to NASGA, our members, all victims of guardianship abuse and their families, and our cause.

While working on guardianship abuse on a national level, Sylvia  also tackles guardianship abuse within her own state of Illinois  She is working closely with her Representative, David Harris (R) (HB5573) and State Senator Steve Stadelman (D) (SB1051); and we are looking forward to more!

We are proud MONEY MAGAZINE recognized her extraordinary efforts and accomplishments. 

NASGA wouldn't be "NASGA" without Sylvia Rudek. 

Read more about Sylvia:

Helen Fabis, Wisconsin Victim

NASGA Member in Legislative Action

NASGA on HB5573

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lawyers Still Unraveling the Depth of MN Conservator Stephen Grisham's' Theft

Five lawyers, their meters running, sat down in a Hennepin County courtroom last Thursday. The task at hand: Sorting through the mess left behind by the collapse of Alternate Decision Makers Inc., a company entrusted with the lives and money of dozens of vulnerable adults.

In June 2013, the company’s lawyer and staff confronted the founder and president, Stephen Grisham, with evidence that he had stolen from a veteran under his supervision. Grisham stepped down and gave up his caseload, becoming the latest in a shameful line of court-appointed guardians and conservators caught abusing their largely unregulated powers.

The year since then has been a swirl of investigations, audits and court hearings. More signs of wrongdoing by Grisham emerged. A necklace that belonged to the estate of a deceased Minneapolis woman was sold for $1,500. Another woman lost nearly $16,000 in Krugerrands, the famous gold coins from South Africa.

Federal charge
After an investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Grisham was charged last month with a federal count of misappropriation by a fiduciary. He faces up to five years in prison. It’s a stunning fall for a man whom judges enlisted for years to manage the affairs of victims or potential victims of financial exploitation.
After other guardians and conservators went bad in recent years, the state court system has improved its oversight of these professionals. Yet it was Grisham’s own employees who discovered their boss’s misdeeds.
Robert McLeod, a lawyer for Alternate Decision Makers, said the company is “effectively dead.” Yet he wants a bonding company to pay at least $90,000 in legal and accounting fees that were expended to detect an estimated $100,000 in missing assets.
Grisham’s confession last year set off a scramble by the company to change locks, safe combinations and passwords, to find other conservators and guardians who could take over Grisham’s cases and to hunt for clues to additional thefts by Grisham.
“We acted as if he stole from every file,” McLeod said. If the company had not investigated, “the concern was that he would have continued stealing.”

Removal of Surrogate Judge Cathryn M. Doyle Upheld in NY

New York's highest court upheld the removal of a judge for not recusing herself from cases involving three lawyers who were friends or close associates.

The 5-1 decision from the Court of Appeals also sustains the charges of misconduct against Cathryn M. Doyle, twice elected Albany County surrogate, for the perception of preferential treatment created by those relationships.

"Her behavior reflects 'exceedingly poor judgment and an inability to recognize impropriety,'" the June 26 opinion states, citing the findings of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

New York's county-based Surrogate's Courts hear cases involving the affairs of decedents, including the probate of wills and the administration of estates. They also handle adoptions.

 In a formal written complaint served on Doyle in 2012, the commission cited nine matters before her court involving attorneys Thomas Spargo, Matthew Kelly and William Cade in which Doyle should have disqualified herself.

 The Court of Appeals noted that Spargo, a former state Supreme Court justice removed from office in 2006, was Doyle's friend for more than 40 years and her personal attorney before being disbarred in 2009.

Kelly managed Doyle's election campaign for a second 10-year term as surrogate in 2010. He also helped manage her unsuccessful attempt in 2007 to win the Democratic nomination for Supreme Court justice, the court said.

Cade served as Doyle's personal attorney and represented her when the Commission on Judicial Conduct voted in 2007 to censure her, according to the ruling. She was cited then for "misleading and evasive" testimony during the investigation that led the commission to remove Spargo from the bench.

Doyle did not dispute that she presided over the matters brought by the men, but contended they involved routine will and estate issues, the court noted.

"The clear thrust of the judicial ethics opinions since at least 1994 has been that a surrogate should recuse from 'routine, non-contested or administrative' matters involving attorneys with whom he or she has a relationship that could give rise to an appearance of impropriety or raise a question as to the judge's impartiality," they said. "It is only by an overly restrictive interpretation of her ethical obligations that petitioner reached a different conclusion."

Citing Doyle's prior censure, the court also rejected her contention that removal from office was too severe a penalty.

"While the misconduct at issue is not of the same type that had resulted in her prior censure, it is not, as petitioner maintains, 'wholly unrelated,'" the judges wrote.

Without question, a heightened awareness of and sensitivity to any and all ethical obligations would be expected of any judge after receiving a public censure," they added. "Petitioner's failure to exercise that vigilance within just a year of her prior discipline is persuasive evidence that she lacks the judgment necessary to her position."

Full Article and Source:
Removal of Surrogate Judge Upheld in NY

Reporting Elder Abuse Now Colorado Law

Boulder County honored in 2012 a credit union employee who contacted Longmont police when an 85-year-old customer reported $50,000 missing from an account.

That same year, a King Soopers employee in Lafayette also received the Elder Abuse and Prevention Award for warning a senior citizen who wanted to wire money that he likely was falling for a scam.

While those people voluntarily did the right thing, a new Colorado law requires employees and volunteers in a wide range of professions to report suspected elder abuse to police within 24 hours of witnessing the abuse or exploitation of someone who is 70 or older.

"We need the public's help to stop these types of crimes," Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur said.

In 2013, caseworkers from Adult Protective Services throughout Colorado responded to 11,539 reports of suspected abuse, said Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services. Because of the mandatory reporting law, the number of investigations is expected to increase 10 to 15 percent in the first year, she said.

Those who must report suspected elder abuse include medical professionals, social workers, court-appointed guardians, financial institution employees, care facility and home health care employees, and clergy, according to the law.

Full Article and Source:
Reporting Elder Abuse Now Colorado Law

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tonite on T.S. Radio: Indiana: Probate is Handling Child Custody?

Join us this evening as Mary Harper joins us from Indiana's St. Joseph County.  The question we all should be asking is:  How did a child custody case end up in a probate court?  Who died?

My name is Mary. I live in South Bend Indiana which would be St. Joseph County jurisdiction. I am a Mother, a USAF reservist and a college student. I am of sound character reaching out to acknowledge there is a legitimate problem with the practices of law in this St. Joseph Probate System. 

I have been put through the ringer fighting for my youngest Daughter Ella, who was taken from me 4 years ago...on my birthday. The Father to Ella...and his corrupt attorney went into the court room of Magistrate Barbara Johnston at the local probate court...accusing me of everything a person could accuse another of, and was granted an emergency petition to take my baby. There was never any evidence produced or showing that any of the charges levied against me were true. 

Four years out and a journey of false accusations...mind you I proved wrong, and lengthy continuences...with no evidence from opposing counsel, a magistrate that felt that "order of the court" meant her order and not the law, I am still without my child. I have no criminal record, while my child is with a guy that has had a felony charge and just recently, another battery charge. I have been robbed my of rights...but most of all my child has been ignored by this ungoverned and improperly instructed, supposedly overwhelmed probate system and denied her Momma that Loves her dearly and I might add her two sisters whom I raise on my own, that miss her so. 

This biased and unethical magistrate denied me my request for the local agency in this county to come in and see what would have and should have been for the "best interest of the child." My little girl has been put on a roller coaster and I need my baby.

Editorial: Boomers Against Elder Abuse

Did you know that elders can lose their civil rights to freedom, legal capacity and property in New Mexico?

Elders can be declared “incapacitated” in probate court. All it takes is an emergency petition to the court on hearsay.

Court appointees who work together on case after case all stand to benefit from the elder’s seized assets, and yet they are the ones who are supposedly objective in determining what is in the “best interest” of the elder. That can mean selling off the elder’s house and assets to pay their salaries.

Elders can be isolated from family members in a nursing home. If families try to free the elder, the court-appointed guardian can use the elder’s assets to fight back. It’s the worst financial gang rape of elders imaginable documented in all 50 states. And there is no oversight of this activity outside the courtroom.

LEARN MORE:  Facebook:  Boomers Against Elder Abuse

Bill Moyers Journal: Justice for Sale

Bill Moyers Journal
How would you feel if you were in court and knew that the opposing lawyer had contributed money to the judge's campaign fund? This is not an improbable hypothetical question, but could be a commonplace occurrence in the 21 states where judges must raise money to campaign for their seats — often from people with business before the court.

Though many states have elected judges since their founding, in the past 30 years, judicial elections have morphed from low-key affairs to big money campaigns. From 1999-2008, judicial candidates raised $200.4 million, more than double the $85.4 million raised in the previous decade (1989-1998).

Because of the costs of running such a campaign, critics contend that judges have had to become politicians and fundraisers rather than jurists. In a poll by Justice at Stake, 97% of elected state Supreme Court justices said they were under pressure to raise money during their election years.

Full Article and Source:
Justice for Sale - (Watch the Video)

NPR Poll Reveals Despised and Acceptable Terms for Aging

NPR's Ina Jaffe covers aging. And on a recent program, we discussed a problem that she's encountered on her beat - what to call the people she covers. Now this led to us asking you all for some terms. We polled our listeners, but listen back to what she told us in that first conversation.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: Maybe, once upon a time, elderly referred to a particular stage in life, but now people think of it as - means you're ailing and you're frail.

MONTAGNE: OK. So what do you call older people?

JAFFE: Older people or older adults. If it's relevant, sometimes I say older Americans. Sometimes I use the term senior, though I've met some older people who don't like that either.

MONTAGNE: So that was from our last conversation, and at the time, we asked you to weigh in and tell us the terms for aging that you love and that you hate. And Ina joins me now again to talk about the results of that poll. Good morning.

JAFFE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: Let's start with the positives. What terms did listeners say they actually like?

JAFFE: Well, more than 2,700 people responded, and the winner and still champion was older adult, though you can't say there was any real enthusiasm for it among our poll takers. Just 43 percent of them said they liked it.

MONTAGNE: So it was an acceptable term, but was older adult the only term that people would sort of settle for?

JAFFE: Well, almost a third of the respondents liked elder. We received a lot of comments online from people who felt that the term was the most respectful. And about a third thought senior was fine, though if you put the word citizen after it, the favorable rating dropped to less than 12 percent.

MONTAGNE: So senior citizen - forget that. Let's - don't mention it. Which term had the dubious distinction of being the most despised?

JAFFE: Well, first, I should say that the category of dislikes had the most enthusiasm. There were about three and a half times more votes cast for terms that didn't like than for terms that they liked. And I can sum up the overall response by saying that they disliked pretty much everything.

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NPR Poll Reveals Despised and Acceptable Terms for Aging