Saturday, February 18, 2017

Key TN Lawmaker Says Judge Casey Moreland Should Resign

A powerful state lawmaker is calling on a Nashville judge to resign.
Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that Judge Casey Moreland should do the right thing and step down.
Bell is the first elected official to publicly call for the judge's resignation since serious allegations of misconduct came to light.

"My first thought is why is this guy still on the bench," Bell said.
He did not mince words about the embattled Moreland.
"He should either voluntarily step off the bench or there should be a movement to remove him from the bench."
Senator Mike Bell 
Bell is chair of the Senate's Government Operations Committee, which oversees the Board of Judicial Conduct, the board that disciplines judges.
He said the thousands of text messages that reveal Judge Moreland intervened in a traffic stop for a woman with whom he was having an affair, as well as allegations that another woman had sex with him in his chambers to get favorable treatment in a DUI, cannot be ignored.

The Board of Judicial Conduct can recommend that the legislature remove a judge from office, but that would take a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.
"I think he should step down not only for the benefit of himself but he should step down to assure that justice is given to those people who show up before him," Bell said.
The Senate chairman questioned how Moreland can maintain the difficult duties of a judge with all of the allegations of misconduct swirling around him.
The allegations came to light during a Metro Police investigation into the suicide of a woman last May.
Leigh Terry and two other women had been on a trip to the Alabama coast with Judge Moreland and two other attorneys days before she died.
All three of the women on the trip had been defendants in Judge Moreland's court at some point in the past.
In police interviews, a friend said that Terry had slept with Moreland to get out of a DUI.
That was back 2013 - long before the trip.
"She told me right then that she had sex with Casey Moreland in the chambers and that's what kept her out of jail," Roy Matlock told police last summer. He is a friend of Leigh Terry.
Bell has questioned the willingness of the Board of Judicial Conduct to investigate and discipline fellow judges in the past.

Full Article, News Video, and Source:
Key Lawmaker Says Judge Moreland Should Resign

Petition Urges Washington State Lawmakers to Protect Older Adults from Financial Exploitation

Thousands of Washingtonians are calling on state lawmakers to protect older adults from financial exploitation. Advocates delivered nearly 8,000 petitions to lawmakers in every district today, asking them to pass companion bills HB 1153 and SB 5099. The bills would increase the penalties for and make it easier to prosecute people who exploit older adults. 

Camano Island resident Amy Lecoq is in Olympia today because her grandmother was scammed out of more than $200,000 over a three-year period. She says her grandmother was exploited by someone who called herself a friend.

"She lost a lot, you know," she said. "She didn't just lose money, but she stole her confidence in herself, she stole parts of her health, she stole her time, she stole her ability to believe she could make good decisions. She didn't just steal her money."

Nearly one in 20 older Americans are financially mistreated by a caregiver, friend, family member or someone else with access to their finances, according to the Department of Justice. Washington state is one of 13 states that still does not have a criminal statute for the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

The woman who exploited Lecoq's grandmother eventually was convicted of nine counts of felony theft, although she has appealed the decision. Lecoq's grandmother has received only one restitution check for $11.

Full Article and Source:
Senior Issues/Petition Urges Lawmakers to Protect Older Adults From Financial Exploitation

Alabama Man Arrested for Abuse, Neglect, Financial Exploitation of his Father

A Franklin County man was arrested after he was accused of exploiting, abusing and leaving his elderly father in what one authority called “deplorable” living conditions.

Wesley Wayne McAlister was indicted for financial exploitation of the elderly and elder abuse.

Sheriff Shannon Oliver said allegations are that McAlister neglected his father, who McAlister was living with and was supposed to be taking care of.

Oliver said the father is 80 years old and was sickly.

“Instead of helping him, the victim was being neglected and being taken advantage of,” Oliver said.

The indictment accuses McAlister of depriving his father of air conditioning, electricity and water services in the home, which caused living conditions to be “unclean and unsanitary” and that the older man was deprived of food.

“No one should have to live in those kind of conditions,” Oliver said.

TX: Elderly Woman Swindled Out of Thousands by ALF Worker

An assisted living center worker is accused of taking money from an elderly client.

The crime started nearly six months ago, according to police.

Sandra Martinez
Police said the elderly victim relied on the suspect until she got her MasterCard statement back. An arrest warrant showed the victim had been taken for nearly $3,500.

San Antonio police said 42-year-old Sandra Martinez faces charges of credit card abuse of the elderly and exploitation of the elderly.

An arrest document said she swindled an 85-year-old woman out of thousands of dollars in one month.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Charles Pascal's Email to Nevada Attorney General Paul Laxalt

To Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt:


In 1992 your grandfather Senator Laxalt assisted me when I was living in Carson City, Nevada. I was appreciative for the assistance provided by the former Nevada Senator. Today I’m writing you about what appears to me to be a serious inconsistency in the law.

After reading the February 10, 2017 article regarding the disciplinary proceedings being conducted against Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson, it became clear that I should bring this matter to your attention.

In 2009 my mother-in-law, Marcy E. DuDeck, was kidnapped by her son, Lance DuDeck. She was taken against her wishes to Nevada. The kidnapping was committed against an existing Nevada court order, which stated my mother-in-law, Ms. DuDeck was to remain in California at Sunrise Senior Assisted living for the rest of her life.

After the kidnapping, Commissioner Jon W. Norheim delayed in filing his ruling to return Ms. DuDeck to the California residence, which was previously ordered by Norheim’s Clark County Family Court in May of 2007. Please note Commissioner Norheim himself wrote the 2007 court order which he violated. Commissioner Norheim’s failure to act on behalf of Mrs. DuDeck clearly demonstrated his intent not to enforce his own court order.

Mrs. DuDeck became ill as a result of this kidnapping and died alone at Del Mar Gardens in Las Vegas. The kidnapping was conducted on August 4, 2009, which was two days before a California evidentiary hearing was to take place in a Los Angeles County Court. The hearing would have exposed numerous disturbing facts about Mrs. DuDeck’s guardian, Jared E. Shafer, revealing that Mr. Shafer failed to pay IRS taxes for the DuDeck estate, that he billed the estate for visits which never occurred, testimony to the fact that Mr. Shafer himself bragged about ordering the kidnapping, witnesses to statements made by Mr. Shafer that he was bragging about bribing judges and the fact that Patience Bristol, who was not a licensed guardian at the time, was being paid from the DuDeck estate for guardian services when she was not Ms. DuDeck’s guardian. As you probably know, Bristol is serving a three to eight year sentence in state prison for exploitation of senior citizens.

By revealing our story in the beginning of this email will illustrate the main point, which I’m about to argue, which states that LGBTQ citizens are granted more civil rights than other citizens.

Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson was involved in a case involving LGBTQ rights. Judge Tobiasson is facing the type of accountability for her actions which victims of families, who do not fall into the LGBTQ category, have been demanding from Nevada for close to a decade. The disciplinary proceedings filed against Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson sends a strong signal to families who do not fall into the LGBTQ category. It appears families who are not LGBTQ are not provided the same rights as those citizens who fall into the LGBTQ category.

Commissioner Norheim has not faced accountability for his failure to enforce the law in our case and in many other cases I’m familiar with. Jason Hanson is still waiting for justice. Becky Olvera Schultz is suing in a federal court to recover moneys paid from her father’s estate without court orders. In the Olvera case, Commissioner Norheim stated in a court video that he wouldn’t enforce NRS Chapter 160 pertaining to veterans when Mr. Olvera was a WW2 veteran.

When Commissioner Norheim refused to enforce NRS Chapter 160, did he rule this way because Olvera wasn’t LGBTQ? Could this be the reason why the law was never enforced to protect veteran Mr. Olvera?

The North family lost everything as a result of actions by another guardian, April Parks. Elizabeth Indig’s mother is another individual who lost everything and has never received justice. All of the cases listed above are not LGBTQ.

The Supreme Court’s guardianship commission to look into guardian abuses in Nevada has resulted in no arrests or convictions of professional guardians or disciplinary actions against any Family Court judges. Unfortunately, Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson will face punitive action for her failure to apply the law.

This letter to your office will be widely published as well as your answer to it. I sincerely hope equal justice will be applied to citizens who are not LGBTQ.

~Charles P. Pascal
Marcy and Charlie

See Also: NASGA: Marcy DuDeck, NV/CA

"Marked for Destruction"

A Shockingly Powerful Story; A True Crime Exposed.
by Officer John Caravella /retired

What Adele Fraulen might have thought to be nothing more than a meaningless bad dream one night in 1935 would actually come true. At age 79 she would find herself living a nightmare -- a struggle for her life, simply because she innocently trusted the wrong professionals to help with her portion of a Million Dollar inheritance; they would steal her very existence. Her neighbors, Chris and Patricia Zurillo, would realize that Adele's life was going terribly wrong and dedicate themselves to freeing her from captivity.

“Marked For Destruction” is a rare book that exposes an ever-expanding crime against our elderly.


From the Author:


Imminent danger to the alleged incapacitated person, who is criminally and civilly innocent, begins with a court ordered pre-trial examination by an examining committee.

Court ordered examinations, and examining committee members, are controlled by statute. If indicated, the committee's examination must be comprehensive and include:

1. A physical examination;
2. A mental health examination;
3. A functional assessment;
4. A diagnosis, prognosis, and recommended course of treatment.

Read the Essay: Freedom From Interference

Are You a Victim of These Frauds Targeting Seniors?

An IRS impersonation fraud that has victimized thousands of Americans leads a 2017 U.S. Senate ranking of the Top 10 scams targeting senior citizens.

Dubbed by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration as the most pervasive impersonation fraud in IRS history, the swindle involves suspected scammers based in the U.S. and India who telephone Americans and threaten arrests unless purported tax debts aren't paid immediately. At least 1.97 million people have been targeted, with as many as 200 victimized per week during the scam's peak last year, according to the inspector general.

Separately, 1,680 people contacted a toll-free hotline established by the Senate Special Committee on Aging (1-855-303-9470) and reported they were contacted or fleeced by the scam in 2016. The total — more than twice as many as any other complaint — ranked the fraud first in the panel's annual report, ahead of sweepstakes scams, robocalls, elder financial abuse and grandparent scams, the committee reported at a Wednesday hearing.

IRS scam suspects conned victims in at least 21 states

Testifying by video at a committee hearing Wednesday, 81-year-old Phillip Hatch of Portland, Me. said he lost $8,000 to IRS impersonation scammers who threatened "the marshals will be in your house within an hour" unless he paid what they claimed were overdue taxes.

"I was mad — upset that I was taken in," said Hatch. "Just give me five minutes in a room alone with those people and I'd be happy."

Full Article and Source:
Are You a Victim of These Scams Targeting Seniors?

KY: Prosecutors Can Now Receive Elder Abuse Training Online

Attorney General Andy Beshear and the Prosecutors Advisory Council Thursday announced that state prosecutors can now receive their required elder abuse training through a series of webinars.

Previously, prosecutors had to wait for a training to be announced at a location around the state.

PAC is offering the free training through its Intranet to all county and commonwealth’s attorneys. The more than four-hour online training focuses on the investigation and prosecution of abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly.

With the online format, the four-part webinar is available to prosecutors at any time, will be readily available, and will be an excellent resource as prosecutors build and prepare to try cases, Beshear said.

“Over the last year, I have worked to find ways to better protect our most vulnerable citizens,” Beshear said in a state news release. “Joining PAC to offer our local prosecutors this vital training through their linked network is another way my office is partnering to aggressively pursue those who would target Kentucky’s vulnerable population.”

Local prosecutor are responsible for handling cases involving reports of elder abuse in each county. On a state level, Beshear’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse, Office of Senior Protection, Department of Criminal Investigations and the executive branch’s Department of Community Based Services handle elder abuse cases.

“Ensuring our local prosecutors are trained on elder abuse is critical in protecting every senior throughout the Commonwealth,” Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield said in the news release. “With PAC and the AG offering this training online, each of us now has a valuable resource at our fingertips to better serve our communities in our fight to end elder abuse.”

Beshear’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services developed the four-part training, and the Kentucky Bar Association approved the training for continuing legal education.

Full Article and Source:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Elderly woman's former POA sues assisted living facility for denying him access to his client

A high profile professional guardian, who faces criminal charges, is now taking a Pinellas County assisted living facility to court, and a six-figure personal services contract is at the center of the dispute.

Fernando Gutierrez was charged late last year with battery and trespassing for an incident that happened at Patrick Manor ALF in St. Petersburg.

Now he's filed a lawsuit, claiming the facility is preventing him from providing services his client already paid for.

According to court documents, an 86-year-old woman who lives at Patrick Manor signed a document making Gutierrez her power of attorney in June of 2012.

Gutierrez used that POA to hire himself to provide services for her, including monitoring her health, providing for her hygiene needs and even attempting "to amuse and entertain" her.

Fernando Gutierrez
Gutierrez paid himself $180,000 for his services, which represented all of her available funds, according to the contract included in the lawsuit.

He also signed a nearly $42,000 promissory note with an 8 percent annual interest rate on her behalf, which would be satisfied by future payments to himself.

The contract indicates the client would pay him at a rate of $35 per hour for 18 hours of services each week.

The price was arrived at using an insurance actuary table estimating her additional expected lifespan at slightly more than five years.

The elderly client revoked the POA last fall, at which point Patrick Manor banned Gutierrez from the property.

Full Article, News Report, and Source:
Elderly woman's POA sues assisted living facility for denying him access to his client

Missouri: Wife of Retired Couple Forbidden to See Her Husband in Nursing Home After Publication of

Shortly after our article was published, the day before Valentine’s Day, Helen was told that she is no longer permitted to visit her husband in the nursing home, which is located in Callaway County, Missouri. Helen is devastated. She told us: "He is the love of my life. We just want to be together."

During Helen’s visit with Charley Monday at the nursing home, she said 2 nursing home employees told her that the administrator wanted to meet with her in her office. In that meeting, Helen was told that she was not allowed on the premises anymore. Further, if she returned, they would call the sheriff’s department, and she would be arrested, according to Helen.

She was handed a letter signed by Conservator Amanda Huffman stating that Helen was interfering with Charley’s care and that the nursing home was to stop all visits from her with her husband.

Public Administrator Amanda Huffman
Even Charley’s friends are reportedly being turned away from visiting him since Huffman’s order. Later in the day on Monday, a friend of the Taylors came to visit him. She was escorted off the property by three female staff members. She was told: No one can come to see Charles Taylor without calling Amanda Huffman, and she has to approve it.

Helen said that visitors cannot call Huffman ahead of time, and that someone from the nursing home has to make the call while the visitor is present. Helen said that Amanda Huffman “doesn’t answer her phone.”

Charley Speaks with Health Impact News
In fact, Charley has made it clear that he wants nothing more than to go home with his wife.

One of our reporters spoke with Charley recently regarding the Health Impact News article and he verified that the article was true. The reporter found Charley to be very articulate and coherent.

When asked about allegations emailed to us that Helen had tried to hurt him, he was indignant: "That’s nuts. My wife and I love each other very much!"

Helen is very much afraid for her husband’s safety. She has described numerous occasions when his care has been neglected, and she has made sure that staff took care of him properly. Without her checking in on him, she fears that he will not fare well.

Full Article and Source:
Wife of Retired Couple Forbidden to See Her Husband in Nursing Home After Publication of Article

See Also:
Husband of Retired Missouri Couple Medically Kidnapped, Estate Plundered for Medical Confinement

Missouri: House Bill 398 Would Allow Cameras in Nursing Home Patients' Rooms

One lawmaker wants it to be law to have cameras inside a nursing home patient's room in Missouri.

Under the proposal, families would be able to view the cameras at any time. Nursing homes say they are concerned about patients' privacy, and their lobbyists have killed similar bills in past legislative sessions.

Supporters are concerned about abuse and neglect. House Bill 398 would make it legal to have cameras in patients' rooms, if patients' family request.

Under the proposed law, families can choose to put a camera in their patient's room, at their own expense. Supportive lawmakers say families could monitor how much and how often medications are given and how their loved one is being taken care of overall.

Rep. Andrew McDaniel backs the bill after his staff says they received hundreds of complaints about abuse, neglect, rape and fraud.

We called around to managers of several nursing homes in our area. One who wouldn't go on camera called us back, saying they have cameras in the hallways already and do extensive employee background check. But privacy is the biggest concern with this bill.

Source and news video:
Proposal Calls for Cameras in Nursing Home Patients' Rooms

Broward Judge Reprimanded by Florida Supreme Court

A Broward County circuit-court judge, who admitted “undignified conduct” while sitting on the bench, has been publicly reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court.

According to a report CBS Miami of the hearing, Judge John Patrick Contini stood silently as the court assailed him over a series of emails from 2015 that he sent to a public defender suggesting what forms and methods he should take in seeking more-lenient sentences for some clients.

The judge didn’t make prosecutors aware of his actions until a week later, prompting them to eventually seek to have him disqualified from pending litigations.

Full Article and Source:
Broward Judge Reprimanded by Florida Supreme Court

Illinois Dept. of Aging Fatality Review Team

Both the State and community maintain a commitment to preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation of at-risk adults. This includes a charge to bring perpetrators of crimes against at-risk adults and prevent untimely deaths in the community.
When an at-risk adult dies, the response to the death by the community, law enforcement, and the State must include an accurate and complete determination of the cause of death, and the development and implementation of measures to prevent future deaths from similar causes.
To this end, Fatality Review Teams have been established in each of the Department’s planning and service areas.
The oversight body for these teams is the Fatality Review Team Advisory Council, which meets a minimum of four times a year and is charged with the following:

  • Serves as the voice of Fatality Review Teams (FRT) in Illinois;
  • Oversees the FRTs to ensure that work is coordinated and in compliance with State statutes and operation protocols;
  • Ensures that data, results, findings and recommendations of the FRTs are used in a timely manner to make any necessary changes to the policies, procedures, and State statutes in order to protect at-risk adults;
  • Collaborates with IDoA in order to develop any legislation needed to prevent unnecessary deaths of at-risk adults;
  • Ensures FRTs use standardized processes in order to convey data, findings, and recommendations;
  • Serves as a link with FRTs throughout the country and to participate in national review team activities;
  • Provides FRTs with the most current information and practices concerning at-risk adult death review and related topics;
  • Performs any other functions necessary to enhance the capability of the FRTs to reduce and prevent at-risk adult fatalities;
  • Upon request of the IDoA Director, reviews the death of an at-risk adult that occurs in a planning and service area where an FRT has not yet been established.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Husband of Retired Missouri Couple Medically Kidnapped, Estate Plundered to Pay for Medical Confinement

Last November marks the beginning of the fourth year that 70 year old Charley Taylor of Missouri has been held by Morgan County in a nursing home against his will, after a trip to the emergency room turned into a permanent medical confinement.

Although he has doctors who have stated that he is competent and of sound mind, and although his wife Helen had power of attorney to make decisions for him if he was medically not capable, a state-appointed conservator has been appointed to him by the court to make all decisions, even against his own wishes and the wishes of his wife.

 Meanwhile his wife Helen, who has been fighting for her husband’s freedom, has also been battling against false accusations herself. She has been sent to jail based on false charges and later released due to lack of evidence, kidnapped and confined to a mental hospital until a doctor determined that there was nothing wrong with her, and has been evaluated five times to prove her own competency.

She told Health Impact News: "We were financially set for the rest of our lives after 40 years of marriage until I called 911. Our lives have been destroyed and I am told everything to do when I see him. If this is justice, I don’t need it. We want to be together. He is 70 years old, and I am 67." ...

Full Article and Source:
Husband of Retired Missouri Couple Medically Kidnapped, Estate Plundered to Pay for Medical Confinement

CA AG: No Charges Against Humboldt Co. Judges

The California Attorney General’s Office has decided not to pursue criminal charges against a pair of Humboldt County Superior Court judges accused of submitting false affidavits to the state in order to receive their salaries.

The office’s review of the case — conducted at the request of Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming — spanned more than a year, following a pair of public admonishments issued by the Commission on Judicial Performance, the state body tasked with oversight and discipline of California’s nearly 2,000 judges. According to a California Department of Justice spokesperson, the AG’s Office decided Jan. 23, “after a complete review … no action is warranted on the part of this office.” The spokesperson did not respond to an email seeking further explanation.

The two admonishments — the first issued to Judge Dale Reinholtsen in September of 2015 and the second to Judge Christopher Wilson in January of 2016 — were unprecedented in Humboldt County, and represent the first time the commission has publicly disciplined a local judge since its formation in 1960. Statewide, the commission fields some 1,200 complaints a year but metes out discipline — ranging from private advisory letters to removing judges from office — in only 40 or so cases annually.

The admonishments constitute black marks that threaten to forever stain the careers of Wilson and Reinholtsen, but they have been met with mixed reactions in the local courthouse, where both judges are widely considered thoughtful, thorough and hard working, and some see the public reprimands as the result of a “crushing” and unrealistic caseload.

The admonishments stem from a provision in the California constitution that requires the state’s judges to decide matters submitted to them within 90 days. State law requires judges to submit affidavits to the state swearing that they don’t have any matters pending before them that are more than 90 days old in order to receive their paychecks. If they have a backlog of decisions, the state withholds their salaries until they’ve cleared their desks of delinquent rulings.

Full Article and Source:
AG:  No Criminal Charges Against HumCo Judges

Chief White Owl's Law - Nursing Home Reform Petition


If you are a resident or have a loved one in a nursing home, this information highlights your rights. Residents’ rights are part of the federal Nursing Home Reform Law enacted in 1987 in the Social Security Act. The law requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity and self-determination.

Nursing homes must meet residents’ rights requirements if they participate in Medicare or Medicaid.

The following is an overview of the ways that the law protects residents’ rights.

SIGN the petition!

After Weeks of No Response, TN Judge Casey Moreland Answers Questions From Investigators

WSMV Channel 4 After more than two weeks of repeatedly reaching out to Judge Casey Moreland to no avail, investigators with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office finally spoke with the embattled judge.

Investigators first reached out to Moreland on Jan. 26, and a sheriff’s department spokesman confirmed they repeatedly tried to reach to him with no response until Monday.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Karla West emailed the Channel 4 I-Team and wrote, “Judge Casey Moreland reached out to the sheriff's office today and answered questions in regards to our on-going administrative investigation of former DCSO employee Lucas Frawley. To be clear, Judge Moreland is not - and has never been - the subject of this administrative investigation.”

Worrick Robinson, Moreland’s attorney, emailed the I-Team and said Moreland was unaware that sheriff’s investigators needed to speak personally with him because investigators had already spoken with his staff.

Frawley was specifically assigned to Moreland’s courtroom and escorted Moss several times.

Two weeks after Frawley resigned from the department, he posted that he and Moss were engaged.

But both Frawley and Moss deny that they were romantically involved while he was employed with the sheriff’s office and while she was an inmate.

The sheriff’s administrative investigation focuses on whether Frawley and Moss had either a romantic or sexual relationship while she was an inmate.

Relationships between inmates and deputies are forbidden by the sheriff’s office.

A former sheriff’s office employee said sexual behavior between deputies and inmates can also result in criminal charges, because a deputy is considered an authority figure.

Full Article, News Video, and Source:
After weeks of no responses, judge answers questions from investigators

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Texas Senator Judith Zaffirini Voices Concerns

Following the indictment of local Judge Jesus “Chuy” Garza, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini called his court “the absolute worst in the state” and a “textbook on cronyism”

“Frankly, it was a category of its own,” Zaffirini wrote in an email to the Webb County Commissioners Court.

Zaffirini, D-Laredo, is requesting the Commissioners Court appoint a successor to Garza, Webb County Court at Law II judge. Garza was suspended without pay Jan. 13 by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, three days after a grand jury indicted him in the 111th District Court on a misdemeanor influence-peddling charge.

In an email Zaffirini sent Jan. 13 to Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina and county commissioners, she calls for a successor who has the “ability, interest, energy, time and commitment to clean up this dire situation regarding guardianship in that court and who will commit to accountability and transparency in doing so.”

She suggests this successor should preclude anyone who has ties to Garza and who might become involved in a coverup.

Jesus M. Dominguez, one of Garza’s attorneys, declined to comment on Zaffirini’s email.

Reports indicate Garza appointed four local attorneys to the resounding majority of cases, paying them an overwhelming percentage and the highest average of fees paid in his court, according to Zaffirini.

Judith Zaffirini
“I hope you will take steps to ensure that governmental records in (Garza’s) court are not destroyed,” Zaffirini says in her email.

Zaffirini further alleges Garza’s court is what motivated her to pass laws requiring the rotation system for making appointments and monthly reports regarding appointments made and fees paid.

Senate Bill 1876 — authored by Zaffirini and passed in 2015 — directed state courts to use a rotation system for most appointments of attorneys and guardians ad litem, guardians and mediators, while preserving judicial discretion. Ad litem refers to the appointment by a court of an attorney to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party, such as a child or an incapacitated adult.

All appointments and related payments for attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, guardian, mediator and competency evaluator are now reported to the Office of Court Administration.

“As your state senator I am keenly interested in helping you address this important and timely issue,” the email states.

In response to her correspondence to commissioners, Tijerina requested Webb County Attorney Marco A. Montemayor take immediate action in addressing Garza’s suspension.

“I strongly feel that removal of office should be considered and would be essential in restoring the trust and integrity in the County Court at Law 2,” said Tijerina in an email obtained by LMT.

Garza, who has served as Webb County Court at Law 2 judge since 1993, was arrested and charged Jan. 12 with one count of gift to a public servant by a person subject to his jurisdiction, a Class A misdemeanor.

The indictment alleges that in January 2015, Garza asked local attorney Shirley Mathis for a $3,000 loan in exchange for appointing her to represent the wealthy Carlos Y. Benavides Jr. estate in a civil dispute. The loan was intended for Christopher Casarez, one of Garza’s court coordinators, the indictment states. Casarez died by suicide Dec. 11 in his home in the Lakeside Subdivision, according to Laredo police.

Zaffirini’s husband, Carlos M. Zaffirini Sr., represents Leticia Benavides, wife of Carlos Y. Benavides Jr., in multiple civil cases involving Carlos Y. Benavides Jr.’s estate, according to court records.

Oscar O. Peña, an attorney for Garza, said in a statement following his arrest that his client maintains his innocence.

“He intends to investigate the state’s claim and he looks forward to defending himself and putting this matter behind him,” the statement reads. “This is a difficult time for the judge, his family and his friends, but he has faced many challenges in his life and he intends to face this one too.”

Guardianship reports
Zaffirini said in her email that as a member of the Texas Judicial Council and Senate State Affairs Committee, she “received reports and heard extensive testimony that 90 percent … of the guardianship cases in Chuy’s court were not in compliance with state law.”

She wrote that “deficiencies include waived bonds for guardians (though there is no legal authority for waivers), no initial inventory, no annual report and missing assets (including an airplane).”

A 2016 report from the Texas Office of Court Administration indicates Webb County has the highest reporting deficiencies in guardianship cases when compared to the counties of Anderson, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays, Lubbock, Montgomery, Orange, Tom Green and Tyler.

Reporting deficiencies included 79 percent of cases missing annual reports of person, 77 percent of cases missing annual accounting reports and 80 percent missing initial inventory reports in Webb County courts at law I and II.

Of those statistics, 97 cases in County Court at Law II were reported as missing annual reports, 88 were missing initial inventories and 79 were missing annual accounting reports.

A supplemental report shows County Court at Law II had 69 open cases where the ward was deceased, eight cases with deceased wards who had assets over $10,000, 84 cases where minors had reached the age of majority and 31 cases where the docket showed expired temporary orders or other miscellaneous deficiencies.

The Office of Court Administration additionally recommended the dismissal of 41 cases in Garza’s court due to guardianship not being established.

Full Article and Source:
Zaffirini Voices Concern

"In His Early 70's, He's a Catch!"

Mike Mansmith and Nancy Conner were dating in secret for a handful of months when they decided to make their love public.

Their plan was simple: Go to lunch at 11:30 a.m., sit at the same table, act cool and wait for someone to ask the question. And just as they suspected, a few minutes after the pair put their scheme into action, Nancy’s friend — a member of her “gaggle” as Mansmith so deemed them — approached. Are you two an item, she asked?

“I hesitated for a minute, for a second, really,” Conner said, “and I thought, ‘Oh, the heck with that. Yes!’ and that’s all it took. Word was out.”

Although a similar situation has undoubtedly played out in countless high school cafeterias, Mansmith and Conner aren’t teenagers looking to make a statement or college students planning their decadeslong future or even young professionals eager to tie the knot. At 81 and 77, respectively, they’re in their golden years and, like many other seniors, they’re looking for companionship, which they found in each other after their spouses died.

Valentine’s Day is a time when people nationwide may find themselves contemplating the meaning of love. And for those in the second half of their life, Mansmith and Conner are living proof that new love can — and does — bloom in old age.

Full Article, Video and Source:
'In his early 70s, he’s a catch': Iowans share stories of love in their golden years

Alabama Governor Awards Grant to Assist Elderly, Disabled Abuse Victims

Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded a $1.9 million grant to provide care services for elderly and disabled victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources is using the funds to assist its Adult Protective Services program throughout the state. The program provides short-term in-home care and supervision, homemaking and sitter services for elderly and disabled adults who remain in their own homes after an abusive caregiver has been removed.

“Elderly and disabled victims who cannot look after themselves deserve to have help and to be cared for in their time of need,” Bentley said. “I am pleased to help DHR’s efforts to provide comfort and much-needed assistance to those victims who need it most.”

NY Senator Kristen Gillibrand Announces New Legislation to Protect Seniors From Financial Scams

Every year, an estimated tens of thousands of seniors in New York are victims of financial scams and abuse, while scammers get away with very few consequences

Gillibrand will make fighting senior fraud a priority in the 115th Congress and help seniors get the tools and resources they need to fight back against financial fraud

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today stood with seniors at the Crouse Community Center to announce the Senior Financial Empowerment Act, new legislation to protect seniors from financial fraud.

“Senior fraud is a destructive and dangerous crime, in which scammers prey on vulnerable citizens, steal their personal information, and harm them financially with very few consequences,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Under the current system, when seniors report these crimes, the information often isn’t shared with the proper authorities, and scammers are able to continue committing these crimes against other seniors. We need to do everything we can to prevent and fight back against senior fraud. This new legislation would give seniors the resources they need to be educated about this crime and tools to get help if they have been a victim of this crime.”

Every year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of seniors in New York are victims of financial scams and abuse. The Senior Financial Empowerment Act would ensure that seniors and their caregivers have critical information regarding financial abuse, standardize and improve the way elder financial abuse is reported, establish a national hotline that would advise seniors on where and how to report fraud, and provide more resources to combat financial exploitation of older adults before it happens.

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Gillibrand announces new legislation to protect seniors from financial scams

Monday, February 13, 2017

Maine High Court Hears Considering Sanctions Against Former Probate Judge

The state’s highest court heard oral arguments Friday morning as the justices consider issuing a $10,000 fine and barring former York County Probate Judge Robert M.A. Nadeau from sitting on the bench again.

The Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability recommended the sanctions, the harshest the Maine Supreme Judicial Court could hand down short of disbarment, for what it says are five violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Cabanne Howard, executive secretary and counsel to the committee that investigates and recommends sanctions for Maine judges, outlined the five violations to start the hearing.

Nadeau faces the proposed sanctions for actions he took in November 2012, when he directed probate court staff not to appoint certain attorneys to litigants who qualified for indigent legal service, for ordering a lawyer to destroy an email deemed a public document, and for ordering the removal of a lawyer from three cases to which she had been assigned.

The committee also found that in April 2015, Nadeau changed the entire probate court schedule without consulting staff just hours after the commissioners turned down his request for more court days and a raise. During subsequent probate court hearings, he also told litigants who complained about scheduling to contact the County Commissioners to urge them to increase funding for the court.

“The motive was retaliatory to the County Committee for denying his raise,” Howard said. “This was all the cases pending in his court. Everybody got hurt in these delays.”

Nadeau, 62, who lost his bid for re-election in a three-way race last year, has been sanctioned twice previously for violating the code of conduct for judges.

He first was suspended from the bench in 2007 for a week without pay for lying about his opponent in his 2004 re-election bid. He was suspended for 30 days without pay last year for statements he made in a 2013 letter to the attorney representing his former girlfriend in a protection from harassment matter.

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Maine High Court Hears Considering Sanctions Against Former Probate Judge

4 Risk Factors For Elder Abuse

With financial abuse, the best place to start is to observe behavior. There are certain warning signs that they are vulnerable. Here’s what to look for:

– Poor Physical Health. Those who are physically compromised are unlikely to be focused on financial matters. They are often vulnerable to swindles.

– Cognitive Impairment.
When the ability to do basic things like read a banking statement or balance a checkbook declines, that’s when you have to pay attention. Those with declining math skills will not be asking important questions about new investing “opportunities.”

– Difficulty in Activities of Daily Living.If a person has trouble feeding themselves, bathing or shopping, that’s a big set of red flags. That also means that they will have trouble managing money.

– Social Isolation. Are they all alone? Then they won’t have the support of a network of peers, who could warn about scams.

In general, having strong social connections — whether with family or friends — can help curb financial abuse. Others can vet potential swindles.

“Fraudsters and financial exploiters use undue influence – the substitution of one person’s will for the will of another (Quinn, 2000) – to limit and control an older person’s social interactions, thereby creating a sense of powerlessness and dependency.

This makes elders easier to manipulate, even if they are mentally competent. In one of the elder fraud cases I studied, a caregiver isolated the older person from her family and withheld food to coerce her to sell property and fire a long-term accountant.”

The best safeguard against financial abuse? Getting your entire family and social network involved. Talk to your older relatives often. Have they been approached by “new” friends? Have they been offered a “unique” investment opportunity. If you listen closely enough, you’ll be able to stop scams before they go too far.

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4 Risk Factors For Elder Abuse

Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act Passes Committee

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statement after their bipartisan legislation, the Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act, to protect seniors from neglect and financial exploitation passed the Senate Judiciary Committee:

“Those who exploit and defraud our senior citizens, especially through a court-appointed position, must be held accountable,” Sen. Cornyn said. “I’m proud to sponsor this bipartisan legislation to defend our seniors from criminals who take advantage of them.”

“While most court-appointed guardians and conservators are undoubtedly professional, caring, and law-abiding, we must do all that we can to protect seniors from exploitation. Our critical bipartisan bill strengthens oversight and accountability for those who are entrusted with acting in the best interests of seniors,”
Klobuchar said. “Today’s action is a positive step forward in providing stronger protections for our vulnerable seniors.”

Background on the Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act:
The bill passed the Judiciary Committee as part of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act. The Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act makes courts eligible for an already existing program designed to protect seniors. Under the program, state courts would be able to apply for funding to assess the handling of proceedings relating to guardians and conservators, and then make the necessary improvements to their practices. For example, the courts could conduct background checks on potential guardians and conservators, or implement an electronic filing system in order to better monitor and audit conservatorships and guardianships.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Katherine Jackson accuses nephew-in-law Trent of elder abuse

Katherine Jackson is accusing her nephew-in-law Trent Jackson of relentless bullying and elder abuse.

The Jackson family matriarch, 86, asked for a restraining order Wednesday claiming the relative who has acted as her driver for years manipulated and intimidated her into submission and accessed her bank accounts without permission.

The court granted a temporary stay-away order, prohibiting Trent from entering her gated community in Calabasas, using her credit cards or coming within 100 yards of her, according to paperwork obtained by the Daily News.

“She has had enough, her health is fragile and she is tired of being frightened,” the paperwork filed by her lawyer said.

The paperwork states that the nephew, 52, has put a stranglehold on her connection to the outside world.

“Trent was supposed to be her driver, but over time (he) has infiltrated Mrs. Jackson’s business and personal affairs, even referring to himself as her ‘house manager,’” the filing states.

“Trent has made it his business to regulate Mrs. Jackson’s interactions with her children — screening phone calls, not relaying messages, now allowing privacy during visits or phone calls,” it claims.
“Because he managed to get a key to her bedroom, he opens her door at his will with no regard to her privacy,” it states. “Mrs. Jackson has to hide in her closet to speak to her kids so she can speak freely.”

One time, he pulled the car over while they were on a drive and yelled at her to reveal what she had discussed with a close family friend, the paperwork alleges.

The filing also accuses Trent of tricking the King of Pop’s mom into taking a trip to Indiana that she thought would be brief. He kept her there for more than a month, the paperwork claims.

Mrs. Jackson took a trip to London so that her team could fire Trent and remove him from her guesthouse while she was out of town, it states.

“Mrs. Jackson wants to return home from London but is afraid to go home with Trent there,” the filing states. “She fears he could physically harm her for terminating him.”

A hearing has been set for March 1.

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Katherine Jackson accuses nephew-in-law Trent of elder abuse

Ex-probate judge says ‘enough already’ to proposed sanction

PORTLAND, Maine — The Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability has recommended former York County Probate Judge Robert M.A. Nadeau pay a $10,000 fine and be barred from sitting on the bench again. 

The sanction, if imposed, would be the harshest the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, charged with disciplining judges, has handed down short of disbarment.

“Enough already,” Nadeau, 62, said in a brief filed in Portland. The Biddeford lawyer is representing himself before the justices at a hearing that was scheduled for Thursday morning at the Cumberland County Courthouse. The courthouse is closed Thursday because of inclement weather, according to information posted on the court system’s website. A new date has not been set.

Nadeau, who has been sanctioned twice previously for violating the code of conduct for judges, lost his bid for re-election in a three-way race last year, according to results posted online by the Maine secretary of state’s office. Nadeau, an independent, garnered 37,539 votes, to the 42,388 votes that winner Bryan M. Chabot, a Democrat from Wells, received. Bernard J. Broder III, an independent from Old Orchard Beach, came in third with 26,085 votes.

Nadeau first was elected probate judge in York County in 1996. He was re-elected in 2000 and 2004 but defeated in 2008 in the Democratic primary. He was elected again in 2012 as an independent.

He first was suspended from the bench in 2007 for a week without pay for lying about his opponent in his 2004 re-election bid. He was suspended for 30 days without pay last year for statements he made in a 2013 letter to the attorney representing his former girlfriend in a protection from harassment matter.

The most recently proposed sanction stems from actions Nadeau took in November 2012, when he directed probate court staff not to appoint certain attorneys to litigants who qualified for indigent legal service, and in April 2015, when he changed the probate court schedule without consulting staff after the commissioners turned down his request for more court days and a raise.

In a brief filed with the state supreme court in late November, Nadeau urged the justices “to avoid piling it on.”

“Five counts of allegations of judicial misconduct, particularly on the heels of a recent law court finding of misconduct resulting in a now completed, highly publicized 30-day suspension related to a private, non-judicial matter, would and did certainly look awful, particularly to those not trained in law,” he wrote. “The suspension, exacerbated by [retired Justice Robert Clifford’s] findings (regardless of what this court may ultimately do regarding them), were highly publicized in the recent election, costing Judge Nadeau, an independent at almost 62 years of age, to narrowly lose a personally very expensive re-election effort in a three-way race pitting himself against a Democrat and a second independent candidate, and to further punitively suffer the loss of a significant future income and benefits. Enough already?”

Cabanne Howard, executive secretary and counsel to the committee that investigates and recommends sanctions for Maine judges, said in his brief that Nadeau “continues to fail to take any responsibility for his actions.”

“This pattern was evident the first time the Court disciplined him for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct, when it noted that while he ‘acknowledges disappointment and embarrassment’ for his violation, and apologizes to the public and the court, the closest he comes to admitting that he acted wrongfully is to acknowledge that he ‘exercised poor judgment.’” 

To assure Nadeau does not serve as a probate judge again, the committee has recommended his license to practice law be suspended indefinitely but that the suspension be suspended. The suspension would go into effect only when and if Nadeau sought election to the Probate Court again.

All judges except those who serve in the Probate Courts are appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by the state Senate. It is highly unlikely a lawyer who had been sanctioned more than once for violating the Judicial Code of Conduct would be nominated for a judgeship let alone be confirmed.

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Ex-probate judge says ‘enough already’ to proposed sanction

Daughter swiped $75K from dead mother's estate, prosecutor says

MOONACHIE - A borough woman was arrested Monday after investigators determined she misappropriated and spent $75,000 in death benefits left by her mother for two other heirs, authorities said.

Lydia Ratchinsky (BCPO)
Lydia Ratchinsky, 46, was named a fiduciary and executrix of her late mother's estate, which was valued at more than $400,000 in 2014, according to Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal.

The estate was to be equally distributed to numerous heirs, including two who were to receive money when they turned 21, Grewal said in a statement.

The prosecutor did not name the heirs or describe their relationship to Ratchinsky's mother.

"In 2016, when one of the remaining shares of the will was to be distributed, it was determined that there were insufficient funds in the account which held the trust," Grewal said.

An audit of the trust account revealed that more than $75,000 had been removed and spent by Ratchinsky "in violation of her duties as a fiduciary," Grewal said.

Ratchinsky was arrested in Paramus and charged with misapplication of entrusted property, Grewal said.

A first appearance was set for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 22 in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack, Grewal said.

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Daughter swiped $75K from dead mother's estate, prosecutor says