Saturday, September 1, 2018

What it's like be 'locked in' your own body: Victoria Arlen on her miraculous journey from vegetative state to the Paralympics and 'DWTS'

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Victoria Arlen is a fighter.

The on-air personality for ESPN, gold-medal Paralympian swimmer, and author of the new book Locked In, has overcome seemingly impossible odds after a health scare that could have ended her life.

At 11 years old, Arlen, an active kid full of personality, was suddenly struck by two rare neurological conditions, transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which caused inflammation in her brain and spinal cord and left her unable to speak or walk. “I was in a vegetative state for four years,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“I was locked in,” she says. “So I could hear and see. I just had no way of moving or communicating or letting anyone know that I was in there.”

From her hospital bed, Arlen could hear her own doctors speaking with her family and being written off as a “lost cause,” she says. “I had to become pretty stubborn to prove them wrong.”

But her situation was grave enough that she also realized she might not make it. “I wrestled with the thought of dying every day, and so I had to make a conscious decision to be grateful for the day I’ve been given, for the moment I’ve been given,” she says. “I just need to be grateful for the fact that I’m alive right now.”

She says her faith in there being a bigger plan for her and having hope kept her going. “I realized very early on that I hadn’t really fully lived yet,” she says. “So I was not going to let my story end like this when I really never even got a chance for it to get started.”

Having her family’s unwavering support was also critical to Arlen’s recovery. “They were being told to kind of give up and move on with their lives, and they refused to do so,” she says. “And so their fight and their willingness to keep believing and supporting me and loving me was the wind beneath my wings.”

Although Arlen couldn’t move on her own, she desperately wanted to give her family a sign that she was aware of her surroundings. When she was 15 — after 4 years of living in a vegetative state — she somehow managed to get control of her eye movements.

When Arlen’s mom walked into her hospital room one day, Arlen tracked her mom with her eyes as she moved, which surprised her mom and made her realize that her daughter may have been alert the entire time.

Like a scene out of a movie, Arlen’s mom asked her daughter to blink if she could hear, and Arlen was able to. “It’s single-handedly the most powerful moment I have ever shared with anyone,” Arlen says.

The simple act of blinking let Arlen’s family know she was there, and she was fighting.

From there, Arlen progressed, going from blinking as a way of communicating to eventually signing when she developed hand control and then using communication boards.

While in her vegetative state, Arlen didn’t have a clear concept that four years had actually passed. When she was told, she says she felt a sense of “panic [from] missing all these years of my life.” She adds, “I really tried to not focus on how much time had passed because I could drive myself crazy with that.”

Arlen, who sustained severe permanent damage to her spinal cord that left her paralyzed from the waist down, had to relearn how to speak, eat, and move again. As her strength increased, her family encouraged her to do more and push herself. Although Arlen had been an avid swimmer and “water baby” before getting sick, she was now petrified of the water. “The thought of going in a pool where my legs didn’t work and I didn’t have full trunk support terrified me.”

But her brothers, William and Cameron, decided they would take her swimming, strapping a life jacket on her and jumping into the water with her to help Arlen get over that fear. They did this daily, and eventually, she became strong enough in the pool that she decided to get into competitive swimming.

It was humbling at first, as the teenage Arlen was beaten by 8-year-olds. But she didn’t give up. She says that when she was in the pool, no one knew the wheelchair off to the side belonged to her. It was a motivating factor for the athlete.

Arlen kept swimming, found a coach, and realized she had an opportunity to use her swimming competitions as a platform to inspire others. She eventually made it to the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and won three silver medals for Team USA. Then, on the last night of the competition, she thought, “I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.” So she swam for herself, singing One Republic’s “Good Life” in her head — her go-to song whenever she does anything that scares her — and she won gold in the 100-meter freestyle.  (Continue)

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What it's like be 'locked in' your own body: Victoria Arlen on her miraculous journey from vegetative state to the Paralympics and 'DWTS'

Dying badly despite all my efforts

I’m a palliative care nurse practitioner so you would think that my mother would have had a good end-of-life experience, but she didn’t.

She had done everything she could to prepare for a “good” death.” She was aware of her health situation and willing to discuss it with her family and health care providers. I lived nearby, was her health care power of attorney, and we talked regularly about her wishes. She had a living will and a MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form. And she chose to live in a continuing care retirement community outside of Baltimore, a place with varying levels of care.

She lived there for more than 16 years in its independent living section. But in her 91st year, her doctor recommended hospice. The care they provided was wonderful. My mother was comfortable, and we felt supported.

The first challenge came when the alarm sounded on my mother’s oxygen concentrator. I called the equipment company, and they agreed to send a replacement. Hours went by. Calling them again, the answering service told me if this was a medical emergency I should call 911. Then the on-call person called back to say my mother wasn’t one of their patients. Minutes later, the delivery driver called to say he had arrived but couldn’t find the apartment.

But the real trials came when we moved my mother to the nursing facility within the continuing care retirement community (CCRC). This was when we discovered that the CCRC had no process to move her there, even though it was only a few hundred yards away. I had to explain that taking her in a wheelchair through the public areas was not going to work. The facility asserted that my mother’s hospice should arrange — and pay — for the ambulance, which the hospice rightly refused. After multiple phone calls, the CCRC ordered transport.

When my mother finally arrived, the problems with care coordination began. It took an hour to be seen by a nurse. The nurse said she had to check my mother’s chart, which was puzzling because my mother didn’t have one, having not come from a medical facility. However, without such a chart, the staff had no idea who my mother was or why she was there, even though her medical records from the previous 16 years were in the adjoining clinic. When they finally examined her, they tore her fragile skin, which bled. Finally, the charge nurse asked me for the details on my mother’s terminal diagnosis, medical problems, medications and even which hospice was providing her care. I could provide that, but what about a family who couldn’t?

The charge nurse agreed that my mother urgently needed medication for her breathing. Her physician had ordered it, but it hadn’t arrived, and as the hours went by her breathing became rapid and labored. The pharmacy sent an emergency delivery of a laxative, but not the breathing medication. That finally arrived eight hours after her admission and took a while to work.

The next day an aide came in to note that “he seemed to be sleeping” and left. Then the nurse tried to place some medication ordered for my mother’s mouth in her eyes instead. That evening, the manager came by, noted our exhaustion, and sent us home saying someone would check on my mother every hour that night.

Early the next morning a tearful nurse called to tell me she hadn’t given my mother any of her ordered medications overnight because she hadn’t known about them. We rushed to the nursing facility where the staff was apologetic. Not long after, my mother died.

There’s so much about this that’s hard to understand but little that’s unusual. Our health care system is not really a system. It does a bad job of coordinating transitions between clinical settings. Communication is poor and inconsistent, and the CCRC was using paper charts. The nurses had too many patients, and they were licensed practical nurses (LPNs), who lacked the training that registered nurses (RNs) have.

We thought we could overcome these issues and did as long as my mother was in our care. We managed to keep her comfortable and at home until 42 hours before her death. But those last hours were awful because of our decision to move her to the CCRC’s nursing facility.

I have to live with that. My mother may have died badly because of it. The question is: How many more will?

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Dying badly despite all my efforts

Friday, August 31, 2018

Elder abuse in R.I.: When a ‘guardian’ becomes a fiscal predator

Part 6: Jane Jacques was too cognitively impaired to realize that the court-appointed lawyer entrusted to manage her money had secretly stolen $130,000 from her. But lawyer Janet Mastronardi never spent a day in jail. SIXTH OF NINE PARTS

Jane Jacques, a cognitively impaired elderly Rhode Islander, was robbed of nearly $130,000. The money wasn’t stolen by a scam artist or a family member. It was taken by her court-appointed guardian, a Harvard-educated lawyer who was handling Jacques’ finances since she couldn’t do so herself.

Attorney Janet Mastronardi faced up to 60 years in prison for the charges filed against her, but after she admitted her guilt and paid full restitution, she did not serve any time behind bars. Her sentence was 30 months in home confinement.

Jacques was an amateur artist from North Kingstown who had led historical tours throughout Rhode Island. She had no children and was widowed for the last 16 years of her life. Toward the end, she suffered from vascular dementia and experienced multiple strokes. She died in 2013 in the West View Nursing Home in West Warwick.

While Jacques was a patient there, the nursing home contacted the Alliance for Better Long Term Care, asking for help in finding Jacques a legal guardian to handle her finances. Jacques had blood relatives who lived in New England, according to court records, but she did not want them involved. A doctor who determined that Jacques was unable to manage her own affairs noted in his report that she was “paranoid about people stealing from her.”

She had given power of attorney to an 85-year-old neighbor, but that arrangement didn’t work out.

The Alliance, a federally funded nonprofit that seeks to promote the quality of life and care of people living in nursing homes, asked attorney Mark Sjoberg to petition the North Kingstown Probate Court for a guardianship for Jacques, according to Kathleen Herren, the state’s ombudswoman for long-term care.

In September 2005, when Jacques was 80, Mastronardi was appointed her guardian by a North Kingstown probate judge. The Alliance had previously recommended Mastronardi to be a guardian for several other cognitively impaired clients, and Herren said that she was “very good to her clients.” However, she said, in Jacques’ case, the Alliance did not make the referral to Mastronardi, who is married to a lawyer in Sjoberg’s office. It is unclear from court documents who made the recommendation.

The initial inventory filed with the probate court shows Jacques as having $554,831.47 in cash and $365,000 in real estate.

Each year, as required by law, guardians must file accountings with the probate court. Five years into the guardianship, Donna Halsband, Mastronardi’s legal assistant/bookkeeper, started to get suspicious.

In September 2010, Halsband was finalizing the annual accounting for the guardianship when she noticed that bank statements showed Jacques had about $92,000 more than was listed on her accounting. She asked Mastronardi about the discrepancy. Mastronardi quickly gave her a new accounting that reconciled the differences.

Two months later, Halsband was writing checks from the Jacques account to cover Mastronardi’s legal fees, which had been approved by the probate court. The next day when she went to photocopy an office file, she found a piece of paper that had been left in the machine. It showed three checks written to Mastronardi, with the same dates and in the same amounts as the checks Halsband had written for her the day before.

Even though it was Halsband’s job to write all checks to Mastronardi for her legal fees, these checks bore Mastronardi’s handwriting. The funds being withdrawn were from a Citizens Bank account belonging to Jacques that Halsband did not know existed.

Halsband’s first reaction was that she had mistakenly forgotten to list the Citizens Bank account in the court filing that listed Jacques’ assets. She combed through the Jacques files looking for the account, eventually concluding that she hadn’t made a mistake — her boss had never made her aware of the money or the Citizens account.

“That’s what brought it all to a head,” she said. “It was just her and I in the office, so my first thought was, I need to cover my ass because this wasn’t something that I did. So I wanted to make sure that I had all the proof that it wasn’t just an account that I’d missed.”

It didn’t take long for Halsband to become a whistleblower.

She’d worked for Mastronardi for seven years, first part time from home and then as a full-time employee working out of the law office that Mastronardi had set up in the East Greenwich home she shared with her husband, lawyer William Stanton.

Halsband was Mastronardi’s only employee, and over time the two grew quite close. Mastronardi would come to the Halsbands’ for Thanksgiving dinner. The two women would go Christmas shopping together, and they would periodically even take “mental health” days off from work and go to the Twin River Casino, Halsband said.

Halsband never told Mastronardi that she’d found evidence of the duplicate checks Mastronardi had written to herself. But once she’d found the copies, she became scared that she might be drawn into an investigation of Jacques’ missing money, and maybe even suspected of wrongdoing. To protect herself, she made copies of the photocopied checks that Mastronardi had written to herself, and she began scouring the law office to see if she could find more.

She found a folder on Mastronardi’s desk labeled “JJ” that wasn’t kept with the office’s other Jane Jacques files. The papers inside made Halsband even more suspicious. They showed that Jacques had two investment accounts Mastronardi had failed to report to the court. She had used the funds to open two new Citizens Bank accounts in Jacques’ name, totaling more than $214,000.

One of the accounts was the one she had used to double-pay herself. There were photocopies of more checks that Mastronardi had written to herself from these accounts as well, along with a note she’d written to remind herself to destroy the file when the accounts ran out of money.

On Feb. 11, 2011, Halsband said, Mastronardi’s husband walked into the office and fired her without explanation. She told state investigators she believes she was terminated because she had questioned Mastronardi about Jacques’ unreported investments.

Seventeen days after her termination, Halsband compiled all the papers she’d photocopied and anonymously sent them to the Rhode Island State Police and the board at the Rhode Island Supreme Court that handles disciplinary complaints against lawyers. She alerted them to what she believed the evidence indicated — that Mastronardi had stolen $144,989.21 from Jacques over the previous year.

Since Halsband was Mastronardi’s bookkeeper and sole employee, it didn’t take long for authorities to suspect that she was the whistleblower. When an investigator showed up at Halsband’s home, she admitted that she’d sent the documents.

In March 2013, a month before Jacques’ death, Mastronardi was charged by the Rhode Island State Police with three felonies: embezzlement, larceny and exploitation of an elder for stealing $129,107.57 from Jacques. She ultimately pleaded no contest to embezzlement and exploitation of an elder, and the state dropped the felony larceny charge as part of a plea deal. While the case was pending, Mastronardi made full restitution.

At the 2014 sentencing hearing, state prosecutor Maureen Keough, now a Superior Court judge, argued that Mastronardi deserved to go to prison for what she had done to her elderly and cognitively impaired client. The crime, she argued, was particularly troubling given Mastronardi’s occupation as a lawyer, and as someone whom Jacques had trusted to look after her best interests.

“She took that trust and she abused it and she used it for her own financial gain,” Keough told now-deceased Superior Court Judge Walter R. Stone at the beginning of the hearing.

But in the end, the deal struck with the prosecution included no prison time.

Noting that Mastronardi had made full restitution and was in treatment for a gambling problem, the judge sentenced her to seven years in prison, with 30 months to serve on home confinement and the remaining 54 months suspended with probation.

At the sentencing hearing, Mastronardi’s lawyer, Peter DiBiase, argued that a gambling addiction had driven his client to steal from Jacques. The state found that she had run up large losses at nearby casinos through 2012, totalling more than $140,000 at Foxwoods, almost $90,000 at Twin River and more than $100,000 at Mohegan Sun.

At sentencing, Stone said he was impressed that Mastronardi was attending a program for people with gambling addictions. “There is no question in my mind that your gambling addiction led to some of the conduct involved here,” he said.

Just before her sentencing, Mastronardi sold her East Greenwich home to make restitution to Jacques’ living relatives. DiBiase said in court that the sale of this house displaced Mastronardi’s elderly parents and two adult children who had been living with her and Stanton. Mastronardi, he said, had “gone through great sacrifices to try to make her misconduct right.” He quoted Mastronardi’s husband, who claimed that they now lived a “very basic” life in an inexpensive Warwick rental.

What was never mentioned in court was the property on Martha’s Vineyard that Stanton and Mastronardi had bought in November 2011, nine months after Halsband reported Mastronardi to the police. The Oak Bluffs property was purchased for $399,000, according to land records. Property records also show that Mastronardi and Stanton took out a $279,000 mortgage to make the purchase, from Edgartown National Bank. There are two gingerbread-style cottages on the property, each with two bedrooms. The two homes together are assessed at $593,000, according to a 2018 town appraisal.
When asked recently if he had known about the Martha’s Vineyard property, DiBiase declined to answer, citing attorney-client privilege, and abruptly hung up the phone.

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Elder abuse in R.I.: When a ‘guardian’ becomes a fiscal predator

Assembly OKs expanded conservatorship bill for mentally ill SF homeless

SACRAMENTO — The state Assembly passed a bill Wednesday sought by San Francisco officials to expand conservatorship rules so they can have more control over who can be involuntarily held for mental-health treatment.

The bill now heads to the state Senate, which has already approved a similar version. If passed there, SB1045 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would head to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill would allow the Boards of Supervisors in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles counties to create five-year pilot programs that expand conservatorship rules.

“This pilot will provide for the least restrictive and most clinically appropriate placement including supportive housing and wrap-around services,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, before the bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 61-0.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman testified in support of the bill at the state Capitol earlier this year, saying the city needed more power to help chronically homeless people suffering from both mental illness and substance abuse.

County mental health professionals can now hospitalize people against their will for 72 hours, in what is known as a 5150 hold, if they pose a danger to themselves or others or are gravely disabled because of mental illness. A county can ask a judge for a 14-day extension to continue intensive treatment and repeat that process every 30 days.

Supporters of SB1045 say the guidelines for a hold are too strict, resulting in severely mentally ill people with drug and alcohol addiction returning to the streets. Wiener said that even the bill’s expanded criteria would apply to only 1 percent of San Francisco’s homeless population.

“It’s beyond inhumane to sit back and let these people die when we have the ability to help them,” Wiener said in June. “Our current conservatorship laws are inadequate.”

Opponents of bill, including Western Center on Law and Poverty and American Civil Liberties Union, said expanding involuntary holds is an affront to civil rights and ignores the factors that lead people to homelessness in the first place.

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Assembly OKs expanded conservatorship bill for mentally ill SF homeless

California Judge Rules Wife has Legal Right to Remove Husband’s Life Support

San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) August 29, 2018 – A Los Angeles Superior Court judge recently found that a wife in California had the legal right to decide whether to end treatment for her husband who was in a permanent vegetative state.

Judge Mary Thornton House decided in her ruling that if an unresponsive individual does not have an Advance Health Care Directive, their spouse can make end-of-life decisions for them. The case concerned Juan Fernando Romero of San Gabriel Valley, California. He was found to be in a persistent vegetative state without any likelihood of recovery after sustaining serious brain damage in 2015.

“This case highlights how important it is for every adult to complete an Advance Health Care Directive. The document allows you to control your health care decisions by appointing an individual to carry out your wishes in case you become incapacitated,” said nationally known estate planning attorney Mark Gilfix. “It provides clarity for your loved ones so they can honor your preferences for end-of-life decisions. Without an Advance Health Care Directive, there is likely to be confusion, guilt and possible legal challenges for family members.”

In 2016 Ana Romero, Juan Fernando Romero’s wife, sought to disconnect his feeding tube and life support. His parents and sister filed a lawsuit against Mrs. Romero to obtain control of his end-of-life decisions from her. In order to keep Mr. Romero on life support, they asked the court to appoint Mr. Romero’s sister as the health care proxy. Mr. Romero died of natural causes at age 37 in June 2017 before the case concluded.

The family’s attorneys argued Mrs. Romero had no legal decision-making authority. The family also said removing Mr. Romero’s life support would go against his religious beliefs.

However, House ruled Mrs. Romero had the authority to make end-of-life decisions on her husband’s behalf as he had previously discussed with her the issue of not prolonging death. The judge dismissed the family’s claims that they had seen Mr. Romero show signs of consciousness. She cited expert testimony from a doctor who concluded his limited brain function meant that he would remain permanently unconscious with no chance of recovery.

“As his spouse, Ana is the presumptive health care surrogate for Juan Fernando in light of his incapacitation,” House wrote. She said his immediate family never spoke about his preferences in case of incapacity.

The judge also noted that there is ambiguity in the state law when it comes to determining who has the legal right to make decisions for an incapacitated individual. However, she ruled that Mrs. Romero fully complied with California’s Health Care Decisions Law as her husband’s surrogate.

This case and its outcome are reminiscent of the Drabick case from years ago. Attorneys responsible for a similar outcome in that matter were Myra Gerson Gilfix and Michael Gilfix.

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California Judge Rules Wife has Legal Right to Remove Husband’s Life Support

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ex-guardian fails to appear in court, but judge orders her to repay $35K to elderly woman’s estate

JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
A Delaware County woman accused of financially exploiting elderly people for whom she served as a court-appointed guardian failed to come to a Philadelphia City Hall courtroom on Tuesday for a hearing on how she spent a Northeast Philadelphia woman's funds. Her attorney also didn't appear.

Gloria Byars, 57, of Aldan, had been removed as guardian of about 100 elderly clients in the region after past convictions for fraud, passing bad checks, and forgery came to light.

Orphans' Court Judge John Herron said at the hearing Tuesday that Byars must repay about $35,000 to the estate of Estelle Segal.

The judge was angry that Byars did not come to the proceeding, and said he was "frankly shocked" at the absence of her lawyer, Sharon Alexander. "I don't understand a practicing lawyer intentionally failing to appear at a hearing and failing to ask for a continuance," he said.

Herron held the hearing with lawyer James Tyler, who was appointed as Segal's executor after her February death.

Byars' record was chronicled in a March 30 Inquirer and Daily News article highlighting a lack of state requirements, including background checks, for guardians who manage the affairs of people deemed incapacitated. The article featured the case of a Fox Chase couple, Edmund and Margareta Berg, for whom Byars also had been appointed guardian.

Herron in May had ordered Byars to pay $63,079 to the Bergs, including $34,112 for improper expenditures. Byars has not paid any of that money. Despite that order, Byars spent tens of thousands of dollars on a July 14 wedding reception at the Manor House at Prophecy Creek Park in Ambler.

Byars already was married to Leon DeShields, 57, and had asked guests to a "vow renewal," according to the invitation. Copies of the Manor House bills obtained by the Inquirer and Daily News show the planned reception for 163 adults and 34 children cost about $35,000 for meals, hors d'oeuvres, a shrimp-and-clam station, a dessert station, a patio tent, and facility charges.

Heidi Austin, a niece of the Bergs', said she was "disgusted" to learn about the reception.

"It has been a challenging year and a half, and still the woman is free to spend all the money she stole from the elderly," Austin wrote in an email. "My uncle just turned 90, and I would at least like to tell him that there is justice in this world before he leaves it."

Austin discovered Byars' fraudulent past and through an attorney brought it to Herron's attention. As a result, Philadelphia now requires that a state criminal history report be submitted for proposed guardians.

The new requirements mirrored recommendations proposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee. In June, the justices approved new statewide rules requiring background checks; they take effect next June.

At Tuesday's hearing, Tyler said that Byars' lawyer had emailed him Aug. 16 and said she was aware of the hearing date but was going to be out of the country.

In his review, Tyler said he found that Byars had not accounted for $35,405 that she had spent of Segal's funds.

"Essentially," the judge said in court, it appears that Byars "converted [the $35,405] to her own uses and purposes."

Byars has not been criminally charged in any guardianship cases. Herron earlier this year referred the Segal and Berg matters to the District Attorney's Offices in Philadelphia and Delaware County. The office of State Sen. Art Haywood (D., Montgomery-Phila.) referred another case to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

Full Article & Source:
Ex-guardian fails to appear in court, but judge orders her to repay $35K to elderly woman’s estate

See Also:
Judge sees 'mismanagement,' 'misappropriation' in ex-guardian's handling of elderly clients' funds

5 Early Signs Of Dementia (And Why Everyone Should Know Them)

Dementia is an uncomfortable subject to talk about, particularly when it affects a loved one.

Throughout the world, there’s something of a stigma surrounding dementia. That certainly isn’t helpful, since the syndrome is extremely common. An estimated 47 million people worldwide are living with some type of dementia, per the World Health Organization, and that number will likely increase to 75 million by 2030. The WHO expects the number to triple by 2050.

Contrary to popular misconception, dementia isn’t a standardized syndrome. Different types of dementia affect the brain in very different ways, and as a result, some people ignore the early symptoms in themselves or their loved ones. Generally, dementia is progressive, so it gets worse over time, but early detection can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life.


Before we discuss some of these early warning signs, however, we should note that dementias share symptoms with other conditions. Only a qualified physician can make an actual diagnosis, and articles like this one aren’t intended as a replacement for a visit to the doctor’s office.

“Sound bytes don’t work for these types of discussions,” Dr. Roselyn G. Smith tells HealthyWay. Smith is a clinical psychologist and Fulbright specialist working in Pinecrest, Florida. “The research is far more complex than that—we can’t just take one symptom and follow it to a diagnosis.”

With that said, Smith notes that awareness is crucial, particularly for people with elderly loved ones. By obtaining a diagnosis in the early stages of dementia, patients can start treatment earlier, and in some cases, stop the progression of symptoms entirely.

Unfortunately, dementia isn’t a simple condition, and there are a lot of misconceptions. For example…


1. Memory loss is a common symptom, but different types of memory loss can mean different things.

Memory loss is closely associated with dementia, so it’s the symptom that most people think about when considering the diseases that cause dementia—Alzheimer’s, for example. However, physicians now know that memory loss doesn’t always occur in precisely the same way.

“With an Alzheimer’s type dementia, some of the earliest indicators are short-term memory loss—that’s what’s responsible for asking the same question over and over within a few minutes, or even a few hours,” Smith says. (Click to continue)

Full Article & Source:
5 Early Signs Of Dementia (And Why Everyone Should Know Them)

Scammers guilty of bilking elderly Verona woman

STAUNTON - Two men who offered an elderly Verona woman free paving work before bilking her out of $10,000 pleaded guilty Wednesday to a multitude of felony charges in Augusta County Circuit Court.

The paving scam took place in May of 2017 when a group of men approached an 84-year-old woman on Beverley Street in Verona with an offer of free painting and sealing for her driveway.

The woman, who suffers from dementia, accepted the deal. But after the men began working on the driveway, they told her she would instead be charged $3 per square foot, according to the Augusta County Sheriff's Office.

Later, after supposedly finishing the work, the men told the woman the job would cost her $4,000. After she told the men she didn't have that kind of money, authorities said a check was taken from her, forged and cashed for $6,000. 

That same day, after cashing the check and pocketing the money, according to the sheriff's office, the men returned to the woman's home and demanded another payment.

When the woman refused, Augusta County assistant prosecutor Lorna Port said one of the men grabbed a second check from the woman and forged her signature. Another $4,000 was then withdrawn from the woman's checking account, Port said.

The scam was reported the next day, resulting in the arrest of Virgil Henry Jr., 37, of Strasburg. A second suspect, Belcher Grady, 34, also of Strasburg, was charged in January.

A third suspect remains at-large.

In court Wednesday, both men pleaded guilty to multiple charges of exploitation of an incapacitated adult, construction fraud and forgery.

Henry was given two years of home incarceration. 

Grady was was sentenced to five years behind bars but the sentence was suspended in its entirety, giving him no time to serve.

Both men were ordered to pay restitution to the victim, Port said.

Full Article & Source:
Scammers guilty of bilking elderly Verona woman

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Autistic man abandoned at Naples hospital has no place to go

A public guardian and a state agency thought they had a solution for a severely autistic young man whose mother abandoned him more than a year ago at a Naples hospital.

Placement in a local group home lasted four days before the 22-year-old — referred to as “John Doe” in court records — was back at NCH Downtown Baker Hospital, said Patrick Weber, the public guardian in Collier County. 

“In my history I have never quite had a case like this before,” said Weber, the county’s public guardian for 25 years. “Nothing is the same as this case.”

Doe's care requires intensive services in a 24-hour setting, and no group home in Collier is equipped for that, experts say.

The young man can smile and acknowledge people around him but is nonverbal; he can’t speak about his fears and wants, Weber said.

Doe was first taken to NCH in May 2017 for emergency medical care, court records show.

He was hospitalized for treatment and cleared for discharge in mid-August 2017. The catch is that the hospital had no place to send him.

Hospitals are required by state and federal law to follow discharge planning requirements that include making sure discharged patients have access to services that fit their needs. NCH was stuck because Doe’s mother refused to accept responsibility for him.

The hospital racked up a huge sum for uncompensated care and filed a complaint in court to have Doe moved to another setting.

NCH cannot comment on specific patient cases because of privacy laws, but in general, hospitals have a responsibility to use inpatient hospital beds for patients who medically require that level of care, spokeswoman Debbie Curry said.

“Unfortunately, on a somewhat regular basis, many hospitals are put in the unfortunate position of having to address situations involving patients who do not (or no longer) require hospital care, but who are without a safe discharge plan due to a lack of family involvement, funding, or other circumstances beyond the hospital’s control,” Curry said in a statement.

“These situations ultimately result in millions of dollars of uncompensated care annually to the hospitals involved,” Curry said.

Weber said NCH filed the court complaint in hopes of convincing the mother to take responsibility.

“This was a legal battle because of the inactivity of the mother,” Weber said.

The court declared Doe mentally incapacitated and appointed Weber as guardian, and he began working with the Agency for Persons With Disabilities to get involved. The agency agreed, even though Doe did not qualify for benefits.

Doe’s mother sponsored him in June 2016 to come to the United States on a green card. At the time she agreed to take responsibility for him, but she didn’t complete the process of becoming his guardian, Weber said. Court records do not say which country Doe is originally from or his mother's name.

Once APD agreed to pay for services he needs, Doe was moved to a local group home April 23. It didn’t work out. Weber declined to disclose which group home.

After leaving the hospital, Doe was being weaned off an antipsychotic medication. He became physically aggressive, and the group home realized it couldn’t accommodate him. The state agency also does not allow the group home to administer the injectable antipsychotic medication, Weber said.
“He was returned to NCH and having seizures,” Weber said.

The state agency is looking to place him in a more intensive group home that can address people who require a higher level of services.

That type of group home offering intensive behavioral services doesn’t exist in Collier, Weber said. That means Doe will be placed out of the county or will wind up in a state mental hospital in Tallahassee or Miami.

“He’s going to be institutionalized unless his mother agrees to take him home,” Weber said. “He’s never going to live independently. He will require either institutional or family" care.

Karen Govern, executive director of STARability, formerly the Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled, confirmed there are no group homes offering a higher level of services with medical personnel.

“There are none that are intermediate care facilities for people who require regular medications for (conditions such as) diabetes or seizures,” she said.

It is unusual that Collier doesn’t have intermediate care homes; the issues are land availability, costs, objections from neighborhoods and an entity’s desire to open one, Govern said.

Long-term housing is the top concern for parents with a developmentally disabled child, especially when parents get too old to care for the child. Parents also desire for their child, as he or she gets older, to have some independence and /to feel connected, with opportunities for a job and social interaction. 

She knows of one intermediate care home in North Fort Myers because a Naples family needed to place a loved one there.

“Lee County may have more than one,” Govern said. “Housing is part of our long-term strategy, to try and help our members of the community and people with developmental disability. It really is about educating the community about the needs of families.”

She is not familiar with the case involving Doe and has never heard of a family refusing to care for a developmentally disabled loved one.

“That is a very unique and unusual situation,” Govern said.

Melanie Etters, spokeswoman for the APD in Tallahassee, said she is not familiar with the Doe case and could not speak about it if she did because of privacy laws. In general, APD steps in when there is a dire situation.

“We work with a bunch of different organizations to figure out the best option to protect the health and safety of an individual,” Etters said.

In terms of a parent abandoning a developmentally disabled child at a hospital, Etters said she is not aware of that happening.

“It’s a very rare incident, in general,” Etters said.

Weber said he does not know if Doe’s mother has visited him since he has been back in the hospital.

“I do know she has done nothing to pursue taking back guardianship,” he said.

He could not say if her abandonment of him would be criminal.

“There’s not been a complaint to the state attorney’s office for abandonment,” he said.

Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the state attorney's office, said the matter would be civil.

Full Article & Source:
Autistic man abandoned at Naples hospital has no place to go

Enid man faces charges of exploitation involving thousands, failure to register as sex offender

ENID, Okla. — A 52-year-old Enid man is facing two life sentences after being charged with exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult and failure to register as a sex offender.

Richard Rene Mahan was charged this week with the two felony crimes, as well as a felony count of larceny and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction. Because of four prior felony convictions, he faces four years to life in prison on the exploitation and failure to register charges.

Mahan appeared for arraignment before Special District Judge Brian Lovell. Mahan's bonds were set at $21,600, $5,000 and $2,500. He was ordered to return to court Sept. 17 for a bond appearance in all three cases.

According to an affidavit filed in the obstruction case, on Aug. 10 Enid Police Department officers Shirley Blodgett and Mike Atchley were sent to Five80 Coffeehouse, 122 E. Randolph, on a report of a possible unregistered sex offender at the business.

The officers spoke with a man who identified himself as Richard Stewart, according to the affidavit. He said he did not have any identification but had already registered as a sex offender with Detective Shawn Aebi.

The officers escorted the man outside the business, and dispatch told the officers they could not find a record for Richard Stewart but did have a record for a Richard Mahan with the same birthday, according to the affidavit. The man insisted he was Richard Stewart and not Richard Mahan.

Atchley contacted Detective Nicholas Shackleford and asked him to help in identifying the man, according to the affidavit.

"Richard was very nervous and kept looking both ways down the street," Blodgett wrote in the affidavit. "At one point I asked Richard if he was going to run. Richard said no, he was just hot."

Shackleford and Detective James Buck arrived at the business, and when Mahan saw the two detectives he ran from the officers, according to the affidavit. The officers and detectives detained Mahan near Boondocks Tavern, 302 E. Maple. Mahan was positively identified and found to have warrants for his arrest out of Garfield and Harper counties.

According to an affidavit filed in the exploitation and larceny charges, on June 13 two women reported a theft from their residence in the 2400 block of Sandpiper.

One woman told Officer Bart Arnold that Mahan has been coming over to their house the past few weeks. She said each time he visits, he uses the bathroom, according to the affidavit. The way to the bathroom leads past the woman's room. That day, the woman said she checked on Mahan after he went to the bathroom and caught him with a few $100 dollar bills in his pocket.

Mahan gave the woman the money back. She told Arnold she checked with her daughter and found there was about $18,000 missing from her room, according to the affidavit. The daughter found she was missing about $3,600.

The first woman to speak with Arnold told the officer she suspected Mahan used the excuse of going to the bathroom to take money from her room, according to the affidavit.

On Aug. 10, Buck spoke with Mahan at Enid Police Department.

Buck asked Mahan if he knew why he wanted to speak with him, and Mahan told Buck he did, according to the affidavit. Mahan admitted to taking what he estimated to be $5,000 from the first woman police spoke with. He said he took the money from the woman's room over a month's time.

Mahan told Buck he had been planning on "paying them back" and said he needed the money at the time because he did not have a job, according to the affidavit.

On July 13, Shackleford was asked to help locate Mahan, who last registered as a sex offender with the address of 217 E. Hemlock.

Shackleford and Buck went to the address and were told by two employees they were cleaning out the residence, according to the affidavit. They also told the detectives the people who had lived there had moved out around July 1.

As required by law, Mahan failed to notify police three days prior to moving or abandoning a residence.

Full Article & Source: 
Enid man faces charges of exploitation involving thousands, failure to register as sex offender

Bond set for three in neglect case

Neglect charges have been filed against three people after the death of a 64-year-old Monticello man on Monday.

Charged with the Class 2 felony of criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person are Mason Brown, 34; and Christie Brown, 61, both of Monticello; and Justin Tatman, 37, of Bement.

Police were called to the home of Christie Brown and her brother, Ron Blankenship, after Mr. Blankenship died at about 7 p.m. Monday in his house located in the 300 block of West Monroe Street. Monticello Police Chief John Carter called conditions in the home “deplorable,” a term repeated by Piatt County State's Attorney Dana Rhoades at initial court appearances for the suspects Friday afternoon.

Mason Brown and Christie Brown face four charges: Criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person, criminal abuse or neglect of a disabled person, and two charges of aggravated cruelty to a companion animal.

Authorities said an adopted daughter of one of the suspects who has Down Syndrome into protective custody. Police say three dogs and three cats were also taken from the home.

Bond was set at $50,000 for Mason Brown, who is Blankenship's nephew; and $30,000 for Christie Brown, the deceased's sister.

Tatman has been charged with two counts of criminal abuse or neglect, with bond set at $50,000.

Mason Brown and Christie Brown both lived with Blankenship. Tatman is a Bement resident, but police say he was in the home when police responded on Monday, and presented paperwork claiming he and Mason Brown were powers of attorney for Blankenship.

Rhoades had asked for bond to be set at $100,000 in each case, noting that there are also ongoing investigations into financial exploitation regarding the suspects.

Each Class 2 felony neglect charge is punishable by prison terms of three to 14 years and a fine of up to $25,000.


Three Monticello residents have been arrested by police on suspicion of criminal abuse of an elderly person with a disability in relation to the death of a 64-year-old man who was living with them.

An adopted daughter of one of the suspects who has Down's Syndrome was also taken into adult protective services, according to police.

In addition, four dogs and three cats were taken from the residence located in the 300 block of West Monroe Street in Monticello, with one of them needing to be euthanized due to poor health.

Family members of Ronald E. Blankenship reported his death at about 7 p.m. Monday. City of Monticello, Piatt County Sheriff, Illinois State and Task Force 6 officers reported to the scene, where they found “deplorable” conditions, according to Monticello Police Chief John Carter.

“There were three garbage bags filled with soiled adult diapers at the foot of his (Blankenship's) bed,” said Carter. “The dogs – two were in a bedroom, two were in a porched area that appeared to have never been cleaned up.”

Mason Brown, 34, a nephew of Blankenship, claimed on Facebook prior to police being notified that his uncle had been murdered at and that “some hours later, two masked gunmen arrived at my home in what I believe was an attempt to kill the rest of my family.”

Carter said preliminary autopsy reports do not indicate foul play, but that Blankenship had severe bilateral bronchopneumonia, a closed off larynx, and suffered from diabetes to the point where a finger was rotting. He added there were “no external injuries that would have caused death.”

He also said there were no signs of gunman at the home later on, noting that when police responded the grass at the home showed no signs of disturbance.

Brown, Christie Brown, 61 and Blankenship's sister; and Justin Tatman, 37 and the deceased's power of attorney, were all arrested Thursday on preliminary charges of criminal abuse of an elderly person with a disability. Mason Brown also faces charges of animal cruelty and resisting/obstructing a police office, and Christie Brown also with animal cruelty.

The three are in Piatt County jail awaiting a preliminary court appearance this afternoon.

While the arrests were being made, Monticello High School and Washington Elementary School went on soft lockdown for about 20 minutes since the Monroe Street residence is located close to those buildings.

Full Article & Source:
Bond set for three in neglect case

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Lawsuit claims hospice workers told to overmedicate patient at Brian's House

BAY CITY, MI -- Two women have filed a lawsuit against a Bay County hospice, alleging they were fired for refusing give medication that could hasten a patient's death and for alerting police to the matter.

Police say their investigation of the case is over after a medical examiner found no inappropriate conduct in connection with the man's death. No one has been charged with any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit of Tamara Gies and Jillian Brown was filed in Bay County Circuit Court on Monday, Aug. 20. It names Brian's House Community Group Inc. as the defendant and seeks damages exceeding $25,000.

Brian's House is located at 664 W. Nebobish Road in Hampton Township. After being closed for five years, it reopened in June 2017 as a "social home," as opposed to an inpatient hospice home, thanks to fundraising and volunteer efforts.

Those prescribed hospice care by their doctors can choose their care provider and opt to spend their final days at Brian's House, rather than a nursing home or a residence.

Brown and Gies both worked at the facility as caregivers, having been hired in September 2017 and February 2018, respectively, their lawsuit states.

The suit states that on or about May 11, 2018, manager Christine Quinn told Brown she had previously worked at Toni & Trish House, an Auburn-based hospice facility.

On June 13, a coworker told Gies she had received a piece of paper from a worker on another shift, which detailed a handwritten schedule for a patient to receive morphine and Ativan, the lawsuit says. Gies also overheard another coworker state the paper "was not a doctor's order," the suit alleges.

Gies contacted a registered nurse at McLaren Hospice and asked if the note was a doctor's order. The nurse confirmed it was not and was not acceptable, according to the suit.

The next day, Brown noted the patient's morphine dose had increased from 0.5 milliliter to 1 milliliter.

"Although Ms. Quinn wanted the increased dose administered right away to the patient, the hospice nurse ... cautioned that giving the dose might 'send the patient over the edge,' which is a euphemism for causing the patient to die," the suit states.

Contacted by The Bay City Times-MLive, Quinn said Gies and Brown's allegations are false.

"As far as the medication, that was something the nurse and doctor instructed," Quinn said Tuesday.

The patient died June 16. The same day, Gies met with a Hampton Township police officer to report she and Brown had been instructed by Quinn to give a patient medication against a doctor's order to cause to his death. Gies also spoke with then-President Dwight McCulloch to notify him of the police report, to which McCulloch reacted negatively, the suit states.

On June 20, Quinn notified Gies she had been taken off the work schedule and an Employee Discipline Form had been put in her file. The form resulted from Gies "not following chain of command when it came to issues involving distribution of meds and going to law enforcement without allowing Board to do own investigation," the suit states.

Brown's name was also removed from the work schedule on June 25. Thereafter, McCulloch told Brown that Quinn wanted her fired for being part of the police report, the lawsuit alleges.

Gies on June 26 received a letter authored by Quinn saying she was being fired and referenced Gies "involving outside law enforcement," the suit alleges.

Quinn on July 18 told Brown her services were no longer required as well, the suit states.

The lawsuit contains two counts -- retaliation in violation of Whistleblower Protection Act and retaliation in violation of Michigan Public Policy.

Hampton Township Police Lt. Michael Wedding said that while Gies had filed a report, officers are no longer investigating as Bay County Medical Examiner Dr. Howard Hurt ruled there was no inappropriate conduct in the death of the patient.

A court date for the civil lawsuit is pending.

Full Article & Source:
Lawsuit claims hospice workers told to overmedicate patient at Brian's House

Colorado attorney gets more jail time for theft from step-grandmother's trust fund

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado attorney has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to taking more than $1.4 million from his step-grandmother's trust fund.

District Attorney Peter Weir's office says Glenn Gregory was a trustee of the account, which was created by his grandfather to provide for Gregory's step-grandmother.

Prosecutors say Gregory transferred money to his personal bank accounts and accounts for his Lakewood law firm between 2008 and 2016.

They say Gregory used the money for vacations, gambling and phone and internet sex services.

Gregory pleaded guilty to one count of theft in July. He was separately convicted of stealing $1.3 million from another trust fund intended for the woman and received an eight-year sentence.

The sentences will be served consecutively.

Full Article & Source:
Colorado attorney gets more jail time for theft from step-grandmother's trust fund

Virginia physician on verge of losing deferred adjudication in elderly exploitation case

Dr. Mary Margaret Bland
CLARKSBURG — A 49-year-old Virginia physician was found in violation of her deferred adjudication on Friday for failing to report consistently to Harrison Chief Probation Officer Charles “Chic” Scott.

But Harrison Circuit Judge Chris McCarthy said he wouldn’t rule on disposition until after learning whether Mary Margaret Bland pays the full restitution on or before Sept. 7, as she’s required to do via the agreement. Bland paid $10,000 in restitution at the start of her deferred adjudication, but will have to come up with the rest, $35,000, in that two-week period.

McCarthy said it was “offensive to the court” that Bland spent money on a vacation in Italy this summer before she had paid back the victim in full.

Bland had pleaded guilty to felony financial exploitation of an elder, a charge that would be dismissed if the doctor makes it successfully through the 3-year deferred adjudication.

But in addition to not having paid full restitution, Bland also still is on the hook for 288 hours of community service. She hasn’t provided proof that she’s performed any of it.

Harrison Assistant Prosecutor Brian Shockley successfully showed Bland had violated by failing to report once a month to Scott during several months over the past year.

McCarthy also appeared upset that Bland hadn’t informed Scott ahead of time about the trip to Italy, even though it wasn’t a violation of her probation agreement.

Bland, of Chesapeake, Virginia, removed a total of $35,000 from a nursing home resident’s bank account without her permission and after the defendant no longer was the victim’s power of attorney, State Police Tfc. Roger Glaspell previously alleged.

Full Article & Source: 
Virginia physician on verge of losing deferred adjudication in elderly exploitation case

Monday, August 27, 2018

Tim Conway, 84, Suffering from Dementia: He's 'Almost Entirely Unresponsive,' Says Daughter

Tim Conway is battling dementia.

The 84-year-old Carol Burnett Show star’s daughter Kelly is asking to be appointed conservator of her father and be in charge of his medical treatments, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE and first reported by The Blast.

Kelly, 56, filed the documents in Los Angeles on Friday, claiming Conway’s wife Charlene is “planning to move him out of the excellent skilled nursing facility he is currently at” and place him in one that won’t give him access to “registered nurses at all times and his 24-hour caregiver and speech therapist (to help with swallowing).”

Kelly also states that Conway cannot “properly provide for his personal needs for physical health, food, and clothing” and is “almost entirely unresponsive.”

She hopes to be granted guardianship so she can also administer her father’s medications herself.

Before making his mark in Hollywood, Conway surprisingly had no experience in the industry.

“I had no professional training. I had a sense of humor and had been in front of a microphone,” Conway said on an episode of The Interviews: An Oral History of Television in 2004.

He starred on McHale’s Navy, co-starred on the 1970s comedy The Carol Burnett Show, acted as the voice of Barnacle Boy on Spongebob Squarepants and even made a special appearance on the second season of 30 Rock, which he received an Emmy for.

He also won a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actor for The Carol Burnett Show, on which he was best known for characters including the Oldest Man and Mr. Tudball.

Conway’s other TV credits include guest appearances on Married… With Children, Mad About You, Glee, Two and a Half Men and Mike & Molly.

Before marrying Charlene in 1984, Conway was married to Mary Anne Dalton from 1961-78.

Together they share seven children: sons Jaime, Tim Jr., Pat, Corey and Shawn and daughter Jackie and Kelly.

Full Article & Source:
Tim Conway, 84, Suffering from Dementia: He's 'Almost Entirely Unresponsive,' Says Daughter

Judge: Law on exploiting elderly unconstitutionally vague

A Missoula judge ruled this week that the criminal statute regarding the exploitation of the elderly is unconstitutionally vague.

Judge Robert “Dusty” Deschamps made the ruling on Tuesday in the case of an 80-year-old woman’s handling of her partner‘s money. Specifically, Deschamps wrote in his order, the statute doesn’t require criminal intent.

Rose-Marie Bowman is currently charged with exploitation of an older person. But after Deschamps’ ruling, Missoula County prosecutors will have to determine by Monday whether to appeal to the Montana Supreme Court, swap the charge with another, such as theft, or dismiss the case entirely.

Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst said Thursday her office is in contact with the Attorney General's Office about the matter. If prosecutors decide to appeal Deschamps' ruling, the Attorney General's appellate attorneys make their case in the high court.

Pabst said while judges have struck down statutes because of vagueness before, the situation at hand is still "unusual."

This type of exploitation, according to the statute in question, occurs when someone knowingly “obtains or uses” an older, incapacitated or developmentally disabled person’s “funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive” the respective victim.

In a June motion to dismiss the case, Bowman’s attorneys argued that the vagueness of the statute allows prosecutors to pursue a son who accepts a gift from his elderly mother.

The rub hangs on the words “obtain” and “use,” Missoula attorney Lance Jasper contended, the definitions of which are not clearly outlined by the Legislature in the context of criminal exploitation.

Deschamps agreed in his order, filed Wednesday, writing that the law leaves vast discretion to police and prosecutors. He included examples of a grandmother giving a china set to a trusted family member or a financial adviser accepting payment from an elderly client as instances that potentially could produce exploitation charges.

“While these examples may sound ridiculous, the fact is that the statute is so broad and devoid of any requirement for proof of a criminal state of mind by the accused, a person is left to guess what specific acts might be allowed or prohibited by the statute,” he wrote.

In Bowman’s case, she had been withdrawing funds from an account for which she and Lanny Franzen were co-signors. Bowman has said she and Franzen had been in a platonic relationship for nearly 30 years, but Franzen in 2012 was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

That year he signed a power of attorney that gave control of his finances to Bowman. In 2016, someone reported Bowman for potentially exploiting Franzen, and she was charged in 2017. Prosecutors allege she had manipulated Franzen into depositing money into the account, of which she was a joint owner.

The Montana Elder and Persons with Development Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act, also a part of state statute, defines exploitation as taking something with the use of “deception, duress, menace, fraud, undue influence, or intimidation.” That definition, however, does not appear to be connected to the criminal statute with which Bowman is charged.

The Supreme Court, where this argument could head next, has repeatedly ruled that a statute is unconstitutional if it fails to give someone fair notice that their conduct is illegal. In 1997, David Nathan Nye argued the state hate crime statute was unconstitutionally vague. He had placed stickers reading “NO I do not belong to CUT” on state and county road signs, mailboxes, and property belonging to the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT).

When the case reached the state Supreme Court, Nye’s attorneys argued the law was too vague because the words “annoy” and “offend” were not defined in the specific context of the hate crime law. The alleged victims could be annoyed or offended by any act if they were sensitive enough, they said.

The Supreme Court, however, shot down Nye’s vagueness argument, saying the law did specify that defacing property was a violation of the hate crime statute, so there should have been no confusion as to Nye’s criminal intent.

Full Article & Source: 
Judge: Law on exploiting elderly unconstitutionally vague