County’s chief probate judge accused of assaulting boyfriend
by Cassidy Johncox
Oakland County’s chief probate judge is facing a domestic violence charge, according to officials.
The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday that Hon. Kathleen Ann Ryan was arrested and charged for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Wednesday night.
Ryan was charged Thursday with one count of domestic assault and
battery, officials said. She has reportedly been released on a personal
fact that Ms. Ryan is an elected official did not play any part in the
charge that was authorized, and will not play any part in the handling
or disposition of this case,” said Oakland County Prosecutor Karen
McDonald. “The case will be handled like any other case.”
SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WZTV) — Even though he had at least 127 victims, it took years to bring Hendersonville’s Andy Allman to justice.
did it take so long? Partly because Allman is a lawyer and he is
convicted of robbing people with a pen, paper and smile. But for many of
his victims, it would have been better to have been robbed at gunpoint.
in early 2017, FOX 17 News packed the station with Allman’s alleged
victim. Horror story after horror story. At the time, Allman’s law
license was merely suspended but had been under investigation since
2014. A secret investigation. His clients had no idea who they were
Allman is accused of stealing Cathy Brown's entire inheritance:
$230,000. Much of that money was supposed to go to her nephew Baylor
Bramble, the Murfreesboro teen horrifically injured in a high school
Andy Allman (Sumner County Jail)
Brown created a whole group of Allman victims, that’s how we all met.
FOX 17 News started putting the pressure on the board of professional
responsibility to do something significant and finally, in 2018, he was
“That took longer than it should have for sure. I
really think your story prompted that to happen. I yelled, fussed, sent
letters complaining, didn’t get anywhere but when your story broke it
put pressure on them to disbar him. They had a stack this big of
complaints and they hadn’t done anything about it until then,” said
The board of professional responsibility that oversees
lawyers says it just took time, there were so many complaints from so
many people and everything had to be thoroughly investigated.
Meanwhile, the criminal charges percolated. After being arrested for
the Bramble theft, Allman was charged with 18 counts of felony theft in
Kevin Dycus hired Allman to put his late wife’s insurance policy in his son’s name, the $106,000 disappeared the next day.
guess I was just naïve and expected he’s going to go to jail that day.
Andy’s knowledge of the legal system he was able to game it for some
time,” said Dycus.
He would hire and fire lawyers, and get delay
after delay. Finally, Sumner County Judge Dee Gay said enough, we are
going to trial. Allman represented himself in Sumner County.
The jury found him guilty of 18 counts of felony theft—a possible but improbable 81 years in jail.
victims are thrilled, but they will not get back any of the $1.1
million owed them, and it’s actually more. Noreen Gibbons didn’t just
lose her legal fees, she lost her case, she missed all the deadlines,
she says she lost more than a million dollars by hiring Allman, who at
the time was in big trouble with the board of professional
responsibility. But again, it was a secret investigation.
shouldn’t even have had his license to practice law when I hired him. It
had already been established that there were multiple complaints and
there was no way of knowing that,” said Gibbons.
During the trial, it came out how quickly Allman converted the client's money into his money.
was just enlightening to see how fast the money would go in and how
quickly it would go into Andy’s trust and then dispersed into personal
finances, business expenses, european vacations, almost 20 thousand
dollar engagement rings, an Alaska trip, boats, clubs,” said Kevin
Brown still waits for her justice in Davidson County and her opportunity to address Andy Allman.
don’t know if I even have words that I want to say to him. He caused
delays in my nephew’s treatment. Caused duress on our whole family. He
tore my whole life apart. I lived with such guilt for so long that I
chose him for my attorney and he betrayed me,” said Brown.
I spoke with the prosecutor in the case Thomas Dean. He wrote:
victory belongs to the victims. They testified and had to endure cross
examination by Mr. Allman himself. Each of them honestly demonstrated
the painful circumstances of their cases. All withstood the travail of
testifying and being cross examined by someone who they once trusted as
their attorney. Their testimony was the lynchpin to our success. The
thanks, handclaps, and hugs from the victims after a hard-fought verdict
like this one are the things a prosecutor remembers and cherishes long
after the details of a trial fade from memory.
Ten years ago, Nick Clouse was riding shotgun in his friend’s Camaro
when the car jerked and he felt himself flying through the air. Clouse’s
head slammed against the passenger side window.
The traumatic brain injury caused severe memory loss, headaches and
insomnia. Clouse, who was 18 at the time, didn’t recognize his friends
Shortly after the accident, his mother and step-dad requested to be
his legal guardian, which meant they’d be responsible for making all of
his financial and health decisions. They said it would be temporary. A
judge in Indiana made it official.
Years after recovering, Clouse wanted to make his own choices again —
to put gas in his car, buy his daughter diapers and take his wife out
for dinner without permission. But he ran into opposition. His parents
didn’t want to give up their power, Clouse said, and he had to find a
way to fight for his rights.
“They had 100 percent control over my life and I just didn’t have any say in what I did or anything,” Clouse said.
If a judge determines an adult is unable to make responsible choices,
the person can be placed under a court-appointed guardianship. The
arrangement is known as a conservatorship in some states.
In recent years, there has been a growing shift toward less
restrictive options that allow adults with physical or intellectual
impairments more independence while providing them support for making
decisions. Advocates for people with disabilities say the shift is long
overdue, and some argue the system needs a complete overhaul.
“People with significant disabilities have long been discriminated
against, because people think that they [lack] the ability to make
decisions,” said Derek Nord, director of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community.
While the disability rights movement in the U.S. has made “huge
strides” on many issues, Nord said additional reforms and better
oversight are needed to protect people from exploitation.
Guardianship cases most often involvepeople with
disabilities, the elderly, people recovering from an injury or medical
condition, and people with severe mental illness.
An official count does not exist, but the AARP estimates
about 1.3 million adults in the U.S. are in legal guardianships. In
Indiana, where Clouse lives, 11,139 adults are in permanent
guardianships, according to state officials.
In Indiana, entering a guardianship starts with filing a petition.
The petitioner can submit evidence, like a doctor’s report, and appear
in front of a judge, who then decides if the person in question is considered to be incapacitated.
The judge can establish limitations for the guardianship, although
they rarely do, according to Indiana Disability Rights attorney Justin
“We’re talking about decisions about where to live, whether to get
married, where to work, what medical care to receive, what to do with
their money,” Schrock said. “They really do lose all of their most
fundamental basic rights.”
Some guardianships are necessary, but advocates for reform argue
they’re overused, since most of the time people with disabilities can
make choices for themselves — sometimes with guidance — and should
maintain that right.
“Before I entered this field, I assumed that [entering a]
guardianship was a fairly innocuous step,” Schrock said. “I also assumed
that there were a lot of protections in place to prevent unnecessary
guardianships from being established, which is absolutely not the case.”
Legal guardianships should not be the default for people who need help making decisions, said Kristin Hamre,
social work professor at Indiana University Bloomington. It’s in taking
risks that people learn and grow as individuals — and restrictive legal
arrangements like guardianships rob people of that opportunity.
“The right to risk is so important,” Hamre said. “Risk is where life
happens, right? You begin walking, you might fall; you begin driving,
you might crash.”
Over time, Clouse’s traumatic brain injury improved. He started
working as a welder, met his future wife — and got his parents’
permission to marry her. Clouse wanted out of the guardianship, but he
said his parents resisted.
The lawyer representing Clouse’s mother and stepfather did not return Side Effects Public Media’s request for comment.
People under a legal guardianship face a Catch-22. To regain his
independence, Clouse needed to speak with a lawyer and get legal advice.
But that would have required his parents’ approval since they
controlled his finances.
Because of the way some state laws are written, guardianship cases
often lack due process, said Robert Dinerstein, head of the disability
rights law clinic at American University in Washington, D.C.
Many states’ guardianship laws ensure a right to legal counsel for
people at risk of entering a guardianship. But that’s not the case in
Indiana. The law allows petitioners — often a parent or family member —
the option to present a consent form signed by the person under
consideration for a guardianship, which deems them “incapacitated” and
effectively waives their right to contest the hearing or even be present
Indiana law also does not require petitioners to submit medical
evidence to the court, although some courts have local rules requiring
“I’ve seen over and over again, these guardians’ attorneys will have
the individual sign this consent form, file it along with a petition,
oftentimes with no medical evidence,” Shrock said. “And some of these
courts are just looking at that and saying, ‘OK,’ and then granting
guardianship without ever having even laid eyes on this individual.”
Since guardianship cases take place in county-level courts, there’s
tremendous variety in how these cases are handled. Larger counties with
probate-specific courts can dedicate more time and resources to the
hearings, while smaller county courts have a much larger breadth of
cases, limiting a judge’s expertise in one area.
A task force
formed to examine the use of legal guardianships in Indiana reported
that no medical evidence of incapacity was presented in one in five
guardianship cases in Indiana. The 2012 report also states that in cases
where evidence was presented, the reports were often incomplete or
The burden of proof — to convince the judge the guardianship is
unnecessary — tends to fall on the person with a disability, which
differs from most other legal proceedings, Dinerstein said.
Since people have a right to a lawyer in criminal cases, Dinerstein
argues that people at risk of entering guardianships should have the
“I think the level of loss of liberty [in guardianship cases] makes a
really strong case that there ought to be” a right to legal counsel, he
“It’s like Hotel California,” Dinerstein said. “Once a guardian is
appointed, even if circumstances change where you no longer think you
need it, it’s really hard to get courts to restore your capacity.”
Clouse is now 28 and lives in Huntington, Indiana. With the help of
Indiana Disability Rights attorney Justin Schrock, Clouse’s guardianship
was terminated in August 2021.
Shortly after, he took his wife and daughter out for dinner — a small luxury after life under his parents’ guardianship.
“I didn’t have to worry about my card getting declined … and bought
my daughter a big piece of chocolate cake,” Clouse said. “That made me
feel good that I could just kind of splurge a little bit.”
In 2019, Indiana joined a handful of other states — including
Delaware, Texas, Ohio and Wisconsin — to pass a law requiring judges to
consider less restrictive alternatives to guardianships.
Supported decision-making is one of these alternatives. Adults in
these arrangements consult a support team, such as friends, family,
social workers, case managers or paid support members, about big
decisions in their lives. But, unlike in a guardianship, the individual
can still make the final decision.
“Many of us … run important decisions by other people in our lives
who are important to us — family, friends,” Dinerstein said. “[Then] you
get to decide whether to listen to the advice.”
The year before the new law passed, Jamie Beck became the first person
in Indiana to transition from a legal guardianship into a supported
decision-making arrangement as part of a pilot program exploring less
restrictive guardianship alternatives.
Beck has a mild intellectual and developmental disability and was
placed in a guardianship at the age of 19 after her parents died. She
spent a year in a nursing home, where she said she was bored and spent
her time learning American Sign Language. Beck remained in the
guardianship for eight years, even after demonstrating she could live
independently and support herself financially.
“She was just doing tremendously … and everyone felt she didn’t need a
guardianship any longer,” said Judge Greg Horn, who terminated Beck’s
guardianship. “It wasn’t like we were going to send her on her way and
let her struggle with life’s challenges.”
To ensure she’d be supported once the guardianship was terminated,
the court worked with Beck to come up with a group of advisors she
trusted to help her make decisions.
Beck said the supported decision-making agreement lets her have more
say in her life. She’s now 31 and lives in an apartment in Muncie,
Indiana. She works as a housekeeper at a local hospital and spends her
free time playing Pokemon Go.
“I get to do more things like a typical normal person would,” Beck said.
She can seek medical care and travel out of town without needing anyone else to sign off on those decisions.
In Ohio, lawmakers passed reforms to close loopholes in the guardianship system after a 2014 investigation from the Columbus Dispatch
revealed lawyers were becoming guardians for people with disabilities
and charging attorney’s fees to perform basic duties, like shopping and
cleaning. Today, the state requires guardians to undergo training and
education and allows people under a guardianship to file complaints to
But Kevin Truitt, legal advocacy director for Disability Rights Ohio,
is skeptical those reforms have led to major improvements for people
“Maybe some people have benefited from these reforms,” Truitt said.
“But I worry not a lot has changed for many, many people across the
state” because people under guardianship may not be aware of the new
As part of the new law in Indiana, guardians are required
to file reports every other year, documenting whether the guardianship
remains necessary and if less restrictive options have been considered.
The law also requires judges to document that less restrictive
alternatives have been considered before full guardianships are
But Schrock, the attorney with Indiana Disability Rights, said not much has changed on the ground.
“I see … guardianship petitions that are still filed today that don’t
even mention whether less restrictive alternatives have been assessed
in any way,” Shrock said. “And that has been … a minimum requirement
since July 1, 2019.”
Schrock said even when reports are filed by guardians, they are rarely scrutinized by judges.
State officials in Indiana say they’re not tracking how many people
are opting for supported decision-making agreements in lieu of legal
guardianships. It’s hard to determine because these agreements can take
place outside of a courtroom.
Kim Dodson, CEO of the Arc of Indiana, said she has only heard of a few cases where people are looking to revoke a guardianship.
“That’s not enough, right? We should have a lot more than that,
especially two years after the implementation of supported
decision-making,” Dodson said.
Dodson thinks the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the education campaign
around supported decision-making, so judges and backed-up courts are
behind on implementing the changes.
But she’s hopeful that over time, more people will understand the
importance of ensuring people with disabilities are placed in the least
restrictive arrangement possible.
“We really need to educate attorneys and judges, and make sure that
they know about this new alternative, and that they get sold on it,”
Dodson said. “And that just hasn’t happened to the extent that we’ve
needed it to.”
In Indiana’s upcoming legislative session, Dodson said her
organization will be advocating for additional guardianship reforms,
such as requiring schools to educate parents of children with a
disability on supported decision-making.
On September 6th, 2021, Jean-Pierre Adams died at the age of 73. You would have never heard of Adams if not that he was a former French professional soccer player. However, what made Adams’ death newsworthy was that his extraordinary wife Bernadette dedicated her life to caring for Jean-Pierre when he sustained a brain injury after knee surgery complications.
Jean-Pierre never regained full consciousness and for 39 years he was dependent on his wife for care. From the day Bernadette brought Jean-Pierre home she was at his bedside, never at any time contemplating ending his life by removing his feeding tube. She taught the world a lesson of unconditional love.
Sadly, we don’t hear enough of these stories. Certainly, there are families who are caring for the “Jean-Pierre’s”, but the reality is that the media – and more troubling – our health care systems, are inculcating the public into their earthly worldview, fostering a culture that accepts the denial of life-affirming care, even if the “care” is ordinary – food and water – based on a person’s utility, as was in the case of my sister, Terri Schiavo.
In fact, it was 18 years ago on October 21st, 2003, when the Florida Legislature passed a bill granting the governor, Jeb Bush, the power to reinsert Terri’s feeding tube after it had been removed for six days. That day marked the beginning of my family’s experience with corporate media and how they would launder the truth of Terri’s situation and condition with “right to die” propaganda.
Nov. 25—ALBANY — A prosecutor investigating
charges against Dougherty County's Probate Court judge is awaiting
reports before making a decision on whether to present the lingering
case to a grand jury or dismiss charges.
Judge Leisa Blount was
arrested and charged in March 2020 after Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin
Sproul asked the GBI to launch an investigation. The case was assigned
to Southern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Brad Shealy, who said
this week that he is waiting for reports from the GBI.
"I had to
request some additional information from the GBI, and they have not
gotten it back to me," he said. "'I'm hoping to get it back now."
Specifically, the district attorney is seeking additional witness statements and layouts of the courtroom area.
said he is not ready to make a decision on whether the case merits
being presented to a grand jury, but he hopes to make a determination by
"No, not until I have all the evidence," he said. "I
don't like to make a decision until I have all the evidence in. I think
that's fair to the individual. They're having to get those witness
statements and put together a report. Hopefully, I can get that pretty
Blount was charged in March 2020 with one count each of terroristic threats and violation of oath of office.
The GBI alleges that Blount made threats against an employee who works with the county's Facilities Maintenance department.
alleged victim, who was not present at the time that Blount had the
conversation with county employees, had reportedly entered Blount's
office while she was in the office during a time when he was not
assigned duties in that part of the building.
In an affidavit
filed in court, Blount indicated that the employee acted strangely. In
one instance he told her he was there to turn off the lights, and in the
other he did not give an answer for why he was inside the Probate Court
During a meeting with officials from the county and
sheriff's office, Blount made a remark about defending herself and that
she was allowed as a judge to bring a gun inside the building for
Albany attorney Maurice King Jr., who is representing
Blount, said that the last he had heard, the GBI had not spoken with the
county employee who is the alleged victim in the case.
talked to everybody in the case but the alleged victim, who has said he
was not threatened," King said. "That's what he told a coworker. It was
my understanding the GBI did not talk to the alleged victim before the
charges were filed."
Shealy seems to be doing his due diligence,
King said, but the incident does not seem to rise to a matter that could
be successfully prosecuted.
"I just don't think they need to
waste taxpayers' money on a case like this," he said. "Sometimes you
have when time passes that cooler heads will prevail, and I hope that's
what's happening here."
Ryan Peters was just 7 years old in 1991
when his father, Michael, suffered a traumatic brain injury. Michael,
the agent and owner of several McDonald’s franchises in Mississippi, was
a passenger in a car that left the road and hit a tree. A branch came
through the window and broke Michael’s neck, destroying his frontal lobe
and leaving him both paralyzed and in a coma. He partially recovered
with treatment and rehabilitation, but lived in a non verbal and
dependent state for the next 29 years, until his death in June 2020.
Sixty residents and staff at the Diana Isaac Retirement Village in
Christchurch combined all their considerable talents to come up with
this tribute, 80-odd years of happy. The residents wanted to show their
children and grandchildren just what they're made of!
A Twin Cities doctor with a quirky name is using it to help ease stress in the HealthPartners urgent care.
Author: Shelley Stridsberg
SAINT PAUL, Minn. — "My name is Happy Thanksgiving Reynolds."
No, that's not a typo or some editing mix-up.
We are indeed talking about a physician whose legal first name is "Happy" and her middle name "Thanksgiving."
The doctor with the quirky name works at the urgent care at HealthPartners in Saint Paul, where we caught up with her last week.
"I think it's been at least in my profession in medicine [my name has] actually been a huge icebreaker."
And her patient's biggest question: How did she end up with that name?
"Well, clearly, I'm the child of hippies."
Born on Turkey Day in 1970, inspiration came easy.
"My parents decided I'd pick my name by when I was born. And so, as a
happy occasion, and a thanks, and a giving from God," she explained.
Happy says she did indeed have a happy childhood, with parents
actively involved in social issues. "Gosh, one of my earliest memories
was going to protests."
And when it came time to decide on a career, Happy recalled, "The
joke I tell, which is sort of true, when I decided to go to medical
school, both my parents were like, you know, 'don't let it ruin your
soul.' And, of course, I'm like, 'I'm going to be a doctor.'"
Happy's name became another tool while practicing medicine.
"People are scared, especially in urgent care and urgent situations.
And then, if your name is Happy or you're Doctor Happy, I think it's
just a moment where it's like okay."
So we had to know: What is Dr. Happy Thanksgiving thankful for in 2021?
"I think I have felt really grateful to work for an organization that
has been nimble enough to respond to the changes of the pandemic," she
said and then added, "I'm grateful that I get to come to work every day
and work with amazing people who really care, and care about our
co-workers and care about the patients that we serve."
Then the kicker: "I'm really grateful to live in Minnesota. I mean, I
love our state. Ironically my daughter is also named Minnesota." And
when jaws dropped, Dr. Happy Thanksgiving couldn't help but quip, "Yea,
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A
Pinellas County man is fighting against his stepmother in a
guardianship case over how to best care for his dad.
Action News I-Team has learned that the case involves questionable
documents submitted to the court, a new Maserati and a costly legal
battle that has dragged on for more than a year.
Petersburg resident Wayne Beckford is at the center of the dispute.
Beckford, a Jamaican immigrant who worked for more than a quarter of a
century as a radiology technician, raised his only son Charles as a
Wayne supported Charles through an IB magnet high school program, college, and later law school at Florida State University.
think he’s what everyone should aspire to be. He cares about his
family,” Charles Beckford said. “We didn’t have much, but he was putting
things aside so he could take care of me.”
“There is an army, a village Wayne has”
Wayne has three loving sisters who all reside in Florida.
“We only have each other. Our parents are gone. We are everything to each other,” said Wayne’s sister Desrine Beckford.
sisters said Wayne has almost five dozen cousins and countless
colleagues and friends, who have played an important role in his life
“There is an army, a village Wayne has,” said Wayne’s sister Paula Beckford Harrilal.
But his son and siblings said the court has ignored their pleas.
Wayne suffered a major brain bleed in June of last year, leaving him
unable to talk, walk and perform other tasks of daily living, according
to a doctor’s report.
“Everything is in place for Wayne to be
declared essentially as an incapacitated man,” Paula said. “He has not
been. And we are now talking about since the process started in October
Wayne’s sister Paula said she doesn’t believe the judge
knew all the facts at an Emergency Temporary Guardianship hearing for
her brother held more than a year ago.
“We are at the hearing to
basically say here’s this man’s situation, we need you to intercede and
help us while we sort through this. And we didn’t get that,” she said.
The Emergency Temporary Guardianship Process
in Florida are often requested when family members disagree over how to
best care for a loved one. The court’s role is to protect alleged
incapacitated people from potential exploitation, danger, abuse, or
judge can appoint an Emergency Temporary Guardian to care for someone
for up to 90 days while a committee of three health care professionals
assesses whether the person at the center of the case is incapacitated.
a committee rules that a person is incapacitated, then the judge can
appoint a permanent guardian, which can either be a family member or a
professional guardian who doesn’t represent any party.
County Probate Judge Pamela Campbell ruled against Charles’ request to
be Wayne’s emergency temporary guardian, saying Charles and other
witnesses offered no proof that Wayne was endangered.
allowed Wayne’s wife Donna to continue to care for him, instructing her
to allow other family members to visit him and to be informed of
decisions regarding his care.
Charles alleges Wayne’s wife was estranged when he became ill
Charles alleged in his petition that Donna and his dad were estranged and had not lived in the same home since January 2020.
reason for the concern, and the immediate need for the establishment of
a guardianship over the person and property, is because the Father's
estranged wife, Donna Beckford, is improperly taking or moving his
assets, with a real fear of dissipation of the Father's monies,”
Charles’ petition said.
Charles testified in court that Donna and
his dad split up months before his illness. But Donna denied that during
the ETG hearing, saying she only moved out of the home before his
aneurism due to COVID concerns.
In a video deposition of Donna
Beckford recorded on May 26, 2021, she admitted she didn’t stay at the
home from April until his illness in June 2020.
concerning issues for me with Donna Beckford and the issues about the
marriage. Would this be a good case for a professional? Perhaps, but
that’s going to be for another day,” Judge Campbell said at the ETG
Donna’s criminal past
Donna and Wayne met online and
married in 2003. Donna had multiple felony arrests before meeting Wayne,
including the Battery of a Law Enforcement officer, which she listed on
her application to be Wayne’s guardian “happened 27 years ago.”
Court records indicate that she entered a plea in January 1998, less than 24 years ago.
penalties of perjury, I declare that I have read the foregoing, and the
facts alleged are true, to the best of my knowledge and belief,” reads
the application Donna signed.
She did not list a second felony.
When asked about other crimes in her sworn deposition, Donna admitted
she left it off her application.
“I think the charge was robbery,” Donna testified.
charge from 1991 was resolved by a “no contest” plea and resulted in
Donna being placed on probation for two years, according to court
records obtained by the I-Team.
Last November, Charles’ attorney
filed a motion to disqualify Donna from serving as Wayne’s guardian.
That motion said, “On June 27, 1991, DONNA BECKFORD, under her maiden
name of Donna Alene Johnson, plead guilty to a felony for robbery, with
an adjudication withheld. The charge was based on an armed carjacking
that occurred in Pembroke Pines, Florida.”
Beckford, due to her pleading guilty to a charge of a felony, for a
crime related to robbery, regardless of her adjudication, is
disqualified to serve as a Guardian in the State of Florida,” the motion
to disqualify her said.
Judge Campbell never ruled on the motion.
than a year later, Donna’s attorney filed a motion asking Judge
Campbell for an exemption from criminal disqualification to serve as
Wayne’s guardian, saying “The events took place twenty-four (24) and
thirty (30) years ago, and should not be a lifetime disqualification
barring Donna from serving as guardian for her own husband.”
motion said Donna already received exemptions from the state to obtain a
certified nursing assistant license and to operate a home care
Donna’s Devoted Healthcare
Donna Beckford’s company, Donna’s Devoted Healthcare LLC, had 43 employees, according to a PPP loan application she filed with the US Small Business Administration.
Wayne assisted her in setting up the company and was on the payroll when he got sick.
“She wanted him under the care of her home companion care company,” Charles Beckford said.
company emailed Charles and his father multiple invoices for Wayne’s
care, charging $456 a day for 24/7 care. Charles said he never paid the
bills. Wayne’s sister Paula said employees of the company prevented her
and her sisters from spending time alone with her brother.
“It’s this entity, this companion care organization that has taken hold of my brother,” she said.
Donna’s attorney, Hamden H. Baskin III,
who declined an interview, said in an email, “Donna has and is paying
for caregivers…Wayne receives all therapies and caregiver support
“Everything that I’m billing for Wayne comes off of my taxes at the end of the year,” Donna said during her deposition.
Wayne was released from a rehab center, Charles and his aunts wanted
him moved into a facility with intensive on-site therapy.
needs to get the most amount of therapy every single day. Every doctor
that we’ve talked to said that six month to one year period for his type
of brain injury was the most crucial,” Charles said.
“He’s gonna have more success at home. And I truly believe he’s gonna get better,” Donna said in her deposition.
“I sleep at the house with him each night. I’m a C.N.A.,” Donna said, referring to her license as a certified nursing assistant.
starting months before Wayne’s illness and continuing at least through
August of 2021, Donna was spending time at a condo left to her in a will
by one of her former clients, according to private investigators
Charles hired to follow Donna and account for her whereabouts.
“Private investigators over five to six weeks saw her at the condo 25… somewhere around there… 25 days,” Charles said.
A report prepared by private investigation firm Apex Surveillance and Investigations
shows Donna’s Maserati parked in the driveway of the condo during that
surveillance period. Investigators also shot video of Donna accompanied
by a male companion.
her deposition, Donna testified she began seeing that man in 2018 and
is still in a relationship with him. Donna also testified that in
September 2020, she used money from Wayne’s bank account for a down
payment on her Maserati.
Wayne was in a rehab center at the time and Donna’s name was not on any of his bank accounts.
you talk to Wayne about using $2,000 from his account to make your
Maserati down payment?” Charles’ attorney asked her during the
“I did not,” Donna replied.
“Wayne didn’t have the capacity to know the difference between a Fisher-Price toy and an actual car,” Wayne’s sister Paula said.
Judge: It doesn’t pass the smell test
The legal fight between Charles and Donna started on October 13 last year, when Charles petitioned to be his father’s guardian.
is in control of my Dad’s life. We’re filing for guardianship to
basically say that someone should come in under the guise of the court
and protect him,” Charles said.
day after Charles petitioned to be his father’s guardian, a lawyer who
Donna contacted showed up at Wayne’s home, saying he represented Wayne
and brought a 14-page power of attorney agreement with him.
agreement would allow Donna to control his real estate, bank accounts,
vehicles, and other assets and according to the language in the
agreement “shall not terminate, should I become disabled or
The document Wayne signed indicated that by signing the agreement he
declared he was “of sound mind and under no constraint or undue
“My brother did not call this lawyer to come to his home and bring those documents,” Paula said.
She said Wayne wasn’t able to call anyone at the time.
attorney, who was not Donna’s attorney Baskin, also brought a health
care surrogate designation and a living will for Wayne to sign. He was
accompanied by a witness who listed the lawyer’s office address as her
address and a notary.
Wayne’s sisters said Wayne has been unable
to read anything since his aneurysm. Wayne did not sign his full name on
any of the documents.
“The signatures are all over the place. They’re scribble,” Paula said.
the Emergency Temporary Guardianship hearing, the attorney who prepared
the document confirmed he was contacted by Donna, not Wayne, and
testified Wayne “couldn’t speak, but he could nod yes or no,” according
to the Emergency Temporary Guardianship hearing transcript.
attorney testified he held a clipboard for Wayne “and he had some
difficulty sometimes, you know, getting -- quite often actually, getting
right on the line.”
During Donna’s deposition, Charles’ attorney
asked, “On October 15, 2020, do you believe Wayne had the mental
capacity to understand a Power of Attorney and Health Care Surrogate
“Absolutely,” Donna replied.
“On October 16, the very next day, you filed a petition to be appointed guardian. Do you recall that?” Charles’ attorney asked.
“I think this is where we should bring Hamden in. This is some things that he was directing us,” she replied.
The petition for guardianship that Donna filed under oath said Wayne, “is an incapacitated person.”
his email response to the I-Team, Baskin wrote, “Donna asserts no
guardianship is needed, but if one must be entered, that she should be
The transcript said Judge Campbell reserved ruling on
the validity of the documents until later and responded… “It’s not a
good look. I’ll just put it that way. It doesn’t pass the smell test.”
But the judge denied Charles’ petition.
“Caring cannot be litigated in court”
The case has since gone through depositions, mediation and multiple hearings.
said the case has so far cost him more than $100,000, with no decision
made about whether his father would be appointed a guardian.
Baskin blamed the delays and the excessive cost on Charles, who he said
in an email has issued, “unnecessary discovery… designed to harass
Donna or members of her staff.”
Baskin said Charles “has run up fees beyond reason, funds which should have been used for Wayne’s well-being.”
We went to Wayne’s home in late October to try to talk to Donna. A Maserati was in the driveway, but nobody answered the door.
Charles’ attorney filed a motion to withdraw from the case on November 17, citing “irreconcilable differences” with his client.
Charles said he will continue to fight until all his options run out.
“Who wouldn’t if they love their father,” he said.
He has no financial incentive to continue the court battle because most of Wayne’s money has been spent.
we’re not fighting for money, then what are we fighting for? I guess
love cannot be litigated in court. Caring cannot be litigated in court.
So those aren’t terms that they’re used to,” Paula said.
MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) — A
preliminary hearing took place Monday morning at the Bennettsville
Municipal Courthouse for former Marlboro County Deputy Probate Judge
Tammy Bullock on a charge of pointing and presenting a firearm, according to Bennettsville Police Chief Kevin Miller.
judge heard the evidence against Bullock as well as allowed her lawyer a
chance to address the charge and why it should be dismissed.
The hearing lasted about 40 minutes and a judge decided there was enough probable cause to send the matter to a grand jury.
That jury will review the findings and evidence in the case and
decide if Bullock should be indicted or if the charge is dismissed
Back in February, Bennettsville Police charged Bullock with pointing and presenting a firearm during an argument with a woman.
Bennettsville Police Chief Kevin Miller said they charged Bullock under a city ordinance.
However, Miller said that the charge was dismissed in municipal court earlier this month and refilled in state court.
It will likely be prosecuted by an “outside prosecuting authority,” officials said.
The authority could be a prosecutor in another county or the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
Marlboro County court house (Credit: Tonya Brown)
ABC15 got a copy of the four-page incident report from the Bennettsville Police Department.
The report said the incident took place on Feb. 3, 2021, but a report wasn't filed until Feb. 5.
A 45-year-old woman is named as the complainant in the report and Bullock as the subject.
The woman said Bullock had a gun and threatened to kill her during an argument at a home they shared in Bennettsville.
complainant stated the verbal altercation resulted in the subject
pointing a handgun in her face and making a threat to shoot her with a
handgun in question," according to an excerpt from the police report.
"The complainant stated the handgun was medium-sized and gray in color.
The complainant further stated the handgun contained a hammer located at
the back of the side.
Marlboro County court house parking spot for judge (Credit: Tonya Brown)
The officer questioned the woman about why she waited two days to file the incident report.
I inquired with the complainant in reference to the
reasoning behind her not contacting law enforcement on 02/03/2021, the
complainant stated she did not know what to do at the time of the
incident. The complainant stated the subject was further forcing her out
of the residence. The complaint stated the subject was directing her to
get all items out of the residence that day. I advised to the
complainant that the subject could not force her from the residence
without first obtaining an eviction notice from the magistrate’s office.
The incident report contains a statement from Bullock.
subject stated upon her exiting her bedroom, the complainant proceeded
to jump in her face again while engaged in a fighting stance. The
subject stated she then stated to the complainant 'I got a gun in my
hand. I will not fight you. I’m too old, but I will defend myself.' The
subject stated she never pointed her gun at the complainant at any time.
The subject stated she then stated to the complainant and the
complainant’s daughter, 'The best thing for y’all to do is to be moved
out by the time I get home from work.' Subject stated she then exited
her residence and went to the Marlboro County probate office for work.
said Bullock initially pled not guilty to the charge and has requested a
jury trial. He said the trial was scheduled to take place in November.
some community members argue Bullock should not have been charged in
municipal court or given a ticket which is treated as a misdemeanor
because state law is clear and concise on the crime of pointing and
presenting a firearm.
Marlboro County court house (Credit: Tonya Brown)
The South Carolina Law Statute SECTION 16-23-410, which deals with pointing a firearm at another person, said:
is unlawful for a person to present or point at another person a loaded
or unloaded firearm. A person who violates the provisions of this
section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the
discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than five years. This
section must not be construed to abridge the right of self-defense or to
apply to theatricals or like performances.
Miller said he can't reiterate enough that Bullock wasn't treated any differently than anyone else.
Miller released the following statement two weeks ago regarding the investigation:
allow me to please address questions regarding the on-going criminal
case against Ms. Bullock. I understand some people may have questions
concerning this case; however, let me be perfectly clear that the
Bennettsville Police Department is no way connected to Ms. Bullock
concerning other investigations or incidents, which have taken place
surrounding Probate Court. Furthermore, I have asked state and local
officials to look into our case “out of an abundance of precaution” in
hopes to dispel rumors and other suggestive language. Decisions
regarding the direction of this case were made solely based on existing
evidence, which were available at the time of the initial investigation
and recommendations by court officials.
attorney will also be conducting an independent review of the case to
ensure the integrity of the case and identify any issues, which may be
considered a conflict by the court, victim, defendant, or jeopardize any
part of the judicial process in this particular case. As the Chief of
Police, I have a duty and responsibility to preserve the publics trust
and will NOT allow unsubstantiated claims taint this case or ruin the
reputation of this great city.
He added the Bennettsville city attorney reviewed their investigation from top to bottom.
State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is already investigating
accusations made against Bullock at the request of the Marlboro County
According to SLED, it is in connection to the estate of Hollis Slade who, according to an obituary, died in January 2021.
ABC15 has repeatedly called Bullock and her attorney, but they haven’t returned our calls.
The lawsuit alleges that Kristy Michelle Weems made unauthorized
purchases and cash withdrawals totaling more than $13,400 with her
client's debit and credit cards.
Author: Haleigh Schmidt
FORT SMITH, Ark. — Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed a lawsuit against a woman in Fort Smith who allegedly financially exploited senior citizens in the River Valley.
According to Rutledge, Kristy Michelle Weems was a home health aide
who provided companionship, personal care and other non-medical “home
helper” services for seniors in the Fort Smith area.
The lawsuit alleges that Weems made multiple unauthorized purchases
and cash withdrawals with her client's debit and credit cards.
Weems allegedly spent more than $13,400 on the client's cards before she was discovered and terminated by her employer.
“Ms. Weems abused the trust of seniors and their families, stealing
thousands of dollars from Arkansans,” Rutledge said. “As Attorney
General, I have always protected our seniors and the State’s most
Rutledge says she is seeking restitution for those who were victims
of Weems and civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation, an injunction,
and other costs and fees incurred by the State of Arkansas in resolving
Reports on the incidents have also been filed with local law enforcement.
Serena and Venus Williams’ father became “incompetent” with two
strokes and was taken care of by a mysterious son with a long lap sheet.
fathers of Serena and Venus Williams are “incompetent” and are cared
for by their mysterious son Chavoita Lucain, who is the translator and
caregiver of the father.
Richard Williams was hit twice and couldn’t speak.
LeSane faces 61 civil, domestic and criminal proceedings.
was charged, among other things, with peace and fights, several felony
traffic charges, arrests and resistance to domestic violence.
By Adriana Diaz of Dailymail.Com
and Venus Williams’ dad became “incompetent” after suffering a
two-stroke, and the legendary tennis player’s former hard drive coach is
being cared for by a mysterious son with a long lap sheet.
to court records, Richard Williams, 79, empowered his son, Chavoita
Lucain, who was born through an unknown relationship, rather than his
famous daughter, with little talk and the power of a lawyer. rice field.
According to court records, Williams was “incompetent” and showed that he was taking care of his son, who was an interpreter.
48, lives in Atlanta and has a criminal record until 1998. He has faced
61 civil, domestic and criminal proceedings, five of which remain
In 2016, Williams was reported to have had a stroke. However, 2018 court documents show that he actually had two.
Richard Williams (left) is “incompetent” and is cared for by his son Chavoita Lucain (right)
In 2018, it became clear that Williams suffered two blows and had difficulty speaking. Le Sane works as his translator
LeSane has a long criminal record dating back to 1998, and many of his accusations have been withdrawn or abandoned.
also suffers from neurological conditions that affect his mouth. In
other words, it is up to Lucain to interpret what the once crowded dad
LeSane, CEO of
Florida-based music promotion company ChaVam, helped negotiate with
publisher Simon & Schuster about a deal for his father’s 2014
memoir, “Black and White: The Way I See It.” ..
In the Acknowledgments section of this book, Williams writes: He deserves great achievement. ”
a post last month, Lucain was seen next to his father when the camera
crew was filming a new movie, King Richard, of Williams’ tough coaching
who made Serena and Venus the two most successful tennis players.
Telling a story. world.
relationship between Le Sane and his famous half-sister is unclear. They
joined to win 30 Grand Slam Single titles. Serena, 40, won 23 single
titles, the second title after Margaret Court. 41-year-old Venus won
seven and four Olympic gold medals.
LeSane has published news in various types of courts throughout her life.
to Florida records, he was first charged with a deteriorated battery in
a pregnant woman in 1998, but the case was eventually withdrawn. Three
years later, records show that he was charged with batteries and did not
accept the contest.
In late 2007, he
was reported as a “addict” for traffic violations and was probated for
four years with a driver’s license suspension.
the years, he was charged with peace and fight, some felony traffic,
arrests and resistance to domestic violence, but because some cases were
“withdrawn or abandoned”. I was not convicted.
is the father of Serena (pictured) and Venus, who coached to become two
of the most successful tennis stars in the world.
other two sons, Richard III and Ronner, also have criminal records,
including guns and assault charges that led to imprisonment.
was in charge of his father’s fortune while Williams was in the midst
of a turbulent divorce battle with his estranged third wife, Lekisha.
After an eight-day trial at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale,
and after three days of deliberation, a jury found Omar Shaquille Bailey
and Ronaldo Garfield Green guilty of their roles in a plan to impeach
the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security. to cheat.
Administration of more than $1.8 million. Senior District Court Judge
James I. Cohn read the jury’s verdict and ordered the defendants
incarcerated pending sentencing in January.
A third co-defendant, Jamare Mason, pleaded guilty
to his role in the conspiracy on the second day of the trial. Two
other co-defendants, Kadeem Gordon and Mario Ricketts, pleaded guilty
before the trial. Two other co-defendants have yet to be arrested.
The jury heard testimony from several witnesses
that members of the conspiracy obtained the personal information
(including names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers) of disabled
veterans and Social Security beneficiaries. The conspirators used this
information to fraudulently open bank accounts and prepaid debit cards
in the victims’ names. She also forged documents in the name of the
victims that instructed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the
Social Security Administration to deposit benefits into those fraudulent
accounts, rather than into the victims’ legitimate bank accounts.
The trial evidence showed that the defendants,
along with other co-conspirators, withdrew these funds for their own
personal use from ATMs and banks in South Florida and Georgia. Much of
the money was eventually funneled to the architects of the plan in
Over the course of five years, from 2012 to 2017,
according to evidence presented at trial, members of the conspiracy
attempted to divert more than $1.8 million in benefits from more than a
hundred disabled veterans and social welfare beneficiaries. security.
Although several of these attempts were blocked, the defendants’
settlement resulted in the actual loss of nearly $1 million, money
diverted from disabled veterans and Social Security beneficiaries. In
any event, the federal government reimbursed these victims the full
amount of their stolen benefits.
“We remain vigilant in our efforts to defend and
protect our disabled veterans and our elderly,” said US Attorney for the
Southern District of Florida Juan Antonio Gonzalez. “This successful
prosecution demonstrates that, despite recent challenges, our Office
continues to prosecute anyone targeting vulnerable members of the
“Yesterday, a jury held these defendants
accountable for their roles in a massive, transnational fraud scheme
that preyed on veterans — many of whom were elderly and at risk — by
diverting VA compensation and retirement benefits to other bank accounts
or veterans’ bank accounts,” said Special Representative David Spilker
of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General’s
South East Field Office. “The VA OIG, along with our law enforcement
partners, is steadfast in our commitment to ensuring veterans are
protected from schemes designed to steal the benefits they have earned
while defending our country.”
“The jury’s verdict holds Omar Bailey and Ronaldo
Green accountable for their greedy and unscrupulous actions that
deprived Social Security beneficiaries and disabled veterans of their
benefits,” said Rodregas W. Owens, special agent responsible for the
Inspector’s Social Security Administration Office. General, Field
Division Atlanta. “I appreciate the investigative efforts of the
Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Task Force and our law enforcement
partners in dismantling this conspiracy and the US Attorney’s Office
prosecuting this case.”
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Special Agent David Spilker of the Department of
Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General’s Southeast Field, and
Special Agent Rodregas W. Owens, Social Security Administration Office
of the Inspector General , made the announcement.
U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez praised the
investigative efforts of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force,
including our partners at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of
the Inspector General, the United States Postal Inspection Service,
Homeland Security Investigations and the Office of the Social Security
Administration of the Inspector General the Inspector General.
The case was pursued by US Assistant Attorneys Lois Foster-Steers and Sajjad Matin.
Combating elder abuse and financial fraud
targeting seniors is a top priority of the Department of Justice. The
mission of the Department’s Elder Justice Initiative is to support and
coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to
combat elder abuse, neglect, and financial fraud and scams targeting our
nation’s seniors. For more information, visit
https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. The public is encouraged to
report their victimization and suspected fraud. To find the right
reporting agency, visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/roadmap or
call the Victim Connection Hotline at 1-855-484-2846.
Criminal complaints, information and charges are
allegations only and defendants are innocent unless and until found
guilty in a court of law.
Related court documents and information can be
found on the District Court for the Southern District of Florida website
at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under
case number 19-cr-60313 .
US Attorney’s Office – District Court for the Southern District of Florida
“I think you have really given the Court and Ryan’s attorneys what
they need to eliminate the visits of Monica and Ronald although, of
course, we know they will not go quietly,” Morris wrote. “We hope it is
the gateway for Ryan to return to his home with Sean.”
Ronald is Ronald Moore, Ryan Morris’ identical twin brother. The
twins were separated, and the entire biological family cut off, shortly
after Morris adopted Ryan, which the court approved over the biological
family’s vehement objections. Twin Ronald, a healthy young man, has a
petition pending to be his disabled brother’s legal guardian as well.
The plight of Brittany Spears
focused attention on the abuses that can be attendant to
conservatorships, California’s official parlance for legal
guardianships. But the twists and turns in Ryan Morris’ highly unusual
case raise profoundly larger questions, pitting two fundamental rights
squarely against one another: the hard-won right for the disabled to
marry and have sex lives, just like everyone else, and their right to be
protected from abuse and undue influence.
Morris, who operated a group foster home with her husband in Orange
County before relocating it to Murrieta and finally shutting it down as
her legal entanglements mounted, wrote her emails to licensed clinical
social worker Richard Rowe in March. He had submitted a report to the
court critical of Ryan Morris’ biological family members, and Morris
expressed her hopes that they would be soon out of the picture once and
Her emails do not reflect well on professionals in Riverside County
and its Public Guardian’s Office, which the court appointed as Ryan
Morris’ temporary conservator while the case wends its way through the courts.
“I spoke with the Court Investigator for Ryan and she was very open
about the county’s disdain for Monica,” Morris wrote. “Ryan struggles to
keep his cool with the ongoing visits with Ronald and Monica … we are
praying for the end of that before Ryan just can’t take it any more (and
What Morris didn’t tell Rowe was that Spicer was ousted as Ryan
Morris’ legal guardian because of what the judge called abusive
behavior. Spicer would threaten to send Ryan Morris back to his adoptive
mother when he misbehaved, threaten to take off his ring and end the
marriage, threaten to send him for emergency mental health treatment,
and punish him by restricting visits with his biological family and
taking his phone away so he couldn’t contact them. Ryan Morris was told
that his biological family was bad and wanted to end his marriage.
Ryan Morris has the intellectual capacity of a 5- to 6-year-old, psychological evaluations found,
and is easily manipulated. In 2019, a psychologist asked him, “Why get
married?” Ryan Morris first talked about his PlayStation Portable, then
said, “Because it’s right. … It’s right for people to get married.” The
psychologist pressed on: “Before you met Sean, were you thinking that
you’d like to get married?” Ryan Morris answered, “We made a deal. That
if I get married, I’d have a cellphone,” according to the report filed
with the court.
Ryan Morris with his aunt Monica Mukai during a Christmas tree lightening in San Juan Capistrano. (Photo courtesy Mukai)
The psychologist concluded that Ryan Morris lacked capacity to enter
into a marriage based on his concrete thinking and limited understanding
of the institution.
But Rowe, the social worker, didn’t know any of that when he wrote
critical evaluations to the court. He had never even been given a copy
of the judge’s order removing Spicer and placing the county public
guardian in control. The vital background didn’t come to his attention
until he was called for a deposition by the biological family’s
attorney, Charles Krolikowski, a partner with Newmeyer Dillion in
Newport Beach, Rowe said in a declaration that went before a judge on Nov. 17.
In his declaration, Rowe disavowed his earlier reports and blasted Riverside County officials for manipulation and bias.
‘Used as a pawn’
Around March 2020, Rowe was asked by Public Guardian Deputy
Conservator Shirley Jackson to provide psychotherapy services in the
conservatorship of Ryan Morris, Rowe said in the declaration. Jackson
told him that, pursuant to a court order, his assignment would be to
perform “relationship building services” among Ryan Morris, his adoptive
mother, Spicer, Mukai and Moore.
“At the time, I asked Ms. Jackson several times for a copy of the
order and any other background information that would be helpful, but
she failed to provide this information to me,” he said.
Rowe was deposed on Oct. 8 by the biological family, and Krolikowski
showed him the judge’s order “and the references to the many instances
of abusive behavior inflicted by Spicer on Ryan,” the declaration says.
“Despite my requests to Ms. Jackson to see the order, I had never seen
these findings before, nor had I seen the actual directive from the
court that Ryan was to visit with various persons in a ‘therapeutic
setting.’ In my professional opinion, ‘visitation in a therapeutic
setting’ is not the same as ‘relationship building’ (or psycho-therapy
sessions), which was the instruction(s) I received from Ms. Jackson.”
Had Rowe known about the order and the actual directive from the
court, he would have approached his assignment much differently, he
“(I)t was Spicer and Michelle that told me that Mukai, Moore, and
even Mr. Krolikowski, were improperly using the legal process to abuse
Ryan, but after reading the order, it appears to me that Moore (and his
counsel, Mr. Krolikowski), were justified in proceeding to remove Spicer
as Ryan’s conservator, and in fact, they prevailed.”
After reviewing the psychological evaluation
that was ordered on Ryan, he came to understand “that Ryan is easily
influenced by others, and … I can see now that Spicer and possibly
Michelle may have influenced Ryan’s negative attitudes, comments, and
behaviors towards his biological family, including Mukai and Moore,”
Rowe said. “I also now have a better understanding that much of the
misinformation and negative comments I received about Mukai and Moore,
were fed to me by Spicer and Michelle. … I was not given the full
picture of Ryan’s situation by Ms. Jackson, Spicer or Michelle.”
Moore, left, and identical twin Ryan Morris embrace after seeing each
for the first time in 13 years at a court hearing on Ryan’s
conservatorship in July 2015. (Photo courtesy Monica Mukai)
Rowe sent an August email to Jackson expressing concern that the
Public Guardian’s Office was overstepping its role, attempting to
influence clinical interventions and violating its duties. “I came to
the conclusion that I was being used as a pawn by the Public Guardian’s
Office to render findings and recommendations without having all of the
information I needed to do so,” he said.
After Rowe challenged Jackson, he was told his services were no
longer needed, he said. In an email to Jackson, he said he was concerned
that her decision to terminate his services was not in Ryan Morris’
best interest, and that she lacked neutrality regarding Spicer and
An emailed response from Riverside County to the Southern California News Group didn’t directly address Rowe’s assertions.
The mission of the public guardian is to safeguard the lives of
people who can’t care for themselves with the least possible restriction
of their liberties, and it must also protect the privacy and
confidentiality of people under conservatorship, said Riverside County
Behavioral Health Director Dr. Matthew Chang.
“Every member of the Public Guardian Program takes this mission
seriously and has worked hard to address new and familiar issues
pertaining to the program. Public trust is crucial for comprehensive
conservatorship, and accountability is a vital component of that trust.”
The biological family also asked the court for permission to visit
with Ryan Morris even if he decided he didn’t want to, in an attempt to
get past the fear instilled in him. Officials say the Public Guardian’s
Office will continue to use its own discretion and honor Ryan Morris’
wishes on visitation.