Saturday, October 22, 2022

Homer Laffoon Petitions for More Control Over and Access to Late Mom Anne Heche's Financial Assets

 By Charmaine Patterson

Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty

Anne Heche
's son is asking a court for more access to the late actress's assets.

According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, Homer Laffoon's attorney filed documents in the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County on Thursday, requesting "the Court to expand the authority" so the 20-year-old can "take possession of property and other assets of [Heche's] Estate."

Per the filing by Laffoon's attorney Bryan L. Phipps Laffoon needs to be able to remove all of her items from her condo, which was only paid through October, "to avoid addition fees and costs and, ultimately, potential loss."

The documents also note that Heche had several checks addressed to her that she never deposited, which Laffoon will need to deposit before they become "voided." 

PHOTO: Patrick Randak/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Expanding his powers would allow Laffoon to possess the actress's property to protect it "from damage, waste, and injury," and receive any claims and rents that would come to her, according to the filing. He could also "manage, perform, and enforce the rights and interests of [Heche] and the Estate regarding the publication agreement and forthcoming book by [Heche]."

Laffoon is also asking for a bond of $800,000 and access to his mother's financial records. 

Anne Heche Homer Laffoon James Tupper. Photo: getty (2); Anne Heche/Instagram

The new filing comes amid the legal back-and-forth between Laffoon and Heche's ex James Tupper, 57, who co-parented 13-year-old son Atlas Heche Tupper with the actress before her death in August.

Earlier this month, James and Atlas took the next step in their ongoing dispute against Laffoon over who will control the late actress's assets and be appointed the guardian ad litem of Atlas.

In a less than 15-minute hearing, Judge Lee Bogdanoff addressed Christopher Johnson, who was in court with his client, Tupper and his 13-year-old son Atlas, as well as Phipps, who was in court via Zoom on behalf of Laffoon.

Laffoon was not in court for that hearing. 

The judge did not mince words, noting to Tupper: "I take it the matter has not been resolved." All parties concurred and the court found that Tupper and his son had not yet gained access to Heche's apartment to gather items, including clothing and Atlas's computer.

The judge asked Phipps why access hadn't been granted so Atlas could collect his belongings and "maybe to look around in memory of his mom." Phipps replied that there were some outstanding issues, such as an inventory of personal property before granting access. There was discussion that photos were taken of certain items and that Tupper was made aware those would be available for pickup.

Judge Bogdanoff later made it clear the brothers have an equal interest in the estate and that it will get divided equally. Johnson said the real issue is who will be the administrator of the estate — another matter which, as the judge said, remains unresolved. 

Heche died after being involved in a car accident in Los Angeles on Aug. 5. After being in a coma, the state of California declared Heche legally dead on Aug. 12. She was temporarily kept on life support in order to prepare her organs for donation. On Aug. 14, her rep confirmed to PEOPLE she had been taken off life support.

Full Article & Source:
Homer Laffoon Petitions for More Control Over and Access to Late Mom Anne Heche's Financial Assets

See Also:
James Tupper Has 'Little to No Claim' in Legal Proceedings with Anne Heche's Son: Legal Expert 

Anne Heche's Son Homer Claims Actress's Signature on Will Presented by Ex James Tupper Is Invalid

Ohio judge removed over 'unprecedented misconduct' including courtroom jokes about bribes, strip clubs

By Danielle Wallace

The Ohio Supreme Court suspended indefinitely and removed from office a Cleveland judge for alleged "unprecedented misconduct" over a two-year period that included "blatant and systematic disregard of due process, the law, court orders, and local rules."

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey Carr, elected to the bench in 2011, "also was repeatedly dishonest, treated court staff and litigants disrespectfully, abused her power to issue arrest warrants and find individuals in contempt of court," according to statement from the Ohio court system.  

In March 2021, Carr was charged with five counts of judicial misconduct. Carr violated rules governing the appropriate dress, order, and decorum for courtrooms. 

"Her bench was littered with dolls, cups, novelty items, and junk," according to the Ohio Supreme Court. "She presided over her courtroom wearing tank tops, T-shirts – some with images or slogans, spandex shorts, and sneakers. She discussed with her staff and defendants a television show called "P-Valley" about a fictional Mississippi strip club." 

Judge Pinkey S. Carr was elected to the Cleveland Municipal Court bench on November 8, 2011. She officially joined the court when her term began on January 3, 2012. (Cleveland Municipal Court)

"She also joked about accepting kickbacks in lieu of fines and having defendants give her and court staff items such as food, beverages, carpeting, or storage space in exchange for lenient sentences," the court added. "The Supreme Court’s opinion concluded that these actions undermined public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary."

Of the alleged misconduct, Carr was also accused of ignoring a court order to reschedule cases during to onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.  Carr continued to preside over her regular docket the next week. 

For criminal defendants who did not appear, she ordered them to be arrested and set bonds ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. For defendants who were "brave enough," according to Carr, to appear in court despite the potential for exposure to the virus, she waived fines and court costs.

This file photo shows a judge's gavel. 
This file photo shows a judge's gavel.  (Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)

During the disciplinary process, Carr agreed to 583 statements of fact and misconduct stretching across 126 pages. 

Among her ethics violations, the judge acknowledged that she often held hearings without a prosecutor present to avoid complying with the safeguards in state law – such as the requirements that a judge informs the accused of the nature of the charge, the identity of the complainant, the right to counsel, and the effect of different pleas.

The judge also falsified court journal entries by claiming that the prosecutor had amended charges or that she had held hearings to determine a defendant’s ability to pay fines or court costs. 

She also used warrants and incarceration to force the payment of fines, creating a "modern-day debtors’ prison," resulting in at least five people spending time in jail. 

Full Article & Source:
Ohio judge removed over 'unprecedented misconduct' including courtroom jokes about bribes, strip clubs

Clarksville man arrested for abusing elderly


Davon Washington
A Clarksville man has been indicted for abusing the elderly.

In September, a grand jury for the 19th Judicial District of Tennessee handed down two counts of abuse against Davon Washington, 29.

The indictment stated that Washington strangled an elderly woman for whom he was a caregiver.

Washington was arrested on Sunday, Oct. 16 and booked into the Montgomery County Jail.

His bond was set at $10,000.

Full Article & Source:
Clarksville man arrested for abusing elderly

Friday, October 21, 2022

Trapping people with disabilities legally

By Kristin Booth Glen and Jennifer J. Raab

For 80 years, Hunter College has felt a special responsibility to people with disabilities. At our Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute — once Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s home — the future president recovered from polio a century ago. It is here he learned to stand on crutches and steel braces, and to propel himself in a wheelchair, making it possible for him to re-enter public life. Eventually, he lifted himself up so he could lift the entire nation from the depths of the Great Depression.

But FDR would doubtless be shocked to learn that New Yorkers with developmental disabilities are still routinely denied their basic human rights, including the right to make their own decisions — rights that Eleanor Roosevelt championed in her own admirable career.

Although they have done nothing wrong, people with developmental disabilities are routinely placed under guardianship, stripping them of all their legal and civil rights. They can no longer make decisions about their own lives; only their court-appointed guardian has that power. Deprived of the autonomy we all take for granted, the National Council on Disability reports that guardianship negatively impacts their functional abilities, physical and mental health and general well-being.

Even if they are not put under guardianship, their capacity to make important decisions such as giving informed consent to obtain health care, choose to marry — or merely rent an apartment — can be challenged by public and private entities that arbitrarily refuse to recognize their ability to make contracts on their own.

To combat this problem, a groundbreaking project at Hunter College had been working for six years to enable people with both intellectual and developmental disabilities to make their own decisions with the support of trusted people in their lives.

The project, Supported Decision-Making New York (SDMNY), has proven transformative. Its effectiveness was recognized in legislation signed by Gov. Hochul on July 26 — not coincidentally the anniversary of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Now there is no more turning people with developmental disabilities aside just because someone — out of bias or ignorance — decides they don’t know what they’re doing. Again, New York and Hunter are standing at the forefront of protecting human rights.

But there is more to do. We not only need to spread the word that there is an alternative to guardianships for those who choose to utilize support in making their decisions — but also ensure that those affected learn how to make decisions on their own.

The state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities recently awarded SDMNY a three-year, $4 million grant to design and pilot a model that will make the process developed by SDMNY available to everyone in New York who wants it.

Meanwhile, SDMNY and Hunter’s School of Education have been developing a transformative curriculum that will ensure that all students — those with disabilities and without — learn how to make decisions, realize when they need support, and learn how to obtain it. With these tools in place, young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can make guardianship a thing of the past. Drawing on this work, Hunter has just been awarded an $800,000, four-year grant to develop decision-making curriculums for early learners, middle schoolers and transition-age students.

Older people with cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and the like are also negatively impacted by guardianship and the deprivation of their right to make decisions about their lives. Again drawing on SDMNY’s work, Hunter’s Brookdale Center on Healthy Aging is partnering with other aging organizations to identify and develop the supports that will enable older people to live out their lives with dignity and respect.

We need to confront these realities now. For one thing, America’s population is graying — fast. More than 16 million are 75 or older — which is 700% higher than the number in 1900. And according to the CDC, nearly seven million Americans live with intellectual disabilities.

The struggle to advance human rights continues, but New Yorkers can take pride in the fact that, thanks to the new law signed by our governor, their state is leading in an area that has received scant attention in the past. Hunter will continue to solicit support and ideas, not only because of the FDR connection but because it is the birthplace of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations document drafted on Hunter’s Bronx campus in 1946 by an international team led by Eleanor Roosevelt.

In that spirit, it’s time we fully protect individuals with developmental disabilities — and treat them as valued members of society, not as if they were less than fully human.

Glen is former surrogate court judge for New York County and the director of Supported Decision-Making New York located at Hunter College. Raab is the president of Hunter College.

Full Article & Source:
Trapping people with disabilities legally

Taking multiple medications may increase risk of dementia, research shows

By Deep Shukla

Polypharmacy is associated with an increased risk of dementia, highlighting the importance of an integrated approach to care. Westend61/Getty Images
  • The use of multiple prescription drugs, known as polypharmacy, is associated with an increased risk of adverse reactions and interactions between different drugs.
  • Studies suggest that polypharmacy is associated with an increased risk of dementia.
  • A recent study characterizing patterns of polypharmacy before a dementia diagnosis showed that patterns of medication use became increasingly similar as subjects approached the date of diagnosis.
  • The results represent a step toward understanding the role of prescription patterns in the development of dementia and optimizing medication use to reduce the risk of drug-drug interactions.

Studies suggest that the simultaneous use of multiple medications is associated with an increased risk of dementia.

But the patterns of medication use in older adults before the diagnosis of dementia are not well-characterized.

A recent study published in Aging and Disease used machine learning algorithms to characterize changes in the patterns of medication use and co-occurring chronic conditions during the 20-year period before a dementia diagnosis.

The results showed that patterns of medication use were similar as subjects approached the date of their diagnosis, highlighting a need for a more integrated approach to care for individuals with dementia.

“Given the rise in dementia cases internationally, the need to understand how patterns of polypharmacy evolve before and after a dementia diagnosis is important for devising a safe treatment program for each patient,” study author Shang-Ming Zhou, BSc, MSc, Ph.D., a professor of e-Health at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, said in a news release.

“Our aim in this study was to help doctors find ways to prescribe multiple items of dementia medication safely and without reducing their effectiveness. The use of machine learning has been vital in helping us understand how these patterns develop, and our hope is we can now use this knowledge to treat patients.”

– Shang-Ming Zhou, BSc, MSc, Ph.D., lead author of the study

As people get older, some may experience a greater number of co-occurring chronic health problems.

The presence of multiple chronic conditions is associated Trusted Sourcewith an increase in the concomitant use of multiple prescription medications.

In addition, healthcare providers may also prescribe medications as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of occurrence of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the future or prevent their progression.

With an increase in the number of preventive medications that are simultaneously used, the benefit derived due to the use of each medication often declines.

The increase in the number of medications can also increase the risk of adverse effects and interactions between the different medications. In addition, polypharmacy is associated with an increase in the risk of drug-disease interactions, whereby the medications used to treat one disease can worsen the symptoms of another condition.

Consistent with this, polypharmacy is associated with negative clinical outcomes, including an increased riskTrusted Source of hospitalization and death among older adults. Moreover, treatment guidelines for various conditions do not necessarily account for physiological changes that occur with aging.

The use of multiple medications may also make it challenging for the person with dementia to adhere to the prescribed schedule.

However, researchers caution that only the inappropriate use of multiple medications — such as combinations that may interact with or cause additive side effects — is specifically harmful.

By contrast, the use of multiple medications can be effective if the combination is appropriately prescribed by an interdisciplinary team using the best available evidence.

Undertreatment can be as problematic as over-prescription, and researchers have notedTrusted Source that it is essential to ensure that older individuals receive the optimal combination of medications that are specific to their needs. 

Dementia is a neurological condition characterized by a gradual and progressive decline in cognitive function.

In addition to deficits in thinking, memory, judgment, and language, individuals with dementia may also show behavioral and psychological symptoms such as depression, agitation, and anxiety. Thus, individuals with dementia are often prescribed multiple medications to manage these symptoms.

A 2019 meta-analysis showed that the simultaneous use of multiple medications was associated with an increased risk of dementia.

What’s more, the use of one or more anticholinergic drugs that are used to treat conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disorders, and overactive bladder is associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Thus, it is essential to characterize the patterns of medication use before the diagnosis of dementia to better understand the role of these patterns in the development of dementia and reduce the risk of drug-drug interactions.

In the present study, the researchers examined the patterns of polypharmacy, defined as the intake of three or more medicines, over a 20-year period before the diagnosis of dementia in 33,451 individuals.

The researchers used electronic records from primary healthcare providers to obtain data on the prescription of medications and disease diagnosis during the 20-year period prior to the diagnosis of dementia. The 20-year period before the dementia diagnosis was divided into four periods of 5 years each.

The researchers found that the prevalence of individuals using three or more medications increased as their age increased, and they approached the date of dementia diagnosis.

The fraction of individuals living with dementia using three or more medications increased from 5.5% between 16 to 20 years before the dementia diagnosis to 82% during the five-year period preceding the diagnosis.

The researchers then used algorithms to identify clusters of medications that were commonly used together in each of the four time periods. For instance, during the 5-year period prior to the diagnosis of dementia, the researchers identified three distinct patterns.

The first cluster accounted for 66% of subjects and included medications for respiratory and urinary tract infections, osteoarthritis and other related conditions, and cardiovascular diseases.

The second cluster included 22% of subjects and included medications for diabetes, depression, and anxiety in addition to those present in the first cluster.

In addition, a third cluster accounted for 2% of the subjects and included medications for osteoarthritis and related conditions.

Among these clusters, the researchers found medications that have been shown to interact with each other or worsen the symptoms of other chronic conditions.

Similarly, the researchers identified multiple clusters of medications for the remaining three time periods.

As the time from the date of dementia diagnosis increased, the number of clusters or patterns of medication use also increased. For example, the researchers identified 6 clusters for the time window from 11 to 15 years before the date of dementia diagnosis in comparison with 3 clusters during the 5-year period prior to the diagnosis.

As the time from dementia diagnosis increased, each cluster consisted of fewer medicines, and the number of individuals in each cluster became smaller.

Thus, during the 5-year period closest to the dementia diagnosis, two clusters, especially the first cluster, included a large number of medicines and accounted for a majority of individuals (66%).

The larger number of medicines in these clusters suggests that the number of co-occurring conditions increased as subjects moved closer to the date of dementia diagnosis.

Moreover, the larger number of subjects in these clusters suggests they were more likely to show similar patterns of co-occurring chronic conditions and polypharmacy as they approached the date of dementia diagnosis.

These results highlight the importance of an integrated or holistic approach to care for individuals with dementia.

Dr. David A. Merrill, Ph.D., psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Pacific Brain Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, not involved in the study, told Medical News Today:

“The brain is much like the kidney and the heart in terms of being an end-organ that is significantly affected by systemic diseases and the treatments for those conditions. It’s important to take the effects of medication on the whole body into account, even when treating a localized infection like bronchitis or aches and pains from arthritis. The medication choices made over the years with a patient can significantly impact the course of heart and kidney disease and brain health.”

The researchers noted that their study did not examine patterns of polypharmacy in individuals without dementia, and some of the patterns observed in the study could be due to the effects of aging.

Thus, further research is needed to establish causality between the patterns of polypharmacy characterized in the study and dementia.

Full Article & Source:
Taking multiple medications may increase risk of dementia, research shows

Thursday, October 20, 2022

ICYMI: CPSO deputy fired following allegation of exploiting elderly woman

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator fired a 10-year deputy after an investigation indicated he participated in the exploitation of an elderly person.

"I’m extremely disappointed in this person's criminal behavior," said Sheriff Prator. “He is an embarrassment to the brave men and women who work tirelessly to gain the trust of those we serve."

According to the investigation, Joey Lee, 33, went to a victim’s home in the 1800 block of East Kings Highway multiple times while in uniform and manipulated her into giving him approximately $15,000 in cash over the span of three months.

Lee also cashed stolen forged checks at at least one convenience store in Shreveport while in his uniform, Prator said.

Lee was booked into Caddo Correctional Center. He has been charged with forgery, exploitation of persons with infirmities, extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and malfeasance in office.

The case was reported to Caddo detectives Wednesday. Lee was placed on administrative leave without pay and was later terminated following the investigation and subsequent arrest.

So far, there is only one known victim. The investigation is ongoing.

Full Article & Source:
ICYMI: CPSO deputy fired following allegation of exploiting elderly woman

Deatsville couple indicted for financial exploitation

by Cliff Williams

The 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office and the Alabama Securities Commission (ASC) announced the indictment and arrest of Chad Lee Svenby, 41, and Amanda Rose Hoff Svenby, 39, of Deatsville.

The couple was arrested earlier this month after an Autauga County Grand Jury returned two separate indictments.

“Amanda and Chad Svenby were charged with conspiracy to commit financial exploitation of an elderly person, financial exploitation of an elderly person, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud,” ASC Director Joseph Borg said in a release. “Chad Svenby was also charged with securities fraud.”

According to the indictment, Amanda and Chad Svenby conspired with one another to commit financial exploitation and in doing so, breached their fiduciary duty to the victim by abusing a power of attorney (POA). Through the POA, the couple withdrew large sums of money from investment accounts while representing the withdrawals were for the victim’s benefit. Funds were spent at a casino and for the benefit of the couple.

The conspiracy charges are Class C felonies with a range of punishment from one year and one day to ten years’ incarceration and a $15,000 fine per charge. Financial exploitation and securities fraud are Class B felonies with a range of punishment from two to 20 years’ incarceration and a $30,000 fine per charge.

The ASC cautions investors to thoroughly research any investment opportunity. Call the ASC at 1-800-222-1253 and ask for the registration department to check out persons offering investment opportunities, investment advice for a fee and any products they offer. Contact the ASC to report suspected fraud, inappropriate securities business practices, or to obtain consumer information. Free investor education and fraud prevention materials are available at

Full Article & Source:
Deatsville couple indicted for financial exploitation

Moundsville Woman Allegedly Exploits Thousands From Elderly City Resident

by ALAN OLSON Staff Writer

MOUNDSVILLE — A woman faces felony charges after allegedly exploiting a woman who took her in during her time of need, totaling nearly $9,000 in various bills, purchases and legal fees.

In July, Moundsville Police officers met with an 81-year-old woman who was reporting credit card fraud. The woman told police that Kimber Anders, 50 of Moundsville, and her son had needed a place to live for about six months, which she offered to them.

During this time, Anders would occasionally be given her debit card to make purchases, she said, as well as to take temporary, informal loans when necessary with her permission.

Between October 2021 and April 2022, Anders allegedly continued using the woman’s card for things such as Amazon purchases and bills. Police say that between those transactions and a water bill to Anders’ house, the total came to over $1,900.

Additionally, the woman said she had paid more than $7,000 for Anders’ legal bills in 2019, which was done with the expectation of repayment, which she never received.

Anders was arrested in early October and charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person, a felony. She posted $5,000 bond from the Northern Regional Jail. Her preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 25 before magistrate Mark Kerwood.

Full Article & Source:
Moundsville Woman Allegedly Exploits Thousands From Elderly City Resident

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Tom Girardi experiencing ‘further decline’ in Alzheimer’s battle

By Francesca Bacardi

Tom Girardi’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease has worsened, a new legal filing reveals.

A lawyer for the disgraced attorney filed court documents, obtained by Page Six, this week, requesting his conservatorship case be transferred to Orange County, where Girardi now resides in an assisted-living facility.

“In Conservatee’s case, the Executive Director stated that Mr. Girardi was recently moved to the restricted memory care due to a further decline in his memory functions,” the documents state.

Girardi, 83, told his attorney – who visited him at the facility – that he was “being well treated,” the documents state.

Page Six reported in September 2021 that Girardi, who has been disbarred, moved out of his multimillion-dollar mansion in Los Angeles and into the Belmont Village Senior Living facility in Burbank, Calif., which is in Los Angeles county.

Tom Girardi’s health has taken a turn for the worse as he continues to battle Alzheimer’s disease, court records reveal.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

Girardi moved out of that facility and into the OC-based one over the summer, the court documents note. He’s been there since at least July 28, 2022.

“In summary, based on the foregoing, it would appear that the conservatee [Girardi] will be permanently housed in Orange County,” the documents state.

The disgraced lawyer moved from an LA assisted-living facility to one in Orange County.


Girardi’s brother, Robert, was named Tom’s conservator in February 2021, and a mental evaluation assessed that the attorney was suffering from late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Girardi’s estranged wife, Erika Jayne, filed for divorce after 21 years of marriage prior to his diagnosis but recently said that she doesn’t want to finalize their split because she doesn’t want to pay alimony.

“It’s ironic, but if I was divorced from Tom, I’d have to pay him alimony,” Jayne said in a “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” confessional, before adding with a laugh, “I’ll stay married, thanks.”

Full Article & Source:
Tom Girardi experiencing ‘further decline’ in Alzheimer’s battle

See Also:
Tom Girardi

After five ‘rather shocking’ drug arrests, Iowa attorney faces disciplinary action

By: Clark Kauffman

After five drug arrests in the space of 13 months, an Iowa lawyer is facing a possible 18-month suspension of his law license. (Photo courtesy of Iowa Judicial Branch)

After five drug arrests in a little more than a year, an Iowa lawyer is facing a possible 18-month suspension of his law license.

Wesley Alan Johnson, who was admitted to the Iowa bar in 2008, has practiced in Boone County, primarily in the areas of family law, juvenile law, criminal law and guardianships and conservatorships.

In January 2020, Johnson was involved in a car accident in Boone County, resulting in guilty pleas on charges of first-offense drunken driving and possession of methamphetamine.

Six months later, Johnson was arrested after a traffic stop in Polk County. He was charged with drunken driving and with the possession of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine, marijuana, and LSD. He later pleaded guilty to drunken driving and possession of LSD. Because the Boone County case had yet to be resolved, both it and the Polk County drunken-driving convictions were treated as first offenses.

One month after the Polk County arrest, in September 2020, Johnson was stopped in Dallas County and charged with possession of methamphetamine. He later pleaded guilty to the charge.

In February 2021, Johnson was arrested after a traffic stop in Jasper County and charged with driving with a revoked license and possession of methamphetamine, to which he later pleaded guilty.

Four days later, he was arrested in Polk County and charged with driving with a revoked license and illegal possession of oxycodone. He later pleaded guilty to the possession charge.

In May 2021, the Iowa Supreme Court temporarily suspended Johnson’s license to practice law due to a disability or incapacity. Johnson consented to the disability suspension, but the arrests also triggered disciplinary proceedings.

In February of this year, the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board filed a formal complaint against Johnson, alleging professional misconduct relating to his multiple criminal violations and use of controlled substances.

The Grievance Commission of the Iowa Supreme Court then ordered a hearing to take place in May, but Johnson and the board filed a joint stipulation agreeing to the basic facts of the case, and so no hearing was held.

In its recent, written disciplinary recommendation to the Iowa Supreme Court, the commission said it considered Johnson’s statement to a judge after one of his arrests in which he reportedly said, “I know I’ve got a substance issue. I was a practicing attorney for over 12 years and then I started using methamphetamine. Within a year … I lost everything.”

The commission noted that after Johnson made that admission, he entered inpatient treatment as a condition of his probation, but walked away from the program after two weeks, against medical advice and in violation of his probation. That resulted in the revocation of deferred judgments he had received in two of his criminal cases, and he was found in contempt of court. He eventually completed inpatient treatment and was discharged from probation in early 2022.

In making its disciplinary recommendation to the court, the commission said its members “found it rather shocking to note that in a period of barely more than a year, Johnson managed to rack up drug arrests for five separate incidents committed in Boone, Polk, Dallas, and Jasper Counties. And those are only the times he happened to be caught.”

The commission said it was “hopeful that Johnson has now received a wake-up call, but we are also mindful of the fact that Johnson’s first four separate drug arrests apparently did not deliver the message.”

The commission opted to recommend a disciplinary suspension of Johnson’s law license of at least 18 months, with that suspension to begin only after his disability suspension, which is still in effect, has been lifted.

In addition, prior to reinstatement, Johnson would be required to provide medical documentation demonstrating that he “remains clean from drug use and is fit to return to the practice of law,” the commission recommended.

The Attorney Disciplinary Board concurs with most of the commission’s recommendations to the court but argues in favor of having Johnson’s disciplinary suspension run concurrent with his disability suspension, which would accelerate the process by which Johnson could resume the practice of law.

The court has yet to issue a decision in the case.

Full Article & Source:
After five ‘rather shocking’ drug arrests, Iowa attorney faces disciplinary action

106-year-old Largo man shares the secrets to living a long, happy life

First of all, stop eating so much sugar!


First of all, stop eating so much sugar! If you want to live to be 106 years old, you really need to sing a lot more. And eat less sugar, play tennis until you're 102, and be an exceptional skier and ice-dancer, and fisherman. It's all worked for Largo legend Dr. Clare McCreary, a local orthodontist who turned 106 on Monday. Full story:

By: Sean Daly

LARGO, Fla. — If you want to live to be 106 years old, you really need to sing a lot more.

And eat less sugar, play tennis until you're 102, and be an exceptional skier and ice-dancer, and fisherman.

It's all worked for Largo legend Dr. Clare McCreary, a local orthodontist who turned 106 on Monday.

The WWII vet, jewelrymaker and world traveler even had the bright red b-day shirt to prove it. On the front? "106 Young at Heart." The back? "Awesome Is Ageless!"

So seriously, what's the secret to hitting triple digits?

"The secret is you have to be smart enough to choose the right parents," he said with a sly smile.

Dr. McCreary lives at the Palms of Largo, a lovely senior living community where he's surrounded by friends who will be taking him out to dinner for his big day.

What's he eating?

"Stone crabs," he said. "I like the butter, too."

But it's what he won't eat that could be the true key to his epic longevity.

"I went off of sugar when I was in my 30s, and I've been abstaining from sugar ever since," he said.

Dr. McCreary's greatest passion in life was his wife, June, with whom he was wed for almost 80 years.

His other lifelong love? Singing. He still performs in a barbershop quartet.

Today, he's singing solo, altering the lyrics to the pop standard "Young at Heart."

The very act of belting a tune might have something to do with his age, as well. He's been singing since he was eight.

"A singer's breath is a deep breath," he said with a knowing nod. "Like running."

Full Article & Source:
106-year-old Largo man shares the secrets to living a long, happy life

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Baker and Haywood announce guardianship legislation

Sen. Lisa Baker
By Bill O’Boyle

WILKES-BARRE — State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, Sen. Art Haywood, D-Montgomery/Philadelphia, have jointly sponsored legislation that will strengthen guardianship laws in Pennsylvania.

Senators Baker and Haywood introduced the bi-partisan legislation, Senate Bill 1333, which has been unanimously advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 1333, legislation that I have been pleased to work on with Sen. Haywood,” said Sen. Baker, who serves as chair of the committee. “We hear all too often of guardianships resulting in unintended exploitation of individuals. This measure takes a positive step forward to better protect this vulnerable population from abuse.”

Sen. Art Haywood
When a court determines that an adult is incapacitated, it appoints a professional or family guardian, who is responsible for making certain decisions on the adult’s behalf, either fully, or in a limited capacity. After the court transfers legal responsibilities, the guardian can make financial, medical, and personal decisions that the adult is unable to make for themselves.

In October 2019, three court-appointed guardians embezzled more than $1 million from 108 victims in six Pennsylvania counties. With over 19,000 active guardianships in the state, this bill will prevent fraud, abuse, and exploitation, and increase representation for Pennsylvanians.

The new legislation proposes the following:

• Appoints counsel for incapacitated persons without representation.

• Requires certification for professional guardians.

• Advises courts to first explore alternatives to guardianship.

• Requires that petitions for guardianship demonstrate that less restrictive alternatives were considered, but they were insufficient.

Sen. Haywood said, “This legislation remedies the practices that lead to theft.”

While guardianship can be an appropriate tool to support individuals who cannot make decisions themselves, the senators said it should be limited and used only as a last resort.

Alternatives to guardianship include habilitation programs, representative payees managing public benefits, and family or friends serving as health care representatives. These pathways can be equally effective, less expensive, and more emotionally safe, they said.

Senate Bill 1333 has advanced to the full Senate for consideration.  (Continue reading)

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Baker and Haywood announce guardianship legislation

Letter to the editor: Senate guardianship bill dangerous

Guardianship gives one person, a guardian, full control over the life — and life savings — of another person. Guardianship abuse is real, and the guardianship system needs real reform.

Senate Bill 1333 isn’t reform. The bill, which passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee with uncharacteristic haste, makes it easier for bad-apple guardians to take over the lives of the elderly and disabled.

The bill makes it optional for court- appointed attorneys to advocate for the wishes of clients facing involuntary guardianship — wishes that can include staying free and staying out of a nursing home. SB 1333 contains a giant loophole that invokes the Pennsylvania Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct. The Pennsylvania courts have said that the rules allow an attorney to argue for a guardianship. Many prominent attorneys, including members of the prestigious Uniform Law Commission, believe that court-appointed lawyers need to represent the wishes of a person facing the potential loss of fundamental civil rights.

Call your state senator and demand zealous advocacy for seniors and the disabled. Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Vote “no” to SB 1333.

Dr. Mary Dvorak


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Letter to the editor: Senate guardianship bill dangerous

Lawyer disbarred after email faking death to Calif. attorney regulators

By Chinekwu Osakwe

(Reuters) - An attorney in California has been disbarred after state bar officials pursuing ethics charges against him received an email falsely stating that he had died.

Donald Martin Stone of Winnetka, whose Oct. 1 disbarment was disclosed by the State Bar of California on Thursday, initially faced disciplinary action for failing to disclose that he had been convicted of stealing from a Sears department store in 1995.

Stone could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

When approached by the state bar about his alleged failure to disclose his conviction, Stone said in a May 2020 letter that the matter had been vacated and dismissed, records in the disciplinary case show. He also said he was retired from practicing law and requested the disciplinary case be dismissed.

The bar moved forward with a hearing against Stone in July 2021, but he failed to appear. In September 2021, the bar received an email from an address that Stone had used to communicate with officials about the case indicating that he had died "months ago."

Bar officials sent investigators to confirm that Stone had died, but instead found him living at a new address, according to a filing in the case.

The bar submitted a petition for disbarment in November 2021, which the California Supreme Court approved last month.

The case is In the Matter of Donald Martin Stone, No. SBC-20-C-30304, State Bar Court of California.

For California: Lori Flowers

For Stone: Pro Se

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Lawyer disbarred after email faking death to Calif. attorney regulators

Monday, October 17, 2022

Elderly Woman SCAMMED Out of $20,000, Suspects Charged in Miramar

Two men have been arrested and charged with elderly exploitation and theft. NBC 6’s Victor Jorges reports.

Elderly Woman SCAMMED Out of $20,000, Suspects Charged in Miramar

Bond set at $100K for 2 Texas City nursing home employees caught on camera abusing 87-year-old resident, police say

Lisa Jo Cooper, 61, and Kecia Danielle Johnson, 57, were each charged with injury to an elderly person, with bonds set at $100,000. (KPRC)

– Charges have been filed against two nursing home employees who were caught on camera beating and dragging an 87-year-old resident, according to officials with the Texas City Police Department.

Lisa Jo Cooper, 61, and Kecia Danielle Johnson, 57, both turned themselves in Thursday and booked into the Galveston County Jail. They were each charged with injury to an elderly person, with bonds set at $100,000.

On Oct. 2, Texas City police received a complaint about an elderly male being assaulted by two caregivers at a local nursing home in the 1700 block of 25th Street North.

Here's what we know

Video appears to show Cooper and Johnson, who were both employees of Solidago Health and Rehabilitation, dragging Cornelio Salinas across the floor, hitting and kicking him, and then tossing him on the bed.

His family said facility staff told them he fell and had to go to the hospital.

“You never think it’s going to happen to one of your family members,” his grandson, Lizandro Solis, said. “It’s sad.”

The family installed the camera after Salinas complained of staff members mistreating him.

“That’s no way to treat nobody, especially an elderly person with one leg. What is he going to do to you? How can he hurt you?” Solis said.

Salinas was transported to the hospital with bruised eyes and had to wear a neck brace.

After the video surfaced and went viral, the nursing home released a statement, which read:

“The health and safety of our residents remain our first priority. Our thoughts are with the resident and the family. Solidago Health and Rehabilitation enforces strict policies prohibiting patient abuse. Prompt action has been taken to ensure our residents are safe. Any violations of the abuse policy are reported to the appropriate agencies and legal authorities and the facility works closely with those agencies.”

According to Texas Health and Human Services Commission records, inspectors found 11 violations of state standards at Solidago during the most recent check-in in July 2021.

Among the violations are allegations that the facility “failed to provide residents with care and services related to activities of daily living” and “failed to attain or maintain the highest practicable, physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.”

State records show the nursing home was fined $19,800.

“HHSC is aware of the allegations involving this nursing facility and we are actively investigating to determine compliance with all relevant health and safety rules,” a spokesperson for the HHSC wrote in a statement to KPRC 2.

Salinas is expected to recover, but in the meantime, his family has a message for others with elderly relatives.

“Keep an eye on them. Put a camera on them. You never know when it can happen to y’all,” Solis said.

According to the Houston-Galveston Area Council, elder abuse is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country. Signs could include trouble sleeping, confusion or depression, or unexplained bruises, burns or scars.

If you suspect elder abuse, you can report it to the Texas Department of Family Services at 1-800-252-5400.

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Bond set at $100K for 2 Texas City nursing home employees caught on camera abusing 87-year-old resident, police say

Seniors, families learn about resources for elder abuse, social isolation

by Angela Price

Beth Parker-O’Brien and Maggie Black spoke recently to seniors on “Getting Back Out There: How to Re-Engage After the Pandemic.”

EASTON — Brookletts Place Senior Center recently hosted a presentation, “Getting Back Out There: How to Re-Engage After the Pandemic.” The presentation explored elder abuse and social isolation, as well as how to re-engage seniors as a result of the pandemic. The panel of aging experts included Dr. Maggie Black, partner of Shore Neurocognitive Health; Beth Parker O’Brien, LCSW-C, MPH, founder/partner of Shore Neurocognitive and Behavioral Health; Lee Newcomb, adult services social worker, Talbot County Department of Social Services; Mary Sellers, Upper Shore Aging, Inc., Guardianship and Family Caregiver Program; Dana Newman, Talbot County Free Library; and Kate Stinton, RN, LCSW, Talbot County Health Department.

Presenter Kate Stinton reported social isolation is an increasing problem across the United States with Medicare reporting that 1 in 5 people suffer health effects from social isolation and that the cost of these effects is a big concern.

She added, “Social isolation is a lack of contact that involves loneliness, anxiety and depression among other health conditions. Talbot County has a good network of social services. The Health Department has programs available to help; they can talk with physicians, conduct assessments, and make liaisons with customers to work through the issues. The department offers home visits with 1-to-1 staff, assessments to determine health and functional needs, food and transportation, along with case management services. Seniors can also enroll in the Senior Call Check services, which can help give them a feeling of security. They can help you understand loneliness and social isolation.”

“Some risk factors for social isolation are living alone, decreased mobility, not leaving the home, suffering a major loss, financial struggles, being a caregiver, memory loss, cognitive changes, limited social supports, and eating meals alone,” Stinton said.

According to presenter Lee Newcomb, the Talbot County Department of Social Services provides services to the elderly and vulnerable adults over the age of 18. Additionally, workers make assessments to determine what services are helpful.

“The definition of vulnerable is an individual who lacks the mental and/or physical capacity to take care of their daily needs. The majority of the referrals received by our department are for financial exploitation and self-neglect. Self-neglect is when one isn’t taking care of their daily needs. Financial exploitation involves a scam or fraud that involves the transfer of money. It can happen with a family member, a caregiver, or calls/texts on your phone. We try to educate victims on what has happened and how to prevent future exploitation in the future.”

Another role of the Department of Social Services is to determine whether the victims have diminished cognitive capacity.

Newcomb said, “If the individuals are of sound mind and are making poor decisions, services are not appropriate. Adults have the right to make poor decisions.”

For help in determining cognitive capacity, Shore Neurocognitive Health in Easton offers memory screening, neurocognitive testing and psychotherapy with a focus on the aging population. The business provides education regarding anxiety, depression, caregiver stress and testing to determine if an adult is vulnerable and experiencing cognitive impairment. It can make referrals to the Department of Social Services and the Health Department.

Beth Parker O’Brien and Maggie Black said they want to help families navigate these tough issues. Social isolation and memory are connected. If one had a good memory before COVID, but not now – they can help the adult figure out what has happened. The central isolation encountered during COVID was a major obstacle and didn’t help anyone as daily life was being impacted, they said.. Depression increased, anxiety increased and memory was impacted. They are seeing that COVID has a memory impact even among younger people.

Mary Sellers shared resources from Upper Shore Aging Inc., which serves Caroline, Kent and Talbot counties. Talbot county receives 44% of the budget, which serves the frail and elderly through the Family Caregiver program that provides grants to families and caregivers, along with education to those age 60 and above. Some grandparents and clients with dementia are also served.

She explained how to tap into these resources, “An individual needs an impairment in at least two activities of daily living, and income is not considered. However, a declaratory income statement is required. Home-delivered meals are very valuable in reducing social isolation as you see a volunteer face to face, and they check on the individual during the delivery. The average age of people served through the program is 85 years age. We are also seeing an increase in younger disabled individuals trying to qualify for services along with relatives who have quit their jobs to care for their disabled family members.”

Stinton said families and friends are important to help with taking the small steps to make connections. The senior centers, community centers, churches, theaters and libraries are all also places where one can make connections.

Dana Newman shared resources from the Talbot County Free Library to help seniors stay connected and find information on such topics as medical concerns and potential scams. The library also has programs for engagement and staying connected with loved ones virtually through FaceTime and Zoom. Staff can assist and can offer WiFi hot spots for free that give internet connections for two months (there are some data limitations). The library has online programming, including an online resource arts and crafts class called Creative Bug and an Easton Book Club that meets once a month. The library’s My Tech program offers people the opportunity to have information technology questions answered and to learn FaceTime and Zoom.

The panel ended by encouraging participants to look out for their neighbors to see if changes are occurring and to reach out to one of the resources mentioned if help is needed. The agencies represented at the event work cooperatively to help families navigate the resources they need to address these important aging issues. For more information, call Brookletts Place at 410-822-2869 or visit

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Seniors, families earn about resources for elder abuse, social isolation