By: Walt Kane
A woman featured in a series of Kane In Your Corner investigations after she was trapped in a guardianship against her will, has finally gotten her rights restored. But the ordeal lasted three years and cost her an estimated $200,000.
Last week, Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph Quinn finally spoke the words Elberta Cohen was longing to hear.
The Cohen case raises questions about New Jersey’s guardianship system. There are no clear diagnostic standards for judges to determine if a person lacks the capacity to make decisions; the judge’s discretion is nearly absolute. Once in a guardianship, it can be next to impossible to get out. More than 40,000 people lived under guardianship between 2018 and 2022, according to the New Jersey Judiciary. Just 73 people have had rights restored.