From Jakkie Pidanick–NJ judges dismissed from case saying they violated Due Process repeatedly in custody cases

This is very sad.  When judges repeatedly deny parents hearings on custody, automatically give sole custody to one parent over the other without a hearing, etc. it clearly violates due process.

These litigants should also file for a writ of mandamus (supervisory order) and the NJ Supreme Court should tell the family trial courts they MUST hold hearings and listen to all the evidence regarding what is in the best interests of the children.

I don’t know about providing every litigant a free lawyer.  Maybe that can be done on a sliding scale, but who would fund that cost?  Perhaps some of you creative parents out there can think of a way (bake sales and Etsy sales?)

Read on below:

Judges Freed From Dads’ Challenge to NJ Custody Laws

P.J. D’Annunzio, New Jersey Law JournalJune 27, 2017    | 1 Comments

Judge Julio Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Judge Julio Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Carmen Natale

A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of several New Jersey family judges from a lawsuit brought by fathers challenging the constitutionality of the state’s child custody laws.

On June 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of 14 Superior Court judges, holding that the judges were not proper defendants in the case.

According to Third Circuit Judge Julio Fuentes’ opinion, the fathers claim that the family courts deprived them of custody of their children and interfered with their rights to the care, custody and control of their children, without a full hearing, in violation of the 14th Amendment.

They specifically allege that court policy denies parents a plenary hearing when one parent loses custody. The fathers further claim that, although mothers and fathers are theoretically treated equally in custody disputes, in practice courts favor mothers. Additionally, they maintain that New Jersey discriminates against indigent parents by not providing them with counsel in a divorce proceeding or other family disputes that results in a loss of custody.

The Family Part judges who were named as defendants in the suit were Lawrence DeBello, Timothy Chell, Kathleen DeLaney, James DeMarzo, Madelin Einbinder, Marlene Lynch Ford, Christopher Garenger, Lawrence Jones, Severiano Lisboa, Anthony Massi, John Tomasello, Sherri Schweitzer, Nancy Sivilli and Maureen Sogliuzzo.

Fuentes said that, before the validity of the plaintiffs’ claims could be addressed, the question of whether the family court judges should even be party to the suit had to be answered. The case was filed under the Declaratory Judgment Act, with the fathers seeking declaratory and injunctive relief relating to the rulings the judges made in their respective custody cases.

The answer hinged on whether the judges in question are neutral arbiters of the New Jersey custody statute, or if they have enough flexibility under the statute and policies that they become enforcers, Fuentes said.

“In this case, because we conclude that the judicial defendants have acted in an adjudicatory capacity and not in an enforcement capacity, they are not proper defendants,” Fuentes said.

“To be sure, the best-interests-of-the-child standard statute gives state court judges broad discretion to determine a custody situation. State court judges also have broad discretion to decide motions on the papers under New Jersey Supreme Court and Appellate Division precedent,” he added.

However, he said, “the state court judges themselves do not have any right to initiate these actions. Instead, a parent must initiate a custody dispute. Nor were the state court judges here given any administrative function.”

Jersey City-based lawyer Paul A. Clark, who represented the fathers, said the the U.S. Supreme Court “has repeatedly allowed state court judges to be defendants when state courts violate federally guaranteed constitutional rights,” and the Third Circuit “has also now adopted an extremely narrow interpretation of the Declaratory Judgment Act which largely eviscerates it.”

“That said, the Court has simply sidestepped and avoided the serious problem here which is that New Jersey, through its court system routinely strips parents of the fundamental right to the custody of their children, and does so in summary, often ex parte proceedings,” Clark said in an email. “Because the Third Circuit decision only said that the judges named as defendants were not the proper defendants we will continue to pursue suits against New Jersey naming other defendants.”

Benjamin Zieman, of the state Attorney General’s Office, who represented the judges, did not respond to a request for comment.


From Ken Ditkowsky and the WSJ: Chicago Police Officers indicted in cover up of shooting (McDonald)

And you know the entire system is part of the cover up, from the police to city lawyers–they’re all in on it and the ARDC does nothing about lawyers that assist clients in suppressing evidence.  The ARDC only spends its time and money going after lawyers that expose the corruption, and they do it with a vengeance, lock, stock and barrel.


CHICAGO—Three Chicago police officers were indicted Tuesday on felony charges of covering up what happened during the fatal shooting of a black teenager by Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014.

Detective David March and Officers Joseph Walsh, Mr. Van Dyke’s partner that night, and Thomas Gaffney were each charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice, said Patricia Brown Holmes, the special prosecutor in the case.

Chicago Police Release Video of Laquan McDonald Shooting
Police dashboard camera video of the shooting.

She was appointed last year to consider charges against officers who may have lied to protect Mr. Van Dyke, who fatally shot Laquan McDonald 16 times. A grand jury had voted on the three-count indictment Monday.

“The indictment makes it clear that these defendants did more than merely obey an unofficial ‘code of silence,’ rather it alleges that they lied about what occurred to prevent independent criminal investigators from learning the truth,” Ms. Holmes said.

According to court documents, Detective March and Officers Walsh and Gaffney conspired to “conceal the true facts of events surrounding the killing of Laquan McDonald…to shield their fellow officer from criminal investigation and prosecution.”

They “lied about what occurred and mischaracterized the video recordings” of the shooting to keep the video from investigators and the public, the document added, and the officers created police forms “that contained important false information.”

Officer Van Dyke, who is white, shot Mr. McDonald 16 times in October 2014 after officers responded to reports of a man breaking into vehicles. The officer has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges.

A police dashboard camera video, was released more than a year later after a court order. It showed a dramatically different account of the shooting than was described by officers.

A police report said Mr. McDonald had swung a knife at officers “in an aggressive manner” and that Officer Van Dyke continued firing because Mr. McDonald was attempting to get up and was still armed, according to court documents.

The video, however, shows Mr. McDonald veering away from officers before he was shot, while holding a small knife at his side. When shot, Mr. McDonald immediately dropped to the ground.

The indictment alleges the officers failed to locate, interview or identify witnesses whose information would contradict accounts of Chicago police.

Lawyers for the three officers could not be immediately reached Tuesday. Only Officer Gaffney is still with the Chicago police, a department spokesman said, and he will be suspended per department policy.

The officers could each be facing up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

The shooting and the alleged coverup, including the lengthy delay in releasing the video, led to widespread protests in Chicago and fallout within the police department. A new superintendent recommended that several officers be fired for allegedly lying over the incident.

“The shooting of Laquan McDonald forever changed the Chicago Police Department and I am committed to implementing policies and training to prevent an incident like this from happening again,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “Throughout this investigation, CPD has fully cooperated with prosecutors and will continue to do so.”

The police department was also investigated by the Justice Department, which found a systemic practice of excessive force, particularly against minorities.

Ms. Holmes, the special prosecutor, added that the grand jury investigation is continuing. A spokesman for Ms. Holmes declined to comment on whether more officers might be charged.

The police union said Tuesday they had not yet reviewed the indictment and “do not comment on an ongoing investigation.”

Write to Shibani Mahtani at

From Ken Ditkowsky–new SCOTUS cases uphold broad interpretation of 1st amendment rights

With regard to the Lanre Amu case, a lawyer who discovered that Judge Lynn Egan was granting far too many motions to certain litigants appearing before her.  Attorney Amu discovered that certain litigants were being represented by Judge Lynn Egan’s brother’s law firm and this appeared to help that firm win many questionable motions.  Of course, Judge Lynn Egan isn’t supposed to have her brother or his law firm appearing before her.  That would be unethical.  So Crain’s Chicago Business conducted an investigation and found that not only that was true, but Judge Egan was sitting on the Board of various suburban hospitals and also hearing their cases and again,  motions were being won by the defendant hospitals far too many times.  The hospitals kicked Judge Egan off their Boards and apologized for the corruption.
Nothing has happened to Judge Egan for all of this, oh, and in addition, when Attorney Lanre Amu wrote to the Judicial Inquiry Board complaining about the corruption, that’s when the Illinois ARDC went after HIM, accusing him of lying, just as they falsely accused Ken and I of lying, and then put together the same type of court court with a lack of integrity and convicted us all—OF TELLING THE TRUTH.
The people who have done this, Jerome Larkin, Melissa Smart, Steven Splitt and Sharon Opryszek have absolutely no guilt, remorse, sympathy or empathy.  They are part of and assist in corruption at every level of the ARDC.  No wonder why the ARDC has not forced a single lawyer to turn over some 27 videos showing innocent South Siders being shot in cold blood by the CPD.
From Ken Ditkowsky:
Let’s do an analysis of the cases handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States last week.

3) Packingham v. North Carolina

Date Filed: June 19, 2017

Case #: 15-1194

KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, J., joined. GORSUCH, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Full Text Opinion:

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Under the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, North Carolina’s law making it a felony for a registered sex offender to access commonplace social media websites is unconstitutionally invalid because it suppresses lawful speech as a mean to suppress unlawful speech.

Respondent passed a law making it a felony for a registered sex offender to access commercial social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Petitioner, a registered sex offender, had a parking ticket dismissed against him in state court. In response, Petitioner posted on Facebook under a pseudonym. A police officer saw the post and confirmed that it was Petitioner by checking court records and obtaining further evidence via a search warrant. Petitioner was indicted by a grand jury and the trial court denied Petitioner’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that the statute violated the First Amendment. Petitioner was subsequently convicted, but his prison sentence was suspended. Respondent never brought any allegation claiming that Petitioner had contacted a minor or performed any other illicit act while on the internet. Petitioner then appealed to the Court of Appeals of North Carolina which reversed determining that the statute violated the First Amendment and failed strict scrutiny review. The North Carolina Supreme Court reversed finding the statute was “constitutional in all respects.” Petitioners then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which granted certiorari to decide “whether the law is permissible under the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause, applicable to the States under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The Court determined that the statute was invalid. Using the precedent in Ashcroft, the Court reasoned that the law was overly broad in that it suppressed lawful speech as a means of suppressing unlawful speech.  REVERSED and REMANDED.

[Summarized by: Grant Elder]

While a lawyer and a sex offender are not quite identical, the point is illustrated that Jerome Larkin and the Illinois Supreme Court cannot prevent you from complaining about judicial corruption and in particular the very same factual corruption scandal that was reported in Crain’s Chicago Business!
How does therefore does Larkin justify any claim against you?     In a word – RACISM!    Rule 8.3 of the Canons of legal ethics demands that you do exactly what you did.   Thus, the proposition is presented that Rule 8.3 applied only to a particular group of lawyers and not other lawyers.    The interim suspension suggests that the discrimination is prima facia racial and due to your dark hue to your skin!

Date Filed: June 19, 2017

Case #: 15–1293

ALITO, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III–A, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined, and in which THOMAS, J., joined except for Part II, and an opinion with respect to Parts III–B, III–C, and IV, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS and BREYER, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. GORSUCH, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Full Text Opinion:

FIRST AMENDMENT: The disparagement clause of 15 U. S. C. §1052(a), which forbids the registration of trademarks containing possible “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp[t] or disrepute” to any “persons,” is viewpoint regulation of private speech that fails First Amendment scrutiny.

Respondent’s trademark application was denied by Petitioner, the Patent and Trademark Office, because it contained an historically racially offensive slur: “The Slants.” Petitioner cited to 15 U. S. C. §1052(a) (the “Disparagement Clause”), which forbids the registration of trademarks containing possible “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp[t] or disrepute” to any “persons.” The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Disparagement Clause facially violated the First Amendment, because it regulates expressive conduct in a manner that does not satisfy strict scrutiny. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed. The Court, by majority, determined that trademarks are private speech and not government speech, because Petitioner does not create the content that it reviews in trademark registrations. The Court also noted that once the trademark is registered, Petitioner is prohibited from removing the trademark based on viewpoint. The remainder of the Court’s analyses regarding other narrow doctrines of the First Amendment (including: government subsidy doctrine, government program doctrine, public forum doctrine, and commercial speech doctrine) were split four to four, but the full Court concurred in judgment that the Disparagement Clause would not pass the scrutiny required by any of the doctrines argued. AFFIRMED.


It may be disparaging to tell the truth about elected judges who pay large sums of money to be slated for the office of judge and it may not be politically correct in Chicago or any large City to disclose corruption – especially in the judiciary, but if I can call an Asian person a name that is disparaging and be within the Constitution protections, I certainly can call a ‘spade’ a ‘spade’ and a corrupt judge “corrupt!”
Indeed – all the facades have been lifted and the naked truth has been exposed!    Lanre Amu was targeted.    First he was targeted because he exercised his CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.   How dare a Man with a dark color hue to his skin – who is a naturalized American who immigrated from Africa – complain just because a corrupt judge, who just happens to be on the Board of a defendant seeking adjudication in her courtroom will not recuse herself!   How dare such an individual should complain because the defendant’s law firm happens to employ the brother of the judge!   How dare a respected business publication make the same complaint as this *****!
Mr. Amu – to me this situation creates the impression of very serous racism, and with coupled with the discourtesy afforded Diane Nash (a civil rights icon) I can only conclude that JEROME LARKIN and his 18 USCA 371 co-conspirators are the worst kind of racists.
I’ve written to the IARDC, Jerome Larkin and prominent members of the political community demanding Justice for Lanre Amu many times and no relief has been afforded.    I therefore as a REASONABLE MAN must conclude that RACISM AND JIM CROW are the POLICY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS!   SHAME! SHAME!

Ken Ditkowsky

Things not to be believed. When an attorney’s quest to protect her elderly mother from an abusive guardianship turns into a $5 million bond

I have not talked to Barbara Stone in a long time.  The last time I talked to her was to say good bye because “those who are in charge” threatened her that if she continued to speak out against the abusive guardianship of her mother, her mother would end up dead.

I know there are many of you out there that have heard the threat, that is sad and it disgusts me.

I know Barbara.  I have seen her in action. She is smart, a great attorney and helps everyone who comes to her.  I watched her spend hours on the phone trying to help others.

But the Racket in Miami Dade is well entrenched and very, very evil.

I have seen the corrupt court system with states attorneys that run to the judge’s office to talk about the case.

I have seen how Barbara was treated with disgust.

I have seen her files with many, many documents missing.

She begged numerous states attorneys to intervene.  She stood in their waiting rooms and the head attorneys came out, but only to make sure she wasn’t telling others in the waiting room about the corruption.

A client of mine I am helping with ARDC complaints, whose mother was murdered in probate and a $2 million building in trust was stolen from her by a team of OPG attorneys just told me a Federal Court Judge just kicked her complaint for the second time.  They want to hush her up. They don’t want her story of corruption to go to a jury.

Another woman called me today about an evil attorney sister conspired with other attorneys in Lake county to leave her with a $50k distribution of a $500k estate that should have been split 50/50.  Where did her $250k go? I told her to bring in the papers and we would report to the FBI.  I asked her how she found me.  She Googled the ARDC and corruption and this blog popped right up. I said, I am suspended, probably permanently because the Illinois Supreme Court won’t do anything about the corruption and the ARDC and SCOI work together to cover up corruption in Illinois. She said, she knows that, had been to dozens of attorneys and no one would help her with the theft, defamation, lies, slander in probate court in Lake County. They told her to go with the flow, don’t make a fuss, embezzlement by another attorney is no big deal, it happens all the time. The clouted steal and if you make a fuss you will get death threats.  She has seen the corruption and no longer trusts anyone admitted to the bar.

She got death threats.

The file disappeared.  She could not get copies of anything in the Estate for months.

Who does these things?  Judges and lawyers make good salaries. They don’t have to steal.

Now from Ken Ditkowsky on behalf of Barbara Stone.  Please pray for Barbara, I understand she is back in jail again–only for protecting her mother.  A mother she can’t see and who is threatened with death and if you follow her around only for a week, you will see the corruption oozing out of Miami Dade court system and states attorneys.  It’s just so damn obvious.

From Ken Ditkowsky:

Stripped to its core the proceedings against Barbara Stone have their genesis in an illegal attempt by an obviously corruption guardian aided and abetted by an equally dishonest jurist to silence Barbara’s complaint that her mother was being elder cleansed, i.e. she was isolated, dehumanized, doped, deprived of solid food, and set up for a legal killing!.   
If Attorney General Bondi does an HONEST INVESTIGATION she will find not only criminal conduct directed toward a senior citizen, but serious health care fraud.    This situation is echoed Nationwide as it is appearing that more and more senior citizens are being swept up by the miscreants as commodities.     Philip Esformes (indicted for stealing a billion dollars using the criminal enterprises of his South Florida nursing homes) is not the only major criminal operating in South Florida and preying on the elderly.
Dr. Sam Silver has authored a blog AAAPG that details more of the criminal enterprise that is disgracing Florida and America.    The alleged political roots to South Florida political figures is despicable and reprehensible!     It is not an accident that elder cleansing is a major industry of South Florida!    The breach of public trust coupled with the theft of Federal health care funds bring 18 USCA 371 into play and we hope that not only General Bondi will now act and commence an HONEST INVESTIGATION but that the United States of America will also act and commence an HONEST INVESTIGATION as to the Racketeering venture mergers that exist in concert between the Political elite and the Health Care elite.
No matter how well thought out or well drafted the new HEALTH CARE BILL designed to replace Obama care may be IT IS DEAD unless right NOW the United States of America commences action designed to reduce the 700% fraud surcharge.    The Barbara Stone, Mary Sykes, Alice Gore ***** cases all demonstrate the humongous fraud (judicially aided) that robs the elderly of their humanity, civil rights, liberty and property.     How such pernicious judicial and political conduct can be tolerated is incomprehensible.   
Please = General Bondi!    Do not take a word that we say as fact – just do an HONEST INVESTIGATION and you will see for yourself just how ‘bad things are’ in Florida and many of its sister States.    This is an emergency situation!

On Friday, June 23, 2017, 11:12:08 AM CDT, Janet Phelan <> wrote:
Ken, it says repeatedly do not arrest based on this information. Can you comment?

On Friday, June 23, 2017, 12:57:50 PM GMT-3, Janet Pipes <> wrote:

Hard to understand

From: MetroFax []
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2017 7:47 AM
Subject: MetroFax message from “unknown” – 3 page(s)


to Janet, Janet
When you talk to Ms. Fox maybe you ought to reminder her of the oath that every attorney takes before admission to the bar.
A lawyer worthy of his/her salt will stand up for HONOR, INTEGRITY, and the RULE OF LAW even when justice requires him/her to be politically incorrect, take an unpopular stand, and even when his/her license to practice law is placed in jeopardy by the legal position he/she takes.   The practice of law is a PUBLIC TRUST.   
Here in Illinois we have had the sorry spectacle of JEROME LARKIN the administrator of the Illinois attorney disciplinary commission (IARDC) defile himself and his profession by engaging in an 18 USCA 371 conspiracy to elder cleanze senior citizens and aid and abet the defrauding of the United States of America.   The evidence is been well documented in the MaryGSykes and Probate Sharks blogs.   We are all hoping that the Arizona authorities, and Governor Scott and AG Bondi are better examples of public officials.   As late as this last week the SCOTUS pointed out that First Amendment applied to political correctness and to people of bad reputation.    Government was barred from denying even the most disreputable individuals FREE SPEECH!     Denying lawyers and members of the ‘great unwashed’ free speech = as Jerome Larkin, and the corrupt judge in Stone case have done – is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and contrary to the Rule of Law.   The decisions of the SCOTUS are not suggestions – they are the rule of law.   The fact that Jerome Larkin and other corrupt public officials
Here it is, the absolutely unbelievable:  $5 million bond to protect your mother from probate court (this has to take the cake, why is no one investigation, these monsters belong in PRISON for the rest of their lives)
Case InformationCase InformationState Case No.: 13-2013-CF-029726-0001-XX Name: STONE, BARBARA Date of Birth: 03/16/1953Date Filed: 12/20/2013 Date Closed: 09/11/2015 Warrant Type: PW Warrant Amount: $5,602,654.00Assessment Amount: $853.00 Balance Due: $0.00 Stay Due Date: 09/11/2016Address: 1351 N.W. 12 STJudge: COLODNY, YVONNE Defense Attorney: SCHWARTZ, JONATHANFile Section: F021 File Location: FILE ROOM Box No: Probation Start Date: 09/11/2015 Probation End Date: 09/11/2018 Probation Length: 3 YEARS Probation Type: PROBATION Defendant in Jail: N Defendant Release to: PROBATION, Bond Amount: $0.00 Bond Status: DISCHARGED Bond Type: RELEASED OWN RECOGNIZANCE Bond Issue Date: 03/19/2015
$5 million bond to protect an elderly mother from MURDER.  who does this?
State Case No.: 13-2013-CF-029726-0001-XX Name: STONE, BARBARA Date of Birth: 03/16/1953
Date Filed: 12/20/2013 Date Closed: 09/11/2015
Warrant Type: PW Warrant Amount: $5,602,654.00
Assessment Amount: $853.00 Balance Due: $0.00 Stay Due Date: 09/11/2016
Address: 1351 N.W. 12 ST
File Section: F021 File Location: FILE ROOM Box No:
Probation Start Date: 09/11/2015 Probation End Date: 09/11/2018
Probation Length: 3 YEARS Probation Type: PROBATION
Defendant in Jail: N Defendant Release to: PROBATION,
Bond Amount: $0.00 Bond Status: DISCHARGED
Bond Type: RELEASED OWN RECOGNIZANCE Bond Issue Date: 03/19/2015

On Friday, June 23, 2017, 2:48:20 PM GMT-3, <> wrote:



From Injustice Watch and Paul Abramson–What is the Problem with the Judicial Inquiry Board in Illinois?

Injustice Watch- 

In Illinois, punishment is slow and lenient for errant judges


Beset by too many cases and too little money, Illinois officials are struggling with their constitutional responsibility to investigate and punish errant judges.

It commonly takes years to act against judges who violate the Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct, and the punishment seldom is more than a public reprimand.

An investigation by Injustice Watch, a new organization devoted to exposing systemic problems that impede justice and equality, identifies widespread problems:

• The Judicial Inquiry Board, the agency that investigates judicial misconduct, has seen its budget shrink in recent years even as the number of complaints has grown.

• The backlog of cases has grown, and state officials warn that budget cuts hobble the agency’s ability to accomplish basic tasks.

• Vacancies on the Judicial Inquiry Board went unfilled for years, despite the auditor general’s criticism that the empty seats violated the Illinois Constitution and hampered the agency’s ability to function.

• Fewer than one in 100 complaints to the board end in public discipline, and the most common discipline, when it occurs, is a reprimand.

Judicial Inquiry Board complaints have had limited impact, in recent years, beyond whatever discipline the Illinois Courts Commission imposes. Since 2000, none of the judges who left the bench after a formal complaint have been suspended from practicing law. Judicial Inquiry Board complaints since then have not sparked any criminal charges. Even the judges removed for misconduct continue to collect their judicial pensions that often top $100,000 a year for life.

Ineligible, yet rewarded

In 2004 the Illinois Courts Commission, the agency that adjudicates Judicial Inquiry Board complaints, took the rare step of removing Francis X. Golniewicz III from office as a Cook County Circuit Court judge.

Francis X. Golniewicz III

Chicago Sun-Times

Former Cook County Judge Francis X. Golniewicz III.

Golniewicz had used deception to win election, falsely stating where he lived to make himself eligible for election within a subcircuit miles from his home.

Once on the bench, furthermore, he made comments that called his temperament and impartiality into question. In one case, he taunted an African American defendant, “When I’m talking to you, boy, you look at me.” In another case, after jurors returned a verdict with which Golniewicz disagreed, he dismissed them curtly, tearing up certificates that had been prepared to honor them for their service, and declared in a voice loud enough for them to hear, “They don’t deserve them.”

The commission found those actions amounted to finding “a pattern of behavior that violated the judicial canons, demeaned the integrity of the judiciary, and brought the judicial office into disrepute.”

The commission also found that Golniewicz had won election to his judicial seat by deception. Golniewicz had initially been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a vacancy in 1991, and served through court appointments until he won election in 1993 to a vacancy in the county’s tenth subcircuit, which includes a large portion of Chicago’s northwest side.

To be eligible for that position, Golniewicz, a Democrat, used his parent’s home address. But Golniewicz lived 13 miles away, in west suburban Riverside, with his wife and children. His parents’ home was “a Democratic stronghold,” while Riverside was a Republican stronghold, the commission noted, concluding he misstated his address “to run from the address that provided him the greatest chance of winning.”

Golniewiecz's parent's home

Emily Hoerner / Injustice Watch

Former Cook County Judge Francis X. Golniewicz III’s parents home in Chicago’s northwest side.

Golniewicz's Riverside home

Emily Hoerner / Injustice Watch

The actual home of former Cook County Judge Francis X. Golniewicz III, where he lived with his family in Riverside.

Golniewicz served in that seat for the next 10 years, until he was removed from office. Holding the seat by deceit has proved lucrative: Golniewicz is receiving a pension for the 14 years he served. This year, his pension is more than $89,000.

Golniewicz said in an interview that the pension payments include money he contributed to the retirement account over 14 years of service. “It’s not as if I’m getting something for nothing,” he said.

He told Injustice Watch last week of the disciplinary process, “The process takes a really long time, cases drag on forever, and by the end of it no one cares.”

Scandal Bred Current System

The current Illinois judicial disciplinary system was created in the aftermath of a scandal involving two Supreme Court justices in 1969. The idea was to include in the process justices, trial judges, lawyers, and even non-lawyers.

Two new state agencies were created in 1970: The Judicial Inquiry Board, to investigate complaints of misconduct; and the Illinois Courts Commission, to adjudicate cases brought by the board.

WATCH: Bad Judgment Report on WMAQ, NBC Chicago

Whether the system is ideal remains a matter of debate. “I’m not sure that having that two-tier system is all that effective because what you have is this sort of unknown, these two unknown bodies,” said James Alfini, dean of the South Texas College of Law, who co-authored a book on judicial ethics. “They don’t really report to anybody, so I’m not sure there’s much accountability.”

The question for the agencies as they examine a judge’s conduct is whether it violated the Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct. A large number of cases each year are dismissed without investigation because they involve disappointed parties to court cases – many writing from prison – who challenge legal rulings, not judicial conduct.

Cases Go On For Years

In May, the state auditor issued an alarming report. The Judicial Inquiry Board had 311 pending complaints by the end of fiscal 2014, and the auditor warned that “the growing inventory level increases the risk the board’s caseload will become unmanageable.”

Inquiry board officials told the auditor that there were many contributing factors. From 2008 through 2014, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and then Pat Quinn left several non-lawyer seats on the board vacant. The auditor general warned that the vacancies violated the constitutional mandate and hampered the inquiry board’s ability to operate effectively. Gov. Bruce Rauner finally filled three new non-judge member seats this year, bringing the agency to the constitutionally-mandated number for the first time in years.


Another factor: The increasing number of complaints being filed by prisoners complaining of rulings by the trial judges who presided over their cases.

There also was the issue of money. Cynthia Gray, director of the Center for Judicial Ethics at the National Center for State Courts, said that judicial misconduct boards across the nation struggle with a lack of money that hampers their ability to respond in a timely manner to misconduct complaints.

“I don’t think any of them have enough [money] to do a thorough job, in particular, since they’re constantly being criticized for not doing a better job,” Gray said. “It does cost money to do a good job.”


The budget in recent years dropped by more than 15 percent in six years – from $785,000 in fiscal 2009 to $680,000 in fiscal 2015. For the current year, though the state has not yet enacted a budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner proposes the budget be cut another 10 percent, to $612,000.

Listen Retired Judge Raymond McKoski talks about low funding for the Judicial Inquiry Board in Illinois.

Of the six largest states in the nation, Illinois receives the smallest amount of funding for dealing with errant judges, a review by Injustice Watch shows. In Pennsylvania, a smaller state than Illinois, the Judicial Conduct board budget for fiscal 2015 was more than $1.5 million, with a full time staff of 11. The Texas budget for fiscal 2015, was $982,006, with a staff of 13 full-time positions.

The lack of money has an impact. The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board has only five paid full-time staff, including two investigators for the entire state.

Inquiry board director Kathy Twine told auditors that for the first two years after she arrived at the agency, from 1998 to 2000, there were six to seven employees, who handled an average of 431 complaints each year. From 2012 to 2014, in contrast, the board had five employees, working on an average of 529 complaints in those two years, Twine told the auditors. She told Injustice Watch that there were 526 complaints in 2014, a dip from 546 the year before.

The auditor expressed concern that there is no requirement on how quickly cases should be handled, a problem heightened as the caseload grows and budget shrinks.


One case, seven years

No case highlights how slowly the disciplinary wheels can churn as much as the case against St. Clair County Associate Judge James C. Radcliffe. In February 1994, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit concluded that in 1992 Radcliffe had engaged in conduct that amounted to a “parody of legal procedure” and “violated so many rules of Illinois law – not to mention the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment – that it is not worth reciting them.”

The hearing was over efforts by a vending company and its lawyer to get Radcliffe to issue an injunction that would hinder a state liquor control agent’s investigation into illegal gambling. Radcliffe required the agent to take the stand and answer questions from the vending company’s lawyer about the investigation, without permitting the agent to talk to a lawyer. Radcliffe then issued a temporary injunction to block the agent from “illegally interfering” in the company business.

James Radcliff

Former St. Clair County Circuit Court Associate Judge James Radcliffe.

The Seventh Circuit sent a copy of its opinion blasting Radcliffe to the Judicial Inquiry Board, triggering an investigation and disciplinary proceeding that dragged on almost seven years until the courts commission suspended him for thirty days in 2001.

In explaining the delay, the courts commission noted several “extraordinary circumstances”: An ongoing federal investigation that may have delayed the Inquiry Board investigation; the reorganization of the courts commission after the constitutional amendment; and the resignation of the Judicial Inquiry Board lead counsel.

While those circumstances “explain most of the delay,” the commission order states, “the commission must also accept partial responsibility.” While no other case has taken that long, the process continues to be notable for its plodding pace.

How slow is the process? It took more than five years for the Courts Commission to reprimand Kankakee County Circuit Judge Gregory J. Householter for taking too long to dispose of his cases.

INTERACTIVE: What Happens to Complaints Against Judges?

Twine, the board’s executive director, declined a request for an interview with Injustice Watch, saying, “At this time I am under time constraints with other matters.”

In fact, the staff of the agency struggles to produce the most basic information to the public about its operations.

The agency has not produced an annual report since 2012, which Twine said in an email was the result of budget cuts.

The auditor in May reported that the agency was unable to provide it with basic  information about the types of complaints being filed because it was behind in reviewing and analyzing the incoming complaints.

More than three years, before dismissal

On June 16, 2007, McHenry County Circuit Judge Michael J. Chmiel received a telephone call from a local Republican committeeman and political ally. The official’s brother had been arrested on a felony charge of obstructing justice.

The defendant’s brother as well as his niece, who is an attorney and former prosecutor, wanted Chmiel to hold an emergency bond hearing so that the defendant could avoid spending the next day, Father’s Day, in jail.

Chmiel handled juvenile cases and had never held an emergency bond hearing. He nonetheless convened an emergency hearing that afternoon, and, with the approval of the state’s attorney office, granted the suspect’s release on $10,000 bond.

Word of the hearing spread among other attorneys and judges, and within days the supervising judge called in Chmiel to ask about it. The judges in the circuit held a special meeting, one supervising judge forwarded her concerns to the Judicial Inquiry Board, and by early July the local newspaper had written of the hearing and raised questions of special treatment, records show.

On February 25, 2008, the board charged Chmiel with three violations of the Judicial Code. Not only had Chmiel acted improperly by having ex parte conversations – discussions about a pending case without both parties being present – but he misled the board about his conversations, according to the board’s complaint.

The Illinois Courts Commission voted on November 19, 2010, to reprimand Chmiel.  That was the most lenient form of discipline the commission could impose. The commission ruled that the inquiry board had proven that Chmiel’s acts had created the appearance of impropriety – that he took an action on behalf of a politically connected person he would not have taken for others –- but that the board failed to prove that Chmiel had committed any actual impropriety.

After all, the commission said, it was not improper for Chmiel to hold the hearing, nor for him to have ex parte conversations about the scheduling, as opposed to the substance, of the case. The bail was set appropriately by Chmiel, with the agreement of the prosecutors, the commission said.

Punishment often slow, seldom harsh

Chmiel’s case is one of several involving complaints by the Judicial Inquiry Board based on its complaint that a judge had taken action in a case to help a family or friend, including ex parte discussions – private meetings that, new judges are taught, can be a serious act of misconduct.

The Illinois Courts Commission’s handling of those cases demonstrates how the commission considers a wide range of factors in deciding what to do with the complaint. Among them: Was there a pattern of misconduct or one individual incident? Did the issue involve conduct on the bench? Had there been other complaints against the judge? Did the judge acknowledge acting improperly?

A review of the past cases reveals another pattern: The commission seldom imposes suspensions, and even more rarely considers removing judges from the bench for their misconduct. Of 24 cases decided by the commission since 2000, state records show, more than half were either dismissed altogether or ended in a public reprimand – the lowest form of discipline.

INTERACTIVE: How long did the Illinois Courts Commission cases take? 

Raymond McKoski, a former judge now at John Marshall Law School, said that appropriate punishment for errant conduct is a nationwide issue. Although he said he thought Illinois did “pretty good” at imposing punishment, he said that across the country, “Suspension should be used more often, and maybe removal more often too.”

In Illinois since 2000, six judges were suspended, and three removed from the bench over their conduct. By comparison, in Pennsylvania during that period, 19 judges have been removed from office and 11 suspended, according to annual reports.

McKoski added, “I think suspension does send a message to the public, and maybe the judges, that this conduct will not be tolerated.”

The commission issued a reprimand in 2005 to the presiding judge of the DeKalb County Circuit Court, Kurt P. Klein, who had talked ex parte to a military recruiter about a potential recruit’s enlistment being delayed because of pending charges related to marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession. Klein assured the recruiter that he “believed something could be done,” arranged for the cases to be transferred to him, and then at the next hearing told the State’s Attorney that he hoped the cases could be resolved so the recruit could enter the army. The charges were quickly resolved.

Klein told the courts commission, “I sincerely regret my violations of the Judicial Code,” adding, “my conduct was unquestionably wrong and will never be repeated, no matter how compelling the circumstances.”

Cook County Associate Judge Douglas J. Simpson was publicly censured by the commission in 2011 as a result of his actions on behalf of a car detail shop owner who had a pending case before another judge. After he learned of the pending case while he was having his car detailed, Simpson went to the chambers of the assigned judge, to tell him the business owner was a “good guy.”

Simpson then sought to talk the other judge out of reporting his misconduct. The Judicial Inquiry Board had urged the Illinois Courts Commission to suspend Simpson, but the commission opted for the lessor censure, noting that other judges had attested to Simpson’s good character and the fact that he quickly later apologized to the other judge.

One judge who did get suspended over an ex parte discussion was Cook County Circuit Judge Charles M. Travis. The courts commission suspended Travis for one month in 2003 – a punishment that was jointly recommended by the judge and the Judicial Inquiry Board – for ethical violations.

Judge Charles Travis

Chicago Sun-Times

Former Cook County Judge Charles Travis.

Among them were Travis’ actions after a Du Page Circuit Judge issued a warrant for the arrest of his daughter in 2001. The trouble started when Downers Grove officials cited Cherie Travis for dumping coffee grounds and cat litter on a vacant lot next to her property. The warrant was issued when she failed to either pay the $75 fine or appear in court.

Travis called the Du Page Circuit chief judge, identified himself as a judge, and said the warrant should be quashed, the evidence of her arrest be expunged, and that either the court or the police apologize to his daughter.

Non-judge occasionally dissents

Most of the time, the courts commission issues its orders unanimously. But in two cases, commission member Paula Wolff, a non-judge member of the commission, objected as the majority voted to dismiss the complaints entirely.

Wolff contended that a reprimand should have been issued to Associate Judge Christopher G. Perrin of Sangamon County for the actions he took after his daughter received a traffic ticket for driving down a closed road. Perrin talked first to a police officer in the courthouse; then to a supervisory judge, and finally to the traffic court judge assigned to the case.

Perrin casually told the assigned traffic court judge that on the day his daughter was supposed to be in court she would be out of town, traveling with a church group to refurbish housing for the poor. The assigned judge dismissed the case, and falsely noted that he did so at the motion of the state’s attorney’s office, according to the courts commission order.

To the majority, “This is not a judicial corruption case,” since Perrin had not asked the assigned judge to take actions to dismiss the case. The majority felt that a private admonishment by the Judicial Inquiry Board would have been appropriate, and that no public action was called for.

But in her dissent, Wolff noted that Perrin, a new judge, had specifically been trained to know that these conversations constituted inappropriate conduct. Perrin made three mistakes designed to exert special influence on behalf of his daughter, she wrote.

“These actions go to the heart of the Code’s prohibition of ex parte communications and appropriate judicial conduct.” To not sanction Perrin, Wolff warned, will “serve as guidance for all the judges who now serve and will serve in the future.”

No decision once judge resigns

Twice in recent years, judges who faced discipline chose to step down before the commission took any action. In states such as North Carolina, that resignation would not stop the commission from ruling on the misconduct. But not so in Illinois, where the courts commission ruled in 1987 that it has no authority to rule in the cases of judges once they resign.

One such case involved Kane County Circuit Judge James T. Doyle, who faced a 2005 Judicial Inquiry Board complaint accusing him of abusing his position as chief of Kane County’s drug court.

The inquiry board said Doyle had repeatedly violated defendants’ rights, forcing them to admit to drug use and sending them to jail without telling them of their rights or making sure they were represented.

After the chief judge warned Doyle of the need to honor defendants’ rights, Doyle took defendants into back rooms, where no court reporter was present to record the proceedings, and continued actions the board concluded violated defendants’ rights, the complaint states. In one of many cases the board cited, Doyle sent a defendant to jail for 69 days, marking on the file that the defendant had violated his probation, though the defendant was not on probation and was given no opportunity to be heard.

Doyle stepped down before the commission decided his case, but remained an active advocate of drug courts.

Former judge McKoski, who has studied judicial discipline nationwide, said he is supportive of states who continue to hold hearings on misconduct even after a judge steps down.

“It’s giving the public an accurate picture of what that judge did good or bad,” McKoski said. “The public has a right to know if judges are performing in accordance with ethical rules.”

Now off the bench, Doyle is collecting an annual judicial pension – this year, earning more than $128,000.

Pension intact despite penalty

In fact, judges who are disciplined still earn their pensions, which includes both their contributions and significant contributions from the state general fund, after they leave the bench.

After Associate Judge Joseph C. Polito admitted that that he had been repeatedly using Will County work computers to access pornographic websites during work hours, the courts commission called his actions “highly inappropriate behavior,” and “an inexcusable waste of judicial time.”

Judge Polito

Chicago Sun-Times

Former Will County Judge Joseph Polito.

As it suspended him for 60 days, the Illinois Courts Commission noted a more severe sanction was unnecessary since Polito said he would not seek reappointment when his term ended. Polito stepped down from the bench July 1 and began collecting his pension, valued this year at $6,415.78 per month.

Even the rare judges removed from office, like Golniewicz, are collecting their pensions.

In May, 2014, the commission removed Cook County Circuit Judge Cynthia Brim, based on a series of incidents that were attributed to her significant mental illness. In one incident, Brim attacked a sheriff’s deputy in the lobby of the Daley Center, and was later found not guilty by reason of insanity in the case.

Cynthia Brim

Justice at Stake

Former Cook County Judge Cynthia Brim.

When she was removed,  a court spokesman said her $184,000 salary as a judge would stop immediately. What nobody said: Her pension for life would then start; this year, Brim is due to collect $152,438.40 from the state.


From CNN–Sick, fragile and raped, the story of US nursing homes

There is no doubt in my mind that the current nursing home situation does not work.  Often, nursing homes are very, very dangerous places to be.

Carol Wyman was sexually assaulted in a nursing home–her detailed diary records how she would lie in bed at night and  a male nurse would crawl in beside her and masturbate next to her or on top of her.  The situation occurs far too frequently and there is really no over sight of who nursing homes hire.

Nursing homes are just slums and ghettos for the elderly.

From CNN:

Some of the victims can’t speak. They rely on walkers and wheelchairs to leave their beds. They have been robbed of their memories. They come to nursing homes to be cared for.

Instead, they are sexually assaulted.


Six women. Three nursing homes. And the man accused of rape and abuse

Luis Gomez appeared to many to be the perfect nursing aide. He loved his job and went the distance for residents in his care. But now a different image has emerged: Gomez, who insists he is innocent, is accused of being a serial abuser — moving from facility to facility despite a history of allegations against him. CNN documents his trail.


My mother was raped at 88

A daughter describes the resilience that helped her family not only heal but fight for reform.

The unthinkable is happening at facilities throughout the country: Vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them.

It’s impossible to know just how many victims are out there. But through an exclusive analysis of state and federal data and interviews with experts, regulators and the families of victims, CNN has found that this little-discussed issue is more widespread than anyone would imagine.

Even more disturbing: In many cases, nursing homes and the government officials who oversee them are doing little — or nothing — to stop it.

Sometimes pure — and even willful — negligence is at work. In other instances, nursing home employees and administrators are hamstrung in their efforts to protect victims who can’t remember exactly what happened to them or even identify their perpetrators.

In cases reviewed by CNN, victims and their families were failed at every stage. Nursing homes were slow to investigate and report allegations because of a reluctance to believe the accusations — or a desire to hide them. Police viewed the claims as unlikely at the outset, dismissing potential victims because of failing memories or jumbled allegations. And because of the high bar set for substantiating abuse, state regulators failed to flag patterns of repeated allegations against a single caregiver.

It’s these systemic failures that make it especially hard for victims to get justice — and even easier for perpetrators to get away with their crimes.

“At 83 years old, unable to speak, unable to fight back, she was even more vulnerable than she was as a little girl fleeing her homeland. In fact, she was as vulnerable as an infant when she was raped. The dignity which she always displayed during her life, which was already being assaulted so unrelentingly by Alzheimer’s disease, was dealt a final devastating blow by this man. The horrific irony is not lost upon me … that the very thing she feared most as a young girl fleeing her homeland happened to her in the final, most vulnerable days of her life.”

Sonja Fischer is shown here in earlier days. She is pictured at top of this story during the last years of her life, with her daughter Maya’s haunting quote.

Maya Fischer made this statement in court at the 2015 sentencing of a nursing assistant convicted of raping her mother. Choking back tears, Fischer detailed her mother’s story — recounting how she had fled Indonesia as a youth with her family to escape the rape and killing of young girls by Japanese soldiers, only to fall victim decades later to a man whose job was to care for her.

A fellow caregiver saw male nursing assistant George Kpingbah in 83-year-old Sonja Fischer’s room at 4:30 a.m. on December 18, 2014, at the Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis. A bare leg was on each side of his hips, and her adult diaper lay open on the bed. When the witness noticed the 76-year-old aide thrusting back and forth, she said she knew a sexual assault was occurring.

Kpingbah ultimately pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a mentally impaired or helpless victim and was sentenced to eight years in prison. In an emotional statement directed at Kpingbah during sentencing, the judge told him he had done more than ravage the lives of his victim and her family. He had betrayed the public trust granted to caregivers who have such intimate access to the sick and elderly.

“You violated (a) position of authority, a position of trust,” Judge Elizabeth Cutter said at the sentencing hearing. “The ramifications of what you did are so far-reaching. … It also affected everyone in that facility. Everyone who stays in that facility. Everyone who works at that facility. It affects everyone who has to place a loved one in a facility.”

Kpingbah apologized at the hearing and said he planned to take his Bible with him to prison. His attorney asked for leniency. Kpingbah had endured his own personal struggles as a refugee, the attorney said, fleeing Liberia after many of his family members were killed. Kpingbah’s one “unspeakable act,” he told the judge, was completely out of character.

Yet in court documents uncovered by CNN, prosecutors revealed it wasn’t the first time Kpingbah had been investigated over sexual assault allegations. Personnel records obtained by prosecutors during the investigation and reviewed by CNN show Kpingbah was suspended three times as Walker Methodist officials investigated repeated accusations of sexual abuse at the facility, including at least two where he was the main suspect.

The earliest complaint was in 2008, when police investigated allegations he had engaged in sexual intercourse with a 65-year-old who suffered from multiple sclerosis. In another case, an 83-year-old blind and deaf woman who lived on the same wing as Fischer’s mother said she was raped multiple times — always at midnight. Police investigated her report just seven months before Fischer’s mother was assaulted. While the woman could not identify her assailant, Kpingbah was suspended by the facility along with several other male staffers who were on duty during the nights of the alleged assaults.

None of these allegations were found to be substantiated by the facility or the state. For years, Walker Methodist kept Kpingbah working on the overnight shift. Until that early morning in December 2014, when someone caught him in the act.

In that instance, the Minnesota Department of Health found that the facility acted immediately to ensure the resident’s safety and promptly removed Kpingbah. The state also noted that the facility had previously provided Kpingbah with required abuse training. As a result, the facility was not cited for any wrongdoing; only Kpingbah was held accountable for the assault.

Maya Fischer had no way of knowing about the previous allegations against Kpingbah uncovered by CNN. But she sued Kpingbah, who agreed to an unusual arrangement in which he is on the hook for a massive $15 million judgment only if he abuses again.

Walker Methodist refused to comment on the previous allegations against Kpingbah, who worked at the facility for nearly eight years, but said in a statement that it fully cooperated with authorities and that “the care and well-being of all of our residents and patients is our primary focus.”

CNN reached out to family members of other residents who earlier reported they were sexually assaulted at Walker Methodist during the time Kpingbah worked there (though he was not deemed a suspect in every case). They said the officials there were quick to dismiss the residents’ claims as hallucinations or fantasies.

What should we investigate next? Email us.

“Walker Methodist certainly failed to handle this appropriately with my mother and other residents, and there should be consequences,” said the son of the first alleged victim after learning of Kpingbah’s rape conviction from CNN.

A son of a different alleged victim, who had accused an unknown perpetrator, said he was irate he was never told that a pattern of complaints had emerged against a single caregiver. Had he known of this pattern, the son said, he would have taken his mother’s report of abuse more seriously. Instead, he trusted Walker Methodist.

The Minnesota Department of Health told CNN it is barred by state law from releasing the identity of anyone investigated over an allegation that has not been substantiated, regardless of the number of allegations.

But both family members of these two alleged sexual assault victims also questioned the state health department. How effective is its oversight if it was aware of the multiple reports of abuse at Walker Methodist and still could not intervene?

When pressed by CNN, the agency said that the reports occurred during a time when a paper system was used and that it has been working to modernize this system in the hopes of “flagging such patterns.”

A daughter’s heartbreaking story


Some accounts of alleged sexual abuse come from civil and criminal court documents filed against nursing homes, assisted living facilities and individuals who work there. Other incidents are buried in detailed reports filed by state health investigators.

A 76-pound North Carolina nursing home resident who was so cognitively impaired she required assistance with even the simplest daily tasks reported that a nursing aide, behind closed doors, pushed her head toward him and forced her to give him oral sex.

The third time a resident of a Texas nursing home was raped by a nurse, the assailant ejaculated in the victim’s mouth and on her breasts. When he left, desperate to hold on to whatever evidence she could, she spit the semen from her mouth into her bra and kept the unwashed bra for three weeks. “That’s all I have,” she later told state investigators.

In Iowa, a woman who depended on a walker to move around and couldn’t bathe herself reported that a nursing aide sexually assaulted her in the shower. But the facility never flagged this accusation to authorities because the aide had left the country.

An 88-year-old California woman who’d only had sex with one man her entire life — her husband of nearly 70 years — said she awoke in her nursing home bed with her catheter removed and her bed wet. The next thing she remembered was seeing an unknown male nursing assistant staring at her naked body. “This is why I love my job,” she remembered him saying, according to what she told police. Weeks later, the woman complained of severe vaginal pain and “oozing blisters,” and she was eventually diagnosed with incurable genital herpes. To this day, the identity of the alleged perpetrator hasn’t been determined.

And finally, in a small town in North Carolina, a nursing assistant continued working for years despite multiple reports of alleged abuse. Only after a defiant nurse reported the abuse to police was he fired and arrested. Luis Gomez, 58, is in jail awaiting trial and maintains his innocence.

Most of the cases examined by CNN involved lone actors. But in some cases, a mob mentality fueled the abuse. And it’s not just women who have been victimized.


For months, a group of male nursing aides at a California facility abused and humiliated five male residents — taking videos and photos to share with other staff members. One victim, a 56-year-old with cerebral palsy, was paraded around naked. Another, an elderly man with paralysis who struggled to speak was pinched on his nipples and penis and forced to eat feces out of his adult diapers. He was terrified his abusers would kill him. While the aides lost their certifications, an investigation by Disability Rights California found that many of them never faced charges.

Another group of nursing aides, teenagers in Albert Lea, Minnesota, tormented at least 15 male and female residents, many of whom suffered from Alzheimer’s. The female aides struck, poked and rubbed the residents and touched their breasts. They inserted their fingers into one resident’s rectum. They rubbed the residents’ crotches and laughed. One aide pulled down her own pants and sat on a female resident’s lap — humping and groping her. “I was basically appalled by the callous disregard for human decency,” a judge later said. Two of the abusers, who were 18 at the time and convicted of disorderly conduct by a caregiver, served 42 days in jail. The other teens were tried in juvenile court and faced no jail time at all.


Despite the litany of abuses detailed in government reports, there is no comprehensive, national data on how many cases of sexual abuse have been reported in facilities housing the elderly.

State health investigators examine all types of abuse reported at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, whether reported by the facilities or flagged by complaints to the state from witnesses, family members or victims. In the case of nursing homes, state officials typically conduct these investigations, as well as routine inspections, on behalf of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which regulates the more than 15,000 facilities that receive government reimbursements that pay for many residents’ care. Both state health agencies and the federal government then use the information to rate facilities and issue financial penalties for the worst offenders.


There’s no way to know about abuse that goes unreported. But you can look up the name of a nursing home in federal inspection data and see whether it has been cited for sexual abuse or other issues in the past three years. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the federal Nursing Home Compare website to look up facilities by name or location.
  2. On the first page of results, you will see a star rating for the facility based on factors such as staffing levels. A history of abuse or other inspection problems will typically be reflected in the “health inspection” rating.
  3. Click on the health inspection rating to see a summary of the facility’s most recent inspection.
  4. From here, click on “View all health inspections.” For details, go to a specific date and click “View full report.”
  5. From the main profile page for the facility, click on “Penalties” to see if an inspection resulted in fines or payment denials.
  6. To view older citations, download archived reports here or file a public records request here. Some states may also offer detailed information. A list of state websites is here.

CNN surveyed the health departments and other agencies that oversee long-term care facilities in all 50 states. Of the states that could provide at least some data, the responses varied widely.

Illinois, for example, said 386 allegations of sexual abuse of nursing home residents had been recorded since 2013, 201 of which involved a caretaker. Hawaii said eight allegations of sexual abuse were investigated between 2011 and 2015 — five of which involved a caregiver. And when states provided a further breakdown of how many allegations had been substantiated, the results demonstrate just how few accusations end up being proven — whether it’s because of the extreme hurdles posed by aging victims, the destruction of evidence or half-hearted investigations by facilities and regulators.

Of the 386 cases in Illinois, 59 were considered substantiated. And in Texas, 11 of 251 sexual complaints in the 2015 fiscal year were substantiated. Wisconsin said it didn’t have a single substantiated report of abuse in the last five years.

But most states could not say how frequently abuse investigations involved sexual allegations, often stating that sex abuse allegations are not categorized separately from other forms of abuse.

The federal government doesn’t specifically track all sexual allegations either.

More than 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse have been reported since 2000 in long-term care facilities (which include both nursing homes and assisted living facilities),according to federal data housed by the Administration for Community Living. But agency officials warned that this figure doesn’t capture everything — only those cases in which state long-term care ombudsmen (who act as advocates for facility residents) were somehow involved in resolving the complaints.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services lumps sexual allegations into a category that includes all kinds of abuse, such as physical or financial. The agency said this is because it takes all forms of abuse seriously. When asked by CNN, the agency conducted a specialized search using sex-related keywords. But because not every case was sexual in nature, CNN had to review each case individually to filter out any irrelevant citations.

The reports show that 226 nursing homes have been cited for failing to protect residents from instances in which sexual abuse was substantiated between 2010 and 2015. Of these cases, around 60% resulted in fines, which totaled more than $9 million — though only 16 facilities were permanently cut off from Medicare and Medicaid funding. (Because the federal government only regulates nursing homes, this analysis did not include assisted living facilities.)

But these statistics only tell a small part of the story because they fail to capture the many instances in which nursing homes have been cited for mishandling allegations of sexual abuse in other ways — ranging from botched investigations to cover-ups.

Using inspection reports filed between 2013 and 2016 and a similar sex-related keyword search, CNN conducted its own detailed analysis.

The result: CNN exclusively found that the federal government has cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities during this period. (This includes some of the cases provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.) And nearly 100 of these facilities have been cited multiple times during the same period.

Complaints and allegations that don’t result in a citation, which the government calls a “deficiency,” aren’t included in these Medicare reports. In addition, national studies have found that a large percentage of rape victims typically never report their assaults. So these numbers likely represent only a fraction of the alleged sexual abuse incidents in nursing homes nationwide.

Want to know how we did this? Click here for information.

Of the instances examined, at least a quarter were allegedly perpetrated by aides, nurses and other staff members, while a small portion involved facility visitors (including family members) or unknown assailants. And while most citations dealt with cases of residents abusing other residents, accusations made about caregivers and other workers tended to be far more serious, involving allegations of forced intercourse, oral sex, digital penetration and other forms of sexual assault.

Follow the trail of rape allegations against a nursing assistant in the second part of our series.

The stories found in these reports range from sad to sickening.

An aide admitted to urinating in the shower while a female resident was inside it, showing her his erect penis and kissing her — then warning her not to tell anyone. A nurse overheard two aides talking about how a resident had been given a lap dance that made him ejaculate. A woman was found gagging and trying to fight off a male resident who had his penis in her mouth. Family members viewed video footage of an aide repeatedly raping their loved one, who was on feeding tubes, after hiding a camera in a stuffed animal in the room.

CNN’s analysis found that the nursing homes themselves are a large part of the problem. More than 500 facilities had been cited for failing to investigate and report allegations of sexual abuse thoroughly to authorities or for not properly screening employees for potentially abusive pasts. One nursing director told a state inspector that “if the facility reported all allegations it would be numerous and the State Agency wouldn’t want that either.”

Because of this lack of investigation or reporting, it’s hard to determine how many of the alleged cases of abuse were substantiated or resulted in criminal proceedings. But at least several hundred were confessed to by the perpetrators or observed by witnesses.

Amid the reports of sexual abuse were hundreds of stories that painted scenes of chaos:

Residents climbing into other residents’ beds and eating their food. Running wildly up and down halls. Pulling out knives and other weapons. Hallucinating about snakes coming out of heads and little boys hiding in the curtains. Urinating in wastebaskets. Drinking and doing drugs. Falling asleep in the bathtub. Stealing walkers. Choking and hitting people with fists and wheelchair parts. Escaping out windows. Drinking lotion and oven cleaner.

Such a challenging environment provides some context for how serious allegations of sexual assault could be overlooked.


It’s rarely talked about, but sexual assault in the very facilities tasked with caring for the elderly is hardly a new problem, with cases dating back decades.

It’s happening all over the country. In cities, the suburbs and the countryside. In nursing homes housing low-income residents on Medicaid. And in centers where people pay thousands of dollars out of their own savings to be there. They’re owned by huge corporations and regional chains but also by nonprofits and mom-and-pop small business owners.

And the issue is only becoming more pressing as the elderly population booms, with the number of Americans over age 65 projected to more than double between 2010 and 2050.

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Yet the facilities that currently house more than 1 million senior citizens typically pay low wages to nursing assistants (about $11 or $12 an hour), making it difficult to attract and keep quality workers. And during the most vulnerable hours, the night shift, there are often few supervisors.

The abuse is “an epidemic,” said Mark Kosieradzki, a Minnesota attorney who has represented a number of victims and their families, including Fischer, the woman who recounted her mother’s rape in court. “Predators find elderly patients to be easy prey. Those patients often have dementia. They can’t say what happened, or are not believed because many people find it inconceivable that a 28-year-old caregiver would want to rape someone’s grandmother.”

Kosieradzki and other experts who advocate on behalf of the elderly say strong federal and state laws are in place that require abuses to be reported and investigated. The problem, they say, is that these laws are not always followed by the nursing homes. And while federal and state officials told CNN that regulators aggressively investigate complaints and hold facilities accountable, critics say their enforcement isn’t tough enough. And investigations by facility and state officials are often cursory at best, rarely going deep enough to meet a difficult burden of proof.

Many nursing home employees promptly report abusers to authorities as required by federal law and assist in the investigations. But in numerous examples of abuse uncovered by CNN, the facilities themselves have made it possible for violent rapes and sexual assaults to go unchecked.

In these facilities, allegations are routinely questioned or dismissed because victims have cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Workers often lack the specific training needed to spot sexual abuse — keeping reports of abuse from ever reaching authorities. And the reputation and safety of the facility may take priority: There’s often a fear that bringing investigators into a cash-strapped facility may expose other issues, threaten a nursing home with closure or open the door to costly lawsuits.

Most sinister of all are administrators and employees who actively impede investigations.

“There are some situations where they don’t realize it’s happened, and they don’t want to believe it. They just don’t understand it,” said Ann Burgess, a well-known nurse and Boston College nursing professor who specializes in the assessment and treatment of elderly sexual abuse victims. “There are other cases where they try to cover it up. … They blame the victim.”

At one Colorado facility, nursing aide Antonio Nieto had already been accused of raping one female resident in her bed at Broomfield Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center when an allegation emerged from another woman. Prosecutors say the facility allowed Nieto to return to work after the first alleged assault because the facility had found the woman’s claims to be “unfounded.” The facility, which has come under new management since the assaults, said it allowed Nieto to return to work only after being told the police investigation had stalled and no criminal charges were expected.

He was fired after the other victim came forward. Nieto was ultimately sentenced to 24 years to life in prison. Broomfield paid a $51,837 fine, a paltry sum in comparison with the millions it received in annual government reimbursements for patient care.

Nursing assistants Andrew Merzwski, from left, Antonio Nieto and George Kpingbah were all convicted of raping elderly residents.

When the chef at an assisted living facility, was arrested in Louisiana last year in the alleged rape of a 78-year-old resident, a director at the facility, Julie Henry, was quick to issue an emotional statement to local media — claiming the company was “shocked and disheartened.” But not long after, Henry was arrested, accused of orchestrating an elaborate cover-up of the abuse. According to police, she had tried to prevent an investigation by instructing staff not to report the incident. She asked employees at the assisted living facility, Beau Provence Memory Care, to hand over all evidence to her, which she then allegedly destroyed. The chef, Jerry Kan, was indicted on a first first-degree rape charge and has pleaded not guilty. The case is ongoing and his attorney declined to comment.

Henry has not been indicted, and her case is under review. Henry’s attorney said he is confident the continued investigation will result in her exoneration. “The resident and the cook, Mr. Kan, initially denied anything had occurred, creating confusion as to whether this was a reportable incident. When it was learned that an incident had occurred, Ms. Henry cooperated fully with the police and continues to do so,” he said in an email. Beau Provence said it was working with police and the state health department to “verify the facts behind these allegations,” but said it could not comment further on an ongoing investigation.

Even in facilities where there were no allegations of an orchestrated cover-up, documents examined by CNN showed a failure to preserve evidence. A resident who alleged abuse would be given a shower, for instance, or the crime scene might be disturbed by the washing of bedsheets. As a result, possible DNA evidence was lost.

In Minnesota, officials transferred an 89-year-old resident at the Edgewood Vista assisted living facility to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital after she reported being raped. A certified nursing assistant, Andrew Merzwski, 28, admitted to having sex with the resident but claimed it was consensual. A director at the facility believed him and blamed the victim — who suffered from dementia — telling the sexual assault nurse who examined the victim that the resident was a “flirt.”

“She (had) come forward and spoken out against her facility and she was locked in a room,” the nurse examiner, Theresa Flesvig, told CNN. “She felt like she was in prison. She felt like she was being punished.” Her rape examination didn’t occur until almost a week after the alleged assault. Flesvig said she discovered clear physical evidence of assault, one of the largest vaginal tears she had ever seen. Merzwski pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced in 2014 to 53 months in prison, while the state disciplined the official who had sided with him. Merzwski’s attorney declined to comment.

The facility said it couldn’t comment on details of the specific case, citing privacy reasons, but did acknowledge that officials had learned from the incident. “What we learned was we weren’t prepared for anything of this nature,” said Michael Johnson, chief nursing officer for Edgewood Management Group. “We had to do better.”

Sometimes police and state investigators also fail to take complaints seriously. In one instance, a police report reviewed by CNN cited an administrator’s statement that the victim was an “avid viewer of the television show ‘Law and Order'” as a reason to dismiss her allegation. “Hallucinations seem to revolve around episodes of the series,” the officer wrote. As a result, there were no arrests, the rape kit was not tested and the case was closed.

Inside the mind of a nursing home rapist

“The ‘victim’ of this investigation has made similar allegations regarding suspects that do not exist, are physically unable to have committed the act she accuses, etc.,” the police department told CNN in a written statement. “The ‘victim’ suffers from mental illness and hallucinations, her statements are inconsistent and unfounded.”

In the Minnesota case involving nursing aide Kpingbah, the state investigator wrote that the first alleged victim had a “lengthy history of falsely accusing male caregivers of sexual inappropriateness” and “sexual promiscuity and inappropriate boundaries.” When CNN showed this victim’s son the state’s report, he said the characterizations were false.

Asked about this by CNN, the Minnesota Department of Health said the claims had been taken seriously and investigated. “In hindsight and according to current report writing practices, MDH regrets the wording of this statement and apologizes to the family for this insensitive statement,” the agency said.

While assailants such as Kpingbah have ended up behind bars as a result of their crimes, many never face charges.

The older the victim, the less likely an offender will be convicted of sexual abuse, according to a study of the elderly sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. And victims who lived in facilities were even less likely to see their assailants face charges and guilty verdicts.

In fact, victims with dementia and other diseases are often considered such unreliable witnesses that even cases in which an assailant confesses to the crime can end up being thrown out or result in little punishment for the defendant. That was true in the case of Walter Martinez, a St. Louis nursing aide who faced felony rape charges and years in prison after confessing in a resignation letter to abusing two elderly residents sexually. Martinez ended up receiving two years of probation after the alleged victims died or suffered from such severe dementia that they weren’t able to testify.

His attorney told CNN that despite the resignation letter, Martinez had never pleaded guilty to the conduct he was charged with and was prepared to defend himself in court. “Mr. Martinez had gone to counseling and admitted that he had sexual thoughts while performing his regular job duties. He felt tremendous guilt for having these thoughts and that is when he used the term ‘sexual abuse’ in his resignation letter,” he said in an email.

In the case of the Texas woman who saved her bra for weeks as evidence, a suspect was arrested and indicted in the alleged rape. But court records show that prosecutors couldn’t secure the alleged victim’s testimony. The case was dismissed last year despite the fact the DNA from the bra matched a sample taken from the accused. The lab said the chances of the DNA being from anyone else was less than 1 in 983 trillion.

Even those facilities that actively impede investigations or cover up abuse often get little more than a slap on the wrist. The vast majority of nursing homes with horror stories chronicled in the inspection reports are still in business, accepting new residents today.

“How hard is it to shut one down? It is almost impossible,” said Tony Chicotel, a staff attorney at the nonprofit group California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “The worst nightmare for the state regulators is a facility closing — because the residents oftentimes have no place to go.”

So instead, government regulators levy fines and withhold Medicare and Medicaid payments in the hope of getting facilities in line. But even when penalties are imposed, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says are meant to push a facility to correct a given issue as soon as possible, the fines are often shockingly small.

When a facility in Texas failed to take proper action after an elderly man said he was raped and drugged, authorities punished the home with a $116,500 fine and by temporarily banning it from receiving government reimbursements for new patients. But the fine was ultimately cut almost in half, based on the facility’s “financial hardship.” And the ban lasted only 11 days.

A facility in California — which allowed a licensed nurse to work for weeks despite reports he had sexually assaulted a female resident multiple times, kissing her and fondling her breasts — was fined $22,000 by the state.

And then there is Walker Methodist in Minnesota, where 83-year-old Sonja Fischer became the victim of the same kind of violent assault she had fled so many years ago. There she was raped by an employee the facility knew had been the subject of abuse allegations for years.

“She was unable to speak, unable to move,” her daughter Maya recounted just a few weeks after her mother passed away last year. “She couldn’t even cry out when this was happening to her.”

The facility where she was victimized received no penalty at all.

CNN’s Ana Cabrera, Sara Weisfeldt, David Heath, Sergio Hernandez and Andrew Bloomenthal contributed to this report.


Legal advocates, government regulators, criminal investigators and medical experts agree that sexual abuse in nursing homes can be extremely challenging to prevent and detect. But they say many facilities should be doing much more to protect vulnerable residents.

  1. “When you have a sexual assault claim, you shouldn’t go to a conclusion she’s a problem patient. You should investigate as a sexual assault until proven otherwise.” — Dave Young, district attorney for Colorado’s 17th Judicial District
  2. “Preserve evidence! Don’t bathe or change clothing, sheets, etc., when an assault is suspected.” — Sherry Culp, Kentucky long-term care ombudsman
  3. “Most abuse is undetected and never reported mainly because observable signs are missed or misinterpreted. A little training could go a long way.” — Tony Chicotel, staff attorney at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
  4. “As with nearly every type of abuse and neglect seen in nursing homes, the better staffed the facility the less likely sexual abuse will occur. This is a crime of opportunity, so the more supervision the better.” — Kirsten Fish, elder abuse attorney
  5. “There needs to be a reporting system. …The system doesn’t keep track of cases that haven’t been substantiated, [and] their rules for substantiating a complaint are just astronomical. It’s virtually impossible to substantiate a complaint.” — Lt. Chris Chandler, Waynesville, North Carolina, Police Department


Do a good deed — donate some law books to prisons today

As many of you know, the prisons are filled with many people who are innocent.  They have to write their own appeals, gather their own evidence and have no money for an attorney.

I was shocked to find out that many prisons do not have the law books that prisoners need (specifically Moultrie County, Illinois).

So if you would like to do a good deed, here are some books for $25 on sale and maybe you can ship them to prisoners that do not have a set of law books to help them out.

This would be a great project for someone to take on–get donations of money and then buy law books cheap and make sure prisons have what they need to help prisoners.


From FB–Oregon Senate passes bill to allow mentally ill and dementia patients to be starved and dehydrated to death.

Only a psychopath would allow for such a thing.  But from what I hear from victims and their families of elder cleansing, their elderly loved ones are being forced into nursing homes and even a casual visitor will hear the patients say they want to go home (why is no one investigating this) or they are hungry because they aren’t fed enough or need help in feeding but aren’t getting it.

At Warren Barr, I am told that unless the Daughter came daily to feed her mother, Mother would not get fed.  And on some days when Daughter was 15 min. late, a full tray was put back on the cart to get shipped to the kitchen.  Why?  trays are plunked down in front of the patient, and if the patient does not eat in 15 min and drink their coffee or tea, the tray is taken away full and no one knows or cares.  Several times Daughter caught her mother’s full tray on the cart to go back to the kitchen, and Daughter took pictures.

How did the staff respond?  They stopped leaving the cart in full view of patients and family members and took any full trays directly back to the kitchen right away.  Or, a trash can was brought and they were immediately scraped.  The cover ups continue.

Another problem noted by this Daughter was the fact that often nurses would tend to serve their “own kind” and no one else.  That meant if you were white or hispanic and had a black nurse, you would not get hand fed and your tray would be sent back.  Her mother was white and often saw the elderly blacks getting fed first and then the whites and hispanics and other “kinds” of peoples not being taken care of and not being fed.

Who is monitoring this situation?

If you complain, they will guardianize your loved one and make up stories and ban you then your loved one for sure will end up dead or worse if they get caught in the dehydration/malnutrition shuffle back and forth between nursing home and hospital, which I understand can go on and on for months or years at a time.

These are areas the authorities should and must look into.  We now have the right for FAMILIES to install cameras in nursing homes, but what about the open areas where patients are fed gruel and the patients are NEVER allowed to get up from a wheel chair or walk, they NEVER go outside.  And Medicare bills should be published and tracked with charges.  If a medicine is dispensed, that should be on camera.  If physical therapy is billed,that should be on camera.

I submit that every nursing home should be put on cameras at all times and the public should be allowed to watch what the elderly are being fed, if they ever get outside, what they are wearing and when they get a shower, etc.

There are just tooo many reports  I get of mistreatment in this area.


The article on Oregon and euthanasia of the mentally infirm.  Disgusting.

Last week the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 494. Touted as a “simple update” to Oregon’s current advance directive, this bill is designed to allow for the starving and dehydrating to death of patients with dementia or mental illness.

Senator Betsy Johnson was the only Democrat to vote ‘no’ and Senator Jeff Kruse was the only Republican to vote ‘yes.’

Senate Bill 494 is little more than the state colluding with the healthcare industry to save money on the backs of mentally ill and dementia patients. This bill would remove current safeguards in Oregon’s advance directive statute that protect conscious patients’ access to ordinary food and water when they no longer have the ability to make decisions about their own care.

As Oregon Right to Life explains, he bill, pushed by big insurance companies and which has been amended more than once, is touted as simply creating a process of updating Oregon’s advance directive.  However, even with its amendments, SB 494 will allow for the starving and dehydrating to death of patients with dementia or mental illness.

“It’s disheartening that the proponents of Senate Bill 494 have sold it as a basic ‘update’ to Oregon law,” said Gayle Atteberry, Oregon Right to Life executive director. “The reality is that it will remove current safeguards in Oregon’s advance directive statute that protect conscious patients’ access to ordinary food and water when they no longer have the ability to make decisions about their own care.”

How SB 494 works:

Under current law, if it’s not clear what a mentally incompetent person desires or wants, the person’s health care representative does not have the authority to end the incompetent person’s life unless the person is in a specific end-of-life situation.

Oregon’s current advance directive allows a person to specify types of care they will want as well as who will be their health care representative if they become mentally incompetent.  The current form gives ample room for a person to write his/her complete instructions for end-of-life care including if the patient wants tube feeding or not.

Oregon’s current advance directive is a part of statute. As such, it is not just a form—the law also limits the authority of a health care representative to make decisions for a patient to only what the patient designates on the form.

SB 494 removes the advance directive document from Oregon statute. The result is that there could be situations where an incompetent person’s life may be ended according to the wishes of their health care representative, even if it’s against the unwritten or ambiguously written desires of the incompetent person.

If SB 494 becomes law, instead of a person having to opt-out of life-sustaining treatment on an advance directive, Oregonians will likely need to specifically opt-in to ensure that their health care representative does not end their life.

This bill specifically affects people who become mentally incapable of making health care decisions, such as someone with dementia who can still eat, drink and make other everyday choices. That is why it is so important that a health care representative only have the authority to make a life-ending decision if they are explicitly given that authority. The current advance directive preserves Oregonians’ ability to receive food and hydration even if they lose mental competency.

“Oregon Right to Life will continue to fight SB 494 as it heads to the State House for consideration,” said Atteberry.

“It’s appalling what the Senate Rules Committee just voted to do,” said Gayle Atteberry, Oregon Right to Life executive director.  “This bill, written in a deceiving manner, has as its goal to save money at the expense of starving and dehydrating dementia and mentally ill patients to death.”

“Oregon law currently has strong safeguards to protect patients who are no longer able to make decisions for themselves,” said Atteberry. “Nursing homes and other organizations dedicated to protecting vulnerable patients work hard to make sure patients receive the food and water they need.  Senate Bill 494, pushed hard by the insurance lobby, would take patient care a step backwards and decimate patient rights.”

“Oregon Right to Life is committed to fighting this terrible legislation every step of the way,” said Atteberry.  “We have already seen the outrage of countless Oregonians that the Legislature would consider putting them in danger.  We expect the grassroots response to only increase.”

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From Ken Ditkowsky–While judges have the right to make bad decisions (we wish they wouldn’t), they cannot make biased or fixed decisions

Subject: like it or not!
Date: Jun 15, 2017 5:01 PM
The objective and unbiased Judge has a right to make honest incorrect decisions as to both the law and the facts.    Every human has a right to be human; however, people acting in the public trust have serious obligations to the public.   The First and primary obligation is to be respectful to the Rule of Law and to apply it honestly, without favoritism or bias.    In other words we expect that the judge will call the case as he/she sees it.
We all know that such has in many instances has not been the case and indeed in too many situations to MOTION TO FIX has been prevailing over all other aspects of Judicial procedure.   The ‘Operation Greylord’ prosecutions made public the fact we in Cook County, Illinois had the ‘best’ judiciary money could buy.    The chief judge of the Chancery Division went to jail based upon a $200 bribe.    More than a dozen Judges were found guilty and sent to jail and scores had to resign to avoid prosecution.
Recently, Judge Cooke was exposed in a SUN TIMES article as to have paid over $100,000 for slating for Judge.  (This pay for play had been disclosed previously in the Chicago Tribune as a condition precedent for slating for Judge).     The Sale of Judgeships by the Chicago Democratic Organization is nothing new; however, the venality has reach new proportions.   It is time for an HONEST INVESTIGATION and HONEST PROSECUTIONS of the corrupt judicial officials who are depriving Americans of their human and civil rights.
With Illinois talking about new taxes and Cook County property owners facing a 10% increase in real estate taxes, it is time for the 18 USCA 371 co-conspirators to pay the Federal and States income taxes that they owe.    A co-conspirators acting on behalf of the criminal enterprises of ELDER CLEANSING each co-conspirator owes the taxes jointly and severally.   Civil collection is all that is asked for – No one wants co-conspirators such as Mr. Jerome larkin to be prosecuted criminally for TAX EVASION – all that is being asked for is for CIVIL COLLECTION of the taxes, interest, and penalties.
In the Mary Sykes case 3 million dollars was stolen from Mary.   A like amount was stolen from the United States of America for medicare and other government programs as she was elder cleansed – these sums also are subject to Federal and State income tax.   (The Department of the Treasury collecting the legitimate income taxes due = plus interest and penalties from miscreants who have repeatedly violated their public trust will go a long way toward restoring public confidence and an honest political and judicial environment – it also will provide needed revenue for the USA and the State of Illinois).
Jerome Larkin, Sharon Opryszek, Leah Black Guiterrez and Melissa Smart, Steven Splitt should all pay the $3 million in taxes due on the Sykes case cover up.  Clearly, from the record, Mary Sykes was not served, her home was likely sold for pennies on the dollar and there was no Trust Accounting, that is still covered up by the probate court and the ARDC.  The fact a safe deposit box was drilled out and the contents of $1 million in gold and valuable coins was emptied, discovery quashed on the contents, is still being covered up in the probate court and by the ARDC.    In sum total, there is between $2 and $3 million the federal court could collect in federal taxes from all the miscreants involved and they are jointly and severally liable as a criminal enterprise.


From Joanne;

I have recently published the 200+ count indictment from “professional guardian” April  Parks and her office staff and others involved wherein she was charged with racketeering–or running a criminal enterprise on  many levels and with many tie ins.  Surely the authorities can file similar charges with all those involved in the disappearance and cover up of the millions lost in the Sykes case and the exploitation of Mary Sykes and her untimely demise which involved a whole lot of narcotic drugs days before her death and no food or water since her estate had been drained dry. by the vultures involved and their cronies.  Her fraudulent placement in a string of nursing homes is also Medicare fraud to the tune of all those bills because she once had a home she could live in with Gloria.  Why were the taxpayers supposed to pay for her food and housing because the court forced a phony sale for pennies on the dollar and took away her home unjustly?  That’s likely another $1 million in fraudulent charges to the US government brought to you by a corrupt probate court that is apparently in league with the ARDC in cover ups and cronyism.

The April Parks indictment stands as a great form and format to use across the country to bring in millions of income via the IRS and it further admonishes and solves the pattern of elder cleansing.

Local authorities can, apparently be bought and sold.  However, the IRS it seems is always, always interested in collecting the taxes due.


From Elena Federova–a valid complaint about fraud in Foreclosures at the Daley Center

Subject: Wells Fargo fraud aided by IL corrupt Judges – NEW Evidence of Judge Senechalle’s obstruction of justice
Date: Jun 15, 2017 8:12 AM
Attachments:   federova
* I give my permission to publish this information on anti-corruption blogs.
Deal All,
I continue to report rampant judicial corruption and fraud against IL public committed by certain IL judges on all levels of Illinois Court system.
Co-accidentally the most predatory and dishonest judges are family members and/or friends of IL Democratic party leaders Michael Madigan, his daughter IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who covers for her father’ s clout corruption; and Edward Burke with his wife Anne Burke, who help their cronies to get positions of public Trust in exchange of handsome donations. 
Since 2012 I many times reported massive foreclosures fraud and money laundering mill operated in IL Courts with aid and abet from certain corrupt judges. All of my whistle blowing efforts were completely ignored by so-called “law enforcement authorities” and judges continue to defraud IL citizens from their civil rights, money and property, all with total impunity.
Judges in Illinois Courts do not hesitate to obstruct justice, conceal material evidence from Court records, conceal their family relations with opposing party lawyers; relentlessly lie to litigants from the bench while always serve only their parties of interests. Not a single judge whose crimes I reported was ever reprimanded. To the contrary, they regularly promoted to a higher position where I am absolutely confident  continue to lie and fix cases in favor of their cronies.
One of most glaring examples of judicial fraud and corruption is Judge Robert E. Senechalle, Jr. who not only obstructed justice, criminally concealed material evidence from my case based on which he entered adverse decision; but even colluded with a corrupt public officer Mr. O’Malley who attended a public hearing on March 25, 2016 to impersonate as a “criminal prosecutor” who would hold me in “contempt” because I objected Judge Senechalle’s lies. Co-accidentally O’Malley just lost his judicial election and was obviously hopeful to get a vote from Senechalle to be an Associate Judge, as Senechalle, who got his judicial seat through Madigan’s List. Of course, it had nothing to do with Judge Senechalle’s son, Peter, work as Madigan’s political aid between 1998 – 2005.
Lisa Madigan whom I submitted numerous complaints, including 5 demands from March to June 2017 to investigate Judge Senechalle’s crimes and corruption, always ignored my claims and either replied with a runaround or not reply at all.
In this email I want to provide additional  evidence in support that Judge Robert E. Senechalle, Jr. is a corrupt con artist who must be criminally investigated and put in jail, not seat in the Court and harm others.
Procedural background. I am a wrongfully foreclosed veteran, subject to protection in the Court against predatory banks under the Consent Orders and National Mortgage Settlement and many local laws.  On August 16, 2011, lawyers for renown predatory bank Wells Fargo, acting on behalf of Deutsche Bank, filed foreclosure case 11-CH-28887 against me. The case is based on a legally insufficient Complaint, false statements, and forged, robo-signed evidence. Summons and All notices were directed to the wrong address, to unit 309, while all documents are for unit 909. This error was intentionally done so that the bank’s lawyers could secretly obtain default judgment. They did; on November 13, 2012 they conducted foreclosure sale to purportedly Deutsche Bank.
Judge Rooney, from well-connected  bankers (her husband was a VP for Harris bank), lawyers realtors family and who received $1000.00 from Wells Fargo bank lawyers Mayer Brown LLP, who presided over the foreclosure case, had a duty to comply to the minimum with the basic rules of Civil Proceeding; have demand a Sworn Affidavit in support of Deutsche Bank’s standing as the plaintiff, and verify validity of the Notices, which she never did. Rooney trespassed the law and favorably ruled on legally void pleadings. Thus, the original Order was void. On December 28, 2012, I filed a Motion to Vacate Void Judgment to present for January 11, 2013 Confirmation of Sale hearing and demanded to vacate sale due to Deutsche Bank’s lack of standing and violations of the applicable laws and fraud upon the Court, which invalidated this Court’s jurisdiction.  I brought my original Petition on time on December 28, 2012, or before the confirmation, which Judge Rooney knew. Nonetheless she denied my Petition and in February 15 2013 approved the Order of Sale. I objected and filed for rehearing.
A week later, on February 22, 2013, the Government entered the National Mortgage Settlement, providing additional protection to veterans like myself. Then the IL Supreme Court adopted Rule 113, which in fact duplicated existing 735 ILCS 5/2-403(a),  and required full chain of assignments in foreclosure cases, in wet-ink signatures, or  “changes in the law since the judgement was entered” under 5/2-1203. Rooney, fully aware of these legal developments in the foreclosure crisis, agreed to hear my Motion for Reconsideration on May 23, 2013. On April 19, 2013, I receive the letter from the Federal Government where they advised me that the real plaintiff in my case is Wells Fargo bank, the Servicer. It was a new fact that I was not able to present prior to Rooney’s first judgement on February 15th.
On May 23, 2013, Judge Rooney recused herself from my case and it was transferred to judge Robert E. Senechalle Jr.  The lawyers in my case were absolutely confident that judge Senechalle will grant their Motion, so on July 12, 2013, they recorded a Deed on my property while the case was still pending in the Court, which is a direct violation of Due Process and Equal Protection clause. Judge Senechalle did not fail them. He repeatedly ignored the insufficiency of their pleading and his lack of subject/matter jurisdiction. 
On October 22, 2013, Senechalle for the first time in 2 years asked the lawyers if they had a copy of the Original Note. They responded that they “think our client has it.” On November 15, 2013, I emailed the lawyers for the copy of the Original Note before the hearing. My request was ignored, and documents never provided.
On December 4, 2013, the lawyers brought brand-new, loose documents that they introduced as the “original Mortgage and Note.” Judge Senechalle accepted the documents and gave them to me for three-minute review. I asked to provide me a copy of these documents and that they be filed with the court records. Senechalle replied that it is not necessary since these documents were “exactly the same” documents as attached to the Complaint.  
This was clearly not true. The documents were not the same. Judge Senechalle did not even bother to open my complaint to compare the lawyers’ Note with mine. I repeated my request two more times, and again stated that DBNT is a non-exist plaintiff. But Senechelle ignored, as he was too busy cracking jokes about “Merky MERS” practices as a plaintiff. (MERS has absolutely no relation to my foreclosure, except violations of Cease and Desist Order of April 13, 2011 and negligent supervision of Wells Fargo employees). Although this Note was a key evidence at the hearing in my case, the Mortgage Note and Assignment brought by lawyer Kalbas that day were never filed with the Court nor provided for my records, which supports my conclusion that the Note was forged by Wells Fargo.
I brought my case to Appeal Court, but the Appeal Court Justices never obtained a copy of these purportedly original Mortgage, Note and Assignment. They were unable to evaluate these documents’ validity since the lawyer and the judge in my case intentionally excluded them from Court records. Appeal Court Justices Epstein, Howse and Ellis made their adverse decision based on incomplete case files for case 11-CH-28887 files, so it was of little surprise that their response was erroneous and void. The Justices claimed that “Plaintiff also attached an adjustable rate promissory Note, which provided that the lender was Fremont and endorsed by Michael Koch, Fremont Vice President, to “pay in order of ** without recourse” and “thereafter, Fremont transferred the loan to plaintiff as indicated by notation **” Deutsche Bank N.t. as Trustee for Fremont Home Loan Trust 2006-1.” But the Trust on behalf of which foreclosure case 11-CH-28887 was filed is GSAMP 2006-FM1, not Fremont 2006-1, and the Note attached to Complaint has none of the notations observed by the Justices.
So, since December 4, 2013 NOBODY ever saw the key evidence based on which Judge Senechalle entered his decision – the purportedly “original” Note brought by Bank’s lawyers to the hearing and criminally concealed by Judge Senechalle.
                                                                                 Nobody, including Wells Fargo bank itself .
When I discovered more evidence of fraud in case 11-CH-28887 I filed a Petition to vacate void judgement entered by corrupt judicial con artist Senechalle. Since Senechalle resorted to more fraud and corruption, I filed an Appeal Notice in May 2016 where I contested Senechalle’s jurisdiction and Deutsche Bank   standing to sue me.
While my Appeal was pending, Wells Fargo bank listed my property for sale. I objected and filed Motion to Stay sale due to pending Appeal.
My Motion was denied by corrupt Justices Hoffman, Rochford (Demetrio) and Cunningham, so Wells Fargo proceed with the sale and sold my property to a third party buyer, in the most fraudulent manner. The buyer apparently paid cash.
But Wells Fargo bank fraud did not stopped there. On January 11, 2017 , or about 2 months after my property was sold, Wells Fargo transferred its non-existing “servicing rights” to a new Servicer, Specialized Loan Servicing LLC.
On or about January  14, 2017 I called SLS and told them about Wells Fargo bank fraud. SLS said that they have NO documents related to this transfer but will contact me as soon as they receive it from Wells Fargo.
On February 13, 2017 SLS mailed me a letter where they demanded payments for my mortgage with Fremont.
When I requested validations of this debt and copies of all documents based on which SLS demanded payments, SLS swamped me with absurd runarounds full of false and contradicting statements.
In the most recent reply SLS mailed me a copy of a document which suggests that Wells Fargo bank NEVER had ANY originals and received a Copy of the Note for the first time on February 13, 2014, or one day before Wells Fargo bank lawyers filed their Appearance on 02/14/14  and 02/18/14 in my first Appeal case. 
SLS mailed me a letter dated June 9, 2017 where they avoided to any answers to my previous inquiries and submitted very questionable documents obviously to aid and abet Wells Fargo foreclosure fraud. June 9, 2017 letter is full of false and misleading statements which contradict with the previous letters of 02/13/2017 and 05/10/2017. For example, on June 9, 2017 your SLS said: “ SLS is not attempting to collect any debt from you related to the above referenced mortgage”. This statements clearly contradict with the letter SLS mailed me on 02/13/2017 telling that “” A new servicer WILL be collecting your mortgage loan payments from you” and “SLS WILL collect your payments going forward. SLS WILL start accepting payments received from you”.  In the next paragraph of June 9, 2017 letter SLS said: “ SLS does not have records pertaining to this timeframe” (fraudulent foreclosure conducted by Wells Fargo bank and their co-conspirators). 
SLS statement is a blatant lie because (1) they actually attached documents (aka “records”) pertaining to this timeframe; (2) on 05/10/17 SLS informed me that “ we have research your account and OUR RECORDS indicate that the validity of your debt in your dispute was not in error”. Worth to mention, on 06/09/17 SLS claimed that they “ have responded regarding ERRORS” (in the previous letter you insisted that my “dispute was not in error”) The documents attached to SLS 06/09/17 letter are beyond questionable and suggest that SLS conspired with Wells Fargo bank to  aid and abet Wells Fargo massive foreclosures fraud upon the Court aka racket and money laundering mill.
First, here is NO Deed of Trust SLS mentioned was attached to their letter as promised.
Second , SLS have attached a copy of my mortgage with long-time bankrupt Fremont, without any chain of assignment.
Third , SLS attached a copy of forged Promissory Note which was apparently a part of   my Motion to Vacate fraudulent judgement entered by corrupt judge Robert E. Senechalle who criminally concealed material evidence from case records, a copy of purportedly “original” Note brought to the hearing on December 4, 2013.
The copy of the purportedly “original”  Note was never provided to me; never filed with case 11-CH-28887 Deutsche Bank v. Fedorova; never sent  to me by Wells Fargo bank while demanded many times; and not provided to me by SLS either.  In fact, this document was briefly shown to me for less than 3 minutes on 12/04/13 and immediately disappeared from all records.  
Moreover, based on my review of the Note attached to your 06/09/17 letter, Wells Fargo bank apparently DID NOT had this document at the time when foreclosure case 11CH28887 was filed either; or on 12/04/13 when their lawyers brought a brand-new looking document falsely misrepresented as “original”.  
The Note provided to me by SLS has the FAX line dated 02/13/2014 indicating that the Note was attached as pages 9-11 to a bigger document, while the Mortgage   does not have any fax lines on it. 
Worth to mention, after I filed my Appeal in case 11-CH-2887, Wells Fargo bank’s lawyers co-accidentally filed their Appearances on 02/14/14 and 02/18/14 (well-connected Mayer Brown LLP where corrupt Judge Senechalle’s brother-in-law was a top partner at that time).Moreover, the Note has my handwriting on top of it (case number) when I used it as an Exhibit to prove Wells Fargo bank fraud and forgery.
Bear to repeat, Wells Fargo bank NEVER provided me ANY documents pertaining to their fraudulent foreclosure case, and during last 5 years swamped me with a binder worth of absurd runarounds, 44 letters just between  April 2016  to May 2017, without  providing me any  copies of purportedly “original” Note their lawyers used as “key evidence” on 12/04/13.
I once again demand FULL investigation of Judge Senechalle and his co-conspirators crimes; and his removal from the bench.
Sincerely. Elena Fedorova.  

From FB and Karen Sinclair–what a nursing home dinner is all about–disgusting


An actual nursing home dinner:

I brought mom back to nursing home for dinner. I was blown away by what they were serving. This is what we all have to look forward to in our senior years. It is total BS that this neglect is allowed by the state while the billion dollar nursing home company serves slop to my 87 year old mother. I wonder what the administrator, DON and owners had for dinner tonight. No response from state representatives that addressed these issues in their campaigns. It is sad that Americans accept this neglect, abuse and disrespectful treatment to our loved ones. Sometimes we have no alternatives. We need to stand together. Please share and get the word out on Genesis Nursing Facility called Las Colinas. Thanks. FYI I went and bought her dinner tonight.

Karen Sinclair.

I want to thank Karen for her willingness to share what is really going on in nursing homes across the US.

Many have said that nursing homes are nothing but slums and ghettos for the elderly.  I believe that is correct and this is proof of that.

The elderly are left lingering for hours in the hallways, some half doped up, others begging to go home.

What kind of a country do we live in?

Apparently a country where every day, judges write court orders to put the elderly and disabled in facilities where this type of crappy not real food but  called food is served.

Prisoners have to receive better fare and at least 2,200 calories per day for an adult male.

The nursing home business has to end.  Unless and until there is absolutely no place for grandma and grandpa to go, they should stay in their own home with assistance from the state until they pass into glory.  If a child wants to take in a parent, that should be allowed, with assistance from the state.  Right now, none of that is happening, as our nursing homes fill up with unhappy elders at $5,000 or more per month paid by Medicare/Medicaid/Private Insurance and the cost to care for and house is only $1,000 per month.  The industry disgusts me.

What the US does, both in and out of court, is nothing but a shocking scandal of greed, graft and corruption.

April Parks-262+ indictment for being a “professional guardian”. Count 1 is racketeering.

I want to than DF for sending this along about April Parks and her overbilling, over charging, invading and draining Trust assets, selling homes, throwing homes into foreclosure, forcing seniors into nursing homes against their will.

You all know the routine:  target, guardianize, medicate, drain the estate, then narcotize to death and cremate.

Well, April Parks just went down big time.

Here is the 262 count indictment

The charges range from Racketeering (RICO), Theft, Exploitation of an Elderly Person, Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person, Offering False Evidence for Filing or Recording, Perjury, etc.

You can and should read this 125 page, over 200 count indictment, but it’s the same pattern Ken and I were finding everywhere–target, guardianize, medicate, drain the estate and then narcotize to death when the money runs out.

The amazing thing is, it involved so many people and yet there is no end in sight.

We desperately need this to end and start protecting our seniors and thee disbled irght here Chicago Illinoi

From JPStillwater–The US spends Trillions on wars to “promote democracy” but years, even decades later, US citizens still can’t go there. Why is that?

This woman asks some very interesting questions. Sooo much money blown up and squandered.  Why can’t we now travel to these countries?

Reposted with permission

The US freed Libya. So why can’t I go there?
     In 2001, all we ever heard about in the media was how America was going to “free Afghanistan for democracy.”  Sixteen years and several trillion dollars later, Afghanistan should be as free as a bird now, right?
     So I went to and clicked on “flight + hotel” to Kabul.  Nothing came up.  Afghanistan is so very free these days that American tourists can’t even go there.  Hell, even war correspondents can’t get in there either.  Hmmm.
     But what about Iraq, the country that America spent approximately five trillion dollars freeing from that evil dictator what’s-his-name.  Plus when I was a kid, I had always dreamed about being an archeologist when I grew up and going to see places like Babylon and Ur.  Now was my chance!
     So I went on and clicked on “flight + hotel” to Baghdad.  Sorry but American tourists aren’t free to travel to Iraq either.
     Libya?  Same old story.  America spent a trillion or so dollars on liberating Libya from Qaddafi “for humanitarian reasons”.  Well, things are so humane over there right now that not even can get you a “flight + hotel” to Tripoli.
      Where else has America been liberating stuff?  Ukraine?  Let’s plug that one into and see what comes up.  Nope,  Nothing there either.
     Yemen?  America just sold the Saudis billions and billions of dollars worth of deadly weapons in order to “liberate” Yemen’s oil.  But wouldn’t touch Yemen with a ten-foot pole.  The Saudis have already dropped 90,000 bombs on Yemen so far.  Yemenis are resisting the Saudis’ offer of “freedom” just as hard as George Washington resisted the British during the American Revolution.  But then King George III hadn’t dropped 90,000 bombs on Betsy Ross’s head either.  No nice hotel in Sanaa for me.
     How about Palestine?  America is paying 30 billion bucks a year to help Israeli neo-colonialists “free” Gaza.  But if you type “Gaza” into, your whole computer might just blow up.  No freedom in Gaza either.  They are not even letting reporters into Gaza.  “Closed military zone.”  Being a war correspondent sucks eggs these days — let alone being a tourist.
     Syria?  Let’s click on  The only place we can safely go there is to Damascus and Aleppo, where Syria’s so-called “evil dictator” is still in charge.  But no one can go to the parts of Syria freed up by the freedom-loving USA and their allies ISIS and al Qaeda.
     And now the American Deep State and its puppets in Washington are talking about “liberating” Russia, China, North Korea and Venezuela.  Pretty soon American tourists will consider themselves lucky if they can even safely travel to Tijuana.
PS:  According to William Engdahl’s new book, The Gods of Money, World War I and World War II were welcomed and even encouraged by the US corporatocracy in order to weaken Europe. American leading circles around the Rockefellers and Wall Street had resolved among themselves that all potential European rivals for power would have to grind themselves down in a mutual slaughter.”
     Now that same corporatocracy is currently plotting World War 3 in order to weaken Russia and China.  “Hey, it worked before.  Let’s try it again.”  And you know what this means, don’t you?  After Russia and China are finally as “free” as Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Honduras, Somalia and Libya, there will be no more trips on the Orient Express railway for American tourists either.
PPS:  I’m going to be an American tourist myself this week — going to New York City, staying at the legendary Jane Hotel, eating rice pudding at B&H Dairy on Second Avenue and attending the 2017 BEA Book Expo.
     And guess who will be speaking at the Book Expo?  Hillary Rodham Clinton!  Yes, the darling of the Deep State herself will be telling us in her very own words about how “free” Libya became on her watch and just how much she would love to bomb Russia.  
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        Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.
     Plus here’s a sneak preview of my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled “Road Trip to Damascus,” hopefully coming out by the end of 2017:

From JPS–Money Laundering in New York City

And as if this is not going on in Chicago

Thanks you Jane for granting permission to cross post


The real estate boom in NYC: Money-laundering’s finest hour
     What!  You say that you’ve already been to New York City dozens of times and yet you’ve never eaten rice pudding at B&H Dairy on Second Avenue?  Well.  That is a fatal lapse in your education.  Fix it immediately or else.
     Back in 1965 when I was a poverty-stricken idealist living in an apartment on the Lower East Side that rented for $28 a month and when LSD was still legal, I used to save up my pennies and treat myself to a bowl of B&H’s fabulous rice pudding every few months.  So when I went back to NYC for the Book Expo recently, I met up with an old friend at B&H and we talked.
      “There is new construction going on in Manhattan everywhere you look these days,” she said.  “Everyone wants to invest in real estate in New York City.”
     “And in Berkeley too,” I replied.  “There are currently 10,000 new high-rise apartment units going up in my home town as well.”  http://www. 2017-06-09/article/45790? headline=Speak-up-on-Tuesday- for-affordable-housing-in- Berkeley–Becky-O-Malley
     “Actually, it’s happening all over the world,” said my friend.  “Even in the Middle East, construction is going on like crazy.”   Humph.  That’s just so not fair.  Look at me and look at you.  Can any of us average Americans afford to run out and build high-rise condos worth billions of bucks?  Hardly.  It’s all we can do to keep from being homeless.
     So where are all these billions — trillions — of construction dollars coming from?  “War profits, drug money, oil barons and sheiks.  Hedge funds.  Shadow banks.”  Shadow banks?  Now there’s a scary thought.  Aren’t our regular banks shadowy enough as it is?
PS:  From my vantage point up on the High Line Park the other day, I counted 24 different new high-rises going up.  And from the top floor of the Whitney Museum I counted five more.
     Ah, the Whitney.  Its Biannual Exhibit was amazing.  And one whole section was devoted to works by artists who were deeply in debt.  That’s scary too.  No condo-high-rise ownership for them.  Seems like you either gotta murder babies in the Middle East, pollute the world with oil emissions and/or sell drugs to school children in order to play at being Bob the Builder in New York.  Being creative in America will only smash you headlong into debt.
PPS:  Here’s a quote from Larry Fink that I stole off the artists’ wall at the Whitney:  “The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today are contemporary art and apartments in Manhattan.”  Fink is the head of Black Rock.  Black Rock is the world’s largest shadow bank, is worth 5.1 trillion dollars and is almost personally responsible for the 2008 financial crisis with its mortgage-backed security scam.  But, hey, at least Fink is supporting the arts.
PPPS:  The media is always talking about RussiaGate. But what about SaudiGate, IsraeliGate and GlobalCorporationGate — the guys who launder money by buying property in Washington DC, primarily on Capital Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue.
        To unsubscribe, just hit the reply button and type “unsubscribe” in the subject line.                                          
        Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.
     Plus here’s a sneak preview of my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled “Road Trip to Damascus,” hopefully coming out by the end of 2017:  http://straitwellbooks. by-straitwell-press-coming- out.html

From FB/Brandon DiPasquale–State of Indiana to pay $25 million for false DCF reports in removing 2 children from home

State Of Indiana Forced To Pay $25 MILLION To Couple After Making Their Lives A Living Hell

The state of Indiana made life a living hell for the Finnegans,  Roman and Lynnette.  First, their child died after a doctor accidentally prescribed what turned out to be an overdose of her medications.  The coroner confirmed how she died.  Their daughter Jessica was born with heart and seizure disease.  She was on several medications, when her doctor took her off one medication and then doubled her dosage on a second.  After jennifer died, the Department of Children’s Services charged them with neglect, even though the coroner’s report cleared them completely.  They have now been fully cleared and Indiana has agreed to pay them $25 million in damages.

 Jessica was born with a heart defect and seizure disorder and had numerous open heart surgeries, including one that left her with a two-chambered heart instead of the typical four.

She was also taking multiple high-risk drugs include Coumadin, a blood-thinning medication; Digoxin, a blood pressure support drug; and Dilantin, a seizure medication.

On December 20, 2005, Jessica Salyer was found dead in her Francesville home. She had stayed home from school that day because she was feeling ill.

Her mother, Lynnette, found her around 2pm, lying face down by her bed, not breathing, and with a small amount of blood by her mouth and nose.

It was eventually discovered that a doctor had doubled her dosage of Coumadin and had taken her off an anti-seizure medication, causing an accidental overdose.

The Finnegans were arrested and charged with neglect in Jessica’s death and two of their three children – Tabitha and Katelynn – were removed from their home and placed in foster care.

DCS officials later ignored evidence including the coroner’s conclusion that a prescription error resulting in overdose caused Jessica’s death, according to Indianapolis attorney Rich Waples.

He said investigators tried to frame the couple by falsifying documents sent to a state fatality review team.

‘It was beyond the pale, and the jury understood that,’ Waples said, noting that the coroner testified for the plaintiffs.
Charges against the couple were eventually dropped.

After the parents were charged and the children removed from their home, Roman Finnegan was fired from his job at the Department of Correction.

The family lost its home and was forced to sell off nearly all possessions.
‘It literally destroyed the family,’ Waples said.

‘They’ve been essentially destitute for the better part of nine years.’

Roman has since been rehired by the DOC.

After the charges were dropped, the Finnegans sued three of the DCS’s workers, an Indiana State Police detective and a doctor in 2008.

A jury sided with the family in 2015, finding that officials sabotaged investigations into Jessica’s death and awarded the family $31.3 million. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office appealed the verdict last year.

State officials continue to deny any ‘fault, wrongdoing or liability,’ Chief Counsel of Appeals Stephen Creason, of the attorney general’s office, told The Indiana Lawyer.


Urgent request–seeking Lilly Tonkinson

If you know where this mildly disabled woman is, please lend a cell phone to her and let her call her mother, Mary Catherine Ford.

Mary Ford is desperate to talk to her daughter–and the evil Guardian won’t allow her phone call or emails or tell her where her daughter is.

The mother is heart broken.

Lilly Tonkinson is likely being housed in a facility without any educational opportunities, medical or dental. She has been beaten and abused in these facilities.  The court won’t listen to the mom or dad who have pleaded to get rid of an abusive Guardian and return their daughter.

It’s all about the money and I bet the “Guardian” (of pain and suffering) is getting some sort of kickback.

Please help her and spread the word.

We were able to do this once before.  I know there are kind, caring souls out there who do not believe in the abuse and isolation of the disabled.


Great new series on Netflix-“the Keepers”

Either watch this 7 part series on Netflix, or get to a friend’s home and watch it.

Back in 1969, a nun and a 19 year old woman were brutally murdered and their bodies dumped in a sleeping surburban town that saw little or no crime.

Keough was the Catholic School where hundreds of teen girls were abused by 2 Priests and their friends and buddies–with the girls suffering brutal repeated rapes.

One priest was raping boys at another school, the mother found out and demanded the school do something and they did, they transferred the priest to Keough!

Why do I recommend the movie?  The case received unprecedented attention, a massive “investigation” was undertaken, thousands of documents recovered, scores of people interviewed, the state, local and county governments collected information and documents and even the FBI (the murders occurred on military installations for training soldiers so the FBI had jurisdiction there, but quickly turned over the case to state and local authorities).

Thousands of documents were created.  Dogged investigative reporters follow the 2 murders.  But is is only two ordinary women–both of whom knew and loved Sister Cathy, who developed the most information, conducted an in depth, highly detailed investigation over the years, and came up with completely amazing evidence of who done it–turned it over to the authorities, only to find out via FOIA of a massive cover up and document dump.  The police, the states attorneys, etc. were all involved.

this is my link, but it might not work.

If anyone has a better link, please send it along.

And if anyone has any insight on how to get the documents to these ladies faster from the FBI, including suit, plmk.

And blessings to all of those concerned citizens that revealed this cover up.  The archdiocese should be dismantled for all the evil they did to so many young men and women growing up.  Many were involved.  No one did anything.


From FB–a Case on Judicial Immunity Scott v. O’Grady and a Writ of Assistance

Holding:  the Sheriff got off, but the Mortgagee was liable for notice and due process to the tenants when a Writ of Assistance issued from the Circuit Court


760 F. Supp. 1288

William SCOTT and Rosemary Scott, Plaintiffs,
James E. O’GRADY, Sheriff of Cook County, et al., Defendants.

No. 90 C 5810.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, E.D.

February 26, 1991.

[760 F. Supp. 1289]


[760 F. Supp. 1290]

Lewis Check, Loyola University Community Law Center, Chicago, Ill., for plaintiffs.

Douglas B. Swill, Asst. State’s Atty., Chicago, Ill., for defendants Sheriff O’Grady and Deputy Sheriff Branch.

David Letvin, Letvin and Stein, Chicago, Ill., for defendant Diamond Mortg. Corp.

[760 F. Supp. 1291]


CONLON, District Judge.

In this action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiffs William and Rosemary Scott (“the Scotts”) sue Cook County Sheriff James O’Grady; Deputy Sheriff Kelvin Branch; Diamond Mortgage Corp. of Illinois d/b/a Diamond Financial Services of Illinois, Inc. (“Diamond”); and Commerce Mortgage Corp. d/b/a Tracy Mortgage Corp. (“Commerce”) (collectively, “defendants”). The Scotts claim that defendants violated their constitutional right to due process when defendants evicted the Scotts from the Scotts’ rented residence pursuant to a writ of assistance issued by the Circuit Court of Cook County. Defendants move to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).


On a motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true all the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint and views those allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Gillman v. Burlington Northern R.R. Co., 878 F.2d 1020, 1022 (7th Cir.1989). On February 24, 1986, Commerce filed a mortgage foreclosure action in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois concerning property located at 449 West 61st Street in Chicago (“the property”). Complaint ¶ 8. On August 22, 1986, Commerce assigned its mortgage interest in the property to Diamond. Id. ¶ 9. On October 31, 1987, the mortgagor of the property, Larry Holder, entered into a lease agreement with plaintiff William Scott. Id. ¶ 10. Under the agreement, Scott rented the first floor and basement apartment units of the property for a two-year period beginning November 4, 1987. Id. At the time Scott executed the lease agreement, Holder failed to inform Scott of the pending foreclosure action concerning the property. Id. ¶ 12.

On November 10, 1987, the state court entered judgment for foreclosure and sale in favor of Commerce and against Holder and the property. Id. ¶ 13. On January 5, 1988, Commerce purchased the property at a sheriff’s sale. Id. ¶ 14. The sale was approved by the Circuit Court of Cook County on January 19, 1988. Id.

The Scotts moved into their rented units at the property in March 1988. Id. ¶ 15. At that time, the Scotts remained unaware of the foreclosure and sale of the property; they continued to pay Holder monthly rent under the lease agreement. Id. On July 20, 1988, Commerce received a sheriff’s deed to the property. Id. ¶ 16. On August 23, 1988, Commerce moved for and received from the Cook County Circuit Court a writ of assistance directing the Sheriff of Cook County to accompany Commerce to the property and assist Commerce in obtaining possession of the property. Id. ¶ 17. The writ of assistance authorized the sheriff to use any and all force required in securing Commerce’s possession of the property. Id. The Scotts claim that Commerce and/or Diamond knew or should have known that the Scotts were tenants in possession of the property, and that the Scotts had not been named as parties to the foreclosure action. Id. ¶¶ 18-19. Nevertheless, the Scotts did not receive notice of the motion for a writ of assistance. Id. ¶ 20. Nor were the Scotts named in the writ of assistance. Id. In addition, in applying for the writ of assistance, Commerce did not inform the Cook County Circuit Court that the Scotts were living at the property. Id. ¶ 21.

After receiving the writ of assistance, Commerce gave it to the Cook County Sheriff’s Department without informing the Scotts of the writ’s existence. Id. ¶¶ 22-23. On October 11, 1988, Commerce and/or Diamond arrived at the property with Deputy Sheriff Branch and other employees of the Sheriff’s Department. Id. 27. Scott informed defendants that he had not been served with any written notice of a court proceeding affecting his tenancy. Id. ¶ 28. Commerce and/or Diamond then directed Deputy Sheriff Branch to immediately and forcibly evict the Scotts and their belongings from the property pursuant to the writ of assistance. Id. ¶ 29. Many of the Scotts’ personal belongings were damaged or lost when the sheriff’s agents deposited

[760 F. Supp. 1292]

their personal property in the street. Id. ¶¶ 29, 31. The Scotts claim that defendants’ forcible eviction deprived them of their property without due process of law.


Generally, the federal system of notice pleading does not favor dismissal for failure to state a claim. Gray v. Dane County, 854 F.2d 179, 182 (7th Cir.1988). In determining the sufficiency of the complaint, the court must construe pleadings liberally; vagueness or lack of detail are insufficient grounds for dismissal. Fed.R. Civ.P. 8; Strauss v. City of Chicago, 760 F.2d 765, 767 (7th Cir.1985). However, the court need not ignore facts set forth in the complaint that undermine the plaintiffs’ claim, nor is the court required to accept the plaintiffs’ legal conclusions.American Nurses’ Ass’n v. Illinois, 783 F.2d 716, 724 (7th Cir.1986). Dismissal is proper if it appears beyond doubt that plaintiffs can prove no set of facts in support of their claim that would entitle them to the relief requested. Illinois Health Care Ass’n v. Illinois Dep’t of Public Health, 879 F.2d 286, 288 (7th Cir.1989), citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 101-02, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). The defendant bears the burden of establishing the legal insufficiency of the complaint. Yeksigian v. Nappi, 900 F.2d 101, 104-05 (7th Cir.1990).

I. Sheriff O’Grady and Deputy Sheriff Branch’s Motion to Dismiss

Sheriff O’Grady and Deputy Sheriff Branch assert several grounds for dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The court addresses each theory separately.

A. Immunity

 O’Grady and Branch contend that they are immune from the Scotts’ civil rights action for damages under the doctrine of public official immunity. O’Grady and Branch argue that they are entitled to quasi-judicial absolute immunity or, in the alternative, qualified immunity. However, the immunity defenses asserted by O’Grady and Branch apply only to government officials sued in their personal or individual capacities. Henry v. Farmer City State Bank, 808 F.2d 1228, 1237-38 (7th Cir. 1986). The complaint clearly alleges that O’Grady and Branch are sued in their official capacities as government officials. Complaint ¶¶ 4-5. Because official capacity suits are treated as suits against the governmental entity, “any damage award may be satisfied by looking only to the entity itself, not the official, and the official may not assert any personal immunity defenses.Henry, 808 F.2d at 1238 (emphasis added), citing Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166-67, 105 S.Ct. 3099, 3105-06, 87 L.Ed.2d 114 (1985). Accordingly, O’Grady and Branch are not entitled to either absolute or qualified immunity.

B. Eleventh Amendment

O’Grady and Branch argue that the Scotts’ action is prohibited by the eleventh amendment. The eleventh amendment bars federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over actions brought by private citizens against a state, its agencies or its officials. Santiago v. Lane, 894 F.2d 218, 220 n. 3 (7th Cir.1990), citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 276, 106 S.Ct. 2932 2939, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986). An action against a municipality or county or its officials is not precluded by the eleventh amendment. Mt. Healthy City Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 280, 97 S.Ct. 568, 572, 50 L.Ed.2d 471 (1977); Yeksigian v. Nappi, 900 F.2d 101, 103-04 (7th Cir. 1990).

O’Grady and Branch argue that although technically they are county officers, they were effectively acting on behalf of the state of Illinois when they took action pursuant to a writ of assistance issued by a state court. Thus, they claim that the eleventh amendment precludes a suit against them in their official capacity as officers for the state. In support of their position, O’Grady and Branch cite Shipley v. First Fed. Sav. and Loan Ass’n of Delaware, 619 F.Supp. 421 (D.Del.1985). The Shipley court determined that a county sheriff and prothonotary acted in a ministerial capacity for the state of Delaware in connection

[760 F. Supp. 1293]

with mortgage foreclosure proceedings. Id. at 435. Thus, the Shipley court held that the eleventh amendment barred an official-capacity suit for damages against these officers in connection with their conduct during mortgage foreclosure proceedings. Id.

For the purpose of determining liability under section 1983, it is a question of state law whether a county sheriff may be considered an officer of the state. Pembaur v. City of Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 484, 106 S.Ct. 1292 1300, 89 L.Ed.2d 452 (1986); Soderbeck v. Burnett County, 821 F.2d 446, 451 (7th Cir.1987). The Scotts argue that the Shipley decision was based on Delaware law and does not apply to this case. The Shipley holding was premised on the court’s determination that Delaware law treated the sheriff and prothonotary as state officials in connection with their actions in mortgage foreclosure proceedings. Id. Indeed, Delaware statutes specifically directed the sheriff and prothonotary to perform certain duties in connection with mortgage foreclosure proceedings. Id. The Scotts point out that under Illinois law, the sheriff is a county officer whose common law and statutory duties are intended to benefit the county as a whole. Holda v. Kane County, 88 Ill. App.3d 522, 43 Ill.Dec. 552, 559, 410 N.E.2d 552, 559 (1980). Further, the Illinois Supreme Court has long held that the sheriff is an officer of the county. People ex rel. Davis v. Nellis, 249 Ill. 12, 23, 94 N.E. 165, 169 (1911).

O’Grady and Branch argue that the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law, Ill.Ann. Stat. ch. 110, para. 15-1101 et seq. (Smith-Hurd Supp.1990), specifically directs the sheriff to act as an arm of the Illinois state judicial system. The Mortgage Foreclosure Law authorizes Illinois circuit courts to issue orders enforcing judgments made pursuant to that statute. Id. § 15-1102. In addition, under § 15-1507, the sheriff is authorized to conduct a judicial sale upon entry of judgment of foreclosure. O’Grady and Branch offer these statutory provisions as examples of the sheriff’s involvement (in a ministerial capacity) with state mortgage foreclosure proceedings. In the present case, after entering judgment of foreclosure, the Circuit Court of Cook County issued a writ of assistance ordering the sheriff of Cook County to accompany Commerce to the property and to use all means necessary to insure Commerce’s ability to take possession of the property. The sheriff and his agents were given no discretion in enforcing the writ; they acted solely in a ministerial capacity in carrying out the state court’s order. Under these circumstances, the actions of the sheriff and deputy sheriff cannot fairly be considered to be county actions for which section 1983 liability is permitted. Sheriff O’Grady and Deputy Sheriff Branch must be deemed state officials for the purposes of eleventh amendment immunity. See Shipley, 619 F.Supp. at 434-35. See also Echols v. Parker, 909 F.2d 795, 801 (5th Cir.1990) (“county official pursues his duties as a state agent when he is enforcing state law or policy”); Familias Unidas v. Briscoe, 619 F.2d 391, 404 (5th Cir.1980) (county judge implementing unconstitutional state law acted as a state official). Accordingly, the eleventh amendment precludes the Scotts’ section 1983 action against Sheriff O’Grady and Deputy Sheriff Branch in their official capacities.

The court’s determination that O’Grady and Branch are not subject to suit in federal court renders consideration of O’Grady and Branch’s additional reasons for dismissal unnecessary.

II. Diamond’s Motion to Dismiss

Diamond1 attacks the sufficiency of the Scotts’ section 1983 action on several grounds. First, Diamond contends that the complaint fails to allege the essential elements of a section 1983 claim. Second, Diamond claims that state law provides an adequate post-deprivation procedure to remedy any alleged wrong the Scotts suffered. Third, Diamond argues that it is

[760 F. Supp. 1294]

entitled to qualified immunity based on the state of mind allegations in the complaint.

A. Elements of a Section 1983 Claim

In order to state a claim under section 1983, the complaint must allege that (1) “the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law;” and (2) “this conduct deprived a person of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” New Burnham Prairie Homes, Inc. v. Village of Burnham, 910 F.2d 1474, 1479 (7th Cir.1990), quoting Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535, 101 S.Ct. 1908 1913, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981). Diamond claims that the Scotts have failed to allege either of these two elements.

1. State Action

A defendant acts under color of state law if the defendant’s conduct is “fairly attributable” to the state. Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., Inc., 457 U.S. 922, 937, 102 S.Ct. 2744 2753, 73 L.Ed.2d 482 (1982). A defendant’s action is fairly attributable to the state if the defendant acts pursuant to a state rule or policy, and if the defendant is in some way a state actor. Id. Diamond does not dispute that it followed Illinois statutory procedures in securing the writ of assistance and evicting the Scotts. Therefore, the first prong of the state action test — the requirement that a defendant act pursuant to a state rule — is satisfied. However, Diamond argues that its conduct in securing and enforcing the writ of assistance without giving notice to the Scotts does not constitute state action because Diamond was not a state actor.

Private persons are considered state actors when they exercise powers “traditionally the exclusive prerogative of the State.” Spencer v. Lee, 864 F.2d 1376, 1379 (7th Cir.1989), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 110 S.Ct. 1317, 108 L.Ed.2d 493 (1990), quoting Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991 1005, 102 S.Ct. 2777 2786, 73 L.Ed.2d 534 (1982). In the context of property attachment, the Supreme Court has determined that “a private party’s joint participation with state officials in the seizure of disputed property is sufficient to characterize that party as a `state actor.'” Lugar, 457 U.S. at 941, 102 S.Ct. at 2756. In Lugar, the defendant invoked Virginia’s prejudgment attachment statute to attach the plaintiff’s property. Under the Virginia statute, a creditor could attach a debtor’s property prior to obtaining a default judgment by filing an ex parte petition for a writ of attachment, which was then issued by a state court clerk and executed by a county sheriff. Id. at 924-25, 102 S.Ct. at 2747. In finding that the creditor was a state actor, the Lugar Court explained:

The Court of Appeals erred in holding that in this context “joint participation” required something more than invoking the aid of state officials to take advantage of state-created attachment procedures … Whatever may be true in other contexts, this is sufficient when the State has created a system whereby state officials will attach property on the ex parte application of one party to a private dispute.

Id. at 942, 102 S.Ct. at 2756.

The Scotts urge the court to apply the Lugar reasoning to Diamond’s actions in obtaining a postjudgment writ of attachment and invoking the authority of the county sheriff to execute the writ and evict the Scotts without notice.2 Diamond correctly points out that the Lugar Court intended to limit the application of its lenient standard for joint participation between a private party and the state to the context of ex parte prejudgment attachment proceedings. Id. at 939 n. 21, 102 S.Ct. at 2755 n. 21 (“the holding today … is limited to the particular context of prejudgment attachment”). Diamond argues that the Lugar holding should not be applied to the

[760 F. Supp. 1295]

Scotts’ alleged postjudgment deprivation of property. The Scotts, on the other hand, assert that the Lugar rationale has not been limited to prejudgment deprivations. The Scotts rely on four cases to support their contention that a private party is properly considered a state actor when it uses state-sanctioned postjudgment procedures to deprive a person of property: Texaco Inc. v. Pennzoil Co., 784 F.2d 1133, 1146 (2d Cir.1986), rev’d on other grounds, 481 U.S. 1, 107 S.Ct. 1519, 95 L.Ed.2d 1 (1987); Davis Oil Co. v. Mills, 873 F.2d 774 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 110 S.Ct. 331, 107 L.Ed.2d 321 (1989); Howard Gault Co. v. Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc., 848 F.2d 544 (5th Cir.1988); and Dieffenbach v. Attorney General of Vermont, 604 F.2d 187 (2d Cir.1979).

In Pennzoil, a Texas state court jury returned a verdict against Texaco for tortiously interfering with Pennzoil’s contract with a third party. Before the state trial court entered judgment, Texaco filed a section 1983 action in federal court alleging, inter alia, that the Texas procedures for securing a postjudgment lien on Texaco’s assets violated due process and equal protection. The district court, concluding that Texaco’s federal claims were likely to succeed, enjoined Pennzoil from taking any action to enforce the judgment until resolution of the section 1983 action. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that in securing a lien on Texaco’s property to enforce the state court judgment, Pennzoil would be a state actor, and thus Texaco had stated a claim under § 1983. See id., 784 F.2d at 11445-46 (“Pennzoil would have to act jointly with state officials to attach and seize Texaco’s assets … enforcement of the state court judgment therefore necessarily involves a panoply of activities undertaken together by Pennzoil and state officials, which constitutes joint action for the purposes of § 1983”). The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals on abstention grounds. Pennzoil Co. v. Texaco Inc., 481 U.S. 1, 17, 107 S.Ct. 1519 1529, 95 L.Ed.2d 1 (1987). The majority opinion did not reach the issue of whether Pennzoil’s use of a state’s postjudgment attachment procedure constitutes state action. However, four concurring justices (Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun and Stevens) agreed that under Lugar, Pennzoil would indeed be considered a state actor. See id. at 19, 107 S.Ct. at 1530 (Brennan, J., concurring) (“creditor’s invocation of a State’s postjudgment collection procedures constitutes action under color of state law within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983”). Accord, 481 U.S. at 27 & 30 n. 1, 107 S.Ct. at 1534 & 1536 n. 1. Because the Supreme Court based its reversal on abstention grounds, the Second Circuit’s ruling on state action in Pennzoil remains in force.

The Davis Oil case also supports the Scott’s claim that a private person’s use of state postjudgment procedures to seize property may be considered state action. In Davis Oil, the complaint alleged that Louisiana’s mortgage foreclosure procedure was unconstitutional because it allowed a mortgagee to obtain foreclosure and execution of the judgment of foreclosure without providing adequate notice to other junior lien holders. Applying the Lugar reasoning, the Davis Oil court held that the mortgagee could be considered a “joint participant” with the state because the mortgagee set into motion the state-enforced procedures that would extinguish the junior lien holder’s interest in the subject property. Davis Oil, 873 F.2d at 781. The court expressly stated that the question of whether a junior lien holder was entitled to notice was not relevant to the court’s determination that the private party mortgagee was a state actor when it initiated and executed foreclosure proceedings that were ex parte with respect to the junior lien holder. Id. at 781 n. 11 (“this question is more properly addressed by considering whether Davis in fact had a property interest protected by the fourteenth amendment, rather than subsuming the question in the state action inquiry”).3

[760 F. Supp. 1296]

The Davis Oil and Pennzoil cases indicate that Lugar has indeed been extended to cases in which a private party uses ex parte state procedures for property seizure.4 The Scotts allege that after obtaining judgment of foreclosure against the mortgagor (Larry Holder), Diamond used Illinois statutory procedure to obtain a writ of assistance to enforce the judgment. Diamond then directed the sheriff’s office to execute the writ of assistance by forcibly evicting the Scotts from the property they rented from Holder. Further, although Diamond may have notified Holder of the foreclosure proceedings and application for a writ of assistance, the Scotts allegedly did not receive notice. Under Lugar, Davis Oil, and Pennzoil, the complaint sufficiently alleges that Diamond was a state actor.

2. Protected Property Interest

In order to maintain a section 1983 claim on due process grounds, the Scotts must allege that they had a “legitimate claim of entitlement” to the property from which they were evicted.Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 577, 92 S.Ct. 2701 2709, 33 L.Ed.2d 548 (1972). Property interests are not created by the United States Constitution; they are instead “defined by existing rules or understandings that stem from an independent source such as state law.” Id. See also New Burnham Prairie Homes, Inc. v. Village of Burnham, 910 F.2d 1474, 1477 (7th Cir. 1990). Diamond apparently does not dispute the notion that the due process clause applies to residential tenants with valid leasehold interests. See Tavarez v. O’Malley, 826 F.2d 671, 673-74 (7th Cir.1987).

The Scotts rented the basement and first floor units of the property from Holder on October 31, 1987, ten days prior to the entry of judgment of foreclosure on the property on November 10, 1987. Although mortgage foreclosure proceedings were initiated on February 24, 1986, Diamond did not obtain a sheriff’s deed to the property until July 20, 1988. Complaint ¶ 16. Thus, under Illinois law, Diamond did not obtain possessory rights in the property until conveyance of the sheriff’s deed to Diamond on July 20, 1988.5 See Newport Condominium Ass’n v. Talman Home Fed. Sav. and Loan Ass’n, 188 Ill.App.3d 1054, 136 Ill.Dec. 612, 545 N.E.2d 136, 139 (1st Dist.1988) (“Illinois law has consistently held that title to land sold under a mortgage foreclosure remains in the mortgagor until the expiration of the redemption period and conveyance of the sheriff’s deed to the purchaser of the sale”) (citations omitted). Until Diamond received the sheriff’s deed to the property, Holder had the right to lease the property to the Scotts and to collect rent. See e.g. United States v. American Nat’l Bank & Trust Co., 573 F.Supp. 1319, 1321-22 (N.D.Ill.1983) (under Illinois law, mortgagor is entitled to rents collected from the mortgaged property until the mortgagee takes possession of the property), citing Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. W.T. Grant Co., 321 Ill.App. 487, 53 N.E.2d 255 (1944). The Scotts therefore had a valid leasehold interest in the property until Diamond took possession pursuant to the writ of assistance. Accordingly, the Scotts had a legitimate entitlement protected

[760 F. Supp. 1297]

by the due process clause.6

Diamond argues that under Illinois law, the Scotts did not have a legitimate entitlement in possessing the property as against Diamond, because the Scotts signed their lease with Holder after the initiation of mortgage foreclosure proceedings and after Holder and all unknown owners and non-record claimants had been served with notice.7 Diamond relies on several Illinois cases that apply the rule that a mortgagee has paramount title and has the right of possession against all other interests subsequent to the execution of the mortgage: Kling v. Ghilarducci, 3 Ill.2d 454, 459, 121 N.E.2d 752 (1954); Reichert v. Bankson, 199 Ill.App. 95 (1916); Bartlett v. Hitchcock, 10 Ill.App. 87 (1881). However, these cases do not undermine the Scotts’ claim that they had a protectible property interest as lessees for the purposes of due process. The cases cited by Diamond were decided at a time when Illinois adhered to the “title theory of mortgages.” As an Illinois appellate court explained, “the State of Illinois has recently adopted the `lien theory of mortgages,’ and a mortgagee is not deemed to own the title of the property but only a mere lien.” Kelley/Lehr & Assocs., Inc. v. O’Brien, 194 Ill.App.3d 380, 141 Ill.Dec. 426, 430, 551 N.E.2d 419, 423 (2d Dist.1990), citing Harms v. Sprague, 105 Ill.2d 215, 222-23, 85 Ill.Dec. 331, 473 N.E.2d 930 (1984). Thus, the absolute supremacy of a mortgagee’s right to possession may no longer apply in all circumstances. Id. In any event, even if the cases cited by Diamond governed the present case, the court is unconvinced that the Scotts did not have any protectible interest. As mortgagee, Diamond may have had a superior claim to the property; that does not mean that the Scotts did not have any interest — albeit inferior — for which they might be entitled to notice before they were evicted.

Diamond claims that the Scotts were not entitled to notice or process because the Scotts entered into their lease with Holder after the mortgage was executed, after initiation of mortgage foreclosure proceedings, and after lis pendens notice was recorded. This argument does not address the issue whether the Scotts had a valid leasehold interest for the purposes of due process. Rather, the argument goes to the issue whether the Scotts received adequate notice before they were evicted from their rented apartment. The court cannot resolve this question on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Scotts have alleged that they did not receive notice before their eviction. On this motion, the court must accept the Scotts’ allegation as true.

In sum, the complaint adequately alleges that Diamond acted under color of state law when it evicted the Scotts pursuant to the writ of assistance. In addition, the complaint adequately alleges a protected property interest. Accordingly, the Scotts’ complaint satisfies the two elements of a section 1983 action.

B. Post-Deprivation State Remedy

Diamond contends that even if the Scotts had a protected property interest,

[760 F. Supp. 1298]

they are precluded from bringing a section 1983 action because Illinois provides an adequate post-deprivation state remedy. Deprivations of property resulting from “random and unauthorized” conduct of state actors do not violate due process if a meaningful remedy for the loss is available. Easter House v. Felder, 910 F.2d 1387, 1396 (7th Cir.1990), citing Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981) and Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 104 S.Ct. 3194, 82 L.Ed.2d 393 (1984). See also Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 110 S.Ct. 975, 108 L.Ed.2d 100 (1990). However, the deprivation of property in the present case was not random and unauthorized, but was instead the result of Diamond following established state procedures for evicting tenants pursuant to a writ of assistance.

In Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co., 455 U.S. 422, 102 S.Ct. 1148, 71 L.Ed.2d 265 (1982), the Court held that the Parratt rule does not apply when the deprivation of property is caused by the defendant’s use of an established state procedure, regardless of whether the action is taken through negligence, maliciousness or otherwise. Id. at 435-36, 102 S.Ct. at 1157-58. More recently, in Zinermon, the Court explained that Parratt does not apply when the property deprivation is predictable and authorized by the state, and where a state predeprivation hearing was possible. Zinermon, 110 S.Ct. at 989-90. In the present case, Diamond followed Illinois procedure in obtaining a writ of assistance and directing the sheriff to forcibly evict the Scotts. Because Illinois authorizes mortgagees to evict tenants without notice pursuant to a writ of assistance, Diamond’s actions cannot be considered unpredictable.8 Moreover, Illinois procedure does not provide tenants like the Scotts with notice and an opportunity to be heard before they may be forcibly evicted.

For the foregoing reasons, the court concludes that Diamond’s alleged actions were not random or unauthorized. Under Logan and Zinermon, the Scotts may sue Diamond under section 1983 for property deprivations without due process of law.

C. State of Mind Allegations

Diamond contends that the complaint fails to allege facts which would support a reasonable inference that Diamond acted “willfully, recklessly, or with callous indifference to” the Scotts’ procedural due process rights. Complaint ¶ 33. However, according to the complaint, when Diamond arrived at the property with the sheriff’s agents, William Scott informed defendants that he had not been served with any written notice of a court proceeding affecting his tenancy. Id. ¶ 28. Diamond then allegedly directed Deputy Branch to immediately and forcibly evict the Scotts and to deposit the Scotts’ belongings on the street. Id. ¶ 29. These allegations are sufficient to support a reasonable inference that Diamond acted with at least callous indifference to the Scotts’ due process rights.


The motion of Sheriff O’Grady and Deputy Branch to dismiss the complaint against them is granted. Sheriff O’Grady and Deputy Branch are dismissed from this action with prejudice. The motion of Diamond Mortgage Corp. of Illinois to dismiss is denied.




1 For purposes of the motion to dismiss, Diamond assumes that all conduct alleged to have been taken by Commerce is properly attributable to Diamond. See Diamond’s memorandum in support of motion to dismiss at 1 n. 1.

2 Diamond erroneously claims that the complaint charges Diamond with misusing the statutory procedure for obtaining a writ of assistance. Private misuse of a state statute does not amount to state action. Lugar, 457 U.S. at 941, 102 S.Ct. at 2755. However, the complaint does not allege that Diamond misused the writ process. Instead, the complaint avers that Diamond acted pursuant to the writ of assistance in directing the deputy sheriff to forcibly evict the Scotts. Complaint ¶ 29.

3 Because the junior lien holder did not receive notice of the foreclosure proceedings and execution of the judgment, Davis Oil is distinguishable from the case relied upon by Diamond, Earnest v. Lowentritt, 690 F.2d 1198 (5th Cir. 1982). The Earnest court held that the “initiation of foreclosure proceedings pursuant to a mortgage implicates no … authority of state law.” Id. at 1201. However, in Earnest, the party challenging the mortgage foreclosure had received notice of the proceedings. Such was not the case in Davis Oil; nor is the present case factually similar to Earnest.

4 The other cases relied upon by the Scotts do not directly support their position. Dieffenbach was decided prior to the Lugar decision and therefore cannot support an extension of Lugar to postjudgment attachment procedures. In addition, although Howard Gault recognized the validity of the Second Circuit’s state action holding in Pennzoil, Howard Gault did not involve a private person’s attempt at enforcing a judgment through state procedures.

5 Effective in all foreclosure actions filed on or after July 1, 1987, possession may be obtained 30 days after confirmation of the foreclosure sale, “without notice to any party, further order of court, or resort to proceedings under any statute other than the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law.” Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 110 para. 15-1701(d). This new provision does not apply to the present case because the foreclosure action was filed on February 24, 1986.

6 The Scotts correctly note that once a property right is created, a state may not authorize the deprivation of that right without appropriate procedural safeguards. Cleveland Board of Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 541, 105 S.Ct. 1487 1492, 84 L.Ed.2d 494 (1985); Davis Oil Co. v. Mills, 873 F.2d 774, 783 (5th Cir.1989). Thus, Diamond cannot avoid due process implications by claiming that it followed state procedures in evicting the Scotts.

7 Diamond claims it filed a lis pendens notice in the office of the Recorder of Deeds on February 24, 1986. Diamond also states that notice of the mortgage foreclosure action was published to all unknown owners and non-record claimants on June 9, 1987. To verify these assertions, Diamond attached copies of the lis pendens notice and the certificate of publication from Law Bulletin Publishing Company as exhibits to Diamond’s motion to dismiss. The court will not consider these exhibits on this motion. Consideration of a motion to dismiss is limited to the pleadings. Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1107 (7th Cir.1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1054, 105 S.Ct. 1758, 84 L.Ed.2d 821 (1985). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a district court has the authority to convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment when the movant submits factual materials outside the pleadings. See Beam v. IPCO Corp., 838 F.2d 242, 244 (7th Cir.1988). However, this court declines to do so.

8 Diamond takes the untenable position that its action was unpredictable because Diamond could not have foreseen that Holder would fail to inform the Scotts of the judgment of foreclosure or impending eviction. Under Parratt, the unpredictable action must be that of the defendant, not the conduct of plaintiffs or another third party.


Annalise Rice, 19 describes her Family Court nightmare


MINNEAPOLIS,Minn., May 5, 2017- Filed in March 2017, new Federal Civil Rights lawsuit in Minnesota hopes to strike a dagger in the heart of corruption in family courts.

Annalise Rice, 19, currently a freshman at the University of North Dakota, recently filed that lawsuit against her father, Brent Rice, a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, as well as Hennepin and Carver counties, a judge and several court professionals and social workers. All were involved in her family court case that, she argues, deprived her of her civil rights.

All were involved in her family court case that, she argues, deprived her of her civil rights.

In an exclusive interview with this CDN reporter, Annalise Rice described a nightmarish childhood in which she was taken away from her mother without explanation and forced to live with a father who, she alleges, while mostly absent,  she alleges he was abusive when…

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From J. Ketelhut–9th circuit case says Social Workers have NO immunity for lying

Hardick v. Vreeken

Some great excerpts from this case:

The panel affirmed the district court’s denial, on summary judgment, of absolute and qualified immunity to social workers who plaintiff alleged maliciously used perjured testimony and fabricated evidence to secure plaintiff’s removal from her mother, and that this abuse of state power violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights to her familial relationship with her mother. The panel held that the social workers were not entitled to absolute immunity from claims that they maliciously used perjured testimony and fabricated evidence to secure plaintiff’s removal. The panel held that plaintiff’s complaint targeted conduct well outside of the social workers’ legitimate role as quasi-prosecutorial advocates in presenting the case. The panel held that defendants’ case for qualified immunity was not supported by the law or the record. The panel determined that plaintiff produced more than sufficient admissible evidence to create a genuine dispute as to whether her removal from her mother’s custody violated her constitutional rights. The panel further stated that it could not conceive of circumstances in which social workers would not know and understand that they could not use criminal behavior in any court setting to interfere with a person’s fundamental constitutional liberty interest.


From Joanne:  And  I think that’s the real problem with the ARDC, Larkin and Opryszek and Melissa Smart,they have not fully grasped the concept that their action have directly affected the Fundamental Liberty Interests of many in probate and myself and Ken Ditkowsky to publish a blog that is highly critical of the scheme in guardianship to “target, guardianize, isolate, narcotize, drain the estate and eliminate” which is still currenly going on in probate.

Go ahead, ask poor Jay Brouckmeersch and Alan Frake how they feel about how they were murdered in probate, abused, isolated and no one in the courtroom cared, not the OSG, the judges or the GALs–no one, except for me and Ken Ditkowsky that firmly believe these are nothing but a string of felonies that lead to the ultimate goal of murder.

Why the authorities do nothing is beyond either of us.

But remember, even the 9th circuit and the US constitution declare that the 14th amendment to be free from lying, dastardly, scoundrel government appointed licensed social workers is a fundamental liberty interest–assured to each and every US citizen.

More quotes from this case:

Pursuant to an order of the Superior Court of Orange County California, arising from acrimonious juvenile dependency proceedings, Deanna Fogerty-Hardwick lost custody of her minor children, Preslie and Kendall. In this subsequent civil rights action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Preslie Hardwick sued the County and employees of its Social Services Agency (“SSA”). She contends that the social worker employees acting under color of state law maliciously used perjured testimony and fabricated evidence to secure her removal from her mother, and that this abuse of state power violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights to her familial relationship with her mother. In a motion for summary judgment, the individual defendants unsuccessfully raised absolute and qualified immunity as shields against this action. They appeal, 4 HARDWICK V. VREEKEN claiming, among other things, that the law Preslie accuses them of violating was not “clearly established” at the time their allegedly wrongful conduct occurred. Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). We have jurisdiction over this timely interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731, 742–43 (1982) (absolute immunity), and Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 530 (1985) (qualified immunity). We affirm. 

This lawsuit is not the first stemming from the implosion of Preslie’s family. Her mother, Deanna, successfully sued some of the social workers in state court for the same conduct and pursuant to the same legal theory, and she recovered a sizable sum in damages plus attorneys’ fees. See FogartyHarwick v. County of Orange, No. G039045, 2010 WL 2354383, at *1 (Cal. Ct. App. June 14, 2010) (remanding to trial court with directions to strike injunctive relief from the judgment and affirming judgment in all other respects). To quote the California Court of Appeal, In this case, the jury specifically concluded that Vreeken and Dwojak lied, falsified evidence and suppressed exculpatory evidence–all of which was material to the dependency court’s decision to deprive Fogarty-Hardwick of custody–and that they did so with malice. These findings are clearly sufficient to satisfy the Supreme Court’s  definition of circumstances in which ‘qualified immunity would not be available.’

Absolute immunity from private lawsuits covers the official activities of social workers only when they perform quasi-prosecutorial or quasi-judicial functions in juvenile dependency court. Miller v. Gammie, 335 F.3d 889, 898 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc). The factor that determines whether absolute immunity covers a social worker’s activity or “function” under scrutiny is whether it was investigative or administrative, on one hand, or part and parcel of presenting the state’s case as a generic advocate on the other. Absolute immunity is available only if the function falls into the latter category. See id. at 896. Here, Preslie tells us that the social workers’ malicious activities about which she complains are as follows: 1) The allegedly false statements and omissions made in defendants’ court reports continuously submitted by them from February 17, 2000, through the termination of the dependency proceedings; 2) The statements made by the defendant social workers during an “off the record” discussion on February 17, 2000, and during an “on the record” discussion that same daywhere the social workers allegedly lied (but not while under oath) to the commissioner overseeing the dependency proceeding, triggering Preslie’s seizure; 3) The alleged fabrication of evidence throughout the dependency proceedings and repeated suppression of HARDWICK V. VREEKEN 7 exculpatoryevidence in defendants’ written court reports; and 4) Defendants’ corrupt recommendations that Preslie continue to be detained even though defendants allegedly knew they were lying to the court about the basis for the initial seizure and subsequent detention.

And so on and so forth.  I think we all get the point, and many you who are victims know the sordid tale of how licensed “professionals”, from attorneys, to judges to social workers, GALs and all sorts of nefarious characters appear in court only for the purpose of lying to the court and feathering their own nests. They could give a rat’s tail about the children or elderly person involved int he proceeding.

We need to push truth and integrity in the court rooms.  As for the psychopaths at the ARDC, they need to be tested with a PET brain scan and removed. Same for the judges elected in state court and appointed in federal court.  We also need the examination of all bank records.  I don’t care if a judge took a $10 bribe, they need to be removed from any position of authority.

We must return to Integrity and Justice for everyone, no matter how poor, unconnected and disenfranchised they are.

In the US the courts belong to everyone.  It is the hallmark of a democratic society.