About jmdenison

Patent and Trademark Attorney practicing in Chicago, Illinois accepting clients nationwide. We also do trademarks, general intellectual property and business litigation. See our website at www.DenisonLaw.com. Now suspended for 3 years by the Illinois Atty Regn and Disciplinary Commission for blogging about corruption and telling truths that the ARDC wants to cover up. Still a patent agent, tho.

From KKD; Very important information on Trusts and Estates, what terms mean and how they must be handled

One of the problems I note from the correspondence that goes back and forth between the various allied groups that are attempting to fight the human trafficking in the elderly (the felonies of ELDER CLEANSING) is the failure to understand some basic guidelines.

The following may be helpful, to wit:

Guidelines for Individual Executors & Trustees

Introduction

After an individual’s death, his or her assets will be gathered, business affairs settled, debts paid, necessary tax returns filed, and assets distributed as the deceased individual (generally referred to as the “decedent”) directed. These activities generally will be conducted on behalf of the decedent by a person acting in a fiduciary capacity, either as executor (in some states called a personal representative) or as trustee, depending upon how the decedent held his or her property.

As a first step, it is helpful to know the meaning of a few common terms:

·         Fiduciary – An individual or bank or trust company that acts for the benefit of another. Trustees, executors, and personal representatives are all fiduciaries.

·         Grantor – (Also called “settlor” or “trustor”) An individual who transfers property to a trustee to hold or own subject to the terms of the trust agreement setting forth your wishes. For income tax purposes the same term is used to mean the person who is taxed on the income from the trust. Confusing, but different concepts.

·         Testator – A person who has made a valid will (a woman is sometimes called a “testatrix”).

·         Beneficiary – A person for whose benefit a will or trust was made; the person who is to receive property, either outright or in trust, now or later.

·         Trustee – An individual or bank or trust company that holds legal title to property for the benefit of another and acts according to the terms of the trust. This can be confusing in that you can sometimes be both a trustee and a beneficiary of the same lifetime (inter-vivos) trust you established or a trust established by someone else for you at their death (testamentary trust).

·         Executor – (Also called “personal representative;” a woman is sometimes called an “executrix”). An individual or bank or trust company that settles the estate of a testator according to the terms of the will, or if there is no will in accordance with the laws of the decedent’s estate (intestacy), although a person acting in intestacy may be called by a different name, such as administrator.

·         Principal and Income – Respectively, the property or capital of an estate or trust and the returns from the property, such as interest, dividends, rents, etc. In some cases, gain resulting from appreciation in value may also be income.

Other defined terms may be found in our Glossary.

As a general rule, the administration of an estate or trust after an individual has died requires the fiduciary to address certain routine issues and follow several standard steps to distribute the decedent’s assets in accordance with his or her wishes. These guidelines focus on activities that occur in an estate or trust immediately after the individual has died.

 

Understanding the Will

It is very important to read and understand the will or trust so that you will know who the beneficiaries are, what they are to receive and when, and who, if any, your co-fiduciaries are.
Does the will give everything outright, or does it create new trusts that may continue for several years? Does a trust mandate certain distributions (“All income earned each year is to be paid to my wife, Nancy”) or does it leave this to the trustee’s discretion (“My trustee shall distribute such income as she believes is necessary for the education and support of my son, Alan, until he reaches age 25”)? The document often imparts important directions to the fiduciary, such as which assets should be used to pay taxes and expenses. The document will usually list the fiduciary’s powers in some detail.

Most fiduciaries retain an attorney who specializes in the area of trusts and estates to assist them in performing their duties properly. An attorney’s advice is very helpful in ensuring that you understand what the will or trust and applicable state law provide. For example, at an initial meeting it is common for the attorney to review step by step many of the key provisions of the will or trust (or both) so that you will understand your role. Be mindful that if you accept the appointment to serve as an executor or trustee, you will be held responsible for understanding and implementing the terms of the trust or will.

Managing Estate Assets

It is the fiduciary’s responsibility to take control of (marshal) all assets comprising an estate or trust. Especially when a fiduciary assumes office at the grantor’s or testator’s death, it is crucial to secure and value all assets as soon as possible. Some assets, such as brokerage accounts, may be accessed immediately once certain prerequisites are met.  Typical prerequisites are an executor obtaining formal authorization, sometimes referred to as Letters Testamentary, from the court and producing a death certificate.  Other assets, such as insurance, may have to be applied for by filing a claim. The usual practice is to engage a professional appraiser to value the decedent’s tangible property, such as household furniture, automobiles, jewelry, artwork, and collectibles. Depending on the nature and value of the property, this may be a routine activity, but you may need the services of a specialist appraiser if, for example, the decedent had rare or unusual items or was a serious collector. Real estate, whether residential  or commercial, and any business interests also must be valued. Besides providing a valuation for assets that may be reported on a court-required inventory or on the state or federal estate tax return, the appraisal can help the fiduciary gauge whether the decedent’s insurance coverage on the assets is sufficient. Appropriate insurance should be maintained throughout the fiduciary’s tenure. The fiduciary also must value financial assets, including bank and securities accounts. Bear in mind that for federal estate tax returns for estates that do not owe any federal estate tax, certain estimates are permitted. This might lessen the appraisal costs that must be incurred.

Handling Debts and Expenses

It is the fiduciary’s duty to determine when bills unpaid at death, and expenses incurred in the administration of the estate, should be paid, and then pay them or notify creditors of temporary delay. In some cases the estate may be harmed if certain bills, such as property or casualty insurance bills or real estate taxes, are not paid promptly. Most states require a written notice to any known or reasonably ascertainable creditors. While most bills will present no problem, it is wise to consult an attorney in unusual circumstances, as the fiduciary can be held personally liable for improperly spending estate or trust assets or for failing to protect the estate assets properly, such as by maintaining adequate insurance coverage.

The fiduciary may be responsible for filing a number of tax returns. These tax returns include the final income tax return for the year of the decedent’s death, a gift or generation-skipping tax return for the current year, if needed, and prior years’ returns that may be on extension. It is not uncommon for a decedent who was ill for the last year or years of his or her life to have missed filing returns. The only way to be certain is to investigate. In addition, if the value of the estate (whether under a will or trust) before deductions exceeds the amount sheltered by the estate tax exemption amount, which is $5 million inflation adjusted ($5.25 million in 2013), a federal estate tax return will need to be filed.  Even if the value of the estate does not exceed the estate tax exemption amount, a federal estate tax return still may need to be filed.  Under the concept of portability, if the decedent is survived by a spouse and he or she intends to use any estate tax exemption the deceased spouse did not use, an estate tax return must be filed.

Since the estate or trust is a taxpayer in its own right, a new tax identification number must be obtained and a fiduciary income tax return (form 1041, not 1040) must be filed for the estate or trust.  A tax identification number can be obtained online from the IRS website. You cannot use the decedent’s social security number for the estate or any trusts that exist following the decedent’s death.

It is important to note for income tax planning that the estate or trust and its beneficiaries may not be in the same income tax brackets. Thus, timing of certain distributions can save money for all concerned. Caution also should be exercised because trusts and estates are subject to different rules that can be quite complex and can reach the highest tax rates at very low levels of income. Some tax return preparers and accountants specialize in preparing such fiduciary income tax returns and can be very helpful. They are familiar with the filing deadlines, will be able to determine whether the estate or trust must pay estimated taxes quarterly, and may be able to help you plan distributions or other steps to reduce tax costs.

Most expenses that a fiduciary incurs in the administration of the estate or trust are properly payable from the decedent’s assets. These include funeral expenses, appraisal fees, attorney’s and accountant’s fees, and insurance premiums.  Careful records should be kept, and receipts should always be obtained. If any expenses are payable to you or someone related to you, consult with an attorney about any special precautions that should be taken.

Funding the Bequests

Wills and trusts often provide for specific gifts of cash (“I give my niece $50,000 if she survives me”) or property (“I give my grandfather clock to my granddaughter, Nina”) before the balance of the property, or residue, is distributed. The residue may be distributed outright or in further trust, such as a trust for a surviving spouse or a trust for minor children. Be sure that all debts, taxes, and expenses are paid or provided for before distributing any property to beneficiaries because   you may be held personally liable if insufficient assets do not remain to meet estate expenses.  Although it is usual to obtain a receipt and refunding agreement from the beneficiary that states that he or she agrees to refund any excess distribution made in error by the fiduciary, as a practical matter it is often difficult to retrieve such funds. In some states, you will need court approval before any distributions may be made. Where distributions are made to ongoing trusts or according to a formula described in the will or trust, it is best to consult an attorney to be sure the funding is completed properly. Tax consequences of a distribution sometimes can be surprising, so careful planning is important.

Trust Administration

Trusts are designed to distinguish between income and principal.  Many trusts, especially older ones, provide for income to be distributed to one person at one time and principal to be distributed to that same person a different time or to another person. For example, many trusts for a surviving spouse provide that all income must be paid to the spouse, but provide for payments of principal (corpus) to the spouse only in limited circumstances, such as a medical emergency.  At the surviving spouse’s death, the remaining principal may be paid to the decedent’s children, to charity, or to other beneficiaries. Income payments and principal distributions can be made in cash, or at the trustee’s discretion, by distributing securities as well as cash. Never make assumptions, as the terms of every will and trust differ greatly. There is no such thing as a “standard” distribution provision.

Unless a fiduciary has financial experience, he or she should seek professional advice regarding the investment of trust assets. In addition to investing for good investment results, the fiduciary should invest within the applicable state’s prudent investor rule that governs the trust or estate and with careful consideration of the terms of the will or trust, which may modify the otherwise applicable state law rules.  A skilled investment advisor can help the fiduciary decide how to invest, what assets to sell to produce cash for expenses, taxes or outright gifts of cash, and how to minimize income and capital gains taxes. Simply maintaining the investments that the decedent owned will not be a defense if an heir claims you did not invest wisely or violated the law governing trust investments. In all events, it is important to have a written investment policy statement stating what investment goals are being pursued.

During the period of administration, the fiduciary must provide an annual income tax statement (called a Schedule K-1) to each beneficiary who is taxable on any income earned by the trust. The fiduciary also must file an income tax return for the trust annually. The fiduciary can be held personally liable for interest and penalties if the income tax return is not filed and the tax paid by the due date, generally April 15th.

Closing the Estate

Estates may be closed when the executor has paid all debts, expenses, and taxes, has received tax clearances from the IRS and the state, and has distributed all assets on hand. Trusts terminate when an event described in the document, such as the death of a beneficiary, or a date described in the document, such as the date the beneficiary attains a stated age, occurs.  The fiduciary is given a reasonable period of time thereafter to make the actual distributions. Some states require a petition to be filed in court before the assets are distributed and the estate or trust closed. When such a formal proceeding is not required, it is nevertheless good practice to require all beneficiaries to sign a document, prepared by an attorney, in which they approve of your actions as fiduciary and acknowledge receipt of assets due them. This document protects the fiduciary from later claims by a beneficiary. These formalities are recommended even when the other heirs are relatives, as that alone is never an assurance that one of them will not have an issue and pursue a legal claim against you.  Finally, a final income tax return must be filed and a reserve kept back for any due, but unpaid, taxes or estate expenses.

Common Questions

How do I title (own) bank and other accounts?

Each bank, trust company or investment firm may have its own format, but generally you may use, for a trust, “Alice Carroll, Trustee, Lewis Carroll Trust dated January 19, 1998,” or, in a shorthand version, “Alice Carroll, Trustee under agreement dated January 19, 1998.” For an estate, you should use “Alice Carroll, Executor, Estate of Lewis Carroll, Deceased.”

How do I sign my name in a fiduciary capacity?

An executor signs: “Alice Carroll, Executor (or Personal Representative) of the Estate of Lewis Carroll, Deceased”. A trustee signs: “Alice Carroll, Trustee”

Where do I hold the estate or trust assets?

You should open an investment account with a bank, trust company, or brokerage company in the name of the estate or trust. All expenses and disbursements must be made from these accounts, and you should receive regular statements.

How (and how much) do I get paid?

Because being a fiduciary is time-consuming and is often difficult, it is appropriate to be paid for your services. The will or trust may set forth the compensation to which you are entitled. If the document does not, many states either provide a fixed schedule of fees or allow “reasonable” compensation, which usually takes into account the size of the estate, the complexity involved, and the time spent by the fiduciary. Executor’s or trustee’s fees are taxable compensation to you.  Several states do not permit you to pay your own compensation without a court order, so ask your attorney before you write yourself a check. Many fiduciaries in the same family as the decedent are quick to waive fees. Before doing this, however, consult with the attorney for the estate and be certain you understand the full scope of your duties and any ramifications of waiver.

What if a beneficiary complains?

Even professional fiduciaries, such as trust companies, receive complaints from a beneficiary from time to time. The best way to deal with them is to do your best to avoid them in the first place by following the guidelines set forth in these FAQs and consulting with an attorney experienced in estate administration. Many complaints arise because beneficiaries are not kept up to date about the administration of the trust or estate. Frequent communication with beneficiaries is a must. The best approach in all instances is to be proactive by communicating throughout the estate or trust administration process and handling all matters with appropriate formality.  If a complaint involves more than routine issues,  consult with an attorney who specializes in trust and estate matters.

Can I be sued or be held personally liable?

Your errors or mismanagement of a trust or estate can subject you to personal liability. Common pitfalls include not paying taxes or filing returns on time, improper investment choices (whether too conservative, too speculative, or favoring one beneficiary over another), self-dealing (buying assets for yourself or  a family member from the estate or trust, whether at market price), or allowing property or casualty insurance to lapse, resulting in a loss to the estate or trust.  Your best protection is to get good professional advice as early as possible in the process, communicate regularly with the beneficiaries, treat everything with appropriate formalities as if you were not a related party (even if you are), and fully document your actions and decisions.

How am I discharged as fiduciary at the end of the administration? What if I want to resign?

Whether you stop acting as a fiduciary because the estate or trust has terminated or you wish to resign before the conclusion of your administration, you must be discharged, either by the local court or by the beneficiaries. In some states, discharge is a formal process that involves the preparation of an accounting. In other states, you can be discharged with the use of a relatively simple document  signed by the beneficiaries. If you are resigning prior to the conclusion of your administration, check the will or trust document to see who succeeds you as fiduciary. If no successor is named, you may need a court proceeding to appoint a successor before you can be discharged.

Understanding the basics cited supra is the first step for the “great unwashed” (you and I) speaking the same language.    I took the ABA version rather than a parochial State version to reproduce because it is written so a lawyer parroting the words and phrases would sound intelligent.     In the real world there is a State Statute that defines all the issues.    In Illinois it is 755 ILCS 5/11a – 1 et seq      In clear words 5/11a – 3 and 10 define the rights of the elderly trafficking victim.

Why does a ‘petitioner’  covet the possession of guardian?      Believe it or not there are legitimate reasons for a guardianship exist.    There are people who are disabled and require society to provide them with help – HOWEVER, the human trafficking guardian has become a cancer and the political corruption it feeds is threatening the core of our society.       The NEW YORKER magazine article of October 2017 vividly noted the criminal conspiracy that is ravaging throughout America and destroying lives.     The POLITICAL CORRUPTION that has been a plague on Government since its invention have emerged as a fast growing HOUSEHOLD industry and literally threatens everyone.    This threat is non-discriminatory and there are examples of the very exploiters becoming victims.

The lure offered to the miscreants is not only the opportunity to steal millions from the Guardianship Estate of a helpless elderly person or defraud the United States of America of billions in Health care funds!     It is excitement of getting away with overt criminal activity and being praised by “those who count” for being great humanists.

The SykesGore, ***** cases wherein the thefts were obscene – and the miscreates to date may have gotten away with their perfidy still have to look over their shoulders for fear that a day of reckoning is on the horizon.       For instance, in the Sykes case, Gloria Sykes is still a journalist with some successful projects under her belt.    She has not given up!     Neither has Attorney Denison and her blog MaryGSykes *****.   Indeed, neither have I!      (I believe the booty has never been declared as Income – $3 million dollars !    The Department of the Treasury and the Illinois Department of Revenue might seek the taxes, interest and penalties!    Pursuant to 18 USCA 371 all the bad guys have joint and several liability.

There is one point that everyone wants to ignore, but it should haunt every corrupt jurist and every apologist for the systemic corruption that gives rise to ELDER CLEANSINGS/HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE ELDERLY, to wit:

The person appointed as a guardian is a fiduciary.     The fiduciary owes his/her ward the highest level of fidelity and honesty that can be imposed on any individual.     What this means is the person assuming that position subjugates his personal interests for that of the reasonable interests of the Ward.   This also means that the fiduciary – i.e. the guardian cannot make indirect compensation as to the ward’s estate, and all expenditures must be reasonably necessary and calculated to benefit the estate.    REASONABLE, NECESSARY, and BENEFIT to the Estate are the guides to any charges against the Estate of the Ward and in particular compensation.

This is also not a NET SUM situation.    My favorite example is: you send me out to purchase for you a pack of cigarettes.    To pay for the cigarettes you give me ten dollars.     On the way to make the purchase, I meet my bookie, and he talks me into betting the ten dollars on a horse.   The horse wins and I collect a hundred dollars.

As I an essentially honest, I go to the store, purchase your cigarettes, and deliver to you the cigarettes and the change from the ten dollars.     You then demand the $100.00 I won.    As a fiduciary I owe you that $100.00 and you are entitled to collect it.   For me to keep the money would be a breach of my fiduciary relationship.      I as a fiduciary have an independent duty of honesty and integrity to you!

The Judges administrating the guardianship estates all are aware of this independent fiduciary duty.    They all know about the criteria of REASONABLE, NECESSARY, AND BENEFIT TO THE ESTATE!

Why are the guiding principles of the fiduciary relationship ignored by the corrupt judges, the corrupt guardians, the corrupt lawyers, the corrupt Judicial and political elite?

The answer:  we, the great unwashed are induced into partisan party politics and distracted away from performing our duties as cities of a Democracy.      Democracy is not a spectator sport!

 

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Dr. Sam Sugar looking to collect info on Fla. Prof. Guardian

Not sure what this is for, but Dr. Sam is making the request, most likely to help someone.

On Mon, Jul 8, 2019 at 2:29 PM Sam J Sugar MD <drsam@aaapg.net> wrote:

Attn Victims of Rebecca Fierle

If you are a victim of this Florida Guardian pls call me 855 913 5337 x101 ASAP

From RH: An important video on the horrors of Gship in the US. A must see

The Deception of Protection [Video]

The Deception of Protection [Video]

Elder Dignity & Power Living Media Release Video Explaining the Rising Crime of Adult Guardianship Exploitation 

Features Top Elder Justice Advocates and Families Affected

How much do you value freedom? Do you believe you have a choice in how you live your life? Don’t be deceived… you could be the target of a rising crime that can render you a “non-person” within days, wipe out all of your assets and even sequester you away from loved ones.

©2019 Power Living Enterprises, Inc. Written/produced/hosted by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy. Released July 2, 2019, 19:57 min. Categories: Social Impact, Explanatory Reporting.

The Deception of Protectionprovides a primer on adult guardianship exploitation in the U.S., including preemptive measures so you can protect yourself and survival tactics if you get entrapped. It is a must-watch if you want to actually protect yourself and loved ones. The video is meant to spark a citizen movement so share it and embed it in other sites (get the code here).

Featured Participants

The top elder justice advocates in the country break down the anatomy of an involuntary guardianship, including footage from the Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG) Protest at the National Probate Judge Conference in November 2017 in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

Teresa Kennedy

Co-Founder, Elder Dignity

Writer/producer/host of The Deception of ProtectionKennedy is committed to transforming the punitive adult guardianship system into a model that helps seniors thrive.

Rick Black

Director, CEAR

Through the Center for Estate Administration Reform (CEAR), Black is fighting tirelessly to elevate the issue of estate trafficking and spur new legislation at the federal level.

Sam J. Sugar, M.D.

Founder, AAAPG

Sugar founded Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG) in 2013 and has been on the national forefront focusing attention on guardianship abuse.

Family Members, Victims & Advocates

Families from across the U.S. are being affected by the rising crime of estate trafficking through involuntary guardianships. Roger Hillygus from Nevada, Lynn and Alan Sayler, and Lawrence T. Reid, Jr. from Florida, Vidalia P. Amaral and Ron Coelmarfrom Massachusetts, and Marla Zahn from Wisconsin all lend their voices to The Deception of Protection, highlighting that this crime IS real. Caroline Peppiat saw The New Yorker article and came to the protest because she recognized that she was a potential victim. Thank you to ALL participants in the AAAPG Protest and meeting. Family members, victims and advocates are joining forces in a show of solidarity to urge for greater reform and justice for the current victims. It’s time to speak Truth to power and overhaul the archaic guardianship system so that it truly supports seniors and dependent adults.

The video is dedicated to Dr. Lillie Sykes White who remains on lockdown in Florida away from her sister and 50+ nieces and nephews for 1,032 days as of July 2, 2019. The Seventh Judicial Circuit Court continues to ignore motions for communication and visitation. Learn more about her story.

Free Dr. Lillie Sykes White from guardianship exploitation

From FB; Conn. decision makes it easy for govt to remove kids from decent parents

take a look at what a 2013 Conn. case says about removing children from parents. They claim only a 10% predicative risk to a child should establish child removal.  This comes at at time when studies show risk of physical, emotional and even sexual abuse is many times higher when kids are removed and placed in a foster environment or even a  group home for older kids.

Supreme Court Establishes New Standard in Predictive Neglect Cases

This case was not handled by our firm. However, if you have any questions regarding this case or Divorce and Family Law, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. today. Call us at (203) 221-3100 or by email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com, to schedule a free initial consultation.

In a recent decision involving the Department of Children and Families, the Connecticut Supreme Court established a new standard governing the doctrine of predictive neglect, overturning precedent which the Appellate Court previously established in In re Kamari C-L.  In the matter of In re Joseph W., the Department of Children and Families pursued neglect petitions against the parents of two minor children.  After trial, the court found that both children were in fact “neglected” under the doctrine of predictive neglect.  From a factual standpoint, the trial court based its decision primarily on the mother’s long term mental health issues and failure to comply with treatment plans, as well as the father’s noncompliance with DCF requirements and inability to recognize the mother’s problems.  The trial court essentially concluded that under the doctrine of predictive neglect both children were “at risk” for harm.  On appeal, the father claimed that DCF should have been required to satisfy a more burdensome standard.

In reviewing the doctrine of predictive neglect, the Supreme Court explained that DCF need not wait until a child is actually harmed before intervening to protect that child.  As the Supreme Court stated, “Our statutes clearly and explicitly recognize the state’s authority to act before harm occurs to protect children whose health and welfare may be adversely affected and not just children whose welfare has been affected.”  The Court explained, “The doctrine of predictive neglect is grounded in the state’s responsibility to avoid harm to the well-being of a child, not to repair it after a tragedy has occurred… Thus, [a] finding of neglect is not necessarily predicated on actual harm, but can exist when there is a potential risk of neglect…”

Under the standard set forth in In re Kamari C-L, DCF could establish its case merely by proving by a preponderance of the evidence the existence of a “potential risk” of neglect. However, as the Supreme Court noted, under this standard, DCF could theoretically prevail even if there was only a 10% chance of future harm to a child.  According to the Supreme Court, the “potential risk” standard gives insufficient weight to the “combined family integrity interests of parent and child.”

In formulating a more burdensome standard, the Court held that in predictive neglect cases, the trial court must find with respect to each parent that, if the child were to remain in that parent’s independent care, the child would be denied proper care and attention, physically, educationally, emotionally or morally, or would be permitted to live under conditions, circumstances or associations injurious to the well-being of the child or youth.  Where parents will be caring for the child together, the trial court may treat the parents as a single unit in determining whether DCF has met its burden of proving predictive neglect.

Should you have any questions regarding the foregoing, or DCF matters generally, please feel free to contact Attorney Michael D. DeMeola, Esq. directly.  He can be reached in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100, or by e-mail at mdemeola@mayalaw.com.

________________________________________________________________________________
Our family law firm in Westport Connecticut serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. We have the best divorce attorneys and family attorneys in CT on staff that can help with your Connecticut divorce or New York divorce today.

 

DCFS and Foster Care and child removal is in a crisis mode right now.  Judges have to act very carefully before removing kids from a home.

Furthermore the removal of parents from a child’s life can be very traumatic even if the foster home placement is good. Courts should consider allowing open adoptions if the parties agree.  Adoption registries should be provided for when the children turn 18 they can find their parents.  Ancestry.com and other websites are now allowing children to reconnect with parents and some of them are pretty darned ticked off that there was no open adoption so parents and children can communicate.

Lots of better ideas to consider.

Joanne

From Dr. Cordero: Resources for pro se’s learning the law and procedure. Law Student resources

Hmmm. this is a great idea.  Maybe I should keep these references for court corruption victims at my offices.

NOTE: I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this email.
I kindly encourage you to share and post it in your and the public interest.
To subscribe for free to articles similar to the one hereunder go to >http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org >left panel >↓Register.

Taking action
to insert the issue of
unaccountable judges’ riskless abuse
in the presidential campaign
thus giving our common cause
the strongest publicity boost;
and
learning basic law
by studying introductory law books
used by law students
so as to avoid the application to your brief of

Nonsense in, dismissal out

 

By

Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, England
M.B.A., University of Michigan Business School
D.E.A., La Sorbonne, Paris

Judicial Discipline Reform
New York City
http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org
Dr.Richard.Cordero_Esq@verizon.net , DrRCordero@Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org , CorderoRic@yahoo.com

 

You may share and post this email
in its entirety, without deletion, addition, or modification,
and with attribution to its author
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.,
and the link to his website
http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org.

 

Dear Ms. Traci, Ms. McKinney, Mr. Reddick, Mr. Munson, Dr. Hamilton, Mr. Straw, M. Huang, Mr. Darby, Mr. Vrooman, and Advocates of Honest Judiciaries,

 

Thank you for your emails and your kind words about my work.

 

  1. Introductory books for law students rather than professional practice books for lawyers that pro ses should study because KNOWLEDGE IS POWER and ignorance invites predators

 

  1. Your statement that you “started studying actual law” could mean either of two things:

 

  1. You are in law school: If so -or if you are in any other educational institution, such as a journalism, business, or Information Technology school- you can be instrumental in causing one or several student organizations jointly to invite me to make a presentation on how the students can carve a market niche by representing or reporting on people who will be outraged upon being informed that:

 

1) judges do not read the vast majority of briefs, although each party must spend $1Ks and even $10Ks to produce its brief(>OL2:760); and

 

2) judges intercept people’s mail and email communications(>OL2:781), whereby they deprive people of their First Amendment rights of “freedom of speech, of the press, the right of the people peaceably to assemble [through the Internet and on social media too], and to petition the Government [of which judges are the third branch] for a redress of grievances”(>OL2:792¶1).

 

  1. You are now self-teaching the law by reading law books as opposed to relying on TV legal dramas and what pro ses claim to be the law and its meaning, which leads to their case beingofficially counted as one third of a case(>OL2:455§B)from the moment of filing it in court: If so, you can benefit substantially from studying the key subjects of law that first year law students (1L) study in law school, namely, civil and criminal procedure, torts, criminal law, property, contracts, constitutional law, and law research and writing, as well as the specific law subject of your case:

 

1) To engage in that study you can read, in addition to the professional practice law books and multi-volume encyclopedic series listed in the article below, the following series of introductory books, known as black letter law books or hornbooks, that law students read:

 

  1. a) Emanuel Law Outlines;https://www.wklegaledu.com/study-aids/emanuel-series

 

  1. b) Gilbert; and Legalines Law Summaries;https://subscription.com/search?q=Legalines

 

  1. c) First Year Law School Study Aids: e.g., The Acing Series;https://guides.libraries.uc.edu/1Lsurvivalguide/studyaids

 

  1. In either case, you can take action in the mass emailing campaign to inform the public and presidential candidates about, and outrage them at, unaccountable judges’ riskless abuse of power.

 

  1. The objective is to take advantage of the opportunity to cause the presidential candidates to advance their own electoral interest in attracting national media and public attention by denouncing the harm that unaccountable judges inflict on parties and the rest of the public.

 

  1. Candidates can make their denunciation at a press conference, at every interview, rally, and townhall meeting, and in their political platform laid out on their websites.

 

  1. Thereby they would unwittingly give our common interest in honest judiciaries the strongest publicity boost by inserting the issue of unaccountable judges’ riskless abuse in the presidential campaign and thereafter in the national debate and party agenda.

 

  1. Media dissemination of news on presidential candidates addressing that issue will provide the strongest to boost to our effort to inform and outrage the public and form a national civic movement for judicial abuse of power exposure, redress, and reform.

 

  1. Therefore, I encourage you to take action by sharing the article below, as well as similar ones that I have written and will continue writing, with your friends and family, and posting them to social media as widely as possible. You can do the latter and effectively reach a large number of people by posting the articles to Yahoogroups and Googlegroups, such as those listed at>OL2:433.

 

  1. Moreover, you can also arrange for me to make my Programmatic Presentation(>OL2:821-824) to you and your group of classmates and professors, victims of, and witnesses to, judges’ abuse, potential investors in Judicial Discipline Reform(OL2:914), and other people interested in honest judiciaries. The presentation can be delivered in person if all my expenses are paid, or via video conference, e.g., through Skype.

 

  1. Answering questions of general or individual interest

 

  1. This and other articles of mine may elicit in you questions. You may find their answers by using the binocular icon on the two pdf files containing the more than 1,200+ pages of my two-volume study of judges and their judiciaries, titled and downloadable thus:

 

Exposing Judges’ Unaccountability and
Consequent Riskless Wrongdoing:

Pioneering the news and publishing field of
judicial unaccountability reporting

 

* Volume 1: http://Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org/OL/DrRCordero-Honest_Jud_Advocates.pdf >all prefixes:page# up to prefix OL:page393

 

 Volume 2: http://Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org/OL2/DrRCordero-Honest_Jud_Advocates.pdf >from page OL2:394

 

  1. Download the volume files using MS Edge, Firefox, or Chrome; it may happen that Internet Explorer only downloads a blank page.

 

  1. Open the downloaded files using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available for free athttps://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/acrobat/pdf-reader.html.

 

  1. In each downloaded file, go to the Menu bar >View >Navigation Panels >Bookmarks panel and use its bookmarks, which make navigating to the contents’ numerous(*>blue references) very easy.

 

  1. To questions of general interest to readers and the public at large I try to work answers somewhere into the body of subsequent emails and articles.

 

  1. To ask me your personal questions you may retain my services either on a flat fee per a piece of work or on an hourly basis, as described in my model letter of engagement(*>OL:383).

 

  1. To expect that I drop what I am doing in the public interest to answer every question of every reader or work pro bono for everybody who contacts me by email, mail, and phone is neither reasonable nor fair to me. “Oh, no, no, no! I don’t expect you to work for me or be my private instructor for free. I just want to pick your brain…clean”. That is called consulting and it entails the payment of a fee.

 

  1. I encourage you tovisit the website of Judicial Discipline Reform at, and subscribe for free to its articles thus

 

http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org >Left panel ↓Register

or    + New   or   Users >Add New

 

  1. No meaningful cause can be advanced without money.Support Judicial Discipline Reform in its:

 

  1. professional law research and writing, and strategic thinking(OL2:445§B, 475§D);

 

  1. enhancement of its website athttp://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.orginto:

 

1) a clearinghouse for complaints about judges that anybody can upload; and

 

2) a research center, run on a for-profit basis for investors(>OL2:914), where subscribers can search many complaints for the most persuasive type of evidence, i.e., patterns, trends, and schemes of abuse of power;

 

  1. tour(*>OL:197§G) of Programmatic Presentations(>OL2:821-824) on forming a national civic movement for judicial abuse exposure, redress, and reform;

 

  1. call for unprecedented citizen hearings(>OL2:812§E) on judges’ abuse, to be held at universities and media stations, and conducted by journalists, journalism professors, and business professors, and Information Technology experts;

 

  1. investigation of the potentially most outrageous abuse: judges’ interception of people’s communications(>OL2:781); and

 

  1. creation of the institute for judicial unaccountability reporting and reform advocacy(*jur:131§5).

 

Put your money
where your outrage at abuse and
passion for justice are.

 

DONATE
to
http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org

 

through

 

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=HBFP5252TB5YJ

 

or

at the GoFundMe campaign at
https://www.gofundme.com/expose-unaccountable-judges-abuse

 

 

Dare trigger history!(*>jur:7§5)…and you may enter it.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.
Judicial Discipline Reform
New York City
https://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org
CorderoRic@yahoo.com, DrRCordero@Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org, Dr.Richard.Cordero_Esq@verizon.net

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-richard-cordero-esq-0508ba4b

 

NOTE: Given the interference with Dr. Cordero’s email and e-cloud storage accounts described at *>ggl:1 et seq. and >OL2:781, when emailing him, copy the above bloc of his email addresses and paste it in the To: line of your email so as to enhance the chances of your email reaching him at least at one of those addresses.

*************************************

NOTE: I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this email.
I kindly encourage you to share and post it in your and the public interest.
To subscribe for free to articles similar to the one hereunder go to >http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org >left panel >↓Register.

The need for pro ses to learn the basics of the law

before attempting to represent themselves
and write their own briefs,
lest they bring upon themselves
the application of judges’ saying:
Nonsense in, dismissal out

 

By

Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq. 
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, England
M.B.A., University of Michigan Business School
D.E.A., La Sorbonne, Paris

Judicial Discipline Reform
New York City
http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org
Dr.Richard.Cordero_Esq@verizon.net , DrRCordero@Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org , CorderoRic@yahoo.com

You may share and post this email
in its entirety, without deletion, addition, or modification,
and with attribution to its author
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.,
and the link to his website
http://www.Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org.

 

 

Dear Dr. H, Pro ses, and Advocates of Honest Judiciaries,

  1. Is there any justification for judges’ and other officers’ saying ‘Nonsense in, dismissal out’?

  1. Your email contains the following strings of slapped-together terms that make no sense whatsoever.

  1. When you, though an educated person holding a doctorate, can make so many and gross mistakes in dealing with the law, can the average pro se, who may not have gone to college or even finished high school, realistically expect to do better?

  1. You and all other pro ses and self-improvised lawyers can benefit from reading the terms below and asking yourselves whether you understand them and, more importantly, whether you understand what you say in your own briefs and letters to public officers.

  1. “the strict scrutiny to detect”

  1. “arguments unique to church arrests without jurisdiction with the separation of Church & State Watson v. Jones (1871)”

  1. “to deepen our argument with probable cause to show that we have been subjected to illegal arrests in the preponderance of the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt”

1) the proper phrase is ‘probable cause to believe that X committed the offense charged’

2) ‘arrests in the preponderance of the evidence’ is nonsense

3) ‘the preponderance of the evidence’ is the lowest standard of proof of evidence applied in civil cases; it means that ‘there is 50+% chance that the evidence proves what it offers to prove’;

4) ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is the highest standard of proof of guilt applied only in criminal cases

5) you have conflated two of the three standards of prove! (the intermediary standard of proof is ‘clear and convincing evidence’.

  1. Judges are not the lawyers of pro ses. They are not supposed to rewrite their briefs so that they make sense. When they read something like the above quotes, they repeat once more: “Nonsense in, dismissal out”.

  1. If you and the other pro ses do not read even the articles, such as mine, written by a lawyer on their behalf, there is every reason to assume that you have not read any legal treatise to acquire even a basic understanding of the law, e.g., those published by Thomson Reuters Westlaw and listed athttps://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/products/westlaw/secondary-sources.

  1. Although lawyers did slog through three grueling years learning the law at law school, they nevertheless consult secondary sources as the first step in preparing to write a brief. Among those sources are these:

  1. American Law Reports, Federal, 2d (ALR Fed® Series);https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Keycite-and-Citators/American-Law-Reports-Federal-2d-ALRreg-Series/p/100002171

Cf. http://Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org/OL2/DrRCordero-Honest_Jud_Advocates.pdf >Appendix 5:Research Works, 5-9

  1. American Jurisprudence, 2nd;https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/search?r=13001&s=KEYWORDSEARCH&q=American+jurisprudence%2C+2d

  1. American Law Reports, 6th[on state law]) (ALR series);https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Keycite-and-Citators/American-Law-Reports-6th-ALRreg-Series/p/100002167?trkcode=recspdpr&trktype=internal&FindMethod=recs ;

https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/search?r=13001&s=KEYWORDSEARCH&q=American+law+reports

  1. Wright & Miller Federal Practice and Procedure;https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Legal-Encyclopedias/Federal-Practice-and-Procedure-Wright–MillermdashCivil-Only-subsetmdashExcluding-Criminal/p/100028922

  1. C.J.S. (Corpus Juris Secundum);https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Legal-Encyclopedias/Corpus-Juris-Secundumreg/p/100001060?trkcode=recsrserp&trktype=internal&FindMethod=recs

  1. Restatements (2d, 3d and 4th) and Principles of the Law, with Appendices;https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Restatements-of-the-Law/Restatements-2d-3d-and-4th-and-Principles-of-the-Law-with-Appendices/p/100029655

https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/search?r=13001&s=KEYWORDSEARCH&q=restatements+of+law

  1. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Treatises/Federal-Civil-Rules-Handbook-2019-ed/p/106153171

  1. State practice guides;https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/search?r=13001&s=KEYWORDSEARCH&q=state+practice

https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Publication-Types/Practice-Materials/c/20178

e.g.: New York Practice, https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/Practice-Materials/New-York-Practice-6th-Practitioner-Treatise-Series/p/106154332

https://store.legal.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/search?r=13001&s=KEYWORDSEARCH&q=new+York+practice

  1. See also my 2-volume study of judges and their judiciaries, titled and downloadable for free thus:

Exposing Judges’ Unaccountability 
and Consequent Riskless Wrongdoing:

Pioneering the news and publishing field of 
judicial unaccountability reporting

* Volume 1: http://Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org/OL/DrRCordero-Honest_Jud_Advocates.pdf >all prefixes:page number up to OL:393

 Volume 2: http://Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org/OL2/DrRCordero-Honest_Jud_Advocates.pdf >from OL2:394

  1. Download the volume files using MS Edge, Firefox, or Chrome; it may happen that Internet Explorer only downloads a blank page.

  1. Open the downloaded files using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available for free athttps://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/acrobat/pdf-reader.html.

  1. In each downloaded file, go to the Menu bar >View >Navigation Panels >Bookmarks panel and use its bookmarks, which make navigating to the contents’ numerous(*>blue references) very easy.

  1. When you skip the arduous work of learning the basics and jump right into the decisive work of writing a brief, the result is inevitable: Nonsense in, dismissal out.

  1. You should start that work by reading the whole of the article hereunder.

  1. A realistic strategy, based on statistical facts, current events, and electoral interests, for advancing our common cause of judicial abuse exposure, redress, and reform

  1. The article below makes it patently evident how unrealistic it is that by merely writing to prosecutors and public integrity officers about your or somebody else’s case they are going to believe what a pro se says, especially in spite of nonsense similar to that pointed above, and start investigating judges.

  1. Those pro ses who have a sense of reality and a minimum understanding of statistics should think carefully about this: In the last 230 years since the creation of the Federal Judiciary in 1789, the number of federal judges impeached and removed is 8!(*>jur:21§a) The chances that a pro se may cause officers to investigate judges are close to zero. It is an exercise in futility and ignorance.

  1. That is why the article below sets forth a qualitatively and quantitatively different strategy for advancing judicial abuse of power exposure, redress, and reform.

  1. It aims to impeach judges with their own official statistics submitted to Congress as required by law.

  1. It concerns all the complaints submitted to them, not just one’s personal anecdote of abuse by the judge in one’s case.

  1. It applies strategic thinking, rather than one’s own experience of abuse, to appeal to each of the 24 presidential candidates, who are desperate to gain national media and public attention, to actin their own electoral interestto denounce judges’ abuse as a realistic way of approaching the huge(>OL2:719¶¶6-8) untapped voting bloc of The Dissatisfied with the Judicial and Legal System.

  1. If you read the article below, you can benefit from it. Then we can join forces to take the concrete, realistic, and feasible steps of its strategy for judicial abuse exposure, redress, and reform.

  1. I cannot help all those who contact me by mail, email, and phone asking for my help pro bono. It is not realistic or fair to ask me to do so. “Oh, no, no, no! I don’t want you to work for me for free. I just want to pick your brain…clean”. That is called consulting and it entails the payment of a fee. Hence, if you want to retain me to render you any legal service, read my model letter of engagement(*>OL:383).

Put your money
where your outrage at abuse and
passion for justice are.

DONATE
to the professional law research and writing, and
strategic thinking of
Judicial Discipline Reform

here

 

 

 

 

 

From FB: USA Today publishes 85K records of police misconduct

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2019/04/24/usa-today-revealing-misconduct-records-police-cops/3223984002/?fbclid=IwAR1AxjKGzWeuzOI7wz2D3pIxSme69gnpCkbTa6SIQISQVMgzHF1Qom_FfKE

We found 85,000 cops who’ve been investigated for misconduct. Now you can read their records.

USA TODAY is leading a national effort to obtain and publish disciplinary and misconduct records for thousands of police officers.

Updated 6:33 a.m. CDT May 23, 2019

At least 85,000 law enforcement officers across the USA have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct over the past decade, an investigation by USA TODAY Network found.

Officers have beaten members of the public, planted evidence and used their badges to harass women. They have lied, stolen, dealt drugs, driven drunk and abused their spouses.

Despite their role as public servants, the men and women who swear an oath to keep communities safe can generally avoid public scrutiny for their misdeeds.

The records of their misconduct are filed away, rarely seen by anyone outside their departments. Police unions and their political allies have worked to put special protections in place ensuring some records are shielded from public view, or even destroyed.

Reporters from USA TODAY, its 100-plus affiliated newsrooms and the nonprofit Invisible Institute in Chicago have spent more than a year creating the biggest collection of police misconduct records.

Obtained from thousands of state agencies, prosecutors, police departments and sheriffs, the records detail at least 200,000 incidents of alleged misconduct, much of it previously unreported. The records obtained include more than 110,000 internal affairs investigations by hundreds of individual departments and more than 30,000 officers who were decertified by 44 state oversight agencies.

Search for police discipline records
USA TODAY Network has gathered discipline and accountability records on more than 85,000 law enforcement officers and has started releasing them to the public. The first collection published is a list of more than 30,000 officers who have been decertified, essentially banned from the profession, in 44 states. Search our exclusive database by officer, department or state.

Among the findings:

  • Most misconduct involves routine infractions, but the records reveal tens of thousands of cases of serious misconduct and abuse. They include 22,924 investigations of officers using excessive force, 3,145 allegations of rape, child molestation and other sexual misconduct and 2,307 cases of domestic violence by officers.
  • Dishonesty is a frequent problem. The records document at least 2,227 instances of perjury, tampering with evidence or witnesses or falsifying reports. There were 418 reports of officers obstructing investigations, most often when they or someone they knew were targets.
  • Less than 10% of officers in most police forces get investigated for misconduct. Yet some officers are consistently under investigation. Nearly 2,500 have been investigated on 10 or more charges. Twenty faced 100 or more allegations yet kept their badge for years.

The level of oversight varies widely from state to state. Georgia and Florida decertified thousands of police officers for everything from crimes to questions about their fitness to serve; other states banned almost none.

Search the database: Exclusive USA TODAY list of decertified officers and their records

Tarnished Brass: Fired for a felony, again for perjury. Meet the new police chief.

That includes Maryland, home to the Baltimore Police Department, which regularly has been in the news for criminal behavior by police. Over nearly a decade, Maryland revoked the certifications of just four officers.

Tamika Staton leaves a message at a memorial in the middle of the road where teenager Michael Brown died after being shot by a police officer in 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., an incident that sparked investigations, protests and a nationwide discussion about policing.

Show caption

Tamika Staton leaves a message at a memorial in the middle of the road where teenager Michael Brown died after being shot by a police…

SCOTT OLSON, GETTY IMAGES
We’re making those records public

We’re making those records public

The records USA TODAY and its partners gathered include tens of thousands of internal investigations, lawsuit settlements and secret separation deals.

They include names of at least 5,000 police officers whose credibility as witnesses has been called into question. These officers have been placed on Brady lists, created to track officers whose actions must be disclosed to defendants if their testimony is relied upon to prosecute someone.

USA TODAY plans to publish many of those records to give the public an opportunity to examine their police department and the broader issue of police misconduct, as well as to help identify decertified officers who continue to work in law enforcement.

Seth Stoughton, who worked as a police officer for five years and teaches law at the University of South Carolina, said expanding public access to those kinds of records is critical to keep good cops employed and bad cops unemployed.

“No one is in a position to assess whether an officer candidate can do the job well and the way that we expect the job to be done better than the officer’s former employer,” Stoughton said.

“Officers are public servants. They police in our name,” he said. There is a “strong public interest in identifying how officers are using their public authority.”

Dan Hils, president of the Cincinnati Police Department’s branch of the Fraternal Order of Policemen union, said people should consider there are more than 750,000 law enforcement officers in the country when looking at individual misconduct data.

“The scrutiny is way tighter on police officers than most folks, and that’s why sometimes you see high numbers of misconduct cases,” Hils said. “But I believe that policemen tend to be more honest and more trustworthy than the average citizen.”

Hils said he has no issue with USA TODAY publishing public records of conduct, saying it is the news media’s “right and responsibility to investigate police and the authority of government. You’re supposed to be a watchdog.”

The first set of records USA TODAY is releasing is an exclusive nationwide database of about 30,000 people whom state governments banned from the profession by revoking their certification to be law enforcement officers.

For years, a private police organization has assembled such a list from more than 40 states and encourages police agencies to screen new hires. The list is kept secret from anyone outside law enforcement.

USA TODAY obtained the names of banned officers from 44 states by filing requests under state sunshine laws.

The information includes the officers’ names, the department they  worked for when the state revoked their certification and – in most cases – the reasons why.

The list is incomplete because of the absence of records from states such as California, which has the largest number of law enforcement officers in the USA.

Bringing important facts to policing debate

Bringing important facts to policing debate

USA TODAY’s collection of police misconduct records comes amid a nationwide debate over law enforcement tactics, including concern that some officers or agencies unfairly target minorities.

A series of killings of black people by police over the past five years in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Chicago, Sacramento, California, and elsewhere have sparked unrest and a reckoning that put pressure on cities and mayors to crack down on misconduct and abuses.

The Trump administration has backed away from more than a decade of Justice Department investigations and court actions against police departments it determined were deeply biased or corrupt.

In 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department would leave policing the police to local authorities, saying federal investigations hurt crime fighting.

Laurie Robinson, co-chair of the 2014 White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, said transparency about police conduct is critical to trust between police and residents.

“It’s about the people who you have hired to protect you,” she said. “Traditionally, we would say for sure that policing has not been a transparent entity in the U.S. Transparency is just a very key step along the way to repairing our relationships.”

Help us investigate

Help us investigate

The number of police agencies and officers in the USA is so large that the blind spots are vast. We need your help.

Though the records USA TODAY Network gathered are probably the most expansive ever collected, there is much more to be added. The collection includes several types of statewide data, but most misconduct is documented by individual departments.

Journalists obtained records from more than 700 law enforcement agencies, but the records are not complete for all of those agencies, and there are more than 18,000 police forces across the USA. The records requests were focused largely on the biggest 100 police agencies as well as clusters of smaller departments in surrounding areas, partly to examine movement of officers between departments in regions.

Share your stories of police misconduct with us

We want to hear from you if you believe you’ve encountered misconduct by a law enforcement officer or agency. You can send tips and records about an officer or agency to policetips@usatoday.com.
Email Us
Need anonymity or security? Send records and tips to us via SecureDrop.

USA TODAY aims to identify other media organizations willing to partner in gathering new records and sharing documents they’ve already gathered. The Invisible Institute, a journalism nonprofit in Chicago focused on police accountability, has done so for more than a year and contributed records from dozens of police departments.

Reporters need help getting documents – and other kinds of tips – from the public, watchdog groups, researchers and even officers and prosecutors themselves.

If you have access to citizen complaints about police, internal affairs investigation records, secret settlement deals between agencies and departing officers or anything that sheds light on how agencies police their officers, we want to hear from you.

Contributing: James Pilcher and Eric Litke.


The team behind this investigation

REPORTING AND ANALYSIS: Mark Nichols, Eric Litke, James Pilcher, Aaron Hegarty, Andrew Ford, Brett Kelman, John Kelly, Matt Wynn, Steve Reilly, Megan Cassidy, Ryan Martin, Jonathan Anderson, Andrew Wolfson, Bethany Bruner, Benjamin Lanka, Gabriella Novello, Mark Hannan

FROM THE INVISIBLE INSTITUTE: Sam Stecklow, Andrew Fan, Bocar Ba

EDITING: Chris Davis, John Kelly, Brad Heath

GRAPHICS AND ILLUSTRATIONS: Jim Sergent, Karl Gelles

PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY: Phil Didion, Christopher Powers, David Hamlin, Robert Lindeman

DIGITAL PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT: Spencer Holladay, Annette Meade, Craig Johnson, Ryan Marx, Chris Amico, Josh Miller

SOCIAL MEDIA, ENGAGEMENT AND PROMOTION: Anne Godlasky, Alia Dastagir

Originally Published 8:15 p.m. CDT Apr. 24, 2019

Updated 6:33 a.m. CDT May 23, 2019

Fired for a felony, again for perjury. Meet the new police chief.

From Facebook: Tex. Judge awards family $127k for taking child without warrant

https://abc13.com/family/cps-to-pay-$127000-for-wrongful-removal-of-kids/4657493/?fbclid=IwAR03JjClAI_01rYMUtWEVyc15lQEFSKLhl3TLS0aDXCu875MWf9v3KSFQSc

TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK) — A Harris County judge has ordered Child Protective Services to pay a Tomball family $127,000 after finding they wrongfully removed their children from their home.

It started as an accidental fall for Melissa and Dillon Bright’s 5-month-old son Mason. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors found he had two fractures in his skull.

The family says that because doctors did not believe the second fracture came from the fall, they were investigated for child abuse.

“We were just completely oblivious to the fact that they were accusing us of abuse,” Melissa said.

CPS placed the children with another family member. The Brights tell ABC13 that in the meantime they sought a second opinion from another doctor.

That doctor explained that the second fracture could have in fact come from the same fall.

While still in placement with another family member, the Brights say they reached out to CPS numerous times to tell them this information, and to also request that the children be moved closer to home due to medical issues their youngest son was having.

With no response, the Brights say they informed CPS they would be bringing both of their children back home.

The family’s attorney says during that time they were contacted by their caseworker, who asked how the children were. The Brights say they responded with happy photographs and stated they were well, but later things would go wrong again.

During another hearing, the Brights say they were shocked to learn that CPS told a judge they had no knowledge of the children being back home. The family attorney says the judge was convinced to order another removal.

The Brights say they had no idea where their children were taken at first, and when they were finally able to see them, their 2-year old daughter Charlotte had a black eye. Melissa says the only explanation CPS had was that she fell from a bed.

The family’s attorney, Dennis Slate, says they later found several inconsistencies in reports from CPS.

A judge ruled Thursday that there was no solid or substantial reason to interfere with the Bright family.

ABC13 reached out to CPS, who said that the caseworker who was assigned to the Brights is still employed.

They would not comment on whether or not he is being investigated, but did say they are exploring all options, including a possible appeal to the judge’s decision.

Follow Stefania Okolie on Instagram and Twitter.