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 TKAB: Dr. Lillie White being exploited in Fla. gship where her assets are drained and she is isolated from friends and family

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release, September 9, 2019

Contact: Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy,    elderdignity@hotmail.com, 212-901-6913

FLORIDA SENIOR ISOLATED FROM FAMILY OF 50 RELATIVES FOR THREE YEARS DESPITE VIDEO OF HER ASKING FOR HER SISTER, NIECES & NEPHEWS

Guardian refuses to let anyone speak with her without a “passcode,” court ignores motions, and care facility refused to disclose safety preparations for Hurricane Dorian

DELAND, FL – On Friday, September 6, 2019, Dr. Lillie Sykes White turned 91. Her family of almost fifty people wanted to celebrate her. On video, released today, she said she wants to see her sister, nieces and nephews. Yet, the estranged granddaughter Lisa Marie Rene of Maryland–who no one in the family knows–is blocking them from any contact. A team of attorneys are benefiting from the $4 million estate and the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court seems to be endorsing the exploitation. It is tantamount to human trafficking but no one in Florida leadership is helping despite recent guardianship scandals. Video can be viewed at    https://youtu.be/ssC0XcFCgtQ

“I called the facility where Lillie is being held and they refused to let me know what preparations they were making for Hurricane Dorian,” said Janie Sykes-Kennedy, Dr. White’s 83-year-old sister. “We called on Lillie’s birthday and couldn’t speak with her. The administrator said she may not even receive our cards. This is inhumane,” she added.
In 2012, Dr. White was entrapped in a guardianship by family friend Chauncey Ford and the granddaughter. Sykes-Kennedy joined her sister to fight off their legal actions. On August 30, 2016, Dr. White left her Palm Coast home with her niece Sheila Bryant in order to go to the doctor. After Ms. Bryant was called in the other room to fill out paperwork, emergency temporary guardian, Sara Caldwell, Esq. of Daytona Beach and Attorney ad Litem, Tance Roberts, Esq. of St. Augustine, both appointed unnecessarily by Circuit Judge Margaret W. Hudson of Flagler County, seized Dr. White from the waiting room. There was no notice, danger or emergency. Police reports stated that Dr. White was safe in her home and “didn’t seem incapacitated.” She retained the right to choose with whom to socialize, and she wanted to be with her sister in the house she built for retirement. Yet, the court agents refused to disclose her location and Judge Hudson ignored multiple Emergency Motions for Judicial Review. Dr. White was stripped of all rights, her home was sold to pay attorney fees, and the guardian told neighbors she had died.

“My aunt was kidnapped under color of law and the attorneys have been making up reasons to justify their actions after-the-fact,” said Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Dr. White’s niece and producer of    The Deception of Protection. “Across the country, guardianship laws are being manipulated and used as a weapon to separate seniors from their families, silence them and steal their estates. We need public outrage and federal intervention,” she added.

In 2018, Ms. Caldwell resigned. The Office of Public and Professional Guardians (OPPG) was conducting an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing. At the same time, the family found Dr. White via private investigators. Her sister and niece visited in November 2018. Even though it was joyous, Dr. White is on lockdown again. Behind closed doors, the Flagler Court appointed Ms. Rene Guardian and Trustee even though she did not qualify. She had filed bankruptcy and had been removed as Trustee by the Orange County Court. The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the decision. There was also an Orange County Court Order denying her visitation and communication based on Dr. White’s direct testimony in court and affidavit stating she was being victimized by her. The Flagler Court failed to let anyone else in the family know about Ms. Rene’s appointments, and thus, they could not object. Judge Hudson warned the attorneys about using Dr. White’s estate as a “cash cow,” but continued to sign off on the excessive billing. Florida law requires that the Court follow Dr. White’s expressed wishes, yet the decisions have been entirely inconsistent with her stated desires which are well-documented over the past eight years. She had taken the granddaughter out of her Trust in 2012 before the improper incapacity ruling and isolation from family.
“I was with Aunt Lillie for five years and it’s heartbreaking that I can’t even speak with her now,” said Ms. Bryant.
Anyone who calls for Dr. White requires a “passcode.” Multiple family members have reached out to Ms. Rene for the code but she is not returning calls. Ms. Rene’s attorneys at Shuffield Lowman in Orlando refuse to provide the code. Despite a new judge, the Court has ignored Ms. Sykes-Kennedy’s motions. Contact with Dr. White by her sister, nieces and nephews is being “unreasonably withheld,” which violates her rights and the U.S. Constitution. The family fears she will be medicated to death to cover up the fraud or isolated so long she will lose hope.
In the video from the visit, Dr. White herself said, “It’s amazing. I never thought anything like this could have happened… They’ve got to be crazy… I’m ready to go… I didn’t know about all of this–people being able to take my money for nothing… They think they can get away with it but once I start talking they’ll shut up.” She wants to “make it right” and added, “I’m going to take them to court and sue them for using my home and using me.”

Who will help free Dr. White? Learn the backstory and watch other videos at:    http://elderdignity.org/in-lillies-voice/

Online version of release:    http://elderdignity.org/release-the-forbidden-reunion/

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Attachments area
Preview YouTube video The Forbidden Reunion

Preview YouTube video Deception of Protection: Anatomy of an Involuntary Guardianship

From KKD: status of guardianship in Illinois is still code red

On Monday, September 9, 2019, 08:25:55 PM CDT, kenneth ditkowsky <kenditkowsky@yahoo.com> wrote:
Indeed – Shame on me – in my America every day the HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN GRANDMA CONTINUES unabated.

I heard from an Illinois citizen that his wife was seized by the Illinois Public Guardian and he and her son have been barred from any contact with her.     Exactly how a guardian (including the public guardian) could have been appointed is a major mystery.     Several medical professionals have denied that the wife is incompetent – however, the Court is reported to have determined that the citizen (and his wife) failed to meet the standard of determining that she is not in need of guardian.

It appears that on the 18th Floor of the Daley Center in Chicago the 14th Amendment has been abrogated and Statutes regulating guardianship have been reduced to the criteria of human trafficking in the elderly.

The Illinois Statutes define guardianship and the standard of proof, to wit:

(755 ILCS 5/11a-2) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-2)
Sec. 11a-2. “Person with a disability” defined.) “Person with a disability” means a person 18 years or older who (a) because of mental deterioration or physical incapacity is not fully able to manage his person or estate, or (b) is a person with mental illness or a person with a developmental disability and who because of his mental illness or developmental disability is not fully able to manage his person or estate, or (c) because of gambling, idleness, debauchery or excessive use of intoxicants or drugs, so spends or wastes his estate as to expose himself or his family to want or suffering, or (d) is diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)

 

    (755 ILCS 5/11a-3) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-3)
Sec. 11a-3. Adjudication of disability; Power to appoint guardian.
(a) Upon the filing of a petition by a reputable person or by the alleged person with a disability himself or on its own motion, the court may adjudge a person to be a person with a disability, but only if it has been demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the person is a person with a disability as defined in Section 11a-2. If the court adjudges a person to be a person with a disability, the court may appoint (1) a guardian of his person, if it has been demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that because of his disability he lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the care of his person, or (2) a guardian of his estate, if it has been demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that because of his disability he is unable to manage his estate or financial affairs, or (3) a guardian of his person and of his estate.
(b) Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the person with a disability, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence. Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual’s actual mental, physical and adaptive limitations.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)

 

The statute is quite clear – the burden of proving the need for a guardian is not only placed on the petitioner, but requires the highest standard of proof (in a civil case), to wit:

Clear and Convincing evidence

This standard was not determined by the Illinois legislature as a whim – it is mandated by the 5th and the 14th Amendment, the Illinois Constitution, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.     The statute is also very limited, to wit:

(b) Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the person with a disability, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence. Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual’s actual mental, physical and adaptive limitations.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15

 

The words of the Statute unfortunately are being routinely ignored by ‘corrupt’ judges, attorneys appointed as guardian ad litems, and persons appointed as guardians.     What has occurred however is the ‘birth’ of a cottage industry – i.e. the HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE ELDERLY.

If you google the subject of the appointment of guardians you will get a sanitized impression of a legal process designed to assist the elderly = not a predatory criminal enterprise.    That impression is wrong in a great number of cases.     Even more serious is the fact that these criminal enterprises have been and are being documented by many – and almost totally ignored by the judiciary, the judiciary disciplinary commissions, our elected officials, local law enforcement,  the public, the media, and until recently even Federal Law Enforcement.

There is no shortage of expose’        Blogs have been published exposing in vivid detail that modern Holocaust and Gulag, to wit: Probate Sharks, NASGA, MaryGSykes, AAAPG *****.     The Oct 9, 2017 NEW YORKER, the Wall Street Journal, the New York times ***** have written articles exposing the criminal enterprise, and currently in Florida another Guardian has been exposed well exceeding any possible authority she might have had.    Dr. Samuel Sugar has written a book (Guardianship) that leaves all doubt as to the MO of the miscreants and just how they get away with overt Kidnapping, extortion, intimidation, theft, tax evasion, money laundering, conspiracy, civil rights violations etc.    Janet Phelan has similarly exposed details concerning the nitty gritty of the ‘elder cleansing’ ******

The Government Accounting Office has also published several (4) reports to Congress detailing the cottage industry and while mostly generating yawns, a couple of bills duplicating remedies that should be inherent in the RULE OF LAW and primary laws of a Democracy have been passed.     Only recently has the Federal Law authorities been noted to be looking into this massive and incredibly lucrative criminal enterprise.       The fact that some victims and their families are reporting the emergence of Federal law Enforcement doing HONEST INVESTIGATIONS is heartening.

The foregoing aside – it is apparent that the ‘beat goes on’ and the arrogance of the POLITICAL AND JUDICIAL ELITE who are actively engaged in the human trafficking in the elderly continues unabated.       In almost every case we note the following:

1.   Isolation of the victim.      Grandma is seized, and separated from her family and prior life.    A guardian ad litem or some other Court official points out to the Court that grandma is upset when she finds herself isolated and the GAL concludes that the family agitates Grandma.    Thus, to visit Grandma the family has to pay a Court related firm to supervise visitation.

2.   Appoint a guardian and seize assets.    If the Statute is followed prior to a guardian being appointed the Court must hold a hearing and comply with DUE PROCESS.     This is obviated by the Gal reporting to the Court that grandma has waived her right to due process, notice, hearing, clear and convincing evidence of her actual disability if any, and her humanity.       The Court without further then appoints a guardian who immediately seizes all the assets that can be located – including but not limited to the assets of Grandpa and any member of the family who objects to the human trafficking in grandma.   (NB.  Sometimes a family member has to be appointed guardian – if that family member does not co-operate in the elder cleansing felonies he/she is accused of stealing from grandma and punished.    A then more co-operative guardian is appointed.

3.   Opioids and other chemicals are routinely administered to grandma so that she is docile.    Federal and State health care programs (and some insurance programs) are very generous in providing the cash to support the continued kidnapping and isolation.     The Nursing homes are usually owned by large contributors to the dominant political party and they are grateful to their benefactors.   Come election time grandma votes for the candidates of the political party.     The Government supplies ample fund to fully compensate all the miscreants.

4.   A family member or interested person who objects to the HUMAN TRAFFICKING in Grandma is hauled before the Court, threatened with sanctions, contempt (jail), and other punishments.    If that family member should accidentally remember that this court’s venue is the United States of America and not Soviet Russia he/she is terrorized and subjected to criminal judicial criminals that would shock a Soviet Judge’s conscience.     Lawyers who interfere with the process are suspended from the practice of law by the State Supreme Court.    (All hearings are of the Kangaroo variety – i.e. the result is determined prior to the hearing)

5.   When Grandma’s assets are depleted and there are no more funds to be stolen – Grandma suddenly expires!      To alleviate the sadness of the even, cremation occurs as if grandma were an Orthodox Jew.

6.   The court approves all the accountings of the guardians and closes the estate.

 

Dr. Sugar’s book suggests that the ‘feeding tube’ scenario is used to make certain that the Carolyn Wyman situation is not repeated.   (Ms. Wyman’s son recognized that his mother was perfectly competent and that she was going to be ‘[elder cleansed’     The son, entered the nursing home, and spirited his mother not only out of the home, but to a Western state.     His mother opened her business and made a substantial income to support herself not only embarrassing the corrupt GAL, Judge, Attorneys etc.     She did not return to Illinois leaving the miscreants with an embarrassment.    Had the guardian not been negligent and installed a feeding tube, Ms. Wyman would never have escaped and her son could never have written a book detailing the trafficking in his mother.      (If you want to learn more about Mrs. Wyman give JoAnne Denison as call.    Attorney Denison is actively exposing the criminal conspiracy (my words) – Mr. Jerome Larkin, the Illinois Disciplinary commission – refers to Attorney Denison’s exposing of criminals in black robes as “yelling fire in a crowded theater!)

The Illinois Statute is clear – even if it is ignored.     It also is the Standard and consistent with the mandate of the 14th Amendment.     The guardianship for grandma is not a trivial thing – it is a terrorist attack on America that now has claimed more victims that 9/11!        The home grown terrorists in Illinois are elected to public office year after year and will be continued to be elected – UNLESS the United States of America gets really serious and demonstrates that the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA actually has meaning and is not just a collection of words.

When the bleeding hearts go on their scavenger hunts for alleged atrocities conducted by our government it is interesting that they ignore the modern holocaust / gulag that is being committed against GRANDMA!      The irony is that YOU and I are both potential victims of the human trafficking in Grandma!     It is in our self interest to demand and see to it that the corrupt judiciary and their co=conspirators are brought to Justice.     It is either them or us!     Intelligent people should recognize their own self interest?

 

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Remember the words of the statute lost in the translation by the corrupt judges who have anointed those criminals who would separate us from our liberty, humanity, property and Americanism, to wit:

 

 

(b) Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the person with a disability, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence. Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual’s actual mental, physical and adaptive limitations.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15

From KDD: Guardianship still dangerous to your health and welfare in Cook County

Today’s elderly is faced with a ‘brave new world’ that is foreign to them.      At one time it was actually safe to grow old and being elderly ipso facto warranted respect.      Yes, there were predators who preyed on the elderly, but they were not lauded, elected to public office, and protected by the Political elite.

The human trafficking in the elderly (elder cleansing felonies) today are a an epidemic and a cottage industry fostered openly by many in our government.     A lawyer who objects to the predation exhibited by a ‘court appointed’ guardian is considered to be a miscreant whose objections are akin to “yelling fire in a crowded theater” and such a deviant and bad person to warrant long suspensions of his;/her law license.    A family member who objects to the common technique of debilitation of an otherwise healthy (but targeted) elderly person is routinely held up to ridicule, contempt of court punishments, confiscation of assets etc.     Indeed, in cases disclosed by the blog AAAPG, NASGA, probate sharks, MaryGSykes, ****, four GAO reports, the Oct 9, 2017 New Yorker article, a Wall Street Journala New York Times Article etc. the Modius Operandi is almost always similar.     Dr. Sugar’s book GUARDIANSHIP details that process (and is a must read).    The net, net, is that a culture of predation has grown up in America (and especially in our Court system) that is designed to surcharge our health care system by more than 700%, confiscate the savings, the liberty, the property, and the human rights of the elderly, and ravage any semblance of honor, honesty, or efficacy in our institutions.

The 1st Amendment is being trashed by the governmental corruption that has polluted our court system and allows for the Court to appoint a guardian for a fully competent elderly person targeted by Political and Judicial elitists and deprive that individual of his/her liberty, property, associations, life and Constitutional rights without actual due process of law.

As many have pointed out the MO is clear.     A targeted senior is taken into custody by a Court appointed guardian and after the administration of mind deadening drugs literally stripped of his/her assets, dignity, property, rights, humanity etc.      It really does not matter if this senior is competent – i.e. knows the objects of his bounty, extent and nature of his property, and can execute a simple business transaction – the seniors assets, benefits from federal and state health care and other assets are laid out on the table to distribute amongst the established political and judicial elite.

Most States – on paper – have procrustean written procedures to make certain that a n individuals 1st, 4th, 5th and 14th amendment rights are protected – however, as indicated in the Mary Sykes case 09 P 4585 (Circuit Court of Cook County) a corrupt judge can and will obviate all protections.       The Court regulators, gadflies, court observers, private citizens, media, law enforcement et al either do not care or are disinterested in the assault on America that is being perpetrated.     In Sykes that Statute (755 ILCS 5/11a – 10) sets up criteria that must be followed as to grant JURISDICTION.      A review of the file in Sykes indicates that every safeguard was thwarted.     Even the required summons was not served!     No hearing was held.    No notice of hearing was even attempted.      NB.   Illinois recognizes that judicial fraud is real and that it is tempting to judges many of whom have paid large sums of money to the Cook County Democratic Party to become judges, so 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3 not only sets forth strict rules as to whom may be provided a guardian, but sets a high burden of proof to establish the need and strict limitations on the guardian’s powers.

Of course, statutory protections are meaningless when they are ignored.     And of course, when corruption is rampant citizen protections are meaningless.      It appears that Dr. Sugar has picked up the torch and in his quiet unassuming manner is attempting to organize us – the “great unwashed” out of our complacency and maybe strike a blow for FREEDOM, decency, and honor.

 


“The Guardians” – Nov 4, 2019

Re-scheduled Date!

Nov 4, 2019, 3 – 7:30 pm

Movie + Town Hall –
FREE to attend!

November 4, 2019
3:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Marriott Orlando Airport Lakeside
7499 Augusta National Drive
Orlando, FL 32822

#GuardianshipAwarenessTownhall

Existing tickets will be honored–you do not to get a new ticket or reservation.

If you need a ticket, please pick one up for free by going to this EventBrite link.

From KW: Where to complain–the important emails for FBI and states attorneys, Illinois

Here are the emails you should send evidence of a crime to:

FBI:

ada.cmplaintsadmin@usdoj.gov

chicago@ic.fbi.gov

fbi@service.govdelivery.com

hrstips@usdoj.gov

NOTE:  I do believe that the current administration may have shut down human rights and ada complaint emails. you might want to call them and demand they reinstate these email addresses.

Cook County States Attorney

statesattorney@cookcountyil.gov

Illinois Attorney General:

aag_consumer@atg.state.il.us

If you can manage to get the first and last name of any attorney there or investigator, you can probably email them evidence of court corruption by following the format first name.last name and then use the rest of the above emails

Please post any emails you might have for the fbi and state attorney generals to help people turn over corruption evidence so we can get rid of corruption in govt.

thanks

From NASGA; Mich. Atty Gen. fires 3 Public Administrators

One of the grounds was forced placement in nursing homes against the disabled person’s will or into group homes in sub human condition.  Sound familiar?

MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL DANA NESSEL AND GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER TIED TO INVESTIGATION OF MASSIVE ELDER ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION RING..

Posted: 28 Aug 2019 06:23 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES , CA, USA, August 26, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/

NESSEL FIRES THREE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS EXPOSED IN THE STORY. 

Michigan Attorney General
Dana Nessle

An August 23 investigation detailing a massive alleged elder abuse and exploitation ring operating out of a Michigan probate court was published on the same day that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel fired three public administrators, exposed in the story as allegedly exploiting thousands of vulnerable Americans under their guardianship.

High-profile cases such as the ongoing dispute concerning the estate of famed musician Aretha Franklin have been affected.

Franklin’s eldest son Clarence is under the guardianship of Michigan attorney Jon Munger who is one of the targets of the probe which uncovered an unsettling number of alleged crimes including abuse, neglect, robbery, and exploitation, often in cases that arguably didn’t merit guardianship in the first place.

In as little as a year, so called “incapacitated wards” are stripped of the entirety of their savings and possessions and rendered completely reliant upon social services and benefits such as Medicaid. 

Hammond states that she and her team revealed their findings to Nessel’s staff at a March 12, 2019 meeting implicating three of the four public administrators Nessel eventually fired.

On March 25, 2019 Nessel announced the creation of a multi-agency Elder Abuse Task Force. The Task Force presented nine reforms to the guardianship system. Nessel claims the firings were due, in part, to Task Force discoveries.

Hammond says she does not buy it.

“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and her staff knew this story was coming ever since our March meeting,” she says.”Her firing of the public administrators we discussed has been a long time coming but doesn’t have any effect without criminal investigations. They can still take guardianship cases.”

In a forensic review of the Oakland County Probate Court, available to the public for the first time in Michigan history, Mulholland also concludes that criminal investigations into the guardians are warranted.

Hammond’s investigation found campaign donations from Nessel to Oakland County Probate County Chief Judge Kathleen Ryan. It also revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Whitmer by a public relations company owned by Ryan’s brother James.

Background:
Every US state still uses form of guardianship Rooted in Medieval English law, at its best, it is designed to protect citizens who are no longer able to protect themselves by declaring them wards of the state. However, increasing reports of abuse cropping up nationwide, has prompted Congressional calls for reform.

But the level of controversy over how guardianship cases are handled in the Detroit-area Oakland County Probate Court has reached such heights, the story reads more like Orwellian fiction than it does a model of the American experience.

Discoveries include the forced separation of families and isolation of the vulnerable; fraudulent petitions for guardianship by Adult Protective Services investigators; massive over-billing; the forced removal of individuals from their homes and the placement of them in nursing facilities or unlicensed group homes with subhuman living conditions; real estate fraud; and missing assets that number in the millions of dollars. 

The investigation met with constant challenges, including threats and harassment by Oakland County Sheriff’s officers. A surreal March 12, 2019 four-hour meeting between Hammond’s team and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s staff led to a new line of inquiry and discoveries of campaign ties between Nessel, Whitmer and Oakland County Probate Court Chief Judge Kathleen Ryan and her family.
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ROGER NEAL
NEAL PR
+1 323-366-2796

Click the links below to read the five part series:

The Fortress Part One of Five: Unacknowledged and Unprotected

The Fortress Part Two of Five: Protected in Hell
The Fortress Part Three of Five: Profiting from Protection
The Fortress Part Five of Five: Protected by Secrecy and Ageism

The Fortress Part Four of Five: Th

From DF: Mich. gship cost 90 yo woman $123k for 90 days of court ordered services

Just when you thought it could not get any worse:

Local family says guardianship cost elderly woman $123K for 3 months of care

Posted: 5:45 PM, Aug 13, 2019
Updated: 9:02 PM, Aug 13, 2019

Piera Franklin.jpg

(WXYZ) — More than $123,000. That’s what a local family says a guardianship cost their elderly mother for three months of care. It was a huge chunk of her life savings.

It’s the same guardianship company that 7 Investigator Heather Catallo exposed back in May when they were accused of cutting off family contact with an elderly couple.

The family in this case originally didn’t want to talk to us on camera, but when they saw the fees that Caring Hearts Michigan is asking a judge to approve – they agreed to speak out.

Piera Franklin is 90 years young and still loves working in her yard.

After she had some health issues in February, Macomb County Probate Judge Kathryn George appointed Caring Hearts Michigan Inc. as Piera’s temporary guardian and conservator. That means Caring Hearts had total legal control of Piera. As her conservator, they also had total control of her money.

Caring Hearts Michigan Inc. is owned by Cathy Kirk. Court records show, Kirk used her husband’s law firm to bill the estate. Kirk also used one of her companies, Executive Care, to provide 24/7 in-home care for Piera.

Please note: Caring Hearts Homecare of Southfield is not affiliated in any way with Cathy Kirk’s Caring Hearts Michigan Inc.

Piera said that she didn’t need that. She cooks, cleans, washes her clothes and didn’t want that kind of 24/7 help.

In May, the 7 Investigators were in the courtroom when the judge took Caring Hearts off the case and granted guardianship and conservatorship of Piera to her son , John. But the Franklin family was stunned when they recently got the final accounting from Caring Hearts.

For only 91 days of care, Caring Hearts wants the court to approve:

  • $10,5224.37 for guardianship services
  • $19,369.90 in legal fees for Cathy Kirk’s husband’s law firm
  • $86,304 for home care charged by Executive Car

“Is more than $86,000 for 91 days of care reasonable,” asked 7 Investigator Heather Catallo.

“Not in my opinion,” said John Perrin, an attorney hired by Piera’s son, John Franklin. “Based on the invoices themselves, there’s clearly overcharges here.”

“Do you feel like they earned that money?” Catallo asked Piera.

“No! No way no way! Because they didn’t do anything. No help for me, no bath, nothing, nothing,” Piera responded. “I make my own bed. I clean up the house. I did everything! Was nothing done. They sit there with their book and watching TV. That’s it!”

Heather Catallo WXYZ@HeatherCatallo

This is 90-year-old Piera Franklin talking about the caregivers from Caring Hearts MI Inc. On ⁦@wxyzdetroit⁩ at 6, I’ll show you why her family is objecting to $123k in legal, guardianship, & care fees for 91 days. ⁦⁦@MIAttyGen⁩ ⁦@MISupremeCourt

See Heather Catallo WXYZ’s other Tweets

Piera said she did like some of the home aides, but she says one caregiver had a fight with her boyfriend in the driveway of Piera’s home. She said it made her feel scared, like she did during the war in her childhood in Italy.

“I was raised in the war time, and I remember when the bombs coming, I would get stomach problem, and I felt the same anxiety in my stomach,” said Piera.

In court filings, Perrin argues Caring Hearts Michigan Inc. “engaged in serious conflicts of interest that resulted in waste and dissipation of Ms. Franklin’s savings.”

“There’s one particular occasion where I see 48 hours billed for one caregiver in a single day,” Perrin said. “The cumulative time in that single day wound up being almost $2,500.”

Other fees include:

  • Hours of overtime for what Perrin says are non-skilled caregivers charging above-market rates of $45 per hour;
  • $1,760.50 to change the locks on Piera’s home (family members say they don’t know why the locks needed to be changed);
  • $1,129.81 for correspondence with banks and closing Piera’s accounts so they could be moved to First State Bank where Cathy Kirk’s husband, Robert, is a board member.

Now, Piera has less expensive caregivers for fewer hours in the day. She says now she is worried about how much money she was charged by caring hearts.

“I worked hard to save, 10 hours a day,” said the mother of five.

The 7 Investigators spoke with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and they say their financial crimes unit is aware of this case, but they can’t confirm or deny if they are investigating.

The Attorney General is investigating a different probate case first exposed by the 7 Investigators that also involves Caring Hearts Michigan Inc.

Lawyers for Caring Hearts Michigan Inc. deny any wrongdoing, and they have told the court they will review some of the billings. They say the relationship between Kirk’s companies while serving Piera did not violate any law or court rule.

Kemp Klein Attorney Ed Nahhat sent the 7 Investigators this statement late Tuesday:

“Caring Hearts disclosed in writing to Court Administrator John Brennan on April 4, 2018, its common ownership of Executive Care. This was many months before the Court’s “related persons” policy was issued. The policy assures disclosure upon the annual account.

In these cases, all interested persons, and the court, had disclosure; they knew that the companies had common ownership as intended by the policy.

Neither Caring Hearts nor Executive Care did anything wrong when doing what the court ordered them to do: care for someone according to their needs and preferences. Mrs. Franklin was very grateful to Caring Hearts, as she wanted her care to be at home, extensive and high quality, and she wanted only certain persons to take care of her. In fact our Executive Care’s service was so valued that her son rehired them at one point, and his mother specifically asked for their employees to continue serving her, even after Caring Hearts was replaced. Simply put, she liked her care at home, and that is always more expensive.

Caring Hearts and Executive Care are ready and willing to be examined for all that they did and the fees they charged. That’s what trials are for.

It’s about money.

While family are entitled to challenge fees, we fear Mrs. Franklin is now being scripted to create an inaccurate public image of Caring Hearts. It’s sad to see a good company get publicly attacked when the family already has a court of law available to them, where both parties have a fair chance to present their case.”

If you have a story for Heather Catallo please email her at hcatallo@wxyz.com or call 248-827-4473.

From ECF: Illinois now allows access to court documents for attorneys only!!! when will the public get access???

As evidenced by the numerous attorney employment acts, efiling Illinois is only allowing attorneys to access full court documents filed online.

The public still has to go to the courthouse, search for and pull up documents and then pay 50 cents to $2 per pay for access, despite the fact the taxpayers own the documents, and not attorneys, not judges or court personnel.

Dorothy Brown is still the clerk of court.  She should be fighting for access by taxpayers and not just attorneys or judges.

Read on below.

How to Access Case Documents Online With re:SearchIL

A recent post from the Chicago Bar Association discusses the new re:SearchIL platform, a much-needed solution for attorneys eFiling throughout Illinois. CourtFiling.net happily sponsors this article by Tisha Delgado.

Since the Illinois Supreme Court announced the mandatory switch from traditional paper filing to eFiling, the legal industry has hoped for an efficient way to access those eFiled documents online.

re:SearchIL allows attorneys to search for all filings and activity in their cases, study opposing counsel, and know the other parties in their case. They do this simply by logging into re:SearchIL using their CourtFiling.net credentials. There is an easy to navigate dashboard that contains a “My Cases” section where the attorney can easily see a list of all their pending cases in any of Illinois’ 102 counties, in which their ADRC number appears.

With any new system, re:SearchIL has a few issues to work through. Only attorneys of record and parties to the case are able to access these court records. The system leaves out other legal support staff who are often involved in the eFilings including paralegals, legal secretaries, and law clerks. This lack of access for legal support staff is only temporary, as some rules and policies are still being discussed.

Another hiccup is that two of the biggest counties, Cook and DuPage use Firm/Attorney numbers instead of ADRC numbers so cases in those courts are not yet available via re:SearchIL. However, Tyler Technologies has contacted Cook and DuPage courts to implement a change to include the attorney’s ADRC number in these cases so they are accessible via re:SearchIL.

CourtFiling.net will keep you updated on any changes that occur within the re:SearchIL platform.

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From FB; Elderly in Sidney AU nursing home abused too!

https://9now.nine.com.au/today/sydney-nursing-home-carino-care-charged-with-neglect-nsw-news/08105f10-a5ee-4002-9a47-0ca43283b0b6?fbclid=IwAR2USpaUSXdFviwMMARpaNug2x4RT-RIthiEd7jbBzp40_kcvnWLy17vIlU

‘I would see him sitting in urine with no shoes on’

A Sydney nursing home found to have failed 24 counts of care standards has been allowed to continue operating.

Carino Care in the Sydney suburb of Russell Lea failed to manage residents’ medication, and has had people in its care die in pain and distress, as well as from malnourishment.

However, the new government watchdog has ruled the facility can stay open until November.

The family of former resident Luigi Cantali is outraged by the decision, saying the facility’s neglect “definitely” played a part in the 80-year-old’s death.

Speaking to Today, Cantali’s daughter Eva Rinaldi said she witnessed the mistreatment of her father when visiting him at the facility.

“I would rock up late at night, about 10pm, and I would see him sitting in urine with no shoes on, on the floor,” Rinaldi told Today. “The door would be shut and he would be wrapped up in a sheet, just shivering. That was when he caught bronchitis”

Rinaldi was made aware of her father’s mistreatment at the facility after the 80-year-old raised the alarm. Despite having dementia and being blind, Rinaldi said her late father was very aware of what was happening.

She also noticed bruising “all over [Cantali’s] body” while he was living in the facility. The alarming photographs she captured of her father’s body are documented below.

“I was very, very surprised. I knew something was wrong. Even to the point they wouldn’t shower him and they would roll him into the bathroom and then just leave him in there for an hour and change his shirt,” Rinaldi added.

“He would tell me every single thing.” Rinaldi complained to Carino Care but was told by her father that nothing had changed.

Compelled to take drastic measures, Rinaldi put a video camera in her father’s room. He later told the nurses about the camera and they went looking for the device. When it was discovered, Rinaldi claims she was banned from visiting the facility.

“I saw a big decline in my father, especially in the time when they banned me. He just went from being normal to just so sick,” she added.

Door closed and my father wheezing with bad cough, feet in urine, face blue and shivering. I called ambulance. (Eva Rinaldi)
Carino Care nursing home abuse and neglect in Russell Lea. (Eva Rinaldi)
Results of insulin shots being given in the same spot at Carino Care nursing home Russell Lea. (Eva Rinaldi)
Luigi Cantali at Carino Care nursing home in Russell Lea. (Eva Rinaldi)
Carino Care stepped on my fathers toes to lift him up and left him in a chair never reclined for 2 weeks. (Eva Rinaldi)
Flies on food and flies in water at Carino Care nursing home. (Eva Rinaldi)
Carino Care nursing home abuse and neglect in Russell Lea. (Eva Rinaldi)

“They [Carino Care] said that he got the best care and that was simply not the case. We were paying all this money to this organisation and they are just not following through with they are supposed to be offering.”

After being banned, Rinaldi said she contacted the aged commission for assistance. “They just basically sent me a letter then closed off the complaint and said they wouldn’t investigate any further. That was in January,” she said.

Since then, the facility has been charged with 24 counts of neglect yet has been allowed to remain open. Carino Care has also expressed they plan to retrain staff from the facility.

“It’s disgusting. It’s a big slap in the face,” Rinaldi said about the ruling.

The Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, declined requests to be interviewed by Today. His office did, however, issue the below statement.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians

The terrible things that have come to light are heartbreaking and completely unacceptable.

Stories like Mr Luigi Cantali’s has been front and centre my mind in taking on the responsibility of Aged Care Minister. Mr Cantali deserved better care.  I have been advised that the Department of Health issued a notice of non-compliance to Carino Care on 24 May 2019 in relation to 28 expected outcomes not met.

I am advised Carino Care is working closely with the Department of Health and Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to remedy this non-compliance.

The service has engaged a Nurse Advisor and clinical consultant to support the service to meet the timeframe for improvement set by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission ahead of applying for reaccreditation.

The Government is committed to driving high quality care across the sector which is demonstrated by the introduction of new resident focused quality standards, a charter of rights which came into effect on 1 July 2019, and of course that is why we called the Royal Commission.

Our whole focus is to improve the delivery of Aged Care for Senior Australians.

 

From Joanne:

 

Ken Ditkowsky and I have fought tirelessy for the rights of the disabled and senior citizens.  For speaking out the Illinois ARDC Atty Disciplianary Commission has suspended our licenses for 3 and 4 years respectively.  Please write, fax or call Jerome Larkin that our work is blessed and that we will protect the seniors or disableds no matter what and our licenses must be restored.

Chicago Office
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive
Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60601-6219

Phone (312) 565-2600
Phone (800) 826-8625 (within IL)
Main Fax (312) 565-2320

From FB: Nurses caught on hidden video as 89 yo man lays dying and gasping for air

Nurse Caught On Video Laughing As Elderly Veteran Died Has Been Charged With Murder

What a couple of psychopaths.  Read on.

Nurse Caught On Video Laughing As Elderly Veteran Died Has Been Charged With Murder

Published February 22, 2018

See the video that will now likely put this nurse behind bars.

As 89-year-old World War II veteran James Dempsey lay dying in a Georgia nursing home, his nurses both ignored his cries and laughed as they failed to take critical measures that could have prevented his death.

We know this because the entire incident was caught on a hidden camera placed in the man’s room by his family. Now, that footage has led to indictments for the nurses involved.

According to local NBC affiliate 11Alive, certified nurse assistant Mable Turman faces a charge of neglect to an elder person while former licensed practical nurse (LPN) Wanda Nuckles faces a charge of depriving an elder person of essential services. Finally, former LPN Loyce Pickquet Agyeman faces charges of both neglect and felony murder.

These charges come nearly four years after the 2014 incident in which the nurses ignored Dempsey as he cried out for help, saying that he couldn’t breathe. Eventually, he became unresponsive, at which point the nurses failed to perform CPR immediately and didn’t call 911 until 57 minutes after he became unresponsive, according to 11Alive. In the meantime, Nuckles even started laughing while trying to start up an oxygen machine.

The nursing home wasn’t made aware of the video that captured these events until 2015, and the nurses weren’t fired until an additional ten months after that. Finally, the video only became public after 11Alive got approval from a judge to release it this past November as part of a lawsuit filed by Dempsey’s family.

The lawsuit and the 11Alive investigation then prompted local authorities to re-open the case, leading to the new indictments for the three nurses. Arrest warrants have since been issued for all three as well, although no trial date has yet been set.

At trial, the nurses will obviously have to account for their response. The first time around, during deposition testimony (see above) recorded before the nurses knew that the hidden camera footage existed, Nuckles can be seen lying about her response by indicating that she began performing CPR right away and kept it up continuously until paramedics arrived.

The truth, of course, is that Nuckles did not take action and that James Dempsey soon died as a result.

While Nuckles, during her deposition, was clearly lying about her actions that night, perhaps she was telling the truth when attorneys asked her why she was laughing — doubled over, in fact, onto Dempsey’s deathbed. She said she didn’t remember.


Next, see some of the most haunting photos of people taken just before they died. Then, read about the nurses who were recently fired after being caught on video flipping off newborns and calling them “mini-Satans.”

From RPHC: Louis Zaharias is looking for his 2 children kidnapped 35 years ago by ex wife

This man who is a legal specialist has been looking for his 2 children, Christopher and Lisa Mae Gammill Zaharias.  Their names may have been changed.   The ex wife’s name is Susan Gammill Zaharias.

Here is a video of the case:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha2m6njpDMI

Here is more information:

http://www.thevanishedpodcast.com/episodes/2017/7/30/episode-85-christopher-and-lisa-mae-zaharias

Private Investigator Philip Klein Interview – The Vanished Podcast – Part One

 

http://www.thevanishedpodcast.com/episodes/2017/8/13/episode-86-christopher-and-lisa-mae-zaharias-part-2

Louis Zaharias Interview – The Vanished Podcast – Part Two

https://www.facebook.com/HelpFindtheZahariasChildren

Christopher and Lisa Mae’s Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/louis.zaharias

Louis Zaharias’ Facebook Page

http://www.findzahariaskids.com/

Christopher and Lisa Mae’s Website

Video released by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:

https://vimeo.com/200845229/ecf875f266

 

Links for “Unsolved Mysteries” TV Show segment:
https://youtu.be/Ha2m6njpDMI

https://unsolved.com/album/help-find-the-zaharias-children/

Here are additional names of people who might have information on Christopher and Lisa Mae:

Susan E Gammill Zaharias (ex wife, likely changed name)

Grandmother Norma ean Gammill

Grandfather . Orville Gammill, both of Wetumka, OK

Sharon Lynn Gammill, sister in law (aunt)

601 Wirsing Ave, Grensburg, PA

 

From NASGA: Another Probate Horror Story in NJ. This could happen to you.

From Joanne:

I’m not sure that POA’s a trust and will could have protected the Daughter in gship.

A better route would have been to do a POA, trust and will and then put the trust and property into an offshore account which does not respond to US court orders.

I believe Barclay bank, which has branches in the US and other banks might have been better.  But the reality is, every adult 18 and up should have POAs for property and health care and a will at the basic minimum.  If finances are intertwined, get a lawyer to draft up a real contract.  Do this well before any signs of dementia.

A trust is a great vehicle to protect assets in a bank account, valuable jewelry, paintings and paid up autos and homes.  If the trust is offshore, many will not respond to US court orders.  Protect your loved one’s property.  Trusts do cost more money and have a lot more rules, but often they are well worth it.

Joanne

 

One Family’s Journey Through Guardianship Hell

Posted: 22 Jul 2019 11:00 PM PDT

  • By Gary Weiss Journalist and author

Guardianship

Credit: Courtesy of Gary WeissFamily in happier times (Ada Vocino, Patricia Femia and Patricia’s kids)
 

The last time Patricia Femia saw her mother, Ada Vocino, was February 14,  2013 — Valentine’s Day. But this was anything but a heartfelt meeting. The two women were in the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown, N.J. and were there for war.

Ada
Ada Vocino
Credit: 
Courtesy of Gary Weiss

Patricia was Ada’s only child. Until a few months before that day in court, Ada’s life had revolved around Patricia and her family. They’d lived together in an apartment Patricia built into her home in 2007, as Ada — a wartime immigrant — wanted. Previously, Ada helped raise Patricia’s sons and daughter.

The two women confronted each other in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey because Patricia had petitioned to become Ada’s guardian, believing her mother was incapable of managing her affairs. They would’ve become among the estimated 1.5 million active guardianship cases in America.

When Guardianship Goes Awry

Sadly, guardianship often goes awry. It did for Patricia and Ada.

Patricia says her mother’s last words to her, spoken in that courtroom: ‘My lawyers promised me that they would destroy your family.’

Patricia wanted to be appointed Ada’s guardian because she’d been growing increasingly anxious about signs of her mother’s decline, including apparent dementia and numerous auto accidents. In 2011, Ada failed a written test and lost her license. In February 2012, when Ada was taken to Chilton Medical Center due to dizziness and fainting, she threatened to kill herself and her family and was then committed to Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital for observation. She was returned to Chilton and later voluntarily readmitted to Ramapo Ridge. While there, a doctor diagnosed her as suffering from bipolar disorder and “senile dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.”

Patricia was especially worried about Ada’s depression and suicide threats. Once, Patricia found an ice pick in Ada’s room. Her mother also kept a rope under her bed and had threatened to hang herself. Her bouts of paranoia terrified Patricia. On top of that, Ada resisted medical care for serious cardiac and respiratory issues.

But Patricia recalls “frequent temper tantrums and constant mistrust” eroding their relationship. They were the reason Ada refused to relinquish control over her affairs to Patricia and deeply resented the guardianship proceeding.

Her Mother’s Last Words to Her

Patricia says her mother’s last words to her, spoken in that courtroom: “My lawyers promised me that they would destroy your family.”

In a decision handed down from the bench the next day, Patricia lost the case in every possible way. Judge Donald Coburn not only denied her guardianship petition, he slapped Patricia with a $675,000 judgment, payable to her mom, to unravel years of intermingled finances and jointly owned assets. An appeal of the judgment was dropped as part of a settlement. Patricia wound up owing about $310,000 in legal bills.

Ada died, alone and despondent several years later, on October 29, 2016, at 92, weighing only 70 pounds.

Since the trial they hadn’t been in touch; Patricia says her letters went unanswered, her phone messages weren’t delivered and her visitation attempts were rebuffed. She learned about her mom’s death in a call from the funeral home.

Cleaning out her mom’s room after her passing, Patricia didn’t find a single photo of Ada with her family, just pictures of her mother with the people who evidently had come to mean most to her at the end of her life: her lawyers and their families.

‘My Mother Was Stolen Away From My Family’

Patricia sums up what happened this way: “My mother was stolen away from my family.” Even Patricia’s husband, Bob, — though not a party to the case — lost his job after a mangled version of the legal warfare hit the web. “We hit rock bottom at that point,” he recalls.

The question isn’t whether the judge made a right or wrong decision, but what can the rest of us learn from this family’s nightmare, which could have happened anywhere.

What advance planning can prevent the kind of torment Patricia and Ada experienced? What do you do when a strong-willed parent insists on managing her own affairs even when signs of dementia begin to surface? How do you prevent disputes over money and health care from escalating into a family-severing nuclear war? If advance planning hasn’t been done and mistakes have been made, how do you prevent family relationships from disintegrating?

The agony inflicted on both sides of this family saga could have been thwarted by rudimentary advance planning, according to experts in elder law. Yet many people fail to prepare adequately for family care and estate issues and then are forced to endure the consequences.

A Landmark Guardianship Case for the Pain It Caused

Even five years after the legal battle ended, the Ada Vocino case is still considered something of a landmark among guardianship professionals —not for establishing any great legal precedents, but for the pain it caused.

Patricia and her parents on her wedding day
Credit: Courtesy of Gary Weiss

Patricia Femia and her parents on her wedding day

“You sit there and shake your head how things can go that bad that fast,” says Frederick Paugh, a field investigator with the New Jersey Long Term Care Ombudsman who examined some of the financial aspects of the case at the request of Ada’s assisted living facility. “But you know what? It happens.”
What ended as a descent into legal hell began in Italy as a love story.

When Ada Miniussi was 20 in 1944, she was staying in Rome with an aunt. She met a staff sergeant with Army Air Force, an Italian-American from New Jersey named Lawrence Vocino. They were wed in Italy in September 1945 and settled in Clifton, N.J. He worked for the Veterans Administration for 42 years. She started out as a seamstress, and then became a stay-at-home mom after Patricia was born. When Lawrence died in 1988, Ada was 64 and on her own for the first time since Italy.

Patricia was then 28 and lived about a half hour away. She filled in for her dad by handling her mom’s finances, paying her bills and helping her find doctors. To keep her mom active, Patricia set Ada up in a little seamstress business doing alterations from home, helping her with marketing and pricing. Patricia worked full-time and was starting a family, so her mom helped with child care, something she loved.

Then, things started to get messy.

Home, Not Sweet, Home

Their relationship was so close that in 1994, Ada decided to move near Patricia in Kinnelon. Patricia found a lot near the Femia residence and made sure a house was built to Ada’s specifications. Patricia financed the purchase of the land and construction of the home (which cost $207,300) with a home equity loan on the Femia house. The house was initially bought in the name of Patricia and her husband; it was subsequently deeded to Ada.

Shortly before completion of the home, Ada put up for sale her condo in Clifton. At that time, as one of Patricia’s lawyers said in a brief filed years later, “a verbal agreement existed between Patricia and [Ada] that upon completion of the [Kinnelon] property and sale of [Ada’s] condominium, [Ada] would reimburse Patricia and Robert for the purchase and construction.” The condo sold for $199,000. Ada’s new home was then transferred to Ada, who wrote checks to Patricia totaling $190,000.

Ada lived in the home until 2007 and then sold it. Patricia says her mom promised to use the proceeds to reimburse the Femias for the cost of constructing her apartment in the “mother/daughter” home the Femias built.

As Patricia puts it, “We had verbal familial agreements and commitments, which had been in place for decades because there was complete trust between us.”

The 5 Financial Mistakes This Family Made

That’s commonplace among families, but also a recipe for disaster if the arrangements become subjected to court scrutiny.

Mistake No. 1 for the familyan oral real estate agreement.

“One of the first things a law student learns in Property 101 is that oral contracts are void,” says Sally Hurme, an elder law attorney who has served on the board of the National Guardianship Association.
Whatever you do that involves real estate, experts say, put it in writing. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or legalistic, just a letter from mom to adult child, or vice versa, signed and dated by both.

Mistake No. 2 for the family: Parents and adult children should have their own legal advisers for financial transactions, but that didn’t happen here.

There’s a basic reason for this — fairness. Also, if the transactions come under legal scrutiny, legal representation of all parties will help everything pass the smell test.

Joseph K. Jones, whose firm Jones, Wolf & Kapas provides estate planning in New York and New Jersey, points out that legal advice to both parties, each with a lawyer, reduces any potential future concerns that the elderly parent was pressured into doing anything — what’s known as “undue influence.”

Mistake No. 3 for the familyjoint ownership of real estate between mother and daughter. When Ada’s house sold, the $470,000 proceeds were deposited into a bank account owned jointly by Ada and Patricia with right of survivorship. If one co-owner died, the other would get the money.

Lawyers take a dim view of joint accounts held by parents and their adult children. It’s a “really really dangerous maneuver,” says Jones.

For one reason, no matter how innocent the motive in establishing a joint account, it will be viewed with skepticism if the finances are called into question, as they were here. Ronald A. Fatoullah, a New York elder law attorney who is co-chairman of the Alzheimer’s Association Long Island Chapter, says such arrangements are common, but “in many of these cases there’s a little bit of undue influence.” (That wasn’t alleged in the Vocino case.)

Also, a joint account can be jeopardized by poor financial decisions of either party, and the money is vulnerable to potentially malicious actions of the other joint owner. If a parent or child grows alienated from the other, either can empty out the account.

Even if there is no undue influence, a judge may someday decide that in a case like the Femias, the account belongs to the parent. Jones, who was asked to review the judge’s ruling and other legal papers in the Femia case, says that in such situations, “what the law looks at, and what the judge did correctly, is he looked at who contributed the money.” Judge Coburn’s ruling was blunt. Addressing Patricia, he said: “The money is not yours. It’s hers.”

Mistake No. 4 for the family: no power of attorney or medical proxy.

In Spring, 2012, Patricia was looking for an assisted living facility for Ada and decided on Paragon Village in Hackettstown, N.J. While filling out the paperwork, it became apparent that Patricia had two problems: she had no power of attorney to allow her to act on her mom’s behalf, nor a medical proxy that would have given her the authority to make medical decisions for Ada. By then, it seemed too late to ask Ada to sign such legal papers since she had been diagnosed as suffering from dementia.

Patricia felt she had one alternative route to take care of her mother: guardianship proceedings. A petition for guardianship was filed on April 13, 2012, the day Ada was released from Ramapo Ridge and admitted into Paragon.

The guardianship proceedings turned into an ugly battle. Ada retained a local lawyer, Robert A. Scirocco, who was later joined by a court-appointed lawyer, Richard P. Diegnan Jr. (Neither Scirocco, Diegnan, Patricia’s appellate law firm nor her lawyer at the trial, Adrienne J. Burke, responded to requests for interviews for this article.)

Patricia’s attorney had the burden of proof to show that Ada lacked “capacity” to handle her own affairs. If a person is found to lack capacity, he or she is declared “incompetent.” The potential for hurt feelings is obvious.

Patricia testified about her mother’s declining mental state. Two psychiatrists were called by Patricia’s lawyer and testified that Ada did not have capacity and needed a guardian. But the judge was openly skeptical of the testimony of one of the doctors and subjected him to harsh questioning. He did believe the testimony of witnesses called by Ada’s lawyers, who said Ada didn’t need a guardian.

The testimony of a psychiatrist at Ramapo, called by Patricia’s lawyer, was also damaging to Patricia’s case. Although he had diagnosed Ada as suffering from dementia, he testified that he didn’t believe she needed a guardian to handle her affairs.

But perhaps the most persuasive witness for the judge was Ada herself.

In a pretrial deposition before the trial, Ada had been composed, articulate and clearly antagonistic to her daughter. The judge called Ada “a lovely woman, proud, and clear minded about what she likes and what she doesn’t like.” The judge accepted Ada’s explanation for her suicide threats: she didn’t mean to kill herself or harm others. He concluded that while she was “a little histrionic at times as she fought for control of her own life,” she was not a danger to herself or others.

Ada’s lawyer filed a counterclaim, contending that Patricia had engaged in “conversion” — improper use of funds that belonged to Ada. The judge agreed.

Although the judge had some kind words about Patricia, he noted, “Ada wants her independence. And we have a Constitution in this state and this country and it says, you know, unless there’s a reason, you’re free even to be foolish. And there is no reason here.”

Mistake No. 5 for the family: Patricia’s bringing the guardianship case. 

The videotaped deposition showed that Ada held considerable animus against Patricia, and that she’d do everything she could to undermine her daughter’s case. Seething with rage, her eyes narrowing with anger, she said: “My daughter wanted me to be declared insane and be my custodian so she can take care of me and do whatever she wants with me.” Ada went on to deny every aspect of her daughter’s case, from her own behavior to their intermingled finances.

Also, though there was a diagnosis of dementia, that didn’t make guardianship a slam dunk. “Just because somebody is in the early stages of that disease doesn’t mean that they don’t have capacity,” says Fatoullah.

Kezeli Wold, associate commissioner for Adult Protective Services at the Texas Department of Children and Family Services, says “one of the complexities of the whole concept of capacity or competency is that it’s on a scale. A person can experience early dementia and experience some memory loss and maybe some mild confusion during certain times of the day. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t able to comprehend the situation they’re in, the decisions that they’re making and the choices that they’re making.”

The weakness of one of Patricia’s experts, the doctor cross-examined by the judge, didn’t help her, either.

Guardianship: A Last Resort

The bottom line that a guardianship proceeding is a nuclear weapon, only to be used as a last resort. And it can blow up in the face of the person seeking it.

“Guardianship is not something to be entered into lightly by any stretch of the imagination,” says Stephanie Hunsinger, AARP’s New Jersey state director.

The end of the guardianship case didn’t end the family’s legal skirmishing. Patricia filed an appeal but later dropped it, instead settling with Ada in August 2013. Under the terms of the settlement, Patricia funded an escrow account for $525,000, from which Ada was to withdraw $10,000 a month. At the time of her death, the remaining money was to go to Patricia’s three children.

But the cost of the case can be measured in more than just dollars. The family was, in essence, shattered.

In April 2013, after the trial, a small-town newspaper ran an article with the fallacious headline, “Kinnelon Couple Faked Alzheimer’s and Stole $980k From Elderly Mother .” In reality, there was no finding of theft and the judge didn’t say Patricia made a false claim of Alzheimer’s. The article also mistakenly said the trial “involved” Patricia’s husband Robert, and gratuitously mentioned his employer.

The article, distributed statewide on NJ.com, was later retracted and taken off the web, but by then, the damage had been done. Bob Femia was fired by his employer, Glatt Air Techniques, the local affiliate of a multinational company. His former employer’s attorney wrote that Bob was fired “based upon the potential damage to [the company’s] reputation” as a result of the publicity generated by the litigation. Says Femia: “You really have no idea how far south things can go with these types of situations.”

Although the false article came out of left field, the family animosity was predictable and is hard to prevent in such situations.

Family Relationships Destroyed

“Guardianship can go very well, in certain circumstances. But I have seen family relationships destroyed as a result of guardianship proceedings,” says E. Elizabeth Loewy, formerly chief of the Elder Abuse Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and co-founder of the EverSafe financial monitoring service.

That’s precisely what happened with Patricia Femia and her mom.

Ada’s relationship with her daughter pretty much evaporated after the guardianship case commenced, and Ada’s lawyers then became a kind of substitute family, angering the Femias.

Ada’s last months were spent depressed, seriously ill from multiple ailments and alone. Her “support network,” Diegnan reported at the time, consisted of her lawyers and their staffs and families. Patricia says she tried to visit her mother at Paragon a few times after the trial, and was told “that she was getting a test done or participating in an activity or they rang her phone in her room and no one answered or they would say that she did not want to see any of us (grandkids included).”

An Attempt to Appoint a Temporary Guardian

In July 2016, three months before Ada died from congestive heart failure, Diegnan applied to the court for appointment of a temporary guardian. Two psychiatrists found her to have dementia, one describing it as advanced and accompanied by “progressive neuro cognitive decline.” Another lawyer appointed by the court interviewed Ada and found her to be alert and following the news. But she couldn’t remember the name of one of her grandchildren.

Ada was asked by her new lawyer if she wanted to take care of her own finances. Possibly, she said. But “she really didn’t want to have to do it, because she didn’t care. . . . she really didn’t care what happened to her.”

Moral of the Story

The moral of this story? “It’s hard to repair relationships when things have gone so far as to go to court,” says Camille Payne, director of field operations of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

She suggests that adult children in such situations maintain communications as best as possible; explain that the legal proceedings were brought with the best of intentions and try to get friends or relatives to play peacemaker.

If the adult child feels that the guardianship proceeding was a mistake, an admission of error may help. But, Payne says, “if the elderly parent has mental illness, there may be nothing that you can do to repair whatever their mind thinks you have done to them.”

There were no winners in the “Matter of Ada Vocino, an Alleged Incapacitated Person,” as it is officially called in New Jersey court records. Ada may have come out on top, but what she lost — her family — could not be replaced by her lawyers or the money they were able to get for her.

Full Article & Source:
One Family’s Journey Through Guardianship Hell

From DF: The elderly and disabled are trapped in a system without any rights–just like the worst of slavery

by WorldTribune Staff, September 2, 2018

At least 1.5 million adults in the United States are under the care of guardians and, critics say, are trapped in a flawed system which controls everything from a person’s finances to visits with family members.

In North Carolina, Ginny Johnson described how, just three months after her 95-year-old father was placed in guardianship, she was locked out of the Raleigh home she had lived in for 53 years and her father was taken away.

“My father was a 95-year-old healthy man when this happened,” Johnson said. “The day before dad was abducted he was on the golf course hitting golf balls with me. He had just lifted weights for 30 minutes and biked for 30 minutes.”

Johnson said her father’s dying wish was that she help prevent other abuses like the ones done to him.

“My father’s service in WWII was also heroic and yet he was kidnapped, robbed and murdered by our courts and legal system,” she charges.

As “wards of the state,” many of America’s most vulnerable are “stripped of their individual rights, find themselves separated from friends, family members and lifelong support networks as a result of enforced isolation imposed allegedly for their ‘protection,” according to Sam Sugar, author of the best-seller “Guardianships & The Elderly: The Perfect Crime.”

The American Bar Association, in a study published earlier this year, said that “guardianship is generally permanent, leaving no way out – ‘until death do us part.’ ”

In many states, all that is required to become a guardian, for those who have not been convicted of a felony or recently declared bankruptcy, is taking a course.

“My father was in great shape until he was warehoused by the court appointed guardian in a care center that starved him, restricted him from seeing me and didn’t shower him regularly,” Johnson said, according to a June article by Juliette Fairley for Medium.com.

Johnson said she had been named her father’s power of attorney and health care proxy but a sibling filed for guardianship in Wake County’s Special Proceedings Estate Division Probate Court and a professional guardian was appointed instead.

A year after being placed in guardianship, Johnson’s father passed away. She has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, according to Fairley’s report.

“We are the state’s designated tribunal/court for tort claims against the State of North Carolina and, as such, we simply cannot comment on any potential, pending or adjudicated claim before us,” said J. Brian Ratledge, general counsel with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Sugar, who is founder and president of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG), said that “The court and the court appointed guardian cannot strip the person of all their assets unless they first declare the individual incapacitated at which point the guardian owns them the way a master owns a slave.”

The exploitation of Americans placed in guardianship was highlighted in April during a meeting of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Committee chair Susan Collins, Maine Republican, recounted a New Yorker article published in 2017 which detailed how a woman obtained guardianship over an older couple, unbeknownst to their daughter, after she “allegedly showed up at the house … and informed them that she had an order from the local court to ‘remove’ them from their home, and that she would be taking them to an assisted living facility.”

The guardian, April Parks, “allegedly sold their belongings and transferred their savings into an account in her own name,” Collins said. Parks, who was the guardian of more than 400 people over 12 years, later was indicted on more than 200 felony charges.

Sen. Bob Casey, Pennsylvania Democrat, said during the April hearing that “We don’t even have basic data on guardianship itself. We don’t know how many people are subject to guardianship, who their guardians are, if a guardian has been thoroughly vetted and how many people are possibly being abused or neglected by their guardians. We should be able to agree that finding answers to these questions is the least we can do to protect our loved ones.”

In Texas, the state legislature last year passed a bill ordering the creation of a statewide system which will require all guardians to register, complete an online training course and undergo a criminal background check. The 50,748 active guardianship cases in the Lone Star State are valued at as much as $5 billion, according to David Slayton, executive director of the Texas Judicial Council.

Florida, which has the nation’s highest number of residents age 65 and over, recently cracked down on guardianship abuse with a new law establishing a statewide database of professional guardians.

Previously, professional guardians who were alleged to be abusing their power could move to a different county which did not require enhanced audits.

The Clerk & Comptroller of Palm Beach County reported in 2016 that there were at least 50,000 people under court-controlled guardianships in Florida and nearly $4 billion in guardianship assets at risk for exploitation.

“There are sometimes some bad apples,” said Sam Verghese of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, according to a report by WPLG. “What we’ve sought to do with the legislature has been to fix some of those gaps that’ve been there, so that if there is someone who’s being taken advantage of from abuse, neglect, exploitation, financial fraud, there’s a way to actually go after the bad apples so more people aren’t hurt.”

Family members of those placed in guardianship are often required “to pay excessive, even outrageous hourly fees to untrained observers (for instance, law enforcement personnel, social workers and non-medical aides) to make occasional visits with their loved ones for very limited periods of time. In extreme cases, telephone contact with the ward is monitored or even prohibited,” Sugar said.

In her report for Medium.com, Fairley cited attorney Taso Pardalis, a partner with Pardalis & Nohavicka Lawyers in New York, who said “Approximately 5 to 10 percent of adult guardianships in this country are reported to have a fraudulent aspect – yet the percentage is most certainly much higher.”

Private guardians are legally allowed to charge a “ ‘reasonable’ fee but the State has not defined the term,” Pardalis said. “Some private guardians charge rates as high as $600 an hour for tasks as menial and mundane as writing emails. Fees are billed to the ward’s estate and without sufficient supervision by the State of the guardian’s operations, there is a high potential for financial abuse.”

Orders of restricted visitation can also be very expensive, Paradlis said.

Fairley’s report cited the example of Mary Bush of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Bush is required to pay $50 to visit her 87-year-old mother at a local nursing home and an APS worker and a sheriff must also be present.

“The court has unjustly labeled me a criminal and violated my due process rights,” Bush said. “My mom had a million dollar estate that has been liquidated by court appointed guardians.”

Philadelphia Attorney Alan Denenberg filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Mary Bush in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against two police officers whom he alleges conspired to violate Ms. Bush’s 4th Amendment Rights under the U.S. Constitution by using excessive force in the parking lot of Park Lane nursing home where Ms. Bush’s mother resides under guardianship. Bush v. East Goshen Township et al, against Sergeant James Renegar and Ted Lewis of West Chester, outlines four counts including assault and battery under state law, Fairley reported.

“Sgt. Renegar lunged at the Plaintiff Mary Bush, grabbing her cell phone and throwing it to the ground,” stated Counselor Denenberg in an Aug. 29, 2018 amended complaint. “Sgt. Renegar then body slammed the Plaintiff onto the pavement causing her head to strike the hard surface. Although she was not resisting arrest, Sgt. Reneger got on top of the plaintiff, twisted her left arm way up her back and threatened to shoot or taser the Plaintiff.”

Bush was simply attempting to visit her aging mother Genevieve.

Paradlis said that “Even though a guardianship should be used to honor the best interest of the ward, it’s become clear that the system has become a business.”

Sugar noted that “These all too common practices to ‘protect the ward’s best interests’ discourage family connections, taint every visit, add further stress to already tense situations and result in predictably adverse consequences for all involved.  To combat these cruel assaults, legislative campaigns have been launched by several national advocacy organizations aimed at rewriting state laws to prevent the separation of wards and families.”

Sugar added that “Forced isolation, in addition to being an excessively cruel and harsh punishment for an innocent frail person, is a serious health risk, resulting in decreased longevity, increased need for medications, greater demands on staff and escalating costs. Worse yet, it can lead to vociferous confrontations, major medical crises or worse-case scenarios.”


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From FB: Lawyer sues state after abusive guardianship of mother

The Lawyer Who Sued the State of Michigan

Linda Arters experienced restricted visits with her legally blind and cognitively impaired mother Rosalyn B. Arters, who was allegedly surreptitiously relocated from Florida and eventually guardianized in Boulder County, Colorado.

“I attribute her death to the fact that she was continually denied proper medical care by the guardian,” Arters said.

Rosalyn Arters was among the 1.3 million adults that the National Center for State Courts has ventured to guess are under the thumb of a family or professional guardian who control some $50 billion of the adult’s assets.

The wrenching experience of being separated from her mother by the court appointed guardian lead Arters to become an advocate for other victims. “I wasn’t allowed to care for my own mother even though she wanted me to,” Arters said.

Once under a court appointed guardianship, older adults like Arters’ mother can be denied the right to decide where to live, to vote, to choose medical care and marital status, to handle finances, to hire a lawyer, and even to have family and friends visit them.

In response to the current state of elder guardianship affairs, Arters organized a complimentary 8 hour conference called Knowledge is Poweron June 10 during World Elder Abuse Awareness week, hosted at the Bank Policy Institute in D.C. where the friends and family members of victims of elder abuse, probate guardianship abuse and financial exploitation shared relevant information, data, facts, guidance, resources and support.

“What started three or four decades ago as a small local cottage industry mining the wealth of a few elderly seniors has become exquisitely institutionalized, organized and sophisticated,” said Dr. Sam Sugar, author and founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship, a non profit organization in Florida. “Probate court insiders have perfected what some have called the perfect crime of the 21st century. The process is so stealthy and quick that one can become a ward of any state in a matter of days with no warning and no way out.”

Attorney Bradley Geller says he became increasingly aware that the purpose of the system in Michigan had been corrupted after 30 years of involvement with guardianship issues. “Judges were ignoring the law with impunity and judges were blocking all legislative and administrative efforts at reform,” he said.

As a result, in October 2017, Counselor Geller filed a federal lawsuit naming the Michigan Supreme Court, the Michigan Attorney General, each of the state’s probate courts and all 300 professional guardians as defendants. The suit includes claims of Medicaid fraud, violation of due process and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Although the case has yet to be resolved and one issue is set for a hearing on July 31, Geller told Newsmax that his lawsuit helped prompt the creation of an Elder Abuse Task Force by the Michigan Supreme Court Justices and the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The task force is reportedly looking at recommending several changes to the guardianship system as described on the website and as detailed in Attorney Bradley Geller’s 2017 federal lawsuit against the state of Michigan.

“Justices Cavanagh and Bernstein are serving on the task force and are traveling across Michigan to attend listening sessions, hearing from the public regarding their specific concerns,” said Michigan Supreme Court Communications Officer John Nevin.

Geller said that he filed the federal complaint after becoming increasingly aware that the purpose of the system had been corrupted during his 30 years of involvement with guardianship issues.

At least one issue is set for a July 31 hearing. Allegations in his complaint include the following:

Since 1837, Michigan law has mandated that court appointed guardians annually account to the court. However, most probate judges reportedly don’t require it.

“This is how guardianship in Michigan got to be known as a ‘license to steal,’” Geller said. “If you never have to report to the court income or expenses, the guardian is free to do as he or she pleases.”

Guardians often sell the ward’s home immediately after being appointed by the court. “That’s where the big money is, to a guardian, is in selling the house for far less than fair market value even though the law states that the home must be sold for fair market value and the sale is in the best interest of the Ward,” Geller said.

Judges refuse to ever issue a limited guardianship. “Our statute has a bias toward limited guardianship rather than full guardianship but judges think it’s too much trouble for them either now or in the future, even though a limited guardianship may be best suited to the Ward’s needs,” said Geller.

Professional guardians, sometimes responsible for 300 or more individuals, are completely unregulated and favor institutionalization even when it is not necessary.

Geller alleges that the industry now clearly operates for the financial benefit of the few rather than the independence and welfare of the many. “It is judges who enable the system,” he said.

Geller’s game plan to stop elder abuse under guardianship nationwide includes the following:

State Supreme Courts must issue administrative orders

The Michigan Supreme Court maintains superintending control over the lower courts and could, in one sentence, issue an administrative order requiring probate judges to comply with the law. “It has never happened,” said Geller. “It may happen but it hasn’t happened yet.”

That’s because the Michigan Supreme Court has always been afraid of the trial judges, according to Geller.

“I’m not sure why that is but the Supreme Court has stuck its head in the sand or it’s the three monkeys of hear no evil; see no evil; do no evil,” he said.

Society must value its aging and vulnerable.

Geller believes American society doesn’t really respect children or older adults. “We value people to the extent that we perceive them as contributing to society, which we measure by employment,” he said.

Lawyers in other states must file lawsuits

“Nothing else has worked,” said Geller who drafted the Guardianship Reform Act as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee and has worked as counsel to a probate court.

“We’ve tried legislative change. It didn’t work. We tried to lobby the Supreme Court with arguments and information. It hasn’t worked. Litigation is the last, best hope.”

Qui Tam lawsuits, like the one that Geller filed, are brought under the False Claims Act, a law that rewards whistle blowers in successful cases where the government recovers funds lost to fraud. Geller’s lawsuit against the state of Michigan includes claims of Medicaid fraud, violation of due process and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Michigan’s recently named Elder Abuse Task Force may usher in an era of change.

“We have three relatively new justices and a new chief justice was named in January,” Geller said. “They’re going to crack this open.”

The Elder Abuse Task Force has been filled with representatives from about 70 organizations but there is only one probate judge. “The reason is because the probate judges have blocked any type of reform,” said Geller. “It’s in their self interest to keep the system just as it is because they have been able to do whatever they damned pleased until now.”

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From FB: Famous TN Lawyer Activist Connie Regula arrested for “interfering with custody of child”

Now lawyers can’t even meet with their clients to draft up motions to get contempt and other charges purged. This is insane.

Ms. Regula has been fighting with DCFS to reunite parents with children for years.  The relationship is contentious, but this goes beyond the pale.

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/brentwood-attorney-indicted-for-facilitating-custodial-interference?fbclid=IwAR1abA07VVNp1RXNKxTunbr2fP-fKVwF9cR6n5ZKUkUE4rhTvnzlXNx79fU

RENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — You typically don’t see an attorney and her client getting arrested, but that’s just what happened in Brentwood on Wednesday morning.

A few of attorney Connie Reguli’s supporters stood outside the Brentwood Police Department as she and her client, Wendy Hancock, turned themselves in. They held signs demanding the Department of Children’s Services be abolished.

Reguli was charged with Facilitation of Custodial Interference and Accessory after the Fact.

She and Hancock were indicted for an incident that stemmed last August. Back then, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an endangered child alert for a 12-year-old girl taken by Hancock, who her non-custodial parent.

The two were eventually found at Reguli’s home in Brentwood the next day.

Authorities say Hancock was wanted on domestic assault and contributing to the delinquency of a child charges before taking her daughter last year.

“I’ve represented them before and I’ve brought them into Brentwood and I said, ‘Just wait here let me start making some phone calls,'” Reguli told NewsChannel 5 after being released from jail.

Reguli denies breaking state laws. She claims they were in her house while trying to get her client a court hearing for an order that unfairly took the kids away.

“She didn’t run and call DCS and turn her kids over right away and we wanted to get a court date so we can have a hearing on it,” she said.

The indictments come after a judge questioned Reguli’s motive in Hancock’s case in April. In the excerpt it said, “Ms. Hancock, I think you should consider very carefully whether your counsel is looking to your interest and the interests of your children about reunification or simply launching another attack upon the judiciary and they system.”

Reguli also has a history with the Board of Professional Responsibility over complaints of misconduct.

In one ongoing case, she’s accused of secretly recording a meeting with DCS.

Reguli insists that she’s just fighting to keep families together. Hancock eventually got custody of her girl this year because the case was dropped, according to Reguli.

She strongly believes that she is being targeted for fighting for her clients against DCS.

“They basically were making it personal against me. I’ve defended parents all over the state,” Reguli added.

Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jennifer Nichols released the following statement to NewsChannel 5:

“The number one priority of the Department of Children’s Services is the safety of the children in our custody. DCS is not a law enforcement agency or a prosecutorial agency and does not present criminal cases to the Grand Jury. However, we are always grateful for the work of the Brentwood Police Department and the Williamson County District Attorney’s Office to investigate allegations of crimes involving the safety of children and look forward to justice being served.”

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!

 

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.

From Lanre Amu: He did nothing wrong but expose corruption and the ARDC is holding up relicensing him

When Lanre Amu was a lawyer, he fought tirelessly for the rights of many people, often without pay.  He served the poor, the person of color and the immigrant.

He was well educated and held three degrees, on in engineering, an MBA and a JD.  He is a devout Christian and follows the principles of Jesus.

However, when he exposed corruption of certain high powered judges in Cook County, the power that be, Jerome Larkin and James Grogin of the ARDC (Atty Regn and Disciplinary Commission) put him through a kangaroo trial with absolutely no witnesses and against him and awarded him a 4 year suspension for revealing publicly the fact that Judge Lynn Egan was having her brother’s law firm appear in front of her and was granting all their motions (no matter how stupid), and denying all of Amu’s motions.

He complained, and the ARDC went after him like gang busters to remove his license.

they succeeded with their crony minions and Mr. Amu was awarded a 4 year suspension for speaking out against corruption.

His suspension was up about 1.5 years ago and this is what he has to say:

On Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 6:36 PM ‘Lanre O. Amu <loamu@aol.com> wrote:
I am proud of you Ken, and even at 93+++ they should give you back your Illinois law license, apologize, clear your name, and pay damages for the harm caused! That is my view of these things. Its only fair.

I am personally very hopeful. But will never give up.

It should be comforting for us to know that these lawyers: the late Nelson Mandela suffered the same fate in South Africa with his law license, and that the late Mahatma Ghandi also suffered the same fate in South Africa with his law license. Mahatma Ghandi championed freedom from British Colonialism in India and the winds of that change liberated Africa. Nelson Mandela championed the end of Apartheid in South Africa. To be in the league of these legal giants of Civil and Human Rights is a tall order!

If I have to lie to get the Illinois law license back, then that law license not worth it for me. I must get it back with a straight face, an apology, and compensation! That is what should be done.
They lied, not me! My law license was suspended without any human being testifying under Oath or presenting any evidence under Oath to any wrongdoing by me! I was the only witness at my IARDC kangaroo trial and I denied making any false statement. I affirmed the truth of my statements with supporting evidence and without contradiction. So, how was I found guilty of making a false statement?
After Illinois Supreme Court’s Suspension came all of a sudden Chicago Crain’s Investigation confirming what I unearthed and exonerating me of false accusation by the IARDC, but they (IARDC and Illinois Supreme Court) still did not reverse their perversion of justice! We contacted the FBI, Department of Justice, etc., etc., no response.

On all these: I am supposed to apologize, affirm I have been rehabilitated from lying, and will not lie or tell the TRUTH like that again. It will never happen as long as I am living on earth!

Three things are not long hidden: The Sun, the Moon and the TRUTH!

It may take some time. But no surrender for me. The TRUTH will ultimately come out!

My regards to everyone.
Thanks a million!

‘Lanre O. Amu

Formerly Licesed Attorney Illinois
So, if anyone is wondering why there are so many lying corrupt attorneys in Illinois (including our politicians who have gone to prison, many of these were in fact crooked attorneys) take a look at my case, Ken Ditkowsky’s case and the case of Lanre Amu.  If you speak out against corruption in Illinois, the ARDC will go right after you in an attempt to silence you and Jerome Larkin will sign all the pleadings.
And Illinois is still ranked as the most corrupt State in the Nation, and one of the most corrupt cities now.
The ARDC clearly is part of the system of corruption in Chicago and Illinois because Ken Ditkowsky and Lanre Amu did nothing wrong, but they spoke out against corruption.  Lanre Amu was cleared by Crain’s Chicago Business.  Complaints were filed against Judge Egan, but the Illinois JIB did nothing.  Lynn Egan sat on the Board of Directors for a Hospital and was hearing their cases. When the hospital found out, Lynn Egan had to resign and apologize to the Board. But the Illinois JIB (Judicial Inquiry Board) did nothing.
It’s time to clean up the JIB and the ARDC in Illinois

From our corrupt legal friends in the UK: Top UK court finds Judge bullied mother into accepting care orders

Top Court Finds Judge Bullied Mother Into Accepting Care Orders For Her Children

Top Court Finds Judge Bullied Mother Into Accepting Care Orders For Her Children

A judge bullied a mother into agreeing to care orders for her two children, the Court of Appeal has found. The orders made by Her Honour Judge Carr QC in Sheffield were set aside by the Court of Appeal and replaced with short-term interim care orders.

The Court of Appeal raised a number of serious concerns in its judgment. The now common practice of judges making up their minds about a case before the parties put their arguments forward during hearings was noted, a phenomenon that will be familiar to lay advisors and families who have been forced to represent themselves in their own family cases.

Lord Justice Peter Jackson sitting at the Court of Appeal said that there had been “a serious procedural irregularity.”

The judgment says:  “consent or non-opposition to the interim care order was not freely given, but was secured by oppressive behaviour on the part of the judge in the form of inappropriate warnings and inducements”. These included:

  • The judge repeatedly isolating the mother and threatening her
  • The judge making fun of her counsel

The Court of Appeal also noted that family law and social work professionals in the case appeared to know very little about the case’s details and that the local authority had mishandled the case and its approach to the appeal.

Legal Futures offers the background to the case and quotes from the judgment, which contain some of the judge’s comments:

Before the mother’s barrister was able to brief the judge on his instructions to contest the care order, HHJ Carr told him that “if it is heard today I shall certainly make findings that your client will be stuck with”.

Her Honour HHJ Carr used the following language, which amounted to bullying and coercive threats, before hearing the case: ‘very risky for her’; ‘a very very precarious position’; ‘inevitably, I’m going to make findings… that that is significant harm. I don’t think there’s any question about it’; ‘not… without some consequences’… “oh, nonsense” and “preposterous proposition you’re putting to me, it’ll fall on deaf ears.”

HHJ Carr also threatened the mother by telling her that she would probably send any findings to the police and make sure that they go to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Jackson LJ said: The only conclusion that the mother and her advisers could draw from this and similar statements… is that the judge had made up her mind and was sure to make adverse findings that would be damaging to her in the long run.”

This kind of behaviour is commonplace in the family courts. We would like to invite all those lay advisors and parents who have experienced this kind of bullying and pre-emptive decision making to leave their comments below this piece as the site is read by judges and politicians. Thank you.

ukcourtofjustice800_thumb800

From EF: a Complaint against Jerome Larkin head of the ARDC

https://unlawful1.blogspot.com/2017/06/how-can-illinois-ever-pass-budget-when.html?showComment=1561010830041#c1540967382873973267

Thursday, June 8, 2017

HOW CAN ILLINOIS EVER PASS A BUDGET WHEN IT APPEARS CRONYISM, RACISM AND CORRUPTION IS RUNNING THE STATE?

MOST IMPORTANTLY WITH JUDGES TRESPASSING UPON THE LAWS AND COMMITTING TREASON IT APPEARS THE ON PERSONS EMPLOYED ARE THOSE WHO ARE CRIMINALLY MINDED TO MAINTAIN THEIR POSITIONS UNLAWFULLY.

Please find below a complaint I filed against Administrator Jerome Larkin who covers (read: enables)  massive  fraud upon IL court systems committed by certain corrupt and dishonest lawyers whom Larkin helps to maintain  their legal licenses while harass and oppress ethical lawyers who fulfill their duties and report corruption.
Complaint was filed with Cook County Board of Ethics, IL Supreme Court, Senate, and IL Attorney General and mailed to Chicago and Washington FBI offices.
I will provide updates how my  Complaint was handled by authorities.
Best regards,
Elena Fedorova
——————————————————————————————————-
June 8, 2017
Re: Request to investigate ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin for corruptionand other misconduct.
Dear Honorable Committee on Ethics, IL Supreme Court and other Authorities:
Please find this Notice pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §4 and my demand to investigate for corruption and remove from the office ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin, for his willful misconduct in the office and conspiracy with certain lawyers who relentlessly commit fraud in our Courts; file forged documents accompanied by false statements; operate collection mills commonly known as “racket” and other malpractices. All of those violations are known by ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin who always covered for banks and HOAs lawyers’ fraudulent conduct, while readily attack and disbar ethical lawyers who expose corruption in our Court system.
Moreover, I respectfully demand to investigate Mr. Larkin for potential banks’ fraud and bribery scheme. According to research conducted by lawyer Kenneth Ditkowski, “Jerome Larkin, the Administrator of the ARDC has funneled several million dollars through his property in the last ten years. For example, Larkin took out a loan for $450,000 in December of 2001 and paid it back in exactly five years. In the meantime, he had taken out another $450,000 loan—in October of 2006, which he paid back in just a tad over four years, in January of 2011. In the meantime, he had taken out yet another mortgage—this one for $101,000—in November of 2009, which he was miraculously able to repay in just about a year. But his unusual loan behavior doesn’t stop here. In January of 2011, Larkin took out a whopping $750,000 mortgage on the same piece of property. Larkin must have a direct line to lottery bucks, because he was able to repay this loan by January of 2013. In the meantime . . . are you getting the picture yet? . . . he took out another $750,000 loan in December of 2012. Neither Jerome Larkin nor his wife, psychologist Antoinette Krakowski responded to telephone inquiries concerning the amount of money being funneled through their home.”
I further demand to investigate Mr. Larkin’s relationship with IL Democratic Party Speaker Michael Madigan, where Mrs. Julia Larkin, who I believe is Mr. Jerome Larkin’s daughter, worked from 2007 to January 2017 and was compensated $53,000.00 per year from taxpayers’ funds. Based on my observation of public records, and Mrs. Julia Larkin’s own words, she was not only a trusted political aid to Mr. Madigan whom she helped to support his preferred candidates elections, but also worked to advance Mr. Madigan’s personal legal practice where Mr. Madigan helps his wealthy friends and clients to lower their property taxes and pass the bill on IL taxpayers whose property taxes skyrocketed.
According to Mrs. Julia Larkin’s resume, her job as a Head of Opposition Research included “Reviewing wide range of complex documentation including but not limited to property tax documentation” which has very little to do with elections but directly related to Speaker Madigan’s personal legal practice, where I believe he used Mrs. Larkin’s services to advance his own profits, while Mrs. Larkin’s work was compensated from taxpayers funds.
I believe that Administrator Larkin, who must be aware of banks, HOAs and their lawyers collection mills and massive fraud in IL Court system under guise of certain corrupt judges, many of whom owe their positions of public Trust to Mr. Madigan , intentionally covered for lawyers and judges misconduct; and concentrated on prosecuting those lawyers who expose judicial corruption. 
 
I submitted numerous complaints against certain lawyers, accompanied by facts and material evidence of fraud, perjury, obstruction of justice and other malpractices. All my complaints were closed by Jerome Larkin who always refused to investigate merits of my complaints. I demand investigation intoMr. Jerome Larkin’s professional misconduct as well as his suspicious manipulations with his property loans. 
 
Mr. Larkin must be removed from his position as ARDC Administrator and this position must be transferred to an ethical person who will protect IL public from dishonest lawyers’ malpractices, not to cover for their misconduct. 
Respectfully submitted.
Elena Fedorova

from Google: Apparently threatening to kill someone and a DUI and weapons charges yields a 2 year suspension, but blogging about corruption gets you 3 to 4 years

Who knew?

And from the Law Professors Blogs Network (I wonder if they know spreading the truth about the legal profession on a blog gets you a 4 year suspension in Illinois?)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Interim Suspension For Attorney Who Threatened Bar Prosecutors

The Northwest Herald has a recent story on a lawyer with charges in Illinois that we previously had discussed 

A Crystal Lake lawyer facing drunken driving and weapons charges had his law license suspended.

The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ruled that Donald F. Franz, 50, is suspended for two years and until further order of the court, according to a news release.

Franz was arrested Jan. 19 after police responded about 10:20 p.m. to North Williams Street in Crystal Lake after a report of a possible intoxicated motorist. Crystal Lake police later obtained a warrant to search Franz’s vehicle and residence. Inside, they found 36 high-powered rifles, assault-style rifles and shotguns; 20 assorted handguns; and thousands of rounds of ammunition, authorities have said. Franz is believed to be a hunter.

He already was under investigation by the ARDC after threatening an ARDC employee.

The commission first filed a complaint against Franz in 2014, alleging that he pressured a client to sign a promissory note requiring the client to pay a $10,000 fee for legal representation in a divorce without informing the client of his options.

(Mike Frisch)

An additional count was added to the complaint last year, alleging that Franz challenged a client to a duel and insulted him during a dispute over fees.

In October, a third count was added to the pending complaint, accusing Franz of sending threatening emails and voicemails to a former client, commission counsel Scott Renfroe and ARDC administrator Jerome Larkin.

Franz allegedly threatened to kill Larkin over the ARDC’s efforts to sanction him as recently as September 2016, according to the complaint.

“Jerry Larkin, my name is Don Franz. I’m the attorney you are trying to murder because of the installment note, so the day you suspend me, I’m going to stop taking my pills, I’m going to get my affairs in order, I am going to kill you. Have a nice day,” Franz allegedly said in a voicemail message to Larkin on Sept. 14, 2016.

The ARDC, an agency of the Illinois Supreme Court, investigates alleged wrongdoing by Illinois attorneys, holds hearings on specific charges and recommends discipline when warranted.

The state Supreme Court announced disciplinary orders Friday during the September term of court. Sanctions are imposed when lawyers become engaged in professional misconduct by violating the state’s ethics law, according to the release.

Franz was licensed in 1993 and removed from the master roll March 10 after failing to register, according to the release.

Franz has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges against him, and he has tried to arguethat evidence collected during his arrest cannot be used against him in court. The most serious charge, a Class 2 felony, is punishable by up to seven years in prison if convicted.

He is due in court at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 30.

hat tip to redditbadlawyer. (Mike Frisch)

From FB: true horror story of 4 mo baby separated from mom and dad at border

warning, this is a tear jerker, and no, the family is back in Romania struggling to stay alive.

someone needs to start a Go Fund Me for them.

The US officials treated them like dirt.

The Foster Parents quit after this happened.

Fire the judge and everyone involved.  We need to clean up the mess at the border. This should never have happened.

ALAMAZOO, Mich. — The text messages were coming in all day and night with only two data points: Gender and age. With each one that arrived, the on-call caseworker at Bethany Christian Services in Michigan had 15 minutes to find a foster home for another child who was en route from the border. On a brisk winter day in February 2018, Alma Acevedo got a message that caught her breath: “4 months. Boy.”

Since the summer of 2017, the 24-year-old social worker had been seeing a mysterious wave of children arriving from the border, most of them from Central America. Those who were old enough to talk said they had been separated from their parents. “The kids were just inconsolable, they’d be like, ‘Where’s my mommy? Where’s my daddy?’” Ms. Acevedo said. “And it was just constant crying after that.”

None of them had been this young, and few had come this far. When he arrived at her office after midnight, transported by two contract workers, the infant was striking, with long, curled eyelashes framing his deep brown eyes. His legs and arms were chubby, seeming to indicate that he had been cared for by someone. So why was he in Michigan?

Ms. Acevedo went to her computer and pulled up the only document that might help answer that question, a birth certificate from Romania naming the baby, Constantin Mutu, and his parents, Vasile and Florentina. She searched a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency database that showed the baby’s father was in federal custody in Pearsall, Tex.

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Constantin was ultimately the youngest of thousands of children taken from their parents under a policy that was meant to deter families hoping to immigrate to the United States. It began nearly a year before the administration would acknowledge it publicly in May 2018, and the total number of those affected is still unknown. The government still has not told the Mutus why their son was taken from them, and officials from the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment for this story.

An Exclusive from “The Weekly,” a New TV Series from The Times, on FX and Hulu
Watch Caitlin Dickerson’s episode on Baby Constantin.
The Youngest Known Child Separated From His Family at the U.S. Border Under Trump

In Constantin’s case, it would be months before his parents saw him again. Before then, his father would be sent for psychiatric evaluation in a Texas immigration detention center because he couldn’t stop crying; his mother would be hospitalized with hypertension from stress. Constantin would become attached to a middle-class American family, having spent the majority of his life in their tri-level house on a tree-lined street in rural Michigan, and then be sent home.

Now more than a year and a half old, the baby still can’t walk on his own, and has not spoken.

***

Though the vast majority of families streaming across the border from Mexico in recent months have come from Central America, running from poverty, drought and violence, the Mutus came from much further away — Romania, where a small but steady number of asylum seekers fleeing ethnic persecution have for years made their way to the United States.

As children growing up in their small hillside village, Vasile and Florentina Mutu helped their parents beg for money for food. They are members of the Roma minority group, which originated in India. In Romania, the Roma were enslaved for more than 500 years. Violent attacks against them persist throughout Europe. Exclusion from schools, jobs and social services is commonplace, and human rights groups have documented the practice of forced sterilizations.

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A decade or so ago, as the Mutus recall, the first Roma family from their village announced that they were leaving for the United States. Word made its way back that the family had found great success — their children learned to speak perfect English, and they had become rich, though it wasn’t clear how. Over the years, more than a dozen other families followed, including Florentina’s older brother, who left a few years ago with his wife and three children. He had posted pictures on Facebook of palm trees, luxury car dealerships and American cash.

By the time their fifth child was born, the Mutus had settled into a system where they raised money elsewhere in Europe, begging and doing menial work, then came back for a few weeks at a time to Romania, where the money stretched further. They had occasional run-ins with police. Once, Mr. Mutu said, he was arrested for stealing cable from a construction site.

Vasile and Florentina Mutu with their children in Olteni, Romania, the village where they grew up.
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Vasile and Florentina Mutu with their children in Olteni, Romania, the village where they grew up.
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Extended family lives nearby and often gathers for meals.
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The family makes finely honed brooms and axes out of wood, a trade passed down through generations of their ancestors.
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Though most of their children had been born at home, Constantin had to be delivered by C-section. Vasile sold two pigs and a cow to pay a doctor to do the procedure. In a haze of pain while she was in labor, Florentina signed documents that she couldn’t read. When she returned to the hospital for an appointment to check on her recovery, a hospital employee told her that the doctor had also performed a tubal ligation. She and her husband had planned to have more children, as is traditional in their culture. They were devastated.

Soon after, in between middle-of-the-night feedings of Constantin and while the rest of their children slept, Vasile and Florentina formed a plan: They would try to seek asylum in the United States with their two youngest children and send for the others when they were settled.

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Within weeks, the Mutus had sold their home to pay a man who would arrange to get them into America through Mexico. Florentina packed a suitcase with diapers, a change of clothes for each of them, holy oil and dried basil — a Romanian good luck charm. On the plane, Constantin started to run a fever.

Mexico City was a whirl of chaos and noise. They couldn’t understand the voices or signs in Spanish. Beggars banged on the window to their taxi to ask for money; though they had done the same themselves in Europe, it somehow seemed scarier. They met a smuggler who led them to a crowded bus headed for the border.

The Mutus found seats out of sight from one another, and for the next several hours, took turns caring for Nicolas, their 4-year-old, and Constantin, who was getting warmer. As they approached the border, they got off at a stop and split up to look for medicine. Mr. Mutu had settled into the last leg of the journey on the bus when Constantin started crying on his lap. Mr. Mutu stood up, shimmying toward the back of the bus to get a bottle.He spotted the seats where his wife and son had been sitting, which were now empty.

Mr. Mutu looked around frantically and pulled out his phone to call his wife, but both of them had drained their minutes by making calls back to Romania to check in with their other children. Unsure of what else to do, he paid a cabdriver to take him and Constantin to the foot bridge into the United States, thinking that he could call his wife when they reached the other side. It was dark outside when he reached an immigration officer stationed outside the American border. He told the officer that he wanted political asylum and was taken in to be interviewed with the help of an interpreter on the phone. Mr. Mutu explained that he had lost his wife and son, and that they were fleeing persecution in Romania.

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Vasile was separated from Constantin after trying to claim asylum at the border.
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Florentina praying at a monastery near the family’s home. She sobbed when she was finally able to see Constantin on a video call arranged through a social worker.

A handful of officers entered the room. They took Constantin, placed him on a chair, and shackled Mr. Mutu’s hands and feet.

“The police wiped the floor with me,” he said through a translator, explaining that he was dragged out of the room while Constantin stayed behind with some of the officers. “I started crying because I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I couldn’t speak English. I told them, ‘I don’t understand. Why?’”

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Florentina Mutu was still at the bus stop with Nicolas, crying on a bench since she had discovered that the bus had pulled away without her, when she got a call from her mother. Border officials had reached her in Romania and explained that she would also be arrested if she crossed the border. The relatives quickly scraped together money to get them home.

***

Constantin was placed with a foster family in Michigan while Ms. Acevedo worked to connect with his parents. She got a phone number for his mother in Romania and made a video call during what was the middle of the night there. A disheveled woman answered, sitting in darkness, looking like she had just been woken up. She spoke frantically, but Ms. Acevedo couldn’t understand, so she pulled up Google Translate on her computer and typed a message about Constantin in English, which she then played in Romanian.

Florentina Mutu started to sob. She repeated her full maiden name, which was listed on Constantin’s birth certificate, over and over. “She said it like 20 times,” Ms. Acevedo said “She said, ‘Florentina Ramona Patu,’ and I said ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ I just wanted her to know that he was somewhere. He wasn’t lost or disappeared or something. I wanted her to know that he was with people.”

Ms. Acevedo started making weekly video calls between Constantin and his mother, propping the baby up on the couch. Ms. Mutu would mostly cry as she spoke desperately to him in Romanian.

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Vasile Mutu, still in detention, sank deeper into depression. He couldn’t sleep and refused most of the food that he was offered. Occasionally he was handed documents in English or Spanish, which he couldn’t read. He cried so much that his cell mates started beating him to make him be quiet. He thought about committing suicide. “No one was telling me anything. They kept telling me to wait and wait.”

Two months into his detention, an immigration officer came to Mr. Mutu with an offer. As he understood it, if he gave up his claim for asylum, he would be deported back to Romania with Constantin. He agreed, and on June 3, 2018, he was released from his cell and loaded into a van.

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He looked everywhere for Constantin and asked the officers where his son was, but was not given a clear answer. At the airport, he refused to board without the baby. The immigration officers, he said, told him that Constantin would be handed to him once he had taken his seat. But the plane lifted off and the baby never came.

When Mr. Mutu arrived home, it felt more like walking into a funeral than a celebration.

***

While the months dragged on waiting for his day in immigration court, Constantin settled into a routine with his foster family, in their comfortable brick house on a hilly road in rural Michigan. The family, which had started fostering immigrant children a year earlier after a life-changing experience doing missionary work in Ethiopia, asked not to be identified in this story because it would violate the terms of their contract with the federal government. Their three daughters immediately became enamored with Constantin and would argue over who could pull him out of his crib when he woke up from a nap.

The baby’s foster mother meticulously documented his developments for Ms. Mutu, keeping in mind how hard it would be to miss moments like when he first scooted across the living room floor or developed the belly laugh that shook his whole body. “He would do new sounds or something, and they only do it for a short amount of time, and so you want his mom to be able to hear that,” she said. “And she always wondered if he had teeth yet, and so when he would smile, you could see. So I just wanted her to see that.”

She poured herself into caring for Constantin while she struggled to fathom how he had come into their home. “I can’t imagine being the person who grabs a hold of a child and takes them. I don’t know where you have to go in yourself to be able to do that job,” she said. “If we were in that situation, I would want someone to take care of my child. I would want them in a home, in a bed. I would want someone asking them, ‘What snack do you want before you go to bed at night? Do you want a pink toothbrush or a green toothbrush?’” she said. “Or rocking them in the middle of the night, helping them go back to bed when they have bad dreams.”

Constantin was still in diapers when he appeared in federal immigration court in Detroit, four months to the day after he had arrived in Michigan, on June 14, 2018. During the five-minute proceeding, he babbled on his foster mother’s lap as she sat on the defendant’s bench. His pro bono legal representative requested that he be returned to Romania as soon as possible at government expense.

A lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security argued against the request, stating that as an “arriving alien,” Constantin was not eligible for such help. The judge quickly ruled against her, questioning the idea “that the respondent should be responsible for making his own way back to Romania as an 8-month-old.” The judge granted the request made on behalf of Constantin, giving the government three months to either appeal or send him home.

By the time Constantin’s travel plans were booked for July — a few weeks after President Trump, facing a wave of public outrage, had rescinded the family separation policy — he was 9 months old and had spent the majority of his life in the custody of the United States government.

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Florentina and Vasile Mutu didn’t sleep the night before the reunion. They were standing at baggage claim at the airport in Bucharest when they finally spotted Constantin, hours behind schedule, bobbing toward them in his foster mother’s arms. She handed the baby to his mother, but he screamed and reached back in the other direction, his face crumpling into a knot of terror.

When Florentina and Constantin were reunited after five months of separation, he wanted his foster mother.Credit 
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When Florentina and Constantin were reunited after five months of separation, he wanted his foster mother. Credit 
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Florentina with her son Nicolas. She is often distracted by flashes of lingering anger.
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Constantin, left, with his brother Floren Armando, has acclimated slowly to life with his family.
Vasile and Constantin at Florentina’s mother’s home, where the family is temporarily staying.
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Vasile and Constantin at Florentina’s mother’s home, where the family is temporarily staying.

The Mutus had to stop several times on their way home to console Constantin, who bucked and wailed to the point of hyperventilation. For weeks afterward, his mother struggled to get him to eat or sleep and exchanged text messages with his foster mother, who offered advice on how he liked to be cuddled and fed. In the suitcase she had packed, she included $200 in cash — the daily allowance that Bethany Christian Services’s foster children receive — along with clothes, pacifiers, toys and books that Constantin liked, and his favorite blue-and-green striped blanket.

Florentina Mutu struggled with conflicting feelings of gratefulness and guilt. “He’s been spoiled,” she said. “He lived comfortably there, in a decent house. Not like we live here.”

The Mutus, who are pursuing a claim for damages against the United States, are back in the village where they grew up, crammed temporarily into a small house they share with another family — one bathroom with no shower shared among 11 people. They bathe with cups of water warmed on the stove and keep their clothes in an attic, climbing a rickety ladder every few days in order to change them.

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Constantin has acclimated slowly. He’s sensitive to loud noises, and crowds make him cry, which is a problem, says his mother, because both are part of Roma culture. “He is not the same as he would be if we had raised him,” she said.

At 18 months old, he still can’t walk without holding onto someone’s hand. He babbles and squeals, but as far as words go, she said, “He says absolutely nothing.”

After Constantin’s return to Romania, his foster parents took two months off from fostering to adjust to him being gone. Ms. Acevedo quit her job after all of the separated children on her caseload were reunited with their parents. “I just couldn’t get over it,” she said. “So if I couldn’t get over it, imagine the kids.”

The Mutu family has returned to traveling through Europe to earn enough money to buy a new home. In the last few months, they have lived in a trailer and picked produce in Sicily, and gone to Ukraine and Poland to rummage for secondhand clothing that they can resell — Constantin and his siblings always in tow.

Both of the parents still dream out loud about returning to the United States. “I’d have to get to Canada,” Mr. Mutu said recently. ”From Canada, I could take a taxi to America, and pay seven or eight or ten thousand dollars to prepare the documents that I would need.”

Ms. Mutu’s brother, who has since returned from Florida, said he thinks they are deluded. He hated the United States, he said; it was full of struggling immigrants and other poor people. By then, he had admitted to them that he had ended up in a cramped, three-bedroom apartment shared with several other families, struggling to make the rent. The only food he could afford to eat, he said, was worse than what they had in Romania. “The laws are very strict there,” he said. “You can’t even beg there.”

“That’s not true,” Vasile Mutu shot back at the idea later. He had grown up looking at Americans — on television and now on social media — and saw their privilege not only in the way they dressed, but also how they moved and spoke, and in their expressions. The only poor people in America he saw were the ones who were detained with him at the border, hoping to get in.

Caitlin Dickerson is a national immigration reporter based in New York. Her work has focused on deportation and detention policy and the lives of immigrants. @itscaitlinhd

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: 4 Months Old, and Whisked Away. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

From Ken Ditkowsky: Status on corruption and why aren’t these people indicted for their crimes?

The 2nd oldest profession has not covered themselves with glory.    The ABA and the Bar Associations set out rules.   One rule (8.3) requires lawyers to report criminal activity amongst their fellows.    However, if you report the wrong attorneys (and Judges) who commit crimes Rule 8.4 operates and immediately, the lawyer who reports the criminal activity is suspended or otherwise disciplined.  Disbarrment is not uncommon.
We all know about Lanre Amu.    He reported corruption of a judge.   Immediately the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission got hot and bothered and told the Illinois Supreme Court 1) that that allegation was false and 2) it was a violation of Rule 8.4.  As far as I am aware, his suspension is up, but they refuse to reinstate his license==for serious allegations he did not commit.
The problem that the IARDC had was the statement made by Amu was absolutely accurate and true and the IARDC’s administrator was under oath telling a bold faced lie.   He was not even embarrassed when CRAINS CHICAGO BUSINESS independently made the very same averment of construction that Amu made.    (This confirmed to the public that the IARDC and the legal community were perfectly willing to lie under oath for POLITICAL reasons et al and any interest that they had in the Rule of Law was non-existent.
Of course I and others have been writing concerning this outrage for some time and not accomplished even the stray thought of an HONEST INVESTIGATION to generate.   Mr. Amu reports that even though the evidence of misconduct on the part of the IARDC, and the legal elite is overwhelming, to get back his licenses that ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT requires him to admit facts which everyone knows are not true – in short he has to admit that he lied even though everyone knows he did not.
Of course this situation is clear in Illinois.   We produce more corrupt governor felons for the Federal penal system than any other State.   We have on Governor in Federal custody, and our current governor was elected even though he openly and notoriously admitted publicly that he defrauded the COUNTY OF COOK out of $330,000.00.   (As he is a billionaire – when caught- he paid the money back to the County.      Mr. Amu’s license for complying with Rule 8.3 and 18 USCA 4 is forfeit!
Need the Illinois rationale.    In the kangaroo disciplinary proceedings filed againt Attorney JoAnne Denison Mr. Larkin (the administrator of the IARDC) is reported to have written that exposing corrupt judges is akin to “yelling fire in a crowded theater.”
Thus according to the gospel in force in Illinois, it is ethical for Illinois laws to perjure themselves on affidavits submitted to the government, when a judge – to enjoy conflicts of interest, and if you have enough clout evade the entire body of the RULE OF LAW.    However, if you are a lawyer and you expose (or ask for an HONEST IVNESTIGATION) of a member of judiciary, judicial elite, or the political elite you are in violation of Rule 8.4 and your conduct is akin to “yelling fire in a crowded theater.”
Indeed we have to take into account that we have corruption in the Courts — the guardianship scandal cannot exist without this overt corruption — BUT WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?

Ken Ditkowsky

 

From Joanne:
Current cases where corruption is evident:
1) the State of Illinois is currently removing newborns from the hospital without a warrant or court order.  Then, the attorney appointed by the state a) refuses to show pleadings in advance to the father and b) refuses to argue the father’s 4th amedment rights and right to a warrant or court order before removal.  The system is obviously fixed.
2)  A mother pleads to get her kids back after psychopath father sets her up. She files pleadings in Cook County Domestic division explaining the situation.  The trial court judge refuses to even look at her motion for 50 50 coparenting, to get her maintenance and child support back and for the father’s fraud in not listing all his assets.  Mother is left penniless and sees her kids only once per month at Apnar Ghar, a sterile institutional room.
3) And we still have the same complaints flowing in about Cook County Probate.  Caretakers are being evicted from their homes despite the fact they are on the title.  The judges don’t seem to care.  Mom is being drugged and APS doesn’t care.  A relative is stealing and Illinois APS does not care.  The guardian has a past criminal background of beating up women and DUIs and the probate court does not care.
Things need to change for sure.
Joanne

From FB: 37 defendants processed in one trial at the same time, is this legal?

Leaked photo shows mass trial with 37 accused unauthorized immigrants — shackled hand and foot — being processed all at once

From Joanne:

If this is legal, what could then possibly stop the court system from guardianizing everyone over 60 in mass trials and forcing them in nursing homes and taking away their property?  Seems scary to me.  doesn’t even resemble justice at all to me.  Who are the lawyers and judges involved? Shades of “kids for cash” if you ask me.

pecos texas mass trialFederal Courthouse, Pecos, Tex. Courtesy of Debbie Nathan
  • A leaked photo from a Texas courthouse shows 37 people accused of illegally entering the US being processed all at once.
  • In these kinds of trials, defendants are often expected to answer questions in unison to save time.
  • It’s illegal to take photos in federal court, but somebody broke the rules to get the image out.
  • The image has been circulating online in the legal community and was published recently by The Intercept.
  • Though they might be unfamiliar to many, trials like this have been going on in border courts for more than a decade.
  • The Trump’s administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy is making such scenes more common.

A leaked photograph shows 37 defendants in orange prison jumpsuits shackled at the hands and feet to be processed en masse as part of the ongoing US clampdown on illegal immigration.

The image, leaked to the media, gives an unfamiliar glimpse into “Operation Streamline,” a prosecution system in which up to 70 defendants in immigration cases can be charged and sentenced at once.

The photo, taken in the ceremonial courtroom at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse in Pecos, Texas, was first sent to Debbie Nathan, a journalist in Texas covering the US-Mexico border, andpublished in The Intercept last week.

Taking and broadcasting photos in courtrooms is illegal under US law. The image has nonetheless been circulating among attorneys and legal workers in Texas since April, Nathan told Business Insider.

Such mass trials are not confined to Pecos: Similar scenes have been taking place in magistrate courts in the Texan cities of Brownsville, Laredo, and El Paso as recently as last week, Nathan told Business Insider. Defendants in Laredo and El Paso wore orange jumpsuits, while those in Brownsville were in street clothing, she said.

texas mass trial locations
Mass-immigration trials have been taking place in the Texan cities of El Paso, Pecos, Laredo, and Brownsville.
 Google Maps/Business Insider

In Brownsville, a judge questioned and sentenced as many 40 defendants in one go, Nathan described in The Intercept. In unison, defendants answered questions such as “Are each of you satisfied with the help of the lawyer?” and “Has anyone offered you anything or threatened you?”

In one case, public defendants had less than two hours to speak with a total of 41 defendants, meaning they would have had just a few minutes with each of the accused.

Mass trials like this have been happening on and off since Operation Streamline came into force in 2005, Nathan said. But officials have been cracking down even harder on cases along the US-Mexico border immigration since last month, when the Trump administration instituted a “zero-tolerance” policy in which even those crossing the border fleeing violence would be prosecuted.

People fleeing violence or seeking asylum would be tried, and children would be separated from their parents, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month.

Read the full story at The Intercept.

SEE ALSO: What happens to immigrants who cross the border seeking asylum when we have a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy