Top state court nixes agreed 6-month law-license loss for ex-judge, wants ‘more severe sanction’

November 21, 2013

An agreed six-month law-license suspension for an Ohio judge who dismissed a speeding ticket for his personal lawyer wasn’t sufficient punishment, the state’s top court said Friday.

It refused to accept the discipline-by-consent agreement between the now-retired jurist and the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline. Instead, the Ohio Supreme Court called for the board to consider “a more severe sanction” on remand, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Former Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Harland Hale announced in May that he would be retiring from the bench, shortly after the disciplinary complaint was filed against him. He is accused of dismissing a speeding ticket for attorney Patrick M. Quinn, “without any involvement from the prosecutor or Quinn,” the discipline by consent agreement says, and falsely stating on a judgment order that a prosecutor had taken the action. Quinn had been representing Hale in sexual harassment matters.

Full Article and Source:
Top state court nixes agreed 6-month law-license loss for ex-judge, wants ‘more severe sanction’

See Also:
Ex-judge Hale agrees to six-month law license suspension

Ohio Judge Accused of Misconduct for Dismissing His Own Lawyer’s Speeding Ticket

Ohio: Judge Accused of Dismissing His Lawyer’s Traffic Ticket Quits

Top state court nixes agreed 6-month law-license loss for ex-judge, wants ‘more severe sanction’

November 21, 2013

An agreed six-month law-license suspension for an Ohio judge who dismissed a speeding ticket for his personal lawyer wasn’t sufficient punishment, the state’s top court said Friday.

It refused to accept the discipline-by-consent agreement between the now-retired jurist and the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline. Instead, the Ohio Supreme Court called for the board to consider “a more severe sanction” on remand, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Former Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Harland Hale announced in May that he would be retiring from the bench, shortly after the disciplinary complaint was filed against him. He is accused of dismissing a speeding ticket for attorney Patrick M. Quinn, “without any involvement from the prosecutor or Quinn,” the discipline by consent agreement says, and falsely stating on a judgment order that a prosecutor had taken the action. Quinn had been representing Hale in sexual harassment matters.

Full Article and Source:
Top state court nixes agreed 6-month law-license loss for ex-judge, wants ‘more severe sanction’

See Also:
Ex-judge Hale agrees to six-month law license suspension

Ohio Judge Accused of Misconduct for Dismissing His Own Lawyer’s Speeding Ticket

Ohio: Judge Accused of Dismissing His Lawyer’s Traffic Ticket Quits

Gallia County judge receives stayed suspension for misconduct

November 21, 2013

GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Common Pleas Court Judge D. Dean Evans has received a one-year stayed suspension from the Ohio Supreme Court for failing to disqualify himself from a case in which he had a conflict with defense counsel.

According to a release issued by the Office of Public Information of the Ohio Supreme Court, in a 5-2 per curium decision (not authored by any particular justice) announced Tuesday, the court rejected the sanction of a six-month stayed suspension that has been recommended by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline and instead imposed a full year stayed suspension.

When contacted for comment on Tuesday afternoon in regard to the Supreme Court’s decision, Judge Evans reported that he could make no public comment on the case, but did state that the decision released on Tuesday would in no way affect the functioning of the Gallia County Common Pleas Court or the cases awaiting action in court.

Attorney Robert W. Bright practiced before Judge Evans representing indigent criminal defendants for the Gallia County public-defender commission. In the case that resulted in this disciplinary complaint, according information contained in the initial opinion released on Tuesday by the court, Bright represented a defendant who had initially agreed to enter into a plea agreement but later changed his mind during the plea hearing before Judge Evans. Moments later, the defendant changed his mind again, and Judge Evans refused to accept the plea. Three days later, Judge Evans again refused to accept the plea agreement even though Bright and the county prosecutor jointly agreed to it.

Bright then filed an 18-page motion requesting that Judge Evans accept the plea agreement and stating that the judge’s refusal to do so was “an abuse of discretion” and “unreasonable and/or arbitrary and/or unconscionable.” Bright also criticized some of Judge Evans’s other courtroom practices.

Judge Evans issued an entry overruling Bright’s motion and removing Bright as counsel in the matter. The entry stated in part:

The Court finds that while Defense Counsel’s attitude toward the Court as expressed in the instant motion may not rise to the level of Professional Misconduct or to the level of being contemptuous, it certainly is not acceptable behavior. By such conduct he has created conflict with the Court whereby in this case or for that matter any other case in the future, when he does not agree with a decision or ruling by the Court, instead of being critical by accusation of being arbitrary, unreasonable, unconscionable or of abusing discretion, he simply may accuse the court of being bias [sic] or prejudice [sic] as it relates to him. The Court must not only avoid any impropriety, bias or prejudice but must avoid any appearance of such. The expressions and attitudes of Defense Counsel as exhibited and announced in the instant motion toward this Court compromises [sic] the Court’s ability to avoid any appearance of bias [or] prejudice, or to be fair and impartial as it relates to Defense Counsel regardless [of] how hard it tries or what strides it makes toward guaranteeing that there would be no bias, prejudice and that it would be fair and impartial.

According to information provided in the Ohio Supreme Court decision, Judge Evans subsequently filed entries removing Bright as appointed counsel in 63 other criminal cases — even though none of the defendants in any case had requested Bright’s removal as their counsel. The entry in each case stated that “Attorney Robert W. Bright is relieved of further obligation due to the conflict he has created with the Court” and “due to the Court’s inquiry to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Supreme Court of Ohio regarding Mr. Bright’s conduct.”

Judge Evans’s actions removed Bright’s entire caseload, and, reportedly, within a month of the judge’s entries, the Gallia County public defender terminated Bright’s employment, reasoning that it had “no other options,” since Bright could not practice in Judge Evans’s courtroom. Disciplinary counsel ultimately decided against filing any charges against Bright based on Judge Evans’s grievance.

The Ohio State Bar Association subsequently brought a complaint against Judge Evans. The parties submitted a consent-to-discipline agreement recommending that Judge Evans be publicly reprimanded. The Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline rejected the agreement and remanded the matter for further proceedings before a three-member panel of the board. On remand, the parties waived a hearing and submitted stipulations of fact and misconduct and jointly recommended a stayed six-month suspension. The panel, and later the board, adopted the parties’ stipulations and recommended sanction. No objections were filed before the Supreme Court.

Full Article and Source:
Gallia County judge receives stayed suspension for misconduct

Gallia County judge receives stayed suspension for misconduct

November 21, 2013

GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Common Pleas Court Judge D. Dean Evans has received a one-year stayed suspension from the Ohio Supreme Court for failing to disqualify himself from a case in which he had a conflict with defense counsel.

According to a release issued by the Office of Public Information of the Ohio Supreme Court, in a 5-2 per curium decision (not authored by any particular justice) announced Tuesday, the court rejected the sanction of a six-month stayed suspension that has been recommended by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline and instead imposed a full year stayed suspension.

When contacted for comment on Tuesday afternoon in regard to the Supreme Court’s decision, Judge Evans reported that he could make no public comment on the case, but did state that the decision released on Tuesday would in no way affect the functioning of the Gallia County Common Pleas Court or the cases awaiting action in court.

Attorney Robert W. Bright practiced before Judge Evans representing indigent criminal defendants for the Gallia County public-defender commission. In the case that resulted in this disciplinary complaint, according information contained in the initial opinion released on Tuesday by the court, Bright represented a defendant who had initially agreed to enter into a plea agreement but later changed his mind during the plea hearing before Judge Evans. Moments later, the defendant changed his mind again, and Judge Evans refused to accept the plea. Three days later, Judge Evans again refused to accept the plea agreement even though Bright and the county prosecutor jointly agreed to it.

Bright then filed an 18-page motion requesting that Judge Evans accept the plea agreement and stating that the judge’s refusal to do so was “an abuse of discretion” and “unreasonable and/or arbitrary and/or unconscionable.” Bright also criticized some of Judge Evans’s other courtroom practices.

Judge Evans issued an entry overruling Bright’s motion and removing Bright as counsel in the matter. The entry stated in part:

The Court finds that while Defense Counsel’s attitude toward the Court as expressed in the instant motion may not rise to the level of Professional Misconduct or to the level of being contemptuous, it certainly is not acceptable behavior. By such conduct he has created conflict with the Court whereby in this case or for that matter any other case in the future, when he does not agree with a decision or ruling by the Court, instead of being critical by accusation of being arbitrary, unreasonable, unconscionable or of abusing discretion, he simply may accuse the court of being bias [sic] or prejudice [sic] as it relates to him. The Court must not only avoid any impropriety, bias or prejudice but must avoid any appearance of such. The expressions and attitudes of Defense Counsel as exhibited and announced in the instant motion toward this Court compromises [sic] the Court’s ability to avoid any appearance of bias [or] prejudice, or to be fair and impartial as it relates to Defense Counsel regardless [of] how hard it tries or what strides it makes toward guaranteeing that there would be no bias, prejudice and that it would be fair and impartial.

According to information provided in the Ohio Supreme Court decision, Judge Evans subsequently filed entries removing Bright as appointed counsel in 63 other criminal cases — even though none of the defendants in any case had requested Bright’s removal as their counsel. The entry in each case stated that “Attorney Robert W. Bright is relieved of further obligation due to the conflict he has created with the Court” and “due to the Court’s inquiry to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Supreme Court of Ohio regarding Mr. Bright’s conduct.”

Judge Evans’s actions removed Bright’s entire caseload, and, reportedly, within a month of the judge’s entries, the Gallia County public defender terminated Bright’s employment, reasoning that it had “no other options,” since Bright could not practice in Judge Evans’s courtroom. Disciplinary counsel ultimately decided against filing any charges against Bright based on Judge Evans’s grievance.

The Ohio State Bar Association subsequently brought a complaint against Judge Evans. The parties submitted a consent-to-discipline agreement recommending that Judge Evans be publicly reprimanded. The Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline rejected the agreement and remanded the matter for further proceedings before a three-member panel of the board. On remand, the parties waived a hearing and submitted stipulations of fact and misconduct and jointly recommended a stayed six-month suspension. The panel, and later the board, adopted the parties’ stipulations and recommended sanction. No objections were filed before the Supreme Court.

Full Article and Source:
Gallia County judge receives stayed suspension for misconduct

Rochester woman gets 5 years for bilking elderly couple

November 21, 2013

A Rochester woman was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for swindling an elderly couple out of their life savings.               

Carolyn Jean Cassar, 61, received a sentence 14 months longer than federal court guidelines but two years fewer than what prosecutors had sought.

“This level of cold-blooded manipulation is beyond what even a normal fraudster exhibits,” U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen told Cassar, who stood silently next to her attorney. Ericksen added, “You knew what you were doing to the victims

Cassar pleaded guilty in July to bilking her neighbors out of $840,000 over six years, using ever-more elaborate lies as she asked for increasing amounts of money

From 2006 to 2012, Cassar borrowed money from the couple in 375 transactions.

“As she earned the victims’ trust and discovered that they believed everything she said, her lies became more frequent and more outlandish,” Kim Svendsen, assistant U.S. attorney, told the judge.

“As a result of her lies, Cassar was able to have all the things the defendants denied themselves their entire lives, including lavish vacations and expensive furnishings for her home, and the victims were left with nothing,” Svendsen said.

According to the plea agreement and other court documents, Cassar persuaded the couple to give her money for travel to Washington, D.C., so she could attend to the affairs of her daughter’s death in a car crash, including buying a dress for her burial.


Full Article and Source:
Rochester woman gets 5 years for bilking elderly couple

No One is Safe: Parents Say Hospital Kidnapped Their Daughter

November 20, 2013

Source:
Parents Say Hospital Kidnapped Their Daughter

See Also:
NASGA:  No one is safe!

Nursing home company to pay $48M in settlement

November 20, 2013

A California company that runs nursing homes in 10 states has agreed to pay $48 million to resolve claims that it submitted inflated bills to Medicare for services that either were unnecessary or never performed, authorities said Tuesday.

The settlement reached with The Ensign Group Inc. was unsealed late Monday by a judge in Los Angeles and resolves a pair of whistle-blower lawsuits filed by two former company employees, federal prosecutors said.

“This settlement — one of the largest of its kind in United States history — demonstrates our commitment to protecting taxpayers who fund important programs that benefit millions of Americans, but don’t want to see their hard-earned money wasted on fraud or abuse,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.

Ensign did not admit liability as part of the settlement. In a statement released last month, Ensign CEO Christopher Christensen said the company, based in Orange County, will continue to enhance its compliance program and will strive to provide high-quality health care services.

Ensign is accused of turning in false Medicare claims for more than a decade at six of its skilled-nursing facilities in Southern California. Authorities said the claims for physical, occupational and speech therapy services were not medically necessary and some patients were kept in the nursing homes longer than they needed to be.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing home company to pay $48M in settlement

Alameda County: Assisted living reform advocates hope new director will overhaul state’s licensing agency

November 20, 2013

The California agency criticized for its botched closure of a Castro Valley assisted living home is on the hunt for a new director — and it must choose from a pool of state workers unless Gov. Jerry Brown appoints an outside figure.
 

An internal hire is unlikely to satisfy senior advocates demanding a major shake-up at the Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division.

“They need an overhaul of that department,” said Patricia McGinnis, director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “Unless they have a complete change of attitude, unless they have a complete change of guard, I don’t see how things are going to be any different.”

The agency drew outrage last month for allowing more than a dozen frail residents to be left at Valley Springs Manor without proper care after the state had ordered the home closed. An internal review is now looking into what went wrong.

It was the previous head of the division, Jeffrey Hiratsuka, who initiated formal proceedings in May to revoke the license of the Castro Valley facility and ban its owners from ever running such a home again.

That was after complaints by residents and advocates against Valley Springs and a sister home in Oakland began mounting last year. The complaints led to unannounced state inspections that discovered numerous violations and forced the ouster of the homes’ longtime administrator, according to state records.

Hiratsuka, who could not be reached for comment, retired this summer after fours years directing the division and a total of 12 years working in its Sacramento headquarters. A staff newsletter commended the 61-year-old for guiding “the program through some of the worst economic and budget times ever experienced in the state.”

Full Article and Source:
Alameda County: Assisted living reform advocates hope new director will overhaul state’s licensing agency

See Also:
Castro Valley care home patients abandoned

Judge rejects conservatorship for Casey Kasem

November 20, 2013

LOS ANGELES—Casey Kasem is receiving good medical care and a conservatorship is unnecessary for the ailing radio personality, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge Lesley Green urged lawyers to reach an agreement that would allow three of Kasem’s adult children to visit their father, who is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease.

Kasem’s children have said they are being blocked from seeing their father by his wife of more than 30 years, Jean. But her lawyer Marshall Grossman said the children have rejected a proposal to allow them to visit their father each month and on major holidays.

Green acknowledged there is “bad blood” in the family, but noted a doctor who has evaluated Kasem reported he wants to see his children.

Kasem’s daughter Julie was seeking a temporary conservatorship for her father, but Green rejected that effort Tuesday. She cited reports by investigators and doctors who said Kasem was receiving by all accounts good medical treatment in his home.

The judge told lawyers to try to work out an agreement for visitation by Kasem’s children and set another court hearing for Dec. 20.

Attorneys for both sides planned to try to negotiate a visitation agreement Tuesday.

Julie Kasem’s attorney, Andrew Katzenstein, said his clients were pleased to learn that their father was being well cared for and hoped that a visitation arrangement could be worked out. He said the effort to have a conservatorship established was all about making sure Kasem was being properly looked after and to allow his children to see their father.

Grossman said he wants an accord that will end any further court action. “We’re looking to bring peace, not piecemeal,” he told Green.

Casey Kasem, 81, gained fame with his radio music countdown shows, “American Top 40” and “Casey’s Top 40,” and also was the voice of Shaggy in the cartoon “Scooby Doo.”

Full Article and Source:
Judge rejects conservatorship for Casey Kasem

See Also:
Casey Kasem Near Death but Alert, Children Suing Wife Jean for Conservatorship NOT Will and Money

‘Grave Robbery Under Color of Law’

November 19, 2013

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, private guardian Jared E. Shafer’s attractive protégé’ Patience Bristol is sitting in a cell at the Clark County Detention Center awaiting trial while her mentor may be breathing a sigh of relief allegedly knowing his cooperation with authorities may exonerate him from being prosecuted for many of the same crimes Bristol is accused of committing against the elderly or vulnerable.

On pages of the following confidential 32 page fax obtained by INSIDE VEGAS, Shafer informs another of his protégés, Clark County Public Guardian Kathleen A. Buchanan, that “Guardian” Patience Bristol has not provided receipts, explanations, or backup to validate transactions Bristol made on behalf of ward Jean Dutton whose fortune Bristol and Shafer were responsible for overseeing.  In his incriminating fax Shafer includes eighteen checks Bristol wrote on Shafer’s Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada, Inc.(PFSN) checking account that he pretends to know nothing about:

Bristol cashed eighteen bogus checks drawn in the name of ward Jean Dutton from Shafer’s PFSN, Inc. checking account between September 4 and December 28, 2012 totaling $12,850.00. If Shafer truly knew nothing about these transactions, he is also in need of a guardian! As Dutton’s co-fiduciary, Shafer is as responsible as Bristol for protecting a ward’s assets.  Patience Bristol is in custody charged with twenty felony counts of bilking the elderly and vulnerable. Her Preliminary Hearing is scheduled for November 25. Jared Shafer has not (yet) been charged with a crime.

Leann Goorjian lived to be only 51. She was the daughter of Wanda Lamb Peccole and William “Bill” Peccole. Leann’s mother was the sister of former Nevada State Senator Floyd lamb, Clark County Commissioner Darwin Lamb (portrayed in the movie Casino),  and legendary former Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb. Leann married Greg Goorgian and together had two sons, Gavin and Camden, now in their late twenties and working for the family business Pecolle Nevada Corporation.    

Three years before Leann died on February 24, 2008 leaving a multi-million dollar fortune, she was placed into the guardianship of Jared E. Shafer. That was in 2005 when she was deemed a “vulnerable person.” Since her death, Shafer has not been required to relinquish guardianship over her estate, and continues to this date draining it of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Full Article and Source:
Grave Robbery Under Color of Law

See Also:
NASGA:  Lupe Olvera, Nevada/California Victim

NASGA:  Marcey Dudeck, Nevada/California Victim

Nevada Guardian Patience Bristol Arraigned on Robbery Charges


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