Archive for August, 2010

A Real-Life Judge Judy Gets Smacked Down

August 31, 2010

When a defendant showed up on a traffic charge, Judge Judy delivered a zinger: “If you drive like an idiot ’cause you’re late for work, you’re gonna have to pay for it.” Then she piled on: “You can see your picture on the headlines of the Seattle Times, stupid young man who shouldn’t be driving.”

Another defendant recalled that the tart-tongue jurist humiliated and bullied her until she broke down in tears. “She frequently interrupted answers with insults,” the woman recalled.

This bullying Judge Judy was not Judge Judith Sheindlin, the tough-talking former New York City Family Court judge who has the top-rated judge show on syndicated television. It was Judge Judith Raub Eiler, her real-life doppelgänger, who sits at a county court in Seattle. Instead of high ratings and rich syndication fees, this Judge Judy’s aggressive demeanor earned her a five-day suspension without pay courtesy of the Washington State Supreme Court.

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A Real-Life Judge Judy Gets Smacked Down

More Education to be Required for Indiana Judges

August 31, 2010

The Indiana Supreme Court issued a new requirement for more education for judges in the state, based on the recommendation of a committee headed by a local judge.

It’s one step in a long-range plan to reform the Indiana courts, which Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker said is “one of the most complex judicial systems in the nation.”

Shewmaker and Marion Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner serve as co-chairs for the statewide strategic planning committee for court reform. They, along with Montgomery Superior Court Judge Peggy Lohorn, spoke with reporters in Indianapolis.

Shewmaker said the need for change is clear, because our courts are a “19th century agrarian-type system. Now is the time for change,” he said.

Stoner agreed. “We’re no longer in that culture. We’re in an electronic culture … Indiana is behind the times and the question is how we move ourselves forward.”

The first step, issued Wednesday by the Indiana Supreme Court, is to require more ongoing education for judges. Until now, their requirements were the same as attorneys: 36 hours of education every three years, with at least six hours each year.

The new standard will require all full-time judges, magistrates, commissioners and referees to get 1.5 times that much, according to Kathryn Dolan, public information officer for the supreme court.

Chief Justice Randall Shepard said in a written announcement Wednesday, “Indiana judges hold themselves to a high standard. They asked the court to require additional continuing education hours and recommended specific changes to mandatory continuing education requirements. I was pleased to sign the order making the changes they proposed a requirement for Indiana judges.”

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Plan Requires More Education for Judges

CA: Elder Cases Drop Under AG Jerry Brown

August 31, 2010

Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office has dismissed an increasing number of criminal cases against defendants suspected of elder abuse, while cutting back on surprise inspections to investigate violence and neglect in nursing homes.

A California Watch review of elder abuse prosecutions found Brown’s office in sharp contrast with his predecessor, Bill Lockyer, who made such cases a top priority in his two terms. In addition to dismissing abuse prosecutions already in motion, Brown’s office has filed fewer new cases per year than Lockyer’s office did.

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Elder Abuse Cases Drop Under Jerry Brown

PA: Legal Guardians Can’t Pull Plug on Mentally Disabled

August 30, 2010

In a ruling involving a mentally disabled man whose legal guardians sought the power to end his medical care, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has determined that state law requires life-preserving treatment for people who are not near death and have not refused treatment.

The Alliance Defense Fund and allied attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of 53-year-old David Hockenberry, who has had acute mental disabilities since birth, arguing that his legal guardians should not be allowed to deny him life-preserving treatment while he is not terminal or unconscious. Hockenberry’s guardians unsuccessfully attempted to deny him temporary life-preserving medical treatment for pneumonia.

“Having a disability shouldn’t be a death sentence when treatable medical complications arise,” said Independence Law Center Chief Counsel Randall L. Wenger, one of more than 1,800 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “The court made the right decision to protect Mr. Hockenberry’s right to live. He is not dying or unconscious, and his life isn’t worthless just because he has a disability that may lead others to view his life as less worthy to live.”

“A person’s value isn’t based on his or her physical or mental abilities,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “No one should be allowed to decide that a person’s life is not worth saving just because he or she has a disability or medical condition.”

In December 2007, Hockenberry developed aspiration pneumonia. Hockenberry’s guardians–appointed as his legal guardians in 2002 by a trial court–tried to decline his required ventilator treatment to assist his breathing, but the hospital proceeded despite their objection. After three weeks on the mechanical ventilator, he recovered from pneumonia and no longer required the treatment.

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PA Supreme Court: Legal Guardians Can’t Pull Plug on Mentally Disabled

MN Online Conservator Reporting System First in Nation

August 30, 2010

Conservators appointed by courts to make financial decisions for adults found unable to manage their financial affairs can now complete their reports online. The new reporting and monitoring system, which was developed and piloted by the Ramsey County Probate Court, is being rolled out statewide as part of a Judicial Branch effort to improve conservatorship oversight.

Conservator Reporting System First in Nation

Senior Magazine: How to Avoid Guardianship

August 29, 2010

There are certain things that you want to avoid in your life—such as the plague, an IRS audit, and an earthquake measuring 7.5 or better. You need to add one more thing to the list; a Texas Guardianship.

There are few legal proceedings that are more invasive, embarrassing, costly, and secretive than a Guardianship. There are also few courts where the judge, county employees and attorneys are more cozy than the Probate Court, which has jurisdiction over Guardianships. The problems with the Texas system could fill a very large book. You do not want to get into one if you can avoid it.

Luckily, there are a few precautions that you can take now that will make a guardianship less likely.

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How to Avoid Guardianship

H.R. 3040 Passes

August 29, 2010

“Rep. Baldwin is one of the foremost champions of elder justice in Congress.” — Robert Blancato, Elder Justice Coalition

Blancato was responding to the news that the House recently passed U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s bill to counter crimes against seniors. The Senior Financial Empowerment Act (H.R. 3040) aims to help stop abusive mail, telemarketing, and Internet fraud targeting seniors.

The Democratic congresswoman from Madison has long been an advocate for older adults and cites her experiences with her own grandmother as providing the impetus for wanting to protect them from fraud.

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Baldwin Steps Up to Protect Elderly From Fraud

Danny’s Diary

August 28, 2010

History will judge my case as barbaric and antiquated, even for its time.

I write this knowing that my former fiduciary has nothing better to do than read this site, so I use this forum to call him, and his partners in crime, out and educate them to certain Constitutional safeguards and rights such as Freedom of Speech. This court loathes our Constitution. It stands squarely in the way of its wayward purpose. Our Constitution trumps any law, be it written by legislators or made up “willy-nilly” in this court, which happens more often than not. And, by the way, I’ve just paraphrased the Judicial Code. Another little document that seems to be easily ignored in this court.

Yes, history will not judge this court kindly. It will judge it with the same measure of unmeasured mercilessness that it judges. And I hope the citizens of Nashville will wake up and give history a helping hand.

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See Also:

Facebook: Justice for Danny Tate

Ex-Lawyer Charged With Embezzling $1 Mil From Clients, Firm

August 28, 2010

When former attorney Jeffrey Abramowitz was indicted on charges of embezzling more than $1 million from his own clients, the news almost seemed to provide a sense of relief to his former law partner, Mitchell H. Klevan, who told The Legal that he has spent the past 20 months working to undo the damage of Abramowitz’s alleged crimes.

Abramowitz, 47, is accused in the indictment of stealing money from clients by lying to them about the settlements of their cases. He allegedly spent some of the funds himself and diverted the rest to a “favored client” and her family.

According to Klevan, the alleged improprieties in Abramowitz’s cases were exposed in late 2008 when some of the clients filed lawsuits against the two-lawyer firm and others filed complaints against Abramowitz with the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Klevan said that he changed the locks on the office doors at Klevan & Abramowitz in December 2008 when he first learned of his former partner’s alleged thefts.

As he pored over the files, Klevan said that he was “shocked and dismayed” to find irregularities in numerous cases. Klevan said he quickly decided to turn the matter over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and that he has been cooperating with both the federal and the disciplinary investigations ever since.

“I’m very sorry that Mr. Abramowitz has brought this on himself, but I hope that justice will now be served for all the victims he has harmed,” Klevan said.

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Ex-Attorney Charged With Embezzling $1 Mil From Clients, Firm

Nursing Home Staffer Arrested

August 28, 2010

A discrepancy in several patients’ trust funds was reported to the Dade City Police by the Heritage Park Nursing Home administrator. Detectives found nearly $4000 missing from four female residents.

Their investigation led to the arrest of Janice Lynn Smith on charges she stole from the residents whose ages are 85,86, 90 and 101.

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Nursing Home Staffer Arrested for Draining Funds From Elderly Residents