Archive for May, 2012

Still No Decision in Rosa Parks Case

May 31, 2012

A legal showdown over the estate of civil rights icon Rosa Parks came and went without a decision by Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. about whether to disqualify himself from continuing to preside over the Parks’ estate fight.

Burton told lawyers in a five-minute hearing that he would issue a decision on the disqualification motion in 30-45 days without hearing legal arguments from lawyers in the case. Then, he ended the hearing, leaving lawyers to argue their positions with newspaper reporters.

“It’s outrageous that Judge Burton needs 30-45 days to decide a completely unopposed motion for disqualification,” said attorney Steven G. Cohen, of Farmington Hills, who sued Burton last week on the grounds that he conspired with probate lawyers John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr., allowing them to bankrupt Parks’ estate with unnecessary and excessive attorney fees. “He obviously can’t serve as a presiding judge in a case where he is the defendant.”

Full Article and Source:
Still No Decision in Legal Battle Over Rosa Parks Estate

See Also:
Lawyer Sues Judge, 2 Others, In Rosa Parks Estate Case

Hung Jury in Trial of Woman Accused of Bilking Elderly Boulder Man

May 31, 2012

A jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the trial of a woman accused of trying to swindle an elderly Boulder man into leaving much of his nearly $1 million estate to her.

A 12-person jury spent seven hours deliberating the case against Julianna Rigby, 50, of Fort Collins. Rigby was facing one count of attempted theft after prosecutors say she befriended retired University of Colorado professor Louis Hall and tried to manipulate him into changing his will before he died in 2011 at the age of 93.

The jury voted 9-2 in favor of conviction, with one undecided juror. The result was a mistrial.

Full Article and Souce:
Hung Jury in Trial of Woman Accused of Bilking Elderly Boulder Man

Mother Faces Set Back in Bid to Get Daughter

May 30, 2012

Renate Arnold has sued in federal court in an attempt to overturn a 2011 ruling by Davidson Probate Judge David Randy Kennedy that placed her daughter Lisa Arnold, who was born with Down syndrome, in a conservatorship.

Renate Arnold and Lisa, now 21, drew widespread attention as the two worked the streets selling The Contributor , the newspaper of the area’s homeless community.

Renate Arnold was accused of exploiting and abusing her daughter. Advocates came to her defense, stating that she was being unfairly targeted.

Full Article and Source:
Mother Faces Setback in Bid to Get Daughter

Press Release: Introduction of Legislation to Support Caregivers

May 30, 2012

We commend Senator Amy Klobuchar for reintroducing the Americans Giving care to Elders (AGE) Act as a manifestation of her commitment to caregivers and the elders that they serve. Caregivers are the backbone of service delivery for elders with chronic diseases. Thirty-one percent of U.S. households have at least one person that has served as an unpaid caregiver within the last 12 months.

Senator Klobuchar recognizes that a tax credit and increased funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) that funds adult day services and in-home care are cost effective approaches to help caregivers succeed in their goal of caring for a loved one in their own home. The National Family Caregiver Program has been an underfunded part of the Older Americans Act for many years. It pays for less costly long-term services and supports, and ultimately reduces the need for more expensive care. This important legislation also implements the National Resource Center on Family Caregiving that will be an important resource on best practices for states, agencies and caregivers concerning best practices for caring for an elder at home.

Full Article and Source:
LeadingAge Statement on Introduction of Legislation To Support Caregivers From Larry Minnix, President & CEO

Sister Allegedly Exploits Sick Brother

May 29, 2012

An employee of the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office is facing charges accused of exploiting her brother’s health condition so she could dip into his finances.

According to the arrest warrant, 40-year-old Jennifer Reardon was awarded guardianship of her brother from August 2009 to November 2011. Police said she was put in charge of her brother and his finances due to his numerous health issues.

The money was supposed to benefit her brother, but instead investigators said she spent $17,000 on other things.

Reardon is being charged with exploiting an adult.

Sister Allegedly Exploits Sick Brother

Senators Want Antipsychotic Drug Use Better Controlled in Nursing Homes

May 29, 2012

Senators from both parties joined with the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., to propose legislation to combat the costly and inappropriate – yet widespread – use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes.

Joining with Sen. Kohl, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., offered the amendment to S. 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act.

It will require the Health and Human Services Secretary to issue standardized protocols for obtaining informed consent, or authorization from patients or their designated health care agents or legal representatives, acknowledging possible risks and side effects associated with the antipsychotic, as well as alternative treatment options, before administering the drug for off-label use.

“The overuse of antipsychotics is a common and well-recognized problem that puts frail elders at risk and costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” Kohl said.

“We need a new policy that helps to ensure that these drugs are being appropriately used to treat people with mental illnesses, not used to curb behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementias.”

Full Article and Source:
Senators Want Antipsychotic Drug Use Better Controlled in Nursing Homes

Two Indicted in Vicksburg for Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

May 29, 2012

Two Vicksburg residents have been indicted by a Warren County Grand Jury on charges of conspiracy and exploitation of a vulnerable person.

Angela Palmer, 44, was charged with one count of conspiracy and four counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person, said Attorney General Jim Hood.

Palmer is accused of taking more than $6,700 from an elderly relative who was a patient at Vicksburg Convalescent Center.

Palmer is also accused of conspiring with Lee Martin, 38, who was the business office coordinator for both Vicksburg Convalescent Center and Shady Lawn Health and Rehab.

Martin has been charged with 29 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of conspiracy.

Martin is accused of taking more than $101,000 from vulnerable persons at both facilities.

A trial is set for April.

Two Indicted in Vicksburg for Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

Veteran Caught in Web After Stroke: "I just want to be free"

May 28, 2012

Ed Baker has gone through enough already.

The 53-year-old Dolton native spent 22 years in the Navy, serving in the Persian Gulf War before eventually retiring as a lieutenant commander. Then, four years ago, he suffered a major stroke that left the left side of his body paralyzed.

Now, all he wants is to come home from Colorado to his family in Illinois. And family members in Midlothian and New Lenox want that, too.

But Baker can’t. He can’t go anywhere, in fact. He hasn’t been free to make such decisions since almost two years ago, when a judge in Colorado — based on Baker’s condition after his stroke — approved a petition by the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services to appoint a guardian and conservator for him. The decision made Baker a ward of the state of Colorado and stripped him of many of his rights.

Baker now is a resident of the Sierra Healthcare Community nursing home in Lakewood, Colo. — apparently against his will. This despite the fact the Colorado Department of Veterans Affairs declared in January that Baker is competent to make personal decisions and handle the VA funds to which he is entitled, such as his monthly pension checks.

“I just want to be free,” Baker said during a telephone interview with the SouthtownStar earlier this month. “If I was in jail or if I did something wrong, I understand. But I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Full Article and Source:
Veteran Caught in Web After Stroke: “I just want to be free.”

Judge Calls Conservatorship a "Celebration of Family"

May 28, 2012

For 18 years, Dora Sanchez Hernandez has fiercely protected her son.

From the time Erik Esequizel was born prematurely at just 24 weeks, she has been there for him. Through 50 surgeries and two near-death episodes. Through the daily demands of feeding, bathing and dressing. Through abandonment by his father and advice from doctors to pull the plug.

Now — in what L.A. County Superior Court Judge Michael I. Levanas called a “celebration of family” — Hernandez and 14 other families have been granted limited conservatorships over their disabled children. It allows them to make medical, educational, business and other decisions for their children even after they turn 18.

“Erik is my disabled son, and he means the world to me,” Hernandez said. “Now there is no stopping me to advocate for him.”

The courtroom session last week marked a unique collaboration among the L.A. County Superior Court, the Los Angeles Unified School District, private attorneys and Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a nonprofit that assists the poor. To make what can be an intimidating process efficient and comfortable, the parties come together four times a year to act on the conservatorship cases in one courtroom over one afternoon.

The Family Matters project was launched in 2010. Bet Tzedek, the only legal aid agency in Los Angeles County that handles conservatorship cases for free, had been helping low-income families and their disabled children for years. But Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, presiding judge of the probate department, suggested giving the families special hearing dates in the same courtroom to lesson their anxiety and discomfort. L.A. Unified provides campus space for the project’s education and training sessions on the conservatorship process.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Calls Conservatorship a “Celebration of Family”

Man Given Probation, Jail for Bilking 96 Year-Old AZ Woman

May 28, 2012

A Tucson man accused of bilking roughly $250,000 from a woman in her 90s was sentenced to three years’ probation and 312 days in jail Thursday in Pima County Superior Court.

Within a matter of three days in December 2010, Sergio Alberto Cordova was both indicted and sued in Pima County Superior Court in regard to his dealings with a 96-year-old Tucson woman.

According to court documents, Cordova met the woman while working on her house for his employer in 2006. She later hired him, his mother and his wife to provide services for her, including walking her dogs, doing her grocery shopping, bookkeeping, etc.

In December 2010, the woman’s daughter, who lives in Texas, asked for someone to be appointed guardian and conservator for her mother to ensure her mother was being cared for adequately and to protect her assets.

At the time, the woman was living in a home valued at more than $815,000 and had cash and investments totaling $450,000.

On Dec. 20, 2010, Carol Severyn, the appointed conservator, filed a lawsuit against Cordova and his wife alleging the Cordovas wrote checks for more than $150,000 to themselves between January 2010 and December 2010 and had the woman sign them.

Full Article and Source:
Man Given Probation, Jail for Bilking Woman 96