Archive for August, 2013

Groups say development in abuse suit against Vt.

August 31, 2013

MONTPELIER – Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont are planning to announce the details of a settlement with the state Adult Protective Services Division.

The two groups will hold a press conference today in Montpelier.

The groups filed the lawsuit last December, saying Adult Protective Services routinely violates the law that requires it to begin investigating reports of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults within 48 hours of receiving them.

The state had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

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Groups say development in abuse suit against Vt.

Ken Anderson appears for civil hearing in Morton case

August 31, 2013

WILLIAMSON COUNTY — A civil hearing for former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson was held Friday afternoon.

Anderson faces felony charges with how he handled Michael Morton’s murder trial back in 1987.

On Aug. 30 Anderson will be in court in Georgetown so a visiting judge can hear a motion from the State Bar of Texas’ Commission for Lawyer Discipline. The result could be Anderson being disbarred.

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Ken Anderson appears for civil hearing in Morton case

Report Says Texas Nursing Homes Are the Worst in the Country, And This Video Might Just Convince You

August 30, 2013

Minnie Graham, a 98-year-old great-great-grandmother, kept telling her family that people were hitting her at Garland’s Winters Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. When her loved ones found her eyes blackened and her arms bruised, they demanded answers. Graham, they were told, had fallen out of her wheelchair. Her granddaughters didn’t buy it.

So, they set set up a clock with a hidden camera in her room and waited. What it documented was horrifying, as you’ll see in the CBS News video above. Graham was slapped, pushed, pulled, sprayed in the face with water and gagged with a towel that had just been used on her body. At one point, she’s crying out, “Somebody help me.” She died not long thereafter. Because of her treatment, her granddaughters think she had simply lost the desire to live.

Her case may be extreme, but it’s a symptom of a far larger, just as insidious pattern of neglect and lax oversight in Texas. According to a report from the organization Families for Better Care, which analyzed staffing data, performance measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and complaints from the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Texas nursing homes are the worst in the country.

Fewer than 15 percent of its facilities are staffed at above-average professional nursing levels, while nearly 70 percent hire below the minimum number of caregivers needed to properly meet the needs of its residents.

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Report Says Texas Nursing Homes Are the Worst in the Country, And This Video Might Just Convince You

Galveston judge arrested for contempt

August 30, 2013

GALVESTON – A Galveston judge already suspended and awaiting trial on criminal charges was arrested Wednesday for contempt of court and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
County Court-at-Law Judge Christopher Dupuy was sentenced to 45 days in the Galveston County Jail for using his Facebook page to make personal attacks on the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General David Glickler.

Harris County District Judge Ryan Patrick, who is overseeing Dupuy’s criminal case in Galveston district court, also ordered Dupuy to cease using the Internet, any social media platforms or any electronic media to communicate about his case.

A gag order prevents Glickler and Dupuy’s attorneys from commenting.

The gag order was already in effect when Patrick on July 25 ordered Dupuy in court to refrain from discussing the case or posting information about it on Facebook, according to the order issued Wednesday. Nevertheless, Dupuy attempted to file criminal complaints against Glickler with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office alleging witness tampering and contacted the media about the complaints, Patrick said in his order. Dupuy filed the complaints even though he has two attorneys appointed by the court, Adam Brown and Matthew Fox Curl. There was no indication that either attorney was aware that their client was filing complaints against Glickler.

“The court finds that Christopher Michael Dupuy has willfully and wantonly refused to comply with this court’s lawful order,” the order reads.

Patrick also chose a doctor to conduct an immediate psychiatric evaluation of Dupuy.

“It is the court’s opinion that there is evidence to support a finding of incompetency and that the defendant should be examined” as provided by law, the judge said in his order. The examiner was ordered to furnish a report saying whether Dupuy is competent to stand trial and whether he has a mental illness.

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Galveston judge arrested for contempt

Open Letter to the Guardian, Guardian’s Attorney, and Both Court Appointed GAL’s

August 29, 2013

“Shame on you. Shame on ALL of you. The arrogance and cruelty you have showered upon my mother has reached a new subterranean level by even the subpar standards applied in this guardianship.

You have the gall to allow an eighty-three year old woman to believe she would be able to visit with her ninety-four year old sister today – for a meager one hour visit allowed by the guardian. Then, at the last minute, you pull the rug out from under her? If there was ANY issue regarding supervision, this should have been dealt with weeks ago.

May I remind ALL of you, Judge Connor’s reprimanded the guardian on more than one occasion to be sure that her mother was NOT being isolated or kept apart from her family. You have all had the audacity to allow Judge Stuart to believe that my Aunt is not being isolated, when in fact, you know the opposite is true.

You have been complicit in the viciousness and spitefulness with which a tyrannical daughter has separated her mother from the people whom she loves and cherishes. Your aiding and abetting of the guardian’s actions has allowed her to punish her own mother for crimes unknown, while at the same time inflicting emotional pain throughout what was once a peaceful and loving family.

In your eagerness to have my Aunt guardianized, you erred grossly and placed her with the one person whom she asked to be protected from. It is time you step up to the plate, and do the right thing
As Judge Stuart has said, you are the ‘Eyes and Ears of the Court’, but remember, Judge Stuart is the Supreme Guardian.”

~Kathie Bakken

Medical examiner rules suicide in death of guardian accused of stealing from clients

August 29, 2013

APPLETON — A former Appleton guardian accused of stealing about $500,000 from his elderly and disabled clients committed suicide Wednesday morning, according to Calumet County authorities.

Medical Examiner Mike Klaeser declared Jeffrey Schend, 46, dead from hanging at the home, 501 Mitchell Ave., which is listed as Schend’s address on court records. Appleton police Sgt. Dave Lund said officers were called to Schend’s home about 4:30 a.m.

Schend was charged in Outagamie County with 15 felony theft counts and 12 misdemeanor counts of falsifying accounting records. His was scheduled to appear in court for a status conference at 11 a.m. Nov. 12.

Guardians are appointed by courts to oversee assets when it is determined that individuals are unable to manage their finances. The investigation of Schend began after Outagamie County officials received complaints in late 2010 that bills weren’t being paid.

Following a series of exclusive Post-Crescent Media reports, prosecutors hired a forensic accountant to comb through Schend’s finances. The accountant found his expenses significantly exceeded his income with spending that included vacations, yacht club costs and limousine rentals, according to the criminal complaint.

Full Article and Source:
Medical examiner rules suicide in death of guardian accused of stealing from clients

See Also:
Trial for ex-guardian Schend delayed for fourth time

More on Jeffrey Schend

Jeffrey Schend Revoked From Guardianship Practice

WI: Jeffrey Schend Theft Case Prompts Tougher Guardian Rules

Suspended Florence lawyer indicted on federal charges

August 29, 2013

The United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina announced Wednesday that William Rivers, III of Florence has been charged in a three count indictment with Mail Fraud.

The indictment says between October 2006 to November 2012 Rivers and his late law partner John Schurlknight failed to tell clients when their cases had been settled and failed to pay the clients’ medical providers, but instead forged clients’ signatures on releases and kept all of the money received in the clients’ settlement.

Rivers and Schurlknight were partners at the Schurlknight and Rivers Law Firm in Florence, which is no longer in operation.

Rivers was suspended from practicing law by the South Carolina Supreme Court last December following complaints filed by former clients about missing money.

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Suspended Florence lawyer indicted on federal charges

Police Investigate Probate Lawyer Over Disabled Man’s Missing Funds

August 28, 2013

Police are investigating a probate court-appointed lawyer who allegedly tried to cover up his improper handling of a disabled man’s finances by filing false accounting statements — as the man’s assets dwindled by tens of thousands of dollars over the years.

The Newington Police Department’s investigation of Michael Schless, a retired Newington attorney now living in Florida, began after the Aug. 4 publication of a Government Watch column about Schless’s longtime role as probate conservator for John Fritz, 64, of Wethersfield, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Fritz once had assets worth more than $100,000, but now his money market and stock accounts have shrunk to about $20,000 — even though his family says they should have remained stable because his living expenses are covered by Social Security payments and part-time employment.

Newington Probate Judge Robert A. Randich also wrote in a ruling last spring that Schless attempted to “hide his transgressions by filing knowingly false accountings.”

Despite that ruling, however, Randich had declined to exercise his option to request a criminal probe, and Fritz’s family had been unable to persuade law enforcement authorities to investigate.
That soon changed.

Days after the column appeared, a Newington police detective was assigned to the case. A member of state’s attorney’s office in New Britain “took notice of [the] newspaper column … and independently requested that the matter be investigated,” according to an Aug. 8 letter to a state prosecutor from David A. Ruth of Bolton, a lawyer representing Fritz’s family.

A state prosecutor independently confirmed Ruth’s assertion that the police investigation is underway.

Full Article and Source:
Police Investigate Probate Lawyer Over Disabled Man’s Missing Funds

See Also:
Deceit, Improprieties By Probate ‘Conservator’ Deprive Disabled Man Of Inheritance, Court Finds

Former Upper Arlington Attorney Charged For Allegedly Forging Guardianship Documents, Stealing From Retirement Fund

August 28, 2013

A former attorney is charged with theft, forgery, tampering with records and money laundering.

According to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Lindsey T. Burt, 33, was indicted Tuesday in connection with stealing from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

The prosecutor’s office said that Burt was supposed to file paperwork for a client which would make the client the guardian of his son after the mother passed away.

Burt allegedly altered documents, making it that she was the guardian, and then she allegedly sent paperwork to OPERS to collect death benefits intended for the child.

The alleged theft from OPERS was during a five-year period and totaled $67,183.03.

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Former Upper Arlington Attorney Charged For Allegedly Forging Guardianship Documents, Stealing From Retirement Fund

Ohio hospital wants to force Amish girl’s cancer treatment after parents stop chemotherapy

August 28, 2013

An Ohio hospital is fighting to force a 10-year-old Amish girl with leukemia to resume chemotherapy after her parents decided to stop the treatments.

Akron Children’s Hospital is appealing a judge’s decision that blocked an attorney who’s also a registered nurse from taking over limited guardianship and making medical decisions for the girl.

The hospital believes the girl will die without chemotherapy and is morally and legally obligated to make sure she receives proper care, said Robert McGregor, the hospital’s chief medical officer.

“We really have to advocate for what we believe is in the best interest of the child,” he said Friday.

The parents initially allowed chemotherapy treatment in May but stopped treatment in June. The parents said the effects on their daughter were horrible and that they were now relying on natural medicines, such as herbs and vitamins, The Medina Gazette reported.

The girl told a probate and juvenile judge that she didn’t want chemotherapy because it made feel ill, can damage her organs and make her infertile, the newspaper said.

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Ohio hospital wants to force Amish girl’s cancer treatment after parents stop chemotherapy