Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category

Illinois Lawyer Faces 3-Year License Suspension

May 23, 2013

An attorney who questioned the integrity and fairness of four judges should lose his law license for three years and until further court order, a lawyer-discipline panel recommended.

The Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission Hearing Board found ‘Lanre O.Amu knowingly made false statements or statements with reckless disregard for the truth.

“Given the respondent’s lack of remorse, failure to understand the wrongfulness of his misconduct and inclination to personalize adverse rulings, we are concerned that he will be unable to conform his future conduct to professional standards,” the hearing board report says.

The ARDC administrator filed a four-count complaint against Amu in December 2011 asserting that he made statements about the integrity of four judges that were false or made with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity.

Amu represented clients in two personal-injury cases, a medical-malpractice action and a legal-malpractice lawsuit. Those cases were before then-Cook County Circuit Judges Francis J. Dolan and Thomas R. Chiola, along with Circuit Court Judges Lynn M. Egan and Irwin S. Solganick. 

The four judges all made rulings adverse to Amu’s clients.

Amu asserted that Dolan’s ruling in a personal-injury case barring all the plaintiff’s witnesses was improper and attacked the judge’s integrity and fairness.
 
Amu, who represented himself before the hearing board, testified that he “stands by [his] statements,” and his statements were 100 percent correct, the report says. Amu also called his statements “courageous.”

The ARDC administrator’s office urged that Amu be disbarred. The hearing board disagreed.

“While we recognize respondent’s misconduct is serious and deserving of substantial discipline, we do not believe disbarment, the harshest possible sanction, would better advance the goals of the disciplinary system,” says the hearing board report, which was issued last week.

“We do, however, believe a three-year suspension is necessary to impress upon respondent the wrongfulness of his misconduct and deter future misconduct.”

As for the suspension-until-further-court-order condition, the report says, “We are confident this hurdle is necessary for respondent because he continues to view his conduct as not only acceptable but necessary, lacks remorse and has demonstrated throughout these disciplinary proceedings that he will likely continue to engage in the same course of conduct whenever he believes he has been treated unfairly.”

Debra J. BraseltonThe hearing board consisted of its chair,  Debra J. Braselton (pictured at left), Andrea D. Rice and Donald D. Torisky, a non-lawyer. In the matter of Lanre O. Amu, No. 2011 PR 00106.

Amu said the ARDC is “abusing its processes” and he plans to file exceptions to the hearing board report with the ARDC Review Board, an appellate tribunal.

“What they have done there is a miscarriage of justice,” he said. “I reject it completely.”

ARDC Deputy Administrator James J. Grogan declined to comment about the hearing board report.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer Faces 3-Year License Suspension
See Also:
Information regarding ‘Lanre O.Amu

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Landmark Ruling

June 11, 2009
What experts say was a landmark Supreme Court ruling allowed their maternal grandfather, George Smith and his wife Brenda to adopt the children.

The legal battle over their adoption may have ended their relationship with their paternal grandparents, an outcome one attorney involved called heartbreaking.

Smith, whose daughter La Shonda was the children’s mother, and his wife first petitioned to adopt the children in April 2005. That was about a month after their 27-year-old father, Eduardo Silvils, died in a car accident.

Silvils’ parents did not ask to adopt the children but did seek guardianship. Their position was that neither set of grandparents should adopt the children, thus creating a situation where both sets of grandparents had the chance to see the grandchildren regularly.

In 2006 a family court judge supported their position, giving the Smiths primary guardianship of the children but denying adoption. In his order, the judge wrote that it was in the children’s best interest to “enjoy the love, affection and involvement of all their grandparents in their lives.”

The District Court of Appeal upheld that decision. But the Florida Supreme Court ultimately disagreed.

The high court called a split guardianship “the antithesis of the right to permanence and stability that is afforded by adoptions.”

The children also have financial security after a Jacksonville jury awarded them and George Smith $2.83 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed after their mother’s death.

Full Article and Source:
Jacksonville grandparents adopt after landmark decision

>Landmark Ruling

June 11, 2009

>

What experts say was a landmark Supreme Court ruling allowed their maternal grandfather, George Smith and his wife Brenda to adopt the children.

The legal battle over their adoption may have ended their relationship with their paternal grandparents, an outcome one attorney involved called heartbreaking.

Smith, whose daughter La Shonda was the children’s mother, and his wife first petitioned to adopt the children in April 2005. That was about a month after their 27-year-old father, Eduardo Silvils, died in a car accident.

Silvils’ parents did not ask to adopt the children but did seek guardianship. Their position was that neither set of grandparents should adopt the children, thus creating a situation where both sets of grandparents had the chance to see the grandchildren regularly.

In 2006 a family court judge supported their position, giving the Smiths primary guardianship of the children but denying adoption. In his order, the judge wrote that it was in the children’s best interest to “enjoy the love, affection and involvement of all their grandparents in their lives.”

The District Court of Appeal upheld that decision. But the Florida Supreme Court ultimately disagreed.

The high court called a split guardianship “the antithesis of the right to permanence and stability that is afforded by adoptions.”

The children also have financial security after a Jacksonville jury awarded them and George Smith $2.83 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed after their mother’s death.

Full Article and Source:
Jacksonville grandparents adopt after landmark decision

Budget Cuts For Child-Welfare

April 16, 2009
Tough economic times create a classic catch-22 for state government: With people struggling to get by, there’s more demand than ever for government aid, from health care to child welfare. But the recession also means the state has less money available to provide that aid.

More people need food stamps, yet the agency that oversees the program is closing 17 offices around the state. While increased child abuse is a concern, money for guardianship and adoption is being cut at the state’s child-welfare agency. People are turning to community organizations for help just as the state is cutting support for those groups.

Full Article and Source:
Less money, more demand for government aid

>Budget Cuts For Child-Welfare

April 16, 2009

>

Tough economic times create a classic catch-22 for state government: With people struggling to get by, there’s more demand than ever for government aid, from health care to child welfare. But the recession also means the state has less money available to provide that aid.

More people need food stamps, yet the agency that oversees the program is closing 17 offices around the state. While increased child abuse is a concern, money for guardianship and adoption is being cut at the state’s child-welfare agency. People are turning to community organizations for help just as the state is cutting support for those groups.

Full Article and Source:
Less money, more demand for government aid

Adoption Support Checks

April 7, 2009
All Jennifer Lawson wants to do is take good care of two kids she assumed legal responsibility for two years ago. One of the ways she intended to do so seemed simple enough.

The kids’ adoptive father had been charged with taking indecent liberties with a different child and she’d been named their legal guardian. So Lawson figured it’d be easy to transfer to her the adoption-support payments that the stepfather had been receiving through a program for people who adopt foster children.

She had the law on her side. Her stepfather, Vance Oxendine, was a convicted sex offender, and she had a strongly worded order awarding her sole custody of the kids, a girl who’s now 11 and a boy who’s now 7. She also had a judgment in hand that ordered Oxendine to pay $543 a month in child support. In her mind, it really shouldn’t have been difficult to channel the adoption-support money to the kids.

If the courts can garnish someone’s wages from a private employer, Lawson reasoned that one government agency surely could get another to transfer the payment of public money intended to support two kids who’d had a rough start in life. She figured wrong.

Not only did Oxendine ignore the child-support order — he only made two payments before he went to prison in October 2007 for violating his probation — but also the state continued to mail those adoption support checks. Somebody — it’s not clear who– continued to cash them. And Lawson’s children never saw a dime.

Because Oxendine refused to give up his parental rights, and a petition to terminate those rights had never been filed, he was still eligible for adoption-support payments.

Full Article and Source:
Money should be going to woman taking care of kids

>Adoption Support Checks

April 7, 2009

>

All Jennifer Lawson wants to do is take good care of two kids she assumed legal responsibility for two years ago. One of the ways she intended to do so seemed simple enough.

The kids’ adoptive father had been charged with taking indecent liberties with a different child and she’d been named their legal guardian. So Lawson figured it’d be easy to transfer to her the adoption-support payments that the stepfather had been receiving through a program for people who adopt foster children.

She had the law on her side. Her stepfather, Vance Oxendine, was a convicted sex offender, and she had a strongly worded order awarding her sole custody of the kids, a girl who’s now 11 and a boy who’s now 7. She also had a judgment in hand that ordered Oxendine to pay $543 a month in child support. In her mind, it really shouldn’t have been difficult to channel the adoption-support money to the kids.

If the courts can garnish someone’s wages from a private employer, Lawson reasoned that one government agency surely could get another to transfer the payment of public money intended to support two kids who’d had a rough start in life. She figured wrong.

Not only did Oxendine ignore the child-support order — he only made two payments before he went to prison in October 2007 for violating his probation — but also the state continued to mail those adoption support checks. Somebody — it’s not clear who– continued to cash them. And Lawson’s children never saw a dime.

Because Oxendine refused to give up his parental rights, and a petition to terminate those rights had never been filed, he was still eligible for adoption-support payments.

Full Article and Source:
Money should be going to woman taking care of kids

>Madonna Failed Adoption Bid

April 7, 2009

>

The controversy surrounding the attempt by Madonna to adopt a second child from an orphanage in Malawi brings to light the confusing situation in international adoption. On Friday, a judge in that nation rejected the singer’s adoption request on the grounds that waiving an 18-month residency requirement would set a dangerous precedent. Madonna was granted such an exemption when she adopted a Malawian boy in 2006.

This is just another example of how the intricacies of each country’s legal system, cultural mores and poverty level intersect with the guidelines of The Hague treaty on intercountry adoptions.

The result has been a decline in the number of orphans from developing countries being adopted by Americans. While adoptions become harder, the number of orphans grows, especially in Africa because of the tragedy of the AIDS crisis. Malawi has an estimated 1 million orphans, and untold numbers of orphans languish in other African countries as well as in Romania, Russia, China and Latin America.

Full Article and Source:
Madonna, Malawi and adoption madness

More information:
Madonna, who was seeking an interim adoption, appealed against a High Court decision refusing her bid to adopt a four-year-old girl named Mercy James. Malawian rights groups, who accused the government of skirting residency laws when Madonna adopted David Banda in 2006, also opposed the latest adoption attempt.They say celebrities should not be allowed to fly in and adopt children at will.
Madonna leaves Malawi after failed adoption bid

The adoption was denied by Judge Esme Chombo because Madonna had not met residency rules requiring adoptive parents to live in Malawi for 18 to 24 months. Madonna’s lawyer, Alan Chinula, described the judgment as “incomprehensible”, saying the court had approved her adoption of David Banda in 2006. He said they were appealing in Malawi’s Supreme Court.
Madonna’s hopes of adopting Mercy James are in limbo

Madonna Failed Adoption Bid

April 7, 2009
The controversy surrounding the attempt by Madonna to adopt a second child from an orphanage in Malawi brings to light the confusing situation in international adoption. On Friday, a judge in that nation rejected the singer’s adoption request on the grounds that waiving an 18-month residency requirement would set a dangerous precedent. Madonna was granted such an exemption when she adopted a Malawian boy in 2006.

This is just another example of how the intricacies of each country’s legal system, cultural mores and poverty level intersect with the guidelines of The Hague treaty on intercountry adoptions.

The result has been a decline in the number of orphans from developing countries being adopted by Americans. While adoptions become harder, the number of orphans grows, especially in Africa because of the tragedy of the AIDS crisis. Malawi has an estimated 1 million orphans, and untold numbers of orphans languish in other African countries as well as in Romania, Russia, China and Latin America.

Full Article and Source:
Madonna, Malawi and adoption madness

More information:
Madonna, who was seeking an interim adoption, appealed against a High Court decision refusing her bid to adopt a four-year-old girl named Mercy James. Malawian rights groups, who accused the government of skirting residency laws when Madonna adopted David Banda in 2006, also opposed the latest adoption attempt.They say celebrities should not be allowed to fly in and adopt children at will.
Madonna leaves Malawi after failed adoption bid

The adoption was denied by Judge Esme Chombo because Madonna had not met residency rules requiring adoptive parents to live in Malawi for 18 to 24 months. Madonna’s lawyer, Alan Chinula, described the judgment as “incomprehensible”, saying the court had approved her adoption of David Banda in 2006. He said they were appealing in Malawi’s Supreme Court.
Madonna’s hopes of adopting Mercy James are in limbo

>Two Dads on a Birth Certificate

March 27, 2009

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A federal judge has ruled that Louisiana has 15 days to add the names of both fathers to the birth certificate of a boy born in Shreveport and adopted by a gay couple from out-of-state.

The state is asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the ruling by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey, and to halt the order, state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said.

He wrote in a brief e-mailed statement:“The federal district court has significantly misinterpreted Louisiana vital records law, forcing Louisiana to import and adopt New York law.”

Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith, who now live in San Diego, but adopted the boy in New York state, want both their names on his birth certificate.

State officials say that’s illegal because, under Louisiana law, two single people cannot adopt a child. Zainey ruled in December that because the adoption became formal in New York, the Office of Vital Records must recognize that state’s adoption law on the matter.

New York officials decided in January that same-sex couples could list both names on their children’s birth certificates.

Full Article and Source:
La. must add 2 dads’ names to birth certificate