Archive for the ‘North Carolina’ Category

Tonight on T.S. Radio: WWII War Hero Victimized by Predatory Guardian

November 4, 2013

Joining us will be Ginny Johnson, whose father, a WW2 veteran became the victim of a predatory guardian.  Ginny continues to fight for justice for her father who survived WW2 as a prisoner of war….then died a prisoner of an abusive guardianship.

Captain Hugh Johnson:
War hero
Led the 303rd Bomber Group on 26 missions against Nazi forces
“Hell’s Angels” earned the Distinguished Unit Citation
Dad’s B-17 was shot down in 1945 – MIA and German POW
Dad died on June 15, 2012.
One year after Theriault was appointed guardian
Expected burial as an honored combat veteran
Theriault ordered body cremated immediately
Prevented autopsy requested by Ginny
Theriault charged Hugh’s estate $95/hr.
Court did not impose any limits on charges.
Theriault sold $2M family home for $700K.

5:00 PST … 6:00 MST … 7:00 CST … 8:00 EST
LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

NASGA:  Captain Hugh Johnson, North Carolina Victim

Woman guilty of exploiting elderly York woman: ‘I put her first in almost everything’

September 17, 2013

YORK Shirley Patton – who for two years supervised caregivers in Margie Miller’s home, ensured she was bathed and fed and held her power of attorney – pleaded guilty Tuesday to cashing $240,000 worth of the York woman’s life insurance checks.

Circuit Court Judge Derham Cole sentenced Patton, 54, to four years in prison, followed by five years of probation. decided. She also must pay restitution, with the amount determined later.

Patton this week was standing trial for the second time. She was charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult and breach of trust with fraudulent intent, accused of stealing money from two life insurance policies belonging to Miller.

Police and prosecutors say she instructed the insurance company to send Miller’s checks to a Charlotte address, then deposited them in a Bank of America checking account. Miller, who died in September 2012, never saw a dime. She was 87.

She admitted to spending $78,000 on repairs to her home in Waxhaw, N.C., and paying herself a $26,000 salary.

Patton’s first trial ended in a mistrial after one juror refused to convict her.

By Tuesday afternoon, after prosecutors presented their case, Patton pleaded guilty to breach of trust. In exchange, E.B. Springs, the assistant 16th Circuit solicitor prosecuting Patton, dropped the exploitation charge.

But Haskell Patton said afterward that his wife felt “forced” into the plea deal by a “malicious” prosecutor and several witnesses who he said conspired to have Miller declared incompetent so they could gain ownership of land she owned.

His wife, he said, “just got in the way.”

Full Article and Source:
Woman guilty of exploiting elderly York woman: ‘I put her first in almost everything’

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Couple charged with elderly exploitation

September 5, 2013

GRAHAM – Detectives arrested a Graham couple Wednesday for allegedly exploiting an elderly relative.

According to the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, corporate security investigators with SunTrust Bank contacted detectives with the Financial Crimes Unit of the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 16 because they were concerned about an $18,000 check written on the account of Louise Brown.
The check wasn’t honored because the bank was concerned it was forged, and the sheriff’s office began an investigation. Investigators found that over the period of three months, beginning in June, more than $22,000 had been taken from Brown’s account.
The investigation led to the arrest of Brown’s great-nephew, Michael Troy Shoffner, and his girlfriend, Sandra Lynn Johnson, both of 2444 N.C. 87 South, Graham.

Full Article and Source:
Couple charged with elderly exploitation

State Bar: Bill Belk violated conduct rules

August 26, 2013

RALEIGH The N.C. State Bar concluded Friday that former Mecklenburg District Judge Bill Belk violated rules of professional conduct while on the bench.

Belk was accused of lying during a 2009 investigation into possible misconduct. He appeared Friday before a hearing panel of the bar’s Disciplinary Hearing Commission.

Belk, the grandson of the Belk department store chain founder, said he was “disappointed” with the hearing panel’s decision.

Another hearing will be held on Sept. 26 to decide the appropriate discipline. The possible disciplinary actions include admonition, reprimand, censure, suspension and disbarment.

Belk, facing misconduct charges, resigned from the bench in November 2009. Five months later, the N.C. Supreme Court banned him from ever returning to the bench.

The case revolved around Belk remaining on the board of Sonic Automotive, one of the nation’s largest auto retailers, while serving as judge. Judges are prohibited from serving on business boards of directors to avoid conflicts of interest.

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Full Article and Source:
State Bar: Bill Belk violated conduct rules

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Governor should veto bill changing review of judges

August 18, 2013

It is true that dissatisfied defendants and prosecutors often complain about the judges who presided over their cases. “Favors the district attorneys,” one will say. “A liberal who always gives a break to defendants,” another will say.

And indeed justice is sometimes hampered by judges who aren’t gifted with the knowledge of the law and the sound judgment we require of those who sit up high in the robes with the gavel in hand. When that judgment is particularly bad, appropriate disciplinary action must be taken, or the credibility of the entire judicial system is undermined.  Hence the importance of the state Judicial Standards Commission, a panel charged with publicly reviewing complaints against judges and a panel that has done a good job.

Why, then, would a last-minute bill pass the General Assembly that would allow complaints involving judges to be secret? How is it a good idea to take away the commission’s authority to publicly reprimand judges and instead put the state Supreme Court in charge of disciplining judges?  The measure had strong support in the state Senate, but cooler heads almost prevailed in the state House, where the measure passed by a narrow 53-48 vote.

If Gov. Pat McCrory is watching, he knows that the margin in the House is not veto-proof, and a veto in this case is sorely needed.

The measure is opposed by Chief Judge John Martin of the Court of Appeals (and the current head of the standards commission) and Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker. Martin wrote lawmakers saying the law “will create potential conflicts of interest within our judiciary and muddle the transparency and availability of public records related to judicial misconduct.”

Full Article and Source:
Governor should veto bill changing review of judges

Editorial: Bill that cloaks judicial discipline process is wrong

August 14, 2013

Something smells bad in Raleigh regarding legislation the General Assembly passed in its closing hours that closes to public view the discipline process for state judges.

The bill concentrates power for disciplining these judges in the hands of the N.C. Supreme Court, taking that power away from the Judicial Standards Commission, a more diverse group that includes judges, lawyers and layman citizens.

Furthermore, the bill passed even though it had been soundly defeated in the state Senate a week before the legislature went home, only to be resurrected in the session’s closing hours and approved with the votes of many senators who had spoken forcefully against it only days before.

Gov. McCrory should take the advice of the state Bar Association and veto this bill. We’re sure, now that the bill has been widely reported on by the state’s news media, that the legislature will not dare try to override this stinker.

Full Article and Source:
Editorial: Bill that cloaks judicial discipline process is wrong

See Also:
New laws mean changes for judges, elections

N.C. lawyers oppose increased secrecy in disciplining judges

August 13, 2013

The groups who say they were ambushed by the N.C. legislature this year have new members: some of the state’s most prominent judges and leaders of the legal community.

Judges and lawyers normally fare well in dealings with the General Assembly.  But many of them have publicly mobilized against a last-minute Republican bill that would change how North Carolina disciplines its jurists.

This week, and for the first time in its history, the North Carolina Bar Association asked a governor to veto a bill.

On Wednesday, more than two dozen of the group’s former presidents, including seven from Charlotte, followed up with a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory asking him to block the changes. It was sent to Bob Stevens, McCrory’s legal counsel and past president of the Mecklenburg Bar.

The bill’s supporters, which includes most Republicans in the General Assembly, say it streamlines certain procedures and puts more disciplinary authority where it belongs, with the Supreme Court.

That includes giving the state’s high court authority to punish its own members. Critics, however, say the bill shrouds in secrecy what is now a substantially public process, undermining trust. By consolidating disciplinary authority with the Supreme Court, they say, it increases the odds for conflicts of interest and sets North Carolina up for potential partisan embarrassments that have hit other states.

John Wester, a Charlotte attorney and past state bar association president, said the importance of the debate extends beyond courtrooms and law offices.

“We underestimate the authority that our system gives to our judges,” Wester said. “It’s a great blessing that we’ve had judges with impeccable integrity. But when there’s an exception, we have to have a reliable process that the public can believe in.”

Full Article and Source:
N.C. lawyers oppose increased secrecy in disciplining judges

New laws mean changes for judges, elections

August 7, 2013

A public campaign financing program meant to limit special interest influence in judicial elections in the state met its death in the legislature during the final hours of the long session.

The bill repeals the public financing law that used certain fees attorneys paid to the bar, $3 checked-off funds on tax forms and state funds that gave judges an opportunity to agree to certain spending thresholds and rules to tap into public campaign funds.
The state was one of the first in the country to pass such legislation that will soon be history.  

The change comes despite pleas by all but one judge on the state’s Court of Appeals.

Other changes targeted at the state’s judicial system include a law that gives the Supreme Court the authority to discipline its own judges rather than six senior judges on the Court of Appeals. That measure also takes the public out of the know when it comes to judicial misconduct.

Currently, hearings before the state’s adjudicatory panel are open to the public. Under the new law they would not be.

Chief Justice Sarah Parker and John Martin, chief judge of the N.C. Court of Appeals and chairman of the Judicial Standards Commission, urged lawmakers not to adopt the new changes on the basis of conflicts in judges having to discipline their peers, no avenue for revealing public exoneration and leaving no public record of the process.

Full Article and Source:
New laws mean changes for judges, elections

Woman in custody a year after arrest warrants issued for financial exploitation

June 23, 2013

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The fifth, and final, woman accused of stealing more than $260,000 from a Leland man’s checking account is finally in custody – nearly a year after arrest warrants were issued.

According to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, Lisa McClain, of Fair Bluff, is in custody for several charges, including financial exploitation of an elderly person, felony conspiracy, and financial card theft.

Kenneth Ray Nash told authorities in October 2011 that someone had taken over his personal checking account, according to a post on the Sheriff’s Office website.

After a 10-month investigation by the fraud unit, over 1,600 bank transactions were used to identify an in-home health care worker who was assigned to work for Nash by a home health care company.
According to officials, McClain took cash, prescription pain medications and checking account information from Nash during her employment.

McClain also reportedly enlisted help from several friends in order to create a debt consolidation, or bill-pay service, using Nash’s funds.

Full Article and Source:
Woman in custody a year after arrest warrants issued for financial exploitation

Dementia Patient "Overqualified" for Medicaid

January 20, 2013

“A man that’s worked all of his life, two to three jobs at a time has never asked for help,” said Rosemary of Gene.

“Now he severely needs help and can’t get it.” Rosemary said Gene needs medicaid to help cover the cost of assisted living or in-home care.

But because of the 1.7% social security raise, Rosemary said Gene no longer qualifies for medicaid. He’s overqualified by $15 too much in income.
Source: Dementia Patient “Overqualified” for Medicaid