Archive for the ‘Reform’ Category

>Opinions of How to Reform CA State Bar

February 9, 2011

>The State Bar should be governed by a board of 17 — nine lawyers appointed by the Supreme Court and eight publicly appointed members. All should serve four-year terms. And the bar’s current “integrated” structure, combining regulatory and trade association functions, raises serious ethical issues and needs reform.

Or . . .

The State Bar should continue to be governed by a lawyer-dominated board with some public members. Candidates could be vetted to insure adequate qualifications, but the appointment power of political entities is unwelcome. The integrated status should be retained as the best structure to oversee public protection.

Or . . .

The bar should be independent of any state agency. To avoid the possibility of unintended consequences, no changes to the agency’s structure or mandate should be adopted until data is collected to determine whether the bar is fulfilling its various functions.

These suggestions and dozens of others are under consideration by a legislatively mandated task force appointed to recommend improvements to the bar’s public protection efforts. Two hearings last month and a survey of 20,000 bar members drew responses that ran the gamut and addressed issues ranging from what the board of governors should be called to whether the bar violates open meeting laws to the role of the Supreme Court.

Full Article and Source:
Panel Hears no Shortage of Opinions on How to Reform State Bar

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Elderly Need Advocates

September 1, 2009

by Helen LaBounty
There is not a state in this great nation of ours that does not profess elder advocacy. Supposed protections are in place to prevent physical and financial abuses to the elderly. Yet, such abuse is on the rise despite media attention. The Nursing Home Reform Act was great legislation which is still on the books with little or no enforcement. The long-term care lobbies speak with greater dollar signs than the aged population.

Evidence of this is reflected by the administration of psychotropic medication in long-term care facilities. Most of us reach our “golden years” without needing such prescriptions. Yet, it is common for a resident with no previous psychotropic needs to become medicated in a facility. Records show “depression” or “belligerence” as the explanation. Often, the patient consent form is signed without explanation of the drug’s effects. Family doesn’t understand the loved one’s subdued manner upon visits.

The elder is dealing with aging as well as their loved ones. Of course, the patient is belligerent. Imagine after years of success, accumulating assets, you are ordered into such a facility. Upon admission, the patient is asked to consider the weighty decision of a “do not resuscitate” form. The patient needs to consider “what is my life worth?” If incompetent, the guardian will make the decision. He or she quickly learns their burden to the facility in terms of allotted care time, bathing, feeding, etc.

Our aged mothers, fathers, veterans and other loved ones need a voice. Lobbyists for long-term care facilities, banks and attorneys speak loudly. Few families understand the need for interest in legislation to protect the elder. Realize that most legislators are attorneys and reflect that attitude. Guardianship is on the rise. Guardianship happens quickly in probate court where the ward loses most rights to the court appointed guardian in the guise of protection.

The court often makes the decision for them. And the ward pays from life-long accumulated assets. If the vulnerable ward or their family attempts to fight the guardianship, the ward’s funds pay for the guardian’s attorney. Read shocking tales of documented guardianship abuse at the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse Web site at NASGA-StopGuardianAbuse.blogspot.com.

Full Article and Souce:
Elderly Need Advocates

See also:
Anna V. LaBounty

Journey For Justice

Push The Walker

House OK’s Bills Targeting Elder Abuse, Financial Exploitation

September 1, 2009

Lansing — Part of a package of bills to prevent financial exploitation of senior citizens passed in the state House Wednesday afternoon.

Called the Elder Abuse Protection Plan, the package is meant to address a surge in abuse complaints, which have increased 40 percent in Michigan since 1998, according to the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Under the bills, financially exploiting a vulnerable adult would be a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Children who abuse, neglect or exploit their aging parents would be disinherited. And third parties would be able to file criminal complaints to stop and prevent abuse cases in nursing homes and elsewhere.

The bills have to pass the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to become law.

“Now, the victim has to voluntarily go in and file the complaint themselves,” said state Rep. Andy Neumann, D-Alpena, chairman of the House Committee on Senior Health, Security and Retirement.

“(Under the bills) a friend, or somebody from the financial community, like a banker, could file a complaint and have it investigated,” he said.

Based partly on the findings of Granholm’s Elder Abuse Task Force, the package has been lauded by advocates worried about the rise in elder abuse. Michigan’s Adult Protective Services received more than 16,300 reports of adult mistreatment in 2008.

Full Article and Source:
House OK’s Bills Targeting Elder Abuse, Financial Exploitation

Governor Celebrates Reform

August 12, 2009
Governor M. Jodi Rell today celebrated legislation she spearheaded that makes historic and necessary reforms and modernizations to Connecticut’s 300-year-old probate court system, making the courts self-sustaining and more efficient through consolidation and centralized accounting while introducing new professional standards.

Effective January 5, 2011, the old revenue system – largely funded by fees and approximately $2.5 million in state aid each year – will be replaced with one based on population and workload in which a judge’s compensation will be paid directly from a Probation Court Administration Fund overseen by the state Treasurer.

The new law requires the Treasurer to give the Governor and the Legislature a financial accounting of the Probate Court Administration Fund by October 1 of each year.

Other provisions of the bill include:

* Consolidating courts from 117 to between 44 and 50 courts – Redistricting will be recommended by a bi-partisan commission if the current probate judges cannot agree on the final number of courts
* Centralizing accounting and payroll functions in the Office of the Probate Court Administrator
* Requiring courts to operate 40 hours a week
* All new judges will be attorneys, members in good standing with the Connecticut Bar for not less than 10 years and residents of their districts
* Judges would continue to be elected

Full Article and Source:
Governor Rell celebrates legislation reforming state’s 300-year-old probate court system

See also:
117 Probate Courts Reduced

>117 Probate Courts Reduced

July 11, 2009

>

A new law that will reform the probate court system could mean drastic changes for northeastern Connecticut towns.

Seven probate courts serve the towns of Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Sterling, Thompson and Woodstock. Canterbury and Sterling are served by the Plainfield court.

Probate courts also are known as family courts. Cases vary from settling estates to deciding parental rights and guardianship.

Combined, the seven northeastern Connecticut courts heard more than 1,800 matters in 2008.

But with the reform law signed last month by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, the 117 probate courts across the state will be reduced to between 44 and 50.

Full Article and Source:
Single probate court may serve 9 northeastern Connecticut towns

More information:
A plan creating 50 probate court districts in Connecticut by consolidating the present 117 has been written by the Probate Court Assembly.

Probate judges met in Hartford to arrive at the first in a series of steps that will reform the state’s 300-year-old probate court system.

They were responding to a bill signed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell June 12. The law is designed to make the courts more self-sustaining financially and more efficient.
Proposed probate court changes announced

See also:
Rell Signs Legislation

117 Probate Courts Reduced

July 11, 2009
A new law that will reform the probate court system could mean drastic changes for northeastern Connecticut towns.

Seven probate courts serve the towns of Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Sterling, Thompson and Woodstock. Canterbury and Sterling are served by the Plainfield court.

Probate courts also are known as family courts. Cases vary from settling estates to deciding parental rights and guardianship.

Combined, the seven northeastern Connecticut courts heard more than 1,800 matters in 2008.

But with the reform law signed last month by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, the 117 probate courts across the state will be reduced to between 44 and 50.

Full Article and Source:
Single probate court may serve 9 northeastern Connecticut towns

More information:
A plan creating 50 probate court districts in Connecticut by consolidating the present 117 has been written by the Probate Court Assembly.

Probate judges met in Hartford to arrive at the first in a series of steps that will reform the state’s 300-year-old probate court system.

They were responding to a bill signed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell June 12. The law is designed to make the courts more self-sustaining financially and more efficient.
Proposed probate court changes announced

See also:
Rell Signs Legislation

>Legislation Does Not Address Fraud

June 16, 2009

>

Legislation that would require certification of some guardians of impaired adults is expected to be signed by the governor, but one lawyer involved in Illinois guardianship reform efforts said it doesn’t address the biggest problem.

Mark Heyrman, a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School who led a task force that in 2001 came up with recommendations for guardianship reform in Illinois, said he supports the new bill and thinks it’ll provide needed training for some guardians who don’t know how to do their job.

However, he doesn’t believe good training will stop someone who wants to steal a person’s money.

Heyrman: “I think it’s a nice, interesting piece of legislation. I don’t think it will address the primary problem, which is fraud.”

Full Article and Source:
New rules for adult guardians likely on the way

See also:
A Situation That’s Ripe For Abuse and Neglect

Legislation Does Not Address Fraud

June 16, 2009
Legislation that would require certification of some guardians of impaired adults is expected to be signed by the governor, but one lawyer involved in Illinois guardianship reform efforts said it doesn’t address the biggest problem.

Mark Heyrman, a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School who led a task force that in 2001 came up with recommendations for guardianship reform in Illinois, said he supports the new bill and thinks it’ll provide needed training for some guardians who don’t know how to do their job.

However, he doesn’t believe good training will stop someone who wants to steal a person’s money.

Heyrman: “I think it’s a nice, interesting piece of legislation. I don’t think it will address the primary problem, which is fraud.”

Full Article and Source:
New rules for adult guardians likely on the way

See also:
A Situation That’s Ripe For Abuse and Neglect

>NASGA Celebrates World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15, 2009

>NASGA
National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse
http://www.stopguardianabuse.org/
http://NASGA-StopGuardianAbuse.blogspot.com

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release

June 15, 2009
For more information contact:
Annie McKenna
info@StopGuardianAbuse.org
Media Liaison
_________________________________________________

NASGA Celebrates World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15, 2009
_________________________________________________
NASGA is a civil rights organization comprised of victims and families working to expose and end unlawful and abusive guardianships/conservatorships.

It is fitting that on this day of global recognition, NASGA brings to public attention a shocking truth: elderly and/or disabled and vulnerable people are often abused – physically and financially – by their court-appointed “protectors.”

The abuse is enabled under color of law by uncaring or corrupt courts presiding over guardianship / conservatorship cases.

Unlawful and abusive guardianships constitute elder abuse at its worst.
Guardianship wards are often isolated from family and friends and forcibly removed from their homes to nursing homes where they die prematurely, alone and afraid; completely unaware of their families’ constant struggle – almost always in vain – to free them.

The court-appointed fiduciaries and their lawyers engage in dissipating their victims’ assets by exorbitant and/or fraudulent billing, leaving them indigent, to ultimately become a burden on the US taxpayers under Medicaid – quite contrary to the intent of the “protective” statutes.

Many families go to the Office of the Attorney General for help – only to be turned away because the abuse has been court sanctioned.

Americans should be outraged by this public sanctioning of abuse. NASGA calls for legislative reform to stop this insidious crime foisted upon our most vulnerable citizens – the elderly and disabled – by misapplication and misuse of law actually intended to protect them.

NASGA Celebrates World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15, 2009

NASGA
National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse
http://www.stopguardianabuse.org/
http://NASGA-StopGuardianAbuse.blogspot.com

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release

June 15, 2009
For more information contact:
Annie McKenna
info@StopGuardianAbuse.org
Media Liaison
_________________________________________________

NASGA Celebrates World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15, 2009
_________________________________________________
NASGA is a civil rights organization comprised of victims and families working to expose and end unlawful and abusive guardianships/conservatorships.

It is fitting that on this day of global recognition, NASGA brings to public attention a shocking truth: elderly and/or disabled and vulnerable people are often abused – physically and financially – by their court-appointed “protectors.”

The abuse is enabled under color of law by uncaring or corrupt courts presiding over guardianship / conservatorship cases.

Unlawful and abusive guardianships constitute elder abuse at its worst.
Guardianship wards are often isolated from family and friends and forcibly removed from their homes to nursing homes where they die prematurely, alone and afraid; completely unaware of their families’ constant struggle – almost always in vain – to free them.

The court-appointed fiduciaries and their lawyers engage in dissipating their victims’ assets by exorbitant and/or fraudulent billing, leaving them indigent, to ultimately become a burden on the US taxpayers under Medicaid – quite contrary to the intent of the “protective” statutes.

Many families go to the Office of the Attorney General for help – only to be turned away because the abuse has been court sanctioned.

Americans should be outraged by this public sanctioning of abuse. NASGA calls for legislative reform to stop this insidious crime foisted upon our most vulnerable citizens – the elderly and disabled – by misapplication and misuse of law actually intended to protect them.