Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Passing of Gary E. Harvey

Our hearts are heavy with sadness as we mourn the passing of Gary E. Harvey this past Sunday, April 23, 2017 and we pray for peace and strength for his loving wife, Sara, who was only permitted to see her husband for only 20 minutes in the last four years.

Gary committed no crime but was kept in isolation as if he were a prisoner and he was denied the comfort and love of his wife when he needed her most.

For 11 long and torturous years, Sara never stopped fighting for Gary; he couldn't have picked a more loving and dedicated wife. 

Godspeed, Gary Harvey.

See Also:
NASGA:  Gary E. Harvey, NY Victim

High court’s guardianship panel plans first meeting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The public on Friday will get its first chance to address a new state Supreme Court committee that will dive into the complex issue of whether the state’s adult guardian/conservator system is in need of reform.

The 16-member guardianship study commission will take public comment from 9:30 a.m. to noon on suggested changes and improvement to the state guardianship system. The meeting is expected to run until 4 p.m.

Barry Massey, a Supreme Court spokesman, said the guardianship commission has not yet mapped out the full scope of its work, but there have been preliminary discussions about reviewing the efforts of other states to improve their guardianship systems.

One noted program is in Palm Beach County, Fla., where court clerk and comptroller Sharon R. Bock, who is elected, has made guardianship fraud enforcement a priority. She oversees a staff of guardianship auditors who look for fraud, waste and financial mismanagement despite office budget cuts of 36 percent since 2009.

Bock, in a recent interview with the Journal, said her agency has been asked to provide information on best practices to groups around the country, from Portland, Ore., to Tennessee. Last May, she and her staff spent several hours speaking with the Nevada Supreme Court commission studying guardianship reform.

In March of this year, a former court-ordered financial guardian from a private firm in Las Vegas, Nev., was arrested and charged in an exploitation scheme involving more than $550,000 allegedly stolen from 150 people.

Bock’s agency, which runs a guardian fraud hotline, has identified more than $5.1 million in missing assets and fraud involving guardianships since 2011.

The Palm Beach County program last fall was recognized at the 4th Congress for Adult Guardianship in Berlin.

“We know there are honorable, hardworking guardians out there, but when you have a $270 billion industry that is unregulated, you’re always going to be getting your bad apples,” Bock told the Journal. “This is literally taking us by surprise, and we’re not prepared as a society for this.”

District courts in New Mexico oversee thousands of cases in which relatives or nonrelatives, including for-profit companies, are appointed as guardians or conservators for a adults deemed incapacitated or for those who lack the capacity to manage some or all of their personal or financial affairs.

The state Supreme Court earlier this month decided to appoint the commission, which includes current and former judges, to recommend changes in state statutes, funding, administrative practices or other proposals to improve the guardianship system. Wendy York, an Albuquerque attorney and a former state district judge, is chairwoman of the commission.

The commission is to submit an initial status report to the Supreme Court by Oct. 1 and continue its work until completing a final report and recommendations.

The commission’s creation comes amid an ongoing Journal investigation into criticism from family members whose relatives have been placed with for-profit guardians and conservators whose fees typically are deducted from the incapacitated person’s assets.

Some families complain their relatives have been neglected by court-appointed guardians; they question expenses that have drained their loved ones’ estates, and they say they’ve been stymied by confidentiality provisions in the law from learning about their relatives’ living status and finances.

Those who defend the current system say that the secrecy is designed to protect the privacy of the incapacitated persons and that guardians and conservators appointed by the courts serve an important role, particularly in cases involving feuding family members.

Full Article & Source:
High court’s guardianship panel plans first meeting

Cook County Judge Removed From Bench Amid Federal Fraud Charges

Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien
CHICAGO (CBS) — A highly regarded Cook County judge has been removed from hearing cases after being charged by federal authorities with fraud for providing false information to obtain loans for properties on the South Side.

Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien, 49, was charged last week with one count of mail fraud affecting a financial institution, and one count of bank fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.

On Wednesday, Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced that O’Brien has been “reassigned to administrative duties in the office of the Presiding Judge of the First Municipal District, Judge E. Kenneth Wright Jr.” The action followed a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County on Tuesday.

Administrative duties can include performing marriage ceremonies and reviewing petitions for reduced court-filing fees for indigent parties, a statement from Evans’ office said. The action is effective immediately and until further notice.

“The committee is aware that a federal grand jury indicted Judge O’Brien on April 12, and she is accused of fraudulently obtaining loans related to the purchase, maintenance and sale of properties in Chicago,” the statement said. “That same day, on April 12, Judge Wright reassigned Judge O’Brien to administrative duties until the Executive Committee could consider the matter.”

Evans said last week that he was unable to comment further on the matter, citing Supreme Court Rule 63, which states, “A judge should abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court…”

The alleged crimes occurred before O’Brien was elected the first female Filipino-American judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2012.

Federal prosecutors allege O’Brien got lenders to provide loans “by making false representations and concealing material facts in documents submitted to the lenders.” An attorney at the time, she used the loans to buy and refinance about $1.4 million in mortgage and commercial loans, including the purchase of an investment property in the 600 block of West 54th Street in the Back of the Yards, prosecutors said.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Cook County Judge Removed From Bench Amid Federal Fraud Charges

Disabled man forced to crawl out of store after being denied electric cart

MASON CITY, IA (RNN) - A handicapped man was denied the use of a store-owned electric cart and forced to walk out of the establishment on his hands and knees.

The incident occurred at Mills Fleet Farm on Monday.

Customer Shane Zahn said that he was told he couldn't ride the electric cart into the store's parking lot, despite his handicap.

A Facebook post that shows Zahn leaving the store has accrued more than 20,000 Reactions and almost 5 million views.  (Click to Continue)

Disabled man forced to crawl out of store after being denied electric cart

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ohio among worst states for nursing home inspections, report says

CLEVELAND -- Ohio is among the U.S. states with the worst records for keeping up with nursing home inspections, according to a report out Sunday.

The Plain Dealer cites records it obtained showing that a key deadline for inspecting nursing homes hasn't been met since fiscal year 2011. It says Ohio is the fourth-worst state nationally in inspection intervals.

Advocates say inspectors offer important checks on the industry, detecting patient care issues.

The agency that provides inspectors is understaffed. Ohio has one inspector for every six nursing homes, the Plain Dealer reported. Meanwhile, nearby states Michigan, Kentucky and Illinois have one for every four facilities.

The Ohio Department of Health says officials are working hard to improve time intervals and there has been progress in the last two years.

Full Article & Source:
Ohio among worst states for nursing home inspections, report says

Dramatic body cam video shows officer save man from jumping off roof

Click to Watch Video of man being saved
HAMDEN, Conn. -- Video captured by a Connecticut police officer's body cam shows the officer saving a man who was attempting to jump off a six-story building last week.

Police said they were called to the Whitney Center retirement community in Hamden for a report of a resident fighting with people the afternoon of April 21.

Officer Justin Martin was meeting with staff members and an elderly male resident on the third floor, when the resident ran upstairs away from staff members.

The officer found the resident going through a 6th floor doorway, leading to a terrace on the roof.

As officer Martin got closer, he saw the man dive head first over a railing. He grabbed the resident by his feet and pulled him to safety. The man continued to fight with the officer during the rescue but was eventually taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for evaluation.

Dramatic body cam video shows officer save man from jumping off roof

State Launches New Program to Help Low-Income Elderly Iowans with Establishing a Guardianship

The Iowa Department on Aging recently announced the launch of the Iowa Guardianship Establishment Program, which will award one-time grants to assist low-income Iowans with a documented medical condition establish substitute decision-making services to protect their personal health, safety, assets and dignity.

Under the program, which is administered by the Office of Substitute Decision Maker, eligible individuals may qualify to receive a one-time grant of up to $1,000 to pay the legal fees associated with establishing a guardianship or conservatorship in the state of Iowa. To address this need, the Iowa Department on Aging has allocated $35,000 in state dollars for the IAGE Program in State Fiscal Year 2017. Marion County Senior Nutrition Director Dawn Allspach-Kline tells KNIA/KRLS News this funding is beneficial for older adults or family members who may have dementia, Alzheimer’s, or any other documented Medical condition. There are end of life legal issues that have been very difficult to get through for older adults, those reaching the end of life, and their caregivers when the affairs are not in order. Kline adds, the Knoxville Senior Center and Marion County Senior Nutrition are the local level contacts that can help with aging issues.

Full Article & Source:
State Launches New Program to Help Low-Income Elderly Iowans with Establishing a Guardianship

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Indicted Nashville Judge To Receive $4,500 Monthly Pension: Report

NASHVILLE, TN — Former Davidson County General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland is in line to receive a $4,588 monthly pension, plus insurance benefits, despite being under federal indictment, The Tennessean reports.

Even though he faces trial on three counts of obstruction of justice and witness tampering related to allegations he paid a woman $6,000 in an effort to get her to recant public allegations against him, Moreland could still receive taxpayer-funded benefits. Moreland resigned as one of the county's 11 General Sessions judges as part of a pre-trial release agreement.

Moreland — who can also receive medical insurance coverage and a $10,000 life insurance policy in addition to the pension — would, under state law, forfeit his retirement benefits upon conviction of "a felony arising out of that person's employment or official capacity, constituting malfeasance in office." Metro Law Director Jon Cooper told The Tennessean that Metro's employment benefits board could revoke those benefits even without a conviction.

Full Article & Source:
Indicted Nashville Judge To Receive $4,500 Monthly Pension: Report

Supporters hold rally for suspended Goodsprings judge

Goodsprings residents rallied Saturday in support of longtime judge Dawn Haviland, who is suspended with pay after state disciplinary investigators slapped her with a laundry list of ethics charges.

“Come out and show your support for our friend and neighbor who is fighting false and malicious charges before the Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission,” read fliers distributed ahead of the afternoon event.

The rally was held at Sandy Valley Ranch near Goodsprings. Attendees were offered free food, beer and wine. They were asked to bring a check to donate to Haviland’s defense fund.

Haviland has served as Goodsprings justice of the peace since 1999. She is accused of sweeping ethics violations that include sealing her then-son-in-law’s criminal records, ordering staff to run background checks on her friend’s boyfriend, and using vulgar language to bully employees.

Haviland, in a 14-page response to the charges, answered in detail to each allegation. She blames the charges on a disgruntled employee whose testimony is cited in the state judicial discipline commission’s formal statement of charges.

A disciplinary hearing is scheduled for August. Haviland faces anything from a private reprimand to removal from office, or the charges could be dismissed.

“I would say that Dawn Haviland is the most respected person in Sandy Valley,” said Haviland’s defense attorney, Al Marquis. “She has done so much for the community without ever having asked for anything in return.”

Marquis said Haviland was instrumental in getting a charter school in Sandy Valley so that students did not need to be bused to and from Las Vegas.

“People in the community just want to rally together … to show that they’re behind her,” Marquis said.

The defense lawyer said roughly 100 people responded that they plan to attend the event.

Full Article & Source:
Supporters hold rally for suspended Goodsprings judge