Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Woman sentenced for leaving elderly mother in a chair for a year

Linda Farr, of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire
A woman who left her elderly mother sitting in a chair for up to 12 months before her death has been handed a suspended jail term.

Linda Farr was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, after admitting gross negligence manslaughter of Doreen Shufflebotham, officials at Stafford crown court said.

Shufflebotham, 86, died on 6 September 2016 after becoming increasingly unwell. She had a femur fracture, which had become infected, and developed a pulmonary embolism, sepsis, deep-vein thrombosis and acute bacterial meningitis, Staffordshire police said.

“Medical experts estimated that Doreen had not moved from the chair that she was sitting in for approximately eight-12 months,” the force said.

Three days after her mother’s death, Farr, 68, of Stoke-on-Trent, was arrested and later charged.

DI Dan Ison said: “It is very upsetting to hear the extent of negligence in this case. Doreen’s injuries were incredibly severe and she must have experienced terrible pain in her last few months as she became increasingly ill.

“This was a very traumatic experience for our investigating officers and I would like to praise their professionalism in the face of horrific injuries and conditions.

“I hope this raises awareness to others that appropriate medical advice should always be sought, especially if an elderly person is involved.”

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Woman sentenced for leaving elderly mother in a chair for a year

San Jacinto County judge indicted, suspended

Judge John Lovett Jr.
SAN JACINTO COUNTY, Texas - A county judge is accused of burglary, forgery and tampering with a governmental record, investigators said Monday.

Judge John Lovett Jr., 51, has been suspended without pay due to the charges he faces, according to his Order of Suspension, which was issued Sunday.

The burglary and tampering counts are considered felonies. The forgery charge is a misdemeanor. The allegations were filed in an indictment stemming from an incident at the County Courthouse on July 7, 2017, according to a news release from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.

Lovett is accused of entering the county clerk’s office and then falsifying a certification or a signature stamp of the county clerk on a meeting notice. The county clerk didn’t authorize this, the indictment said.

The Attorney General’s Office presented its case Monday to a grand jury, and then Lovett was booked in jail. He has since posted bond.

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San Jacinto County judge indicted, suspended

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tonight on Marti Oakley's T. S. Radio: Hospice Survivors and Victims With Carly Walden

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST …
7:00 pm CST …8:00 pm  EST ...

Tonight's guest is: Susan Moxley ….“Signed, Sad, angry, determined to expose” my father was murdered.

Susan will be us to tell about the last days of her fathers life. We are having Susan Moxley on the show this evening to tell the world what her father went through in the last days of his life. These atrocities are going to continue to be exposed until change comes and the murders stop! We cannot sit back and be quiet about this any longer. This is the biggest fraud and a very dangerous situation facing our senior citizens, disabled, and mentally ill.

Stealth euthanasia is alive and well! While various states consider euthanasia bills, and “right to die” bills, the truth is, every state is allowing the euthanizing of elderly, handicapped and mentally ill people at the hands of Hospice and medical kidnappings by hospitals and doctors that result in the withholding of nutrition, hydration and necessary medical treatments to create the conditions necessary to declare “futility of care”. Once that declaration is made, palliative care (terminal sedation) begins. It ends with the “kill” shot which ends the life of the victim. .

Please join our efforts to stop this culture of death we live in. It’s A stealth culture happening right in front of you and your families.

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Half of Texas' Adult Guardianship Cases Violate Reporting Rules, Official Testifies

David Slayton testifies in front of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
A top Texas court official has testified that 43 percent of the state's adult guardianship cases in a 27-county sample didn't comply with the minimum paperwork-reporting requirements.

David Slayton, administrative director of Texas' Office of Court Administration, also told the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging that guardians in some of the 27,000 reviewed cases played fast and loose with the money of people under their care.

"The project regularly found unauthorized withdrawals from accounts; unauthorized gifts to family members and friends; unsubstantiated and unauthorized expenses; and the lack of backup data to substantiate the accountings," Slayton said during an April 18 hearing on elder abuse.

Texas' guardianship program provides court-appointed caretakers for adults who, due to age or mental incapacity, can no longer look after themselves. The filing requirements are intended to show that guardians aren't ripping off or neglecting individuals in their care.

Slayton's testimony come less than a year after Gov. Greg Abbott used his line-item veto power to cancel a statewide program that would scrutinize guardianship cases for fraud or abuse. That move shaved an estimated $5 million (that's with an "m") off the $217 billion state budget (that's with a "b"), according to the governor's office.

At the time, Abbott said other recent improvements to the state's guardianship system should be allowed to work before he would authorize hiring more staff to conduct the reviews.

"The creation of a new state bureaucracy should be a last resort," he said in a written statement.

The data in Slayton's testimony came from a pilot project of the Office of Court Administration, which also found that 3,100 of the people under guardianship in its sample had died without courts knowing.

Attempts to contact both Slayton and the governor before press time were unsuccessful.

The findings are disturbing, but not necessarily surprising to Thomas Coleman, legal director for the Spectrum Institute, a California-based group that advocates for disabled people.

"The governor obviously doesn't care very much about  or people with disabilities or he wouldn't have vetoed that program," Coleman said. "God knows how many bad things are going on in the other counties because we don't yet know whether or not this is a representative sample."

Coleman added that the Texas guardianship system is "as bad or worse than any in the United States."

Earlier this month, Coleman's Spectrum Institute filed a class action complaint with the Texas Supreme Court arguing that the state's adult guardianship system violates parts of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

As of August 2017, 50,500 adults were under guardianship in Texas, up 5,200 from the previous year. Since 2012, the population of seniors in the state has increased 19 percent to 3.4 million.

The estates of people under guardianship in Texas have a combined value of $4-5 billion, Slayton testified.

Full Article & Source:
Half of Texas' Adult Guardianship Cases Violate Reporting Rules, Official Testifies

2 indicted on elder abuse

FLORENCE — Two Lauderdale County residents have been indicted on separate incidents of elder abuse.

Sgt. Matt Horton of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office said Mary Faust, 64, 464 Lauderdale 144, Killen, and Roy G. Pigg Jr., 54, 120 Dale Ave., Killen, were indicted.

Pigg is charged with second-degree elder abuse and financial exploitation of the elderly, while Faust is charged with third-degree elder abuse.

Horton said Pigg is accused of "intentionally" abusing a 62-year-old man and taking his checks while the man was in the hospital.

Pigg is scheduled to be arraigned April 30 by Lauderdale County Circuit Judge Will Powell.

Horton said Faust is accused of leaving a 71-year-old man she was sitting with inside a hot car without any water.

She has pleaded not guilty, and has been placed on Lauderdale Circuit Judge Ben Grave’s August criminal court docket.

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2 indicted on elder abuse

Roanoke man will defend himself in retrial for exploitation of the elderly

LACON — A former Roanoke man who got a new trial after being convicted last year of trying to extort $10,000 from an 87-year-old Wenona man has decided to defend himself at his new trial in the fall.

Michael Devore, who now lives in Altamont, told Circuit Judge Stephen Kouri last week that he had reached that conclusion after the private attorney he had hired to replace a public defender withdrew from his case.

“I’ve decided to go pro se,” Devore said during a brief hearing in Marshall County Circuit Court.

Devore, 27, is now scheduled to face a jury in September on a charge of attempted financial exploitation of the elderly. The Class 3 felony is punishable by penalties ranging from probation to five years in prison.

Devore was found guilty last July in a bench trial before Judge Thomas Keith. But Keith reversed the conviction in November after Devore claimed that longtime public defender Patrick Murphy had not given him a chance to testify on his own behalf.

″(Murphy) said he didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to testify because it would (expletive) the judge off,” Devore told Keith, adding that he thought that was his “only chance” to beat the charge. “I thought it was important for me to be heard.”

As a matter of strategy, Murphy said, he often advises defendants not to testify, and then requires those who insist on doing so anyway to sign a statement to that effect. He said he “presumed” he had informed Devore of his right to testify even against advice, but that had not been documented.

The case involved a complicated set of circumstances in which Devore had replaced his mother as a caregiver of Charles Goodwin’s disabled wife. In December 2015, Devore threatened to report the older man for elder abuse and illegal tax activities unless he gave him $10,000, and he also said he had once threatened to kill a man while in prison, according to Goodwin’s trial testimony.

“So he said, ‘You’re going to give me $10,000 today or else,’” Goodwin testified. “I felt threatened.”

Devore’s new trial had initially been set for Feb. 27. But Maureen Williams, the attorney who had represented him in getting a new trial, withdrew at that time, and Kouri gave him until last week to find a new lawyer.

The judge warned him of the risks of representing himself.

“You understand that you’re going to be at a disadvantage, because the other side will be represented by an attorney with considerable experience,” Kouri said in reference to State’s Attorney Paul Bauer.

Devore had waived his right to a jury trial earlier in the proceedings, but Kouri said he would be entitled to “start over” and have one if he chose.

“I would like a jury trial if possible,” Devore said.

Full Article & Source:
Roanoke man will defend himself in retrial for exploitation of the elderly

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tonight on Marti Oakley's T. S. Radio: Abolishing Probate: Florida Legislative Claims Bill

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Our guests tonight are Peggy Dupree and Betty Gosnell. At issue is the Florida Legislative Claims bill, located HERE!

From the Bill:


*Payment to the guardian of the claimant, including a reversion to the source of payment upon the death of the claimant. (This language should be used if the claimant is a minor or is incompetent. It is intended to protect payments to claimants who are otherwise unable to protect their own interests).

“... payable to {guardian of claimant} as legal guardian of {claimant}, to be placed in the guardianship account of {claimant}, to compensate him/her for injuries and damages sustained as a result of the negligence of {respondent}.

Upon the death of {claimant}, any balance of the ${amount} remaining in the guardianship account shall revert to the {payor}. It is the intent of the Legislature that no funds exceeding {$ amount} appropriated herein subsequently be spent, or any obligation thereof incurred by the guardian, without prior order of the circuit court."

Gosh ....I wonder how that will work out? Tune in tonight as we talk about the ambiguity of this bill. Who actually benefits from this?

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

Editorial: He had to fight NM system to save his stepmother

Fourteen months, numerous trips from California to Las Cruces, more than $50,000 in travel expenses and legal fees – and a man’s unwavering love for his stepmother, who had been in his life since he was 14 years old.

That’s what it took for Larry Davis and his wife, Marcia, to pry Larry’s stepmother, Kise Davis, from a commercial guardianship/conservatorship. Unbeknownst to her family, a handyman the 85-year-old woman befriended in Las Cruces had an emergency petition filed to have her placed under court protection.

The petition filed by the handyman’s lawyer failed to mention that Kise had a stepson – describing him only as her former power of attorney. Larry Davis had no notice of the petition that state District Judge James T. Martin of Las Cruces granted without a hearing. Davis’ first inkling was a telephone call in December 2016 from a neighbor of Kise’s in La Mesa telling him “I think you should know, they came and picked up Kise and said they’re taking her to an institution.”

Davis, who had visited his stepmother that June and been assured by state Adult Protective Services she was OK to continue living in the home she had shared with Larry’s father before his death, reacted quickly.

He talked to the handyman, Larry Franco, who said he had been worried about Kise and would withdraw his petition.

Too late. The commercial guardianship train had started rolling down the track. As provided by law, Kise now had a court-appointed guardian ad litem and a court-appointed guardian/conservator – both being paid from her assets.

She had been placed in a facility with people whose dementia was much worse than hers and the guardian ad litem opposed transferring her to California or putting her closest relative in charge of her care.

The judge initially agreed that Kise would be better served with a commercial guardian – even though he acknowledged Kise and Davis had a relationship.

Davis fought on. He had four different lawyers and made more than a half dozen trips to Las Cruces – including one when he arrived and was told the judge had been called away and the hearing re-scheduled.

He and his wife continued to see Kise – under restrictions from the guardian about what they could talk about and when they could see her.

Reforms passed by the 2018 Legislature, and others being drafted by a Supreme Court rules committee, will address some of the system’s ills. But they won’t necessarily stop what happened to Kise and Larry Davis.

But judges have the power to make – and the rules committee should consider a requirement that – attorneys who file petitions for guardianships or conservatorship submit an affidavit they have done due diligence and there are no family members who should be notified. Without that, the transparency reforms enacted this year mean nothing in a case like this.

And the Legislature, which backed off this year adopting the new Uniform Probate Code developed nationally, should revisit it – especially a provision that says judges should use the “least restrictive” means possible to protect the incapacitated person. In this case, that could have been a temporary living arrangement for Kise while the case was sorted out – rather than a full-blown corporate guardianship apparatus that has its own vested financial interest.

At the end of the day, it would appear the case of Kise and Larry Davis has a happy ending. “You saved my life,” Kise told her stepson, honoring him with a faux-Olympic medal after hearing the news on Feb. 26 that Larry would be her guardian/conservator.

But few people would have the assets and determination to fight the system the way Larry did – even if they had the same love for the family member. Once the family is shut out, the task is simply too daunting for too many.

There have been too many unhappy endings in cases like this. It’s up to our Legislature and the judiciary to continue working on reforms that prevent the nightmare scenario faced by Kise and Larry Davis.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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Editorial: He had to fight NM system to save his stepmother

Watch this judge brutally berate a woman in a wheelchair. The woman died. The judge has quit.

A Broward County circuit judge delivered a blistering, arm-waving, face-palming, tongue-lashing to a frail, out-of-breath woman — pushed into court in a wheelchair — who was facing misdemeanor charges following a family feud.

Three days later, the defendant died.

Judge Merrillee Ehrlich has resigned, although it is unclear when that resignation was provided and when it becomes effective.

News of the death of Sandra Faye Twiggs, 59, surfaced Friday.

The courtroom rant last Sunday was so over the top that Broward's elected public defender, Howard Finkelstein, demanded that Judge Merrilee Ehrlich be banned from the criminal courthouse.

"It is not appropriate for anyone to endure that kind of treatment," said Finkelstein's chief assistant, Gordon Weekes. "All that was required was a bit of patience, and a bit of respect to allow this lady to speak, to gather herself and to breathe."

Instead, Twiggs died, "and never had the opportunity to have her dignity restored," Weekes said.

Twiggs suffered from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also called COPD. She ended up under arrest after squabbling with her 19-year-old daughter.

“My mom is gone and there is nothing I can do about it,” said Michelle Ballard, the daughter. “I’m now a teenager who will have to bury her mother.”

Said Carolyn Porter, a family friend of Twiggs: “She came home so devastated she couldn't catch her breath.”

Porter told the Miami Herald that once Twiggs was released from jail and taken back home, she was starving, dizzy and borderline breathless. She had trouble getting her medications in the jail, Porter said.

Anna Twiggs, the woman's sister, found her dead in her bed Wednesday morning, the day after she was released, Porter added.

Sandra Faye Twiggs had never been in trouble before when the Lauderhill Police Department charged her on April 13 with scratching her daughter during a domestic dispute that began with a disagreement over a fan. Two days later, Twiggs was wheeled into Ehrlich's courtroom. She was coughing and gasping for breath.

Twiggs suffered from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

In a video of the April 15 encounter, Ehrlich appears to the left in a split screen, and Twiggs is shown seated in a wheelchair, barely visible above a lectern at the North Broward satellite courthouse. Ehrlich asks Twiggs whether she and her daughter, the alleged victim, live in the same house.

Twiggs tries to answer the question, which requires more than a "yes" or "no" because the 19-year-old doesn't live with Twiggs full-time. Mid-sentence, Ehrlich snaps at her: "Excuse me! Don't say anything beyond what I am asking you!" Clearly exasperated, Ehrlich asks Twiggs' lawyer, who is in a different location during the video hookup, to make Twiggs stop talking.

As Twiggs coughs and holds her head, Ehrlich speaks to deputies, who are off-screen: "Can someone there give her water as a kindness?" But the judge's anger continues to boil over. Twiggs tries to tell the judge that she needs medical treatment for her pulmonary problems.

The judge erupts: "Ma'am, I am not here to talk to you about your breathing treatments!"

Again, Ehrlich prevails upon Twiggs' lawyer to teach her better courtroom manners. "Will you say something in the microphone so that she can hear you and you can give her instructions about propriety in the court?" the judge says. "I'm not going to spend all day with her interrupting me," Ehrlich says.

"You've already said too much!" the judge yells later, as Twiggs tries to answer another question.

After disposing of Twiggs' case, Ehrlich's next defendant is a 30-year-old Fort Lauderdale woman charged with misdemeanor domestic battery. A police report says the woman allegedly pushed and slapped a man and then pulled his t-shirt, causing it "to stretch out and slightly tear."

The woman is worried about who will care for her 9-month-old baby while she is in jail. She begins to sob and shake. "Don't talk! You have an attorney here talking for you!" Ehrlich shouts. "Ma'am, be quiet or be removed! Be quiet!

In a letter to Broward's chief judge, Jack Tuter, Finkelstein wrote that Ehrlich "demonstrated aggressive and tyrannical behavior and revealed her lack of emotional fitness to sit on the bench," during the back-to-back hearings. He called the judge's behavior "shocking, and an embarrassment to Broward County."

The Herald was unable to reach the judge Friday evening.

Said Porter, the family friend: “Yes people go to jail but they don’t have to be treated like animals because they're in jail. ... That courtroom, that jail cell was the last life she lived — that's the way she lived the last days of her life.”
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Watch this judge brutally berate a woman in a wheelchair. The woman died. The judge has quit.