The American Guardianship Crisis–#1
The American Guardianship Crisis
Like most youngsters growing up in Chicago in the 1950s and 60s, I loved watching my favorite weekly TV shows. One particular phrase from the opening of my favorite show–The Adventures of Superman– has always stood out in my mind. The phrase is “Truth, justice and the American way.” That is what my childhood fictional hero from planet Krypton, Superman, battled for each week with his superpowers. Other TV shows with more human heroes like Perry Mason and Ironside helped mold my youthful notion of the unique greatness of America and its legal system. Each would show that in our system the truth would always win out and justice would be served. And for most of my adult life, I had no doubt that our American system of justice represented the pinnacle of justice. I grew up believing that our beloved America had the greatest, most righteous courts and the single best legal system on earth.
I wasn’t just wrong. I was dead wrong. On both counts.
I had been blissfully ignorant about courts and lawyers, having never had any significant involvement in a courtroom other than being an expert medical witness from time to time. It was in 2010 that I discovered that I may have not quite understood the full meaning of the phrase “Truth, Justice and The American Way”. While I thought I understood “truth,” and I had always believed in fair “justice,” I learned I had likely been misinformed about the meaning of ”The American Way.” In these times it wasn’t, as I believed, based on absolute and pristine moral adherence to the law, rather, it was and is a derivative of and spawned by our system of capitalism. Meaning that if that system of justice could be corrupted by money, it would be. And it is.
In fact, in America, you get only the justice you can afford. And in probate Equity Court even if you could afford it, the court will take your assets so that you will never be able to afford it when you need it most.
At first, that conclusion was born of my personal experience in Equity probate, but it has been bolstered by the real-life experiences of hundreds and hundreds of For Profit Probate Guardianship cases I have investigated and documented over the years in my role as Founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship.
What I wrote about in my first book “Guardianships and the Elderly-the Perfect Crime” and saw firsthand in the probate guardianship process is that there are countless victims of this process, young and old, rich and poor. We had initially thought my wife’s and my shockingly horrible experience in Equity Probate in Miami Florida was a one off, an aberration that could not happen to anyone else. But, the injustices we personally endured and then ultimately heard about so often from countless other victims and families compelled me to found an organization designed to help them and at the very least expose what was going on in probate equity courts around the country. By investigating and documenting the many injustices so commonplace within this system, I came to discover that abuse in these “equity courts” was just the tip of one single aspect of a very large legal iceberg. That instead of having a twelve person jury decide on the fate of an individual like on TV and as many of us believed promised by the Bill of Rights, these are juryless court systems based on only one person’s decisions—a Judge; a person whose personal friendships, political affiliations, and unlimited unsupervised and unmonitored power make that system ripe for abuse.
The truth shocks me to this day. In case after case the fact patterns are unmistakable: The foundation of modern American justice is built on riskless legal corruption, power and large piles of money. In counselling countless victims who sought our help, I could not avoid the cold reality that it is money and profit, not truth and justice that drive these courts. I found the differences between our courts’ theoretical constructs and aspirational goals and their day-to-day actual behaviors to be polar opposites. The more research I did, the more I came to understand and to realize that we actually have, not one, but two separate parallel systems of jurisprudence in this country. I had no idea and I imagine the clear majority of Americans have no idea that the “blind justice” court system they have watched on television for years and believed in is an illusion manipulated by predators whose interest in actual justice may be just as illusory.
This book is written so you, the reader, can be warned about the least understood and secret system of law in America—Probate Equity Court.
This book is about how to understand probate equity in its various iterations and how it might very likely impact your life at its beginning or its end. You will learn how Equity began in England’s Church, how it evolved in the law and how even today it exerts a profound effect on increasingly common cases of guardianship. As you read, you will find the amazing similarities in these so called “Special Jurisdiction” equity courts, the makeup of their court insiders and judges, the massive amounts of money—private and public– that flow through and disappear in these courts. And you will learn the tragic outcomes that arise when equity goes off the rails. You will learn the shocking truth: If you want or need justice, you had better have bags full of large bills to pay for it—and even then outcomes are a crapshoot. You will hear firsthand stories of the mind-boggling abuse heaped on families who try to fight this system. You will be exposed to the abusive actions of apex predator guardians all over the country.
We will explore the impact of a single judge’s power on the lives of wards and their families, victims from across the age spectrum—as they endure the misery and pain inflicted by these equity courts. You will come to understand how the unchecked power of probate equity has been used against minorities, the infirm, native Americans, the very young and the very old, the richest and poorest among us and icons and average Joes. You will read comments and stories from victims as well as leading authors on the horrors of being caught up in the unwinnable battles that transpire in rigged American equity courts daily.
And in learning about equity, I think you will come to the same conclusion that I did—This is not supposed to happen in America.
You will learn what others have tried to avoid or prevail in equity, how the system became so badly broken and how it could be made less cruel.
Equity is the second rail of a two track system—one with juries (and juries are far from perfect admittedly) and rules running in plain view with juries of our peers and orderly structure, and another, Equity, run in near secrecy and without juries, by elected judicial masters who can control our lives and our family’s lives without any oversight or supervision. It is money and profit, power and clout–not truth and justice– that drive many of our courts. It is where truth and fact mean far less than first impressions and power and profit. That has become The New American Way.
With apologies to Superman and all the other noble superheroes we loved, the stories and facts you are about to read will make the case that we trusting, innocent and decent Americans are easy prey for our secretive Equity For Profit legal system in nearly every state in the Country.
We need to know it is legal American Kryptonite and it can destroy us. And that means you.
What this system looks like
The business of Law in America is a gigantic multiheaded enterprise. The amount of money spent is mind boggling and the number of people involved is epic.
In 2018 American State and National BAR records show there were 1.34 million attorneys in the United States.
There were over 1700 Presidentially appointed federal judges in 94 federal judicial districts which are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a court of appeals.
Around the same time there were over 30,000 (mostly elected) state judges nationally.
With 20 separate judicial districts spread over 67 counties, Florida was home in 2018 to over 920 circuit and County judges and over 105,000– 75,000 of which are actively practicing– attorneys.
In fiscal 2018, Florida Probate courts alone disposed of over 123,000 cases—an all time high.
About 15.6% of all county cases were probate and 37.8% were in family courts- the primary equity courts of “special jurisdiction”.
The Florida Judicial System had a record high legislatively approved budget of $504,954,746 for fiscal year 2017 an increase of over 12% in the three years since 2014.
The Florida State Courts system routinely generate around one Billion dollars a year in revenues.
For every 10,000 citizens in the USA in 2015, there were 40 lawyers—an all time high. In Florida it is 37 lawyers for every 10,000 citizens.
As a country we invest massively in our legal system and we expect that it will function properly. We train more lawyers than almost any other country on earth and we pay them extremely well. It can be argued that the most powerful lobbying group in the United States is the BAR since no legislation in any state has the slightest chance of becoming law without being vetted and approved by that organization.
The legal system was set up to be self-governing and to police itself. It is the only independent branch of government. Judges in particular are shielded from any actions by judicial immunity which they extend to court insiders who practice before them.
In return for our money and trust, Americans expect that activities in court conform to the highest scintilla of propriety, justice, and honesty. As a nation we are taught to believe that equal justice under the law is available to every citizen.
Our concepts of American fairness are rooted in our belief that are courts will reliably mete out reasoned, lawful, fair and prompt justice. Our culture has been exposed to recreations of courtroom proceedings in television dramas and movies in which ardent lawyers fight for justice in front of wise and unbiased judges.
But that reality and that image has been tarnished by scandals and corruption particularly in American equity courts like probate, family and divorce courts where the number of abuses reported on a regular basis has become so substantial that serious questions have arisen about whether these courts are even legitimate any longer.
How and when did this happen?
When the law became something else
“The once honorable profession of law now fully functions as a bottom-line business, driven by greed and the pursuit of power and wealth, even shaping the laws of the United States outside the elected Congress and state legislatures.”
Justice John Molloy who served on the Arizona Superior Court bench in his book THE FRATERNITY, LAWYERS AND JUDGES IN COLLUSION wrote:
At the center of countless fervent complaints about equity court abuses sits the legal fraternity—lawyers and judges who began as lawyers and occasionally return to being lawyers. They are the primary drivers of a massive but poorly understood multilayered legal system in which they and their colleagues –the fraternity of court insiders–routinely make life and death decisions and confiscate massive amounts of money by virtue of their unchallenged control of our courts and the immunity bestowed upon them by their managing guild, The American BAR association—arguably the single most powerful nongovernmental organization in the country. They make the laws—lawyers occupy the vast majority of seats in every state legislature–, they selectively enforce the laws—by deciding what to litigate and what to not litigate– and they choose which laws to enforce and which to ignore. They own us. And they charge us by the minute to access their serpentine system that only they can understand or navigate.
Most folks have no idea that the BAR runs this country.
BAR members don’t need to tell the truth, especially since they’re taught to believe commoners are beneath them—they are never under oath and their word is to be accepted as gospel. All Attorneys have a Title of Nobility, ESQUIRE—bequeathed by the only non-governmental agency in this country to grant any such titles, the BAR.. BAR members refer to people as the DECEDENT/PERSON. PERSONS, as defined by the BAR are DEAD entities, with no status/standing in law. So anyone who claims U.S. citizen status, is known as the equivalent of an INCOMPETENT IMBECILE/WARD OF THE STATE, and when a U.S. citizen is re-presented by a B.A.R. Attorney, said IMBECILE is considered to be too INCOMPETENT to speak. The Black Robed BAR Judge can completely disregard whatever the IMBECILE says, or even misrepresent it by twisting it around to something that suits the “Court.” This is especially evident in guardianship proceedings where governmental rights are removed thus allowing the rapid return of a human being to his status as a person who is dead in the law.
The evolution of the modern lawyer’s fraternity is a subject of great importance to anyone who is even potentially a litigant and anyone with anything to lose. When the evolution of lawyer fees turned from reasonable global fees needed for a given case in the 1950’s and the judicious use of contingency arrangements to support expensive litigation to the modern age minute by minute charges in the mid 20th Century, the entire idea of equal justice for all was turned on its head.
The courtroom has become a modern day rigged roller derby where legal gladiators in $5,000 suits joust for the kill in staged matches where court insiders skate around the rules and laws to the finish line in which massive legal fees and not justice are the ultimate prize. Anyone who is not an insider gets trampled.
Come back soon for installment 2