Confirmation bias

Victims of the guardianship racket must absorb a stunning series of vicious body blows in what passes for hearings or pleadings in probate court proceedings around the country.  Losing a loved one to the racket is at the top of the list, but not far behind is the financial debacle that frequently bankrupts anyone who tries to stand in the way of a devastating professional guardianship.  Among the broadsides that are so frequent and so bewildering– all created to guarantee that the judge develops a negative opinion of the oppositional litigant– is the incredible realization that the judges in these courts appear to be unable to accept, recognize, appreciate or understand there being fed with an incessant stream of lies, hyperbole, and misinformation by the court insiders– particularly the attorneys who practice in front of them on a regular basis.

It is maddening for victims to be forced to sit passively by while one of the imperious court insiders, whether verbally or in writing insults, demeans, impugns or berates anyone standing in the way of a profitable professional guardianship.

Those who have survived these assaults suffer a form of cognitive dissonance in which on the one hand, they are being asked to accept the court as a final arbiter of unbiased truth and justice, and on the other hand, witnessing the worst imaginable type of utter outright biased lying imaginable.

While it’s easy to understand why lawyers lie so often, apparently that’s what they do, it is much more difficult to understand why a judge would not be able to recognize their lies.  Of course, one simple explanation is that judges know exactly what’s going on and are highly complicit in running the racket which profits all the court insiders.  It is tempting to believe that this is always the case and that ascending to the bench in these hotspot probate courts that create so many abusive guardianships is how judges get rich.  But even if this is true, there must be a mechanism by which they can justify their actions and still live with themselves.

That mechanism may well be confirmation bias, a well-known psychological phenomenon.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. People tend to unconsciously select information that supports their views, but ignore non-supportive information.

When a judge deals with a certain small group of individuals on a regular basis and becomes familiar with them, intentionally or unintentionally, bonds develop between them.  There is a natural tendency to identify with people who are in your presence and interacting with you on a regular basis.  Those types of bonds are strengthened by interactions that occur outside the courtroom and outside of normal professional activities.  Belonging to the same country club, supporting the same politics, going to the same church, having investments in common, running in the same social circles, are all ways that result in relationships forming between judges and the court insiders whom they see on a regular basis.  These relationships build on one another and result in feelings of trust and commonality.  When a court insider who has developed these relationships with the judge creates a boldface lie out of whole cloth, such as a litigant is a drug addict, the judge will tend to believe that statement without any proof of its veracity at will tend not to believe anything that contradicts that statement.  The same can be said for lies told about financial transactions, prior history of abuse, or almost any statement that portrays the oppositional litigant in a bad light.  Conversely, when the court insider, self-servingly, praises the Guardian who hired him and arranged for him to be paid from the estate of the ward, the judge will preferentially believe those statements and ignore any allegations that the Guardian is abusive or exploitation of, or in any way not acting in the best interest of the ward.

Uniformly, the result of this situation is that court insiders almost always win.  By hook or by crook, they will be in a position to press their advantage with the judge into rulings that allow them to maximally profit from any case they are involved with.  And while it’s not an excuse in any way for their behavior, judges by virtue of their own biases about what guardianship court is really all about and on top of their confirmation bias regarding court insiders, it’s possible that judges may not even be fully aware of what they’re doing, although that does seem far-fetched.

In guardianship hotspot courts across the country, it is essentially impossible to defend against abusive guardianships when judges display bias that favors the creation of large numbers of guardianships, which in turn solidifies their relationships with court insiders and forms a feedback loop of self-serving incestuous court relationships. Hiring attorneys who claim they can beat the racket has proven to be uniformly futile. That same confirmation bias disadvantages “outsider” attorneys who dare confront an insider or his pet judge. Predictably, their careers are threatened, and they succumb to the blackmail and pressurel leaving the opposing in the lurch. That is why the average number of attorneys that an oppositional litigant is forced to hire is SIX!!

Understanding confirmation bias can be very helpful in planning a strategy to deal with the abuses, so commonly found in these cases.