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WHY PROBATE COURTS CONSISTENTLY FAIL US–2019

WHY PROBATE COURTS CONSISTENTLY FAIL US

For years I have written about the shortcomings in our equity legal system particularly in probate guardianship. Having just celebrated National Elder Abuse Awareness Week, this is a good time to recall what makes equity probate court and the guardianships it creates such an enormous disappointment and in far too many cases a blatant fraud.

The political system and money

Equity judges generally are elected by the public who knows essentially nothing about them. Their candidacies are preapproved and prearranged by both the BAR and political parties. They are not selected on the basis of their judicial records, expertise or history of honesty and fealty to the law. Like every politician, judicial candidates need to have and raise money. Much of that money comes from people who are directly involved in the day-to-day workings of the court including lawyers, guardians and other businesses who court favor with these judges and their opinions. In some situations, it appears that the candidate has to raise significant amounts of money to even be considered or get a judicial recommendation from a political party or the BAR.  Money and the influence it buys have a corrosive effect on the judiciary and the likelihood of the unsavory relationship between the parties ever being exposed is near zero.

Also, a study of retiring probate judges in Florida showed that almost every one of them became a millionaire or better while in office in addition to receiving a generous taxpayer funded full pension. How they became so wealthy on a salary of less than $150,000 per year is perplexing, unless there are “special” money making opportunities for these judges.

Many retired on that pension only to rake in full salaries for becoming mediators.

Absence of accountability, monitoring or supervision

As has been documented ad nauseum, equity court judges have essentially no supervision or monitoring from any agency or higher authority. Only when the judge acts in an incredibly egregious fashion such as coming to work drunk repeatedly, or commits the cardinal sin of stupidity by co-mingling campaign and non campaign funds is there even the most remote possibility of censure or even a slap on the wrist by the two nearly indistinguishable entities that control all State courts, namely the supreme Court of the State and the BAR or agencies like the Judicial Qualification commission. No other profession does such a horrendous job of self-monitoring and discipline. BAR members and guardians are the only two professions that do not require a license in the state of Florida or any other state.

Judicial immunity

The doctrine of judicial immunity makes it impossible to sue judges except in the most extraordinary circumstances. No other occupation in the country enjoys this privilege, not even the President of the United States. Any mistakes a judge makes, any peculiar decisions he reaches and anything he does within his courtroom can never come back to haunt him. The latitude these judges are given is without limit and free of any possibility of redress from victims whose only option for disagreeing with the judgment is to go before yet more judges with expensive and likely unsuccessful appeals.

To make matters worse, the federal government is essentially prohibited from inserting itself into state court matters of inheritance by among other things the probate exception and Rooker Feldman doctrine, so federal oversight and monitoring is effectively precluded.

Loopholes in  statutes and probate rules

The statutes concerning guardianship are constructed and approved by lawyers and the BAR. They contain words like may and shall rather than words like must and will, creating loopholes for lawyers and judges to slip through. Further no statute or revision to the statute passes through the legislature without the direct approval of the State BAR whose primary interest is in the financial well-being of its members. Furthermore, probate rules like those in Florida are written by court insiders are looking to supplant statutes when there is any conflict between probate rules and existing statutes. In some states including Florida there are moves afoot by RPPTL and Elder lawyers who practice in probate to rewrite the entire guardianship statute into a profitable business model for their members. The interests of family members, victims and an unsuspecting public are lost in those efforts.

No rules of procedure, no rules of evidence, no due process, sequestration

Because of the latitude provided equity probate Judges, it is typical for them to deny jury trials, ignore due process and notification of proceedings, suspend rules of evidence and generally act as if court were their unassailable private fiefdom. This makes proceedings in these court rooms outrageously unpredictable, unrelated to evidence or the law. To make matters even more egregious, these cases are relegated to the category of mental health matters and therefore can easily be sequestered and hidden from public view.

Negating Advance directives

Millions of Americans have followed traditional legal advice and spent enormous amounts of money creating advance directives which give instructions on what their choices would be in the event of their incapacity. Nothing is more egregious in these courts of equity than the propensity to obviate or ignore or simply reject well-established perfectly created advance directives in favor of creating a guardianship that will profit court insiders.

Improper ex parte meetings

Even though meeting with one side in secret is clearly prohibited by any canon of judicial ethics, ex parte meetings in probate guardianship cases are routine. What is amazing however is that these meetings occur with almost little lead time or delay for well-known court insiders but can take weeks or months to arrange properly from those outside the court’s inner circle.

Outrageous sanctions

Once the judge makes up his mind which side of the issue he wants to be on, litigants who oppose him aggressively and their attorneys are all too often silenced and abused by threat or actual imposition of monetary sanctions, or in the case of an attorney possible ruination of his career.

Bogus records and transcripts

The transcripts of court provided reporters have been found to differ substantially from private court reporters listening to the same hearing, in addition, all too often important documents seem to appear and disappear out of official court files an all too frequent basis.

Hearing only one side of the story like a special prosecutor

Unlike the American standard of innocent until proven guilty, the so-called evidence presented to impose the court ordered state of incapacity is all too often presented as though it were being offered by a special prosecutor in that only one side of the story is allowed to be heard. The judge can and almost always does suppress any evidence that does not conform to the reports of the court-appointed examiners who have their own conflicts of interests in this system.

Court insider advantage

The reality that plum guardianships are excessively handed over to court insider favorites is undeniable. The courts have managed to make it even easier to make sure that only a select group of guardians are afforded the opportunity to take over large estates by creating “wheels” which include only the court insiders. The system is tilted towards creating too many wards and  the appointment of court insiders even when perfectly acceptable family members are available to serve.

Allowing staged litigation leading to court logjams

Judges have it within their power to short-circuit obvious staged litigation in cases with large amounts of assets in play. But all too often, they do not. Pointless repetitive depositions and  hearings about inconsequential irrelevant issues that serve only to enrich litigators not only create spurious bills from lawyers and guardians but create logjams within the court system that delay justice, massively increase costs for all concerned and do nothing for the care or protection of the allegedly incapacitated person or ward or their estates.

 

Advocates from around the country have seen their concerns and complaints about these courts fall on deaf ears for decades. Attempts at rewriting or replacing the statutes, demanding change in the probate rules, demanding accountability from judges, the BAR or legislature have met with enormous resistance to change. It is unreasonable to think that this system can be fixed from within or that the business model of the lawyers who practice in the system will ever be tamped down by limits on legal fees or guardian fees.

But when enough of the public becomes aware that the court system they place their faith and trust in as good citizens of the United States of America is potentially the cause of their ruination, then and only then will there be a hue and cry loud enough to create a system that is less egregious, more efficient, less corrupt, more humane and just to deal with what promises to be a flood of new individuals who have cognitive decline in the upcoming silver tsunami.

 

Want more proof? click this link

 

9 Comments on WHY PROBATE COURTS CONSISTENTLY FAIL US–2019

  1. Sandra Ann Glogowski // June 13, 2019 at 5:13 pm //

    This info was horrifying. I already had PTSD before my Dad fell under Guardianship. My own mental health has been suffering severely as I also have Bipolar II and severe panic. Theresa Brock needs to be gone. As well as Judge Merritt Jr……..how a Judge can state that a complete change in name and gender when referring to asssets, paying the wrong funeral home, etc are typos……..and I cannot object to typos…well I give up ..

    • Sandra…maybe you and I and others with PTSD, as well as other conditions that are penetrating once-viable sectors of American society, can take solice in that it probably won’t get any more complicated and corrupt than this shit. I mean, not even the East German Stasi secret police could’ve woven a web of total befuddlement, could they? I think that all this will cease in the coming days when the web, and then the economy, and then the security and health structures cease. And that might just be as well if it all were going to come to a halt anyway under dystopian paradigms elucidated by Bellamy and H.G. Wells and Vonnegut. Thoughts?

  2. This article is very well written. Most of the problems you point out are exactly the things that happened with my dad’s illegal guardianship. It’s horrifying.

  3. Douglas Keegan // June 13, 2019 at 9:03 pm //

    The courts have been criminalized. The key is lack of oversight and accountability. What you do by making noise and airing complaints is an important step in the right direction to get political will to change that. We need criminal prosecutions.

    The equity court distinction is meaningless in my mind and a distraction. I would rather that distinction not be made unless you can defend why you keep doing so.

    The underlying controlling documents (procedure, evidence, guardianship) are good and fine. I see no big need, if any at all, to revise them on account of guardianship fraud. They are just ignored and violated. They are not vague but are very precise. Lawyers should know these inside and out. When the lawyers ignore them, the lay person is an easy victim of theft of assets, which entails abuse of person and family. If doctors got rich by killing their patients, one would not want to go to the doctor. Lawyers often make money by betraying their clients, which is why people generally are smart to avoid lawyers and courts. In guardianship, folks get shanghaied.

    The judges are extremely corrupt politicians using their office for financial gain.

    BAR members require no license? BAR members are licensed attorneys, are they not? The Supreme Court and the “BAR” are the “same” entity. By the BAR in this reference, I think you mean the Board of Governors, grievance committees and referees who investigate complaints and then provide recommendations to the Supreme Court. Of course, they are all people who can be working together or as adversaries. Depends on the politics of the organization and the political clout of the individual people.

    Doug Keegan

  4. IT HAPPENS BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL A SICK BUNCH OF CROOKS THAT ARE IN (FULL CONTROL) AND IT WILL NEVER CHANGE BY JUST TALKING ABOUT IT. THEY MUST BE LAUGHING ABOUT ALL THE POSTS PEOPLE PUT UP ON THE INTERNET COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW THEY ARE GETTING SCREWED OVER BY THE LAWYERS AND JUDGES, COURTS, ETC. KNOWING NO ONE IS EVER DO ANY MORE THAN COMPLAIN (VERBALLY) ABOUT IT. I REALLY HOPE THINGS CHANGE FOR THE BETTER,,,BUT,,AS MY FATHER ALWAYS SAID “TALK IS CHEAP”.

  5. We missed you at the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – sending the “light” to help with the healing. Marla

  6. todd sampson // June 15, 2019 at 1:08 pm //

    Guardians are nothing more than person’s, attorney’s and company’s Hired and appointed by the court to care for a Ward of the court and the State, here in Washington State, Guardians on behalf of the Ward of the court and the state are Selling property, Filing VAPO, lawsuits, Unlawful detainers on behalf of the ward of the court and the State and are not asking permission from the Guardianship court to do so.

  7. “No one is above the law”, (except court appointed guardians) and “Justice for all”, (except guardianship victims). We have to face the facts that court sponsored guardianship is above the law, the courts are looking down at victims, laughing all the way to the bank.
    Courts know that approximately 78% of wealth in America is held by elderly citizens. This knowledge makes wills, guardianship and probate a very lucrative target.
    Court sponsored guardianship that takes advantage of incapacitated intellectual disabled elderly citizens, should never be allowed by our federal government. Intellectual disabled incapacitated citizens are suppose to be protected by the American Disabilities Act. Our government needs to protect our intellectually disabled incapacitated elderly citizens.

    It’s not guardianship, It’s (RAID YOUR ESTATE-SHIP)

  8. Kathleen Morris // June 19, 2019 at 4:50 am //

    Probate Courts do have laws and rules to adhere to. Michigan Probate LAWS AND RULES- PUBLISHER THOMSON WEST. This court law and rule book IS LAW TO BE FOLLOWED BY JUDGES AND LAWYERS. This book was about 40 bucks a few years ago… now it is 500 dollars! I wonder why the big hike in price? Could it be because a certain few of us are studying these Probate Law and Rules and using the pertinent law violations of the crooked judges and lawyers who are rail-roading our loved ones in UNWARRANTED GUARDIANSHIP’S ACCORDING TO LAW! There are a few of us who HAVE SUBMITTED COMPLAINTS TO THE JUDICIAL TENURE COMMISSION CITING MULTIPLE LAW VIOLATIONS WITH SUPPORTING COURT DOCUMENTS, TRANSCRIPTS, ECT, WHICH ARE CAUSING THE CORRUPT COMMISSIONS TO HAVE TO INVESTIGATE AND DISCIPLINE THE CROOKED JUDGES AND LAWYERS. Judge Philip Harter and Judge Allen Garbrecht, are two crooks who got ousted off the bench due to my detailed complaints using PROBATE LAW AND RULES. Grant it.. they did not get put in prison as they should have been due to their vagrant crimes, but they did get de-benched! I have yet to find any law book that states probate courts are EQUITY COURTS AND THEREFORE DO NOT HAVE TO ADHERE TO PROBATE LAWS AND RULES. I have yet to find any law book that claims Judges who take oaths of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution can just flippantly IGNORE THE U.S CONSTITUTION THE LAW OF THE LAND. I am weary of hearing so much about “they just do this, they just do that, they, they, they.. can get away with anything.. “.. If we let them they do. The law does not permit them to defy the law. Yes these commissions are a joke.. yes they are good ol boys, yes it is disgusting to see the ring of corruption involving a conspiracy against we the American people. We are still a country based on LAW. These disciplinary boards which are part of America’s check and balance system to keep our government in check must be made to do their jobs.
    Most victims of this egregious criminal guardian mafia in this country are too lazy to go after them citing the Law. It is terrible. We are battle weary of all the abuse and corruption in this country. But gives no excuse not to do the complaints and do them right.. because even the corrupt have to do their jobs or be fired. There has to be some that get disciplined and penalized, or there would not be files of the cases for which we GOT EM.. AND GOT EM GOOD… Go and research, copy cases where corrupt Judges got burned and ousted and corrupt lawyers got their license revoked! The states have to do annual reports to who ever.. I do not know who right now,but they have to answer to the government for how many complaints came in, how many were thrown out, how many were investigated and their disciplinary action. If all these corrupt commissions sent to the gov every year.. they threw them all out.. then the funding to line their cushy little pockets would be cut! Our complaints have to be done well and thoroughly using law violations.. bad behavior dishonesty… ect…They have to have supporting documents. You must study RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT, and fine tooth comb them and get the dirty suckers for every violation, count 1,2,3, on and on.. You must study the CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT
    THE JUDGES CANONS THEY MUST FOLLOW.. and get them on every single count of violations.. The complaints must be done well, and will take a lot of hours and toil to do..It does not matter how many pages .. if the crooks violated mega rules .. then it will be a lot of pages. You must demand the commissions do their job to protect we citizens from such egregious dangerous public officials who threaten our safety and welfare due to their blatant disregard of law.

    You must do your complaints so well THESE DISCIPLINARY COMMISSIONS CANNOT SEND OUT A FORM LETTER SAYING THE JUDGES AND LAWYERS DID NOT REACH THE LEVEL OF DISCIPLINE. If they still send such an outrageous letter which they do not sign… then we have to send it on to WASHINGTON TO THE PRESIDENT TO BILL BAR.. AND ASK WHY THEY ARE FUNDING SUCH BOGUS COMMISSIONS AND AGENCIES THAT DO NOTHING BUT COLLECT HEFTY PAY CHECKS OFF OF US TAX PAYERS.

    I do not agree that we just keep whining and proclaiming the probate courts can do any damned thing they want.. because they are EQUITY COURTS!! I do not believe that! They are courts of LAW.. AND THE CROOKS (JUDGES AND LAWYERS AND OTHERS WHO COLLUDE WITH THEM TO TERRORIZE OUR LOVED ONES AND DENY THEM LIFE, LIBERTY , HAPPINESS, RIGHTS TO ENJOY OUR LIFE and property IN PEACE… FOR GOD’S SAKE THIS IS AMERICA, AND WE ARE JUST SPITTING ON THE GRAVES OF OUR FALLEN SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT AND DIED TO PRESERVE OUR FREEDOMS… WHEN WE KEEP SAYING THEY CAN JUST DO THIS AND DO THAT, AND ROB US BLIND, AND THROW OUR LOVED ONES IN THE GAS CHAMBERS AND FOR GOD’S SAKE EVEN BARR FAMILIES TO EVER SEE NOR TALK TO THEM AGAIN!!! WHAT KIND OF CRAP IS THAT??
    AND SAY.. OH THESE ARE EQUITY COURTS THEY CAN DO ANYTHING THEY WANT..!!! NO THEY CANNOT.. ONLY IF WE LET THEM.. THERE ARE LAWS AFTER LAWS INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL, FEDERAL , STATE.. THAT ARE BEING VIOLATED HERE..!!

    What makes this guardian mafia even more evil is there are persons who have claimed to be EXPERTS in fighting this evil, who pretend to be advocates for the cause, who are WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING.. THEY ARE WORKING FOR THE CROOKS AS THE GUARDIAN MAFIA HAS A POT OF GOLD FOR WHICH HEFTY BRIBES ARE PAID .. IT IS EVIDENT…THEY ARE TRAITORS.. SO BEWARE. They will do anything to kabosh honest efforts to combat this corruption.. they will infiltrate and get their noses into honest advocates who are making progress, and work against them as informants.

    THERE WERE NO ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES BEFORE MEDICAID AND MEDICARE. NOW THEY ARE EVERYWHERE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. THEY ARE EVIL PLACES… WHICH LITERALLY HAVE RUNNERS IN HOSPITALS AND APS, WHO GO AFTER PROSPECTS TO SNARE INTO GUARDIANSHIP’S TO FILL ANOTHER BED TO THESE EVIL FACILITIES. THE CROOKED LUCRATIVE DRUG COMPANIES FRONT THESE FACILITIES, FOR WHICH EVERY PATIENT IS PLACED ON THE SAME SET OF DANGEROUS DRUGS CONTRADICTED TO GIVE ELDERLY.. THEY ARE BLACK BOXED DRUGS THAT ARE KILLING OUR LOVED ONES.. AND NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THAT ASPECT OF THIS GUARDIAN MAFIA!!!

    Another thing that is being flaunted out there which we are ignorantly accepting is that THERE IS NO LAWS which say ONCE A PERSON MAY HAVE SOME MEMORY ISSUES THEY ARE TO BE IMMEDIATELY SNARED UP AND FORCED INTO INSTITUTIONS!! NO LAWS SAY THAT!! IN FACT THERE ARE MEGA LAWS WHICH FORBID FORCED INSTITUTION FOR DISABILITY.. THE OLMSTEAD ACT, THE ADA, AND MANY OTHERS… SO THIS TALK THAT ONCE WE BECOME ELDERLY AND LOSE OUR MEMORIES THAT WE MUST BE HURLED INTO COURT FORCED UNDER A GUARDIAN AND FORCED INTO PRISON LIKE INSTITUTIONS WHICH DENY EVEN BASIC RIGHTS OF FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION FOR GOD’S SAKE is not true! WHY ARE PEOPLE BUYING THAT LINE OF CRAP?

    The corrupt system (court, nursing home ring of corruption)is taking persons from loving families who are taking care of their loved ones, who want to care for them, and loved ones are happy at home with them, then denying family to care for their own loved ones in their home settings!!! ALL AGAINST PROBATE LAW, FEDERAL LAW, STATE LAW.. !!!
    THE COURT CROOKS ARE LOCKING UP PERSONS WITH NO MEMORY PROBLEMS AT ALL
    AND LOCKING THEM UP AND STEALING ALL ASSETS AND HOME, SEIZING BANK ACCOUNTS… THIS IS CRIMINAL FOR GOD’S SAKE.. IT IS GRAND LARCENY, IT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING, IT IS ELDER ABUSE TO ITS HIGHEST DEGREE… ALL AGAINST ALL LAWS… ALL WE HEAR SAID IS “OH, WE MUST PUSH FOR MORE EDUCATION OF THE POOR TIRED OUT JUDGES!” GIVE ME A BREAK!

    When every law in the book is violated in guardianship proceedings then that makes the court lacking subject-matter-jurisdiction to even hear the case! That makes all determinations of that Judge VOID.. FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION… which means there is no need for APPEAL.. THE JUDGE ACTED OUT OF FRAUD.. AND HIS JUDGMENTS ARE FRAUD AND VOID.. THAT MEANS THE CASE WAS NOT A VALID CASE.. NO APPEAL.. OUST THE CROOK, PROSECUTE HIM, AND HIS CRONIES FOR ELDER ABUSE, FOR FRAUD UPON THE COURT.. DEMAND YOUR LOVED ONE BE RELEASED FROM THE BOGUS GUARDIANSHIP.. THEN BRING THEM HOME.

    I do not believe that we must accept that once we get older we WILL BECOME DEMENTED!! WHO SAYS??? I DO NOT GO ALONG WITH THAT EITHER.

    Anyway , that is my soap box on this topic.
    Katie Morris from the very corrupt state of Michigan that appoints more guardians than any other state!

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