Lawsuit Challenging Florida Guardianship System Goes to U.S. Supreme Court Court5947 reads 1 comments By Dr. Richard Swier (Scribe) on October 26th, 2011
A petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on October 7, 2011, by Edward McGlynn Gaffney, Jr., Professor of International Law and Genocide Studies at Valparaiso University School of Law, on behalf of Beverly R. Newman and Lawrence T. Newman. Professor Gaffney is also the producer, director, and writer of the documentary film, Empty Boxcars, depicting the mass rescue of 50,000 Bulgarian Jews in the Holocaust.Named in the petition are: Paul E. Logan and Jannette Dunnigan, judges for the Circuit Court of Manatee County, Florida; the Public Guardian for Manatee County doing business as Aging Safely, Inc., its CEO Jo Eisch, director Ashley Butler, and attorneys James Knowles and Erika Dine; professional guardian Herbert Schimmel and his lawyer Edwin Boyer; and Gerald OBrien, former counsel for the petitioner.
Why is this petition important? Because it questions the legality of the Florida guardianship program under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause.According to the petition:One question presented: Whether State guardianship and civil commitment proceedings that significantly diminish protected liberty and property interests of an incapacitated person violate the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause, (1) where a State Judge and Public Guardian fail to provide adequate notice of the guardianship and civil commitment proceedings to family members who are willing and responsible caregivers of the incapacitated person, and (2) where the proceedings violate procedural safeguards for full and fair hearing by failure of court-appointed council to provide meaningful legal representation of the ward of the State throughout these proceedings, and by judicial exclusion of competent family members from meaningful participation in guardianship and civil commitment proceeding. . .What this all boils down to is who should be protected when an incapacitated person becomes a ward of the State, in this case Al Katz, an elderly part-time resident of Florida and Holocaust survivor, - the State or the family? I believe it should be the family that must be given priority and protection in the name of the family member.
Al Katz is the poster child for the failures of the Florida guardianship system. The experiences of Beverly Newman, daughter of Al Katz, with the Florida guardianship program were a nightmare of the worst kind. She is the willing and responsible caregiver for her father. At every turn, Beverly and her husband Larry were thwarted by a State system designed to destroy rather than help those in public guardianship. It is a closed system of judges, lawyers, and professional guardians working in collusion to deny Al Katz of his due process rights. What is now being questioned, and rightly so, is this legal under our U.S. Constitution?
The Petition for Writ of Certiorari importantly clarifies the unconstitutional treatment of Al Katz while in public guardianship:In the administration of the guardianship itself, Judge Logan kept postponing critical decisions for months until it seemed that Katz was on deaths door . The judges refusal to read and decide timely and sometimes urgent motions submitted by [Katzs family] constitutes a denial of fairness at the core of due process.The lower court repeatedly ordered Katz into a nursing home, a decision completely contrary to both Katzs express advance directives and the desires of [his family].
As a simple person of common sense and having studied and written about the case of Al Katz, I believe his rights were denied by a self-serving State guardianship system. It is big government gone wild and in Als case the proximate cause of his death and the theft of his estate.
I look forward to the day that the U.S. Supreme Court accepts this petition and hears what really happens in Florida and across the United States to those placed under the jack boots of the State.Tags : Supreme Court , Al Katz , Florida , public guardian , Paul E. Logan , Edward McGlynn Gaffney, Jr. , Janette Dunnigan , Manatee Circuit CourtsMORE >>ShareinShare2CommentsState guardianship of adultsSubmitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 2011-10-30 12:15.-2+-The state is again making lucrative targets of the elderly. Even though they are not mentally incapcitated but physically limited, the state allows an attorney and guardian (appointed by the court!) to drain their assets, to sell off their assets and to make all decisions for the person regardless of their own will and the will of their family. This is beyond reality to believe it occurred once and yet it is happening to tens of thousands. Finally perhaps a higher court will injuction the process. More than once recently judges have gone to jail because they declared youths incorigible and sent them to private facilities for money. Perhaps this too is happening with our elderly and Attorney General Bondi needs to investigate.