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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fox News on Corrupt Court Guardians

Fox 7 News - Miami/Fort Lauderdale by Carmel Cafiero - April 6, 2009 
Carmel on the Case Reports, produce by Cheryl Simmons

Imagine having your whole life put into the hands of a stranger who can take away your freedom to choose from where you live to how you spend your money, and if you disagree on how they're handling things, you have no outside agency to complain to. Seven's investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the Case.

WSVN -- Ninety-five-year-old Lucille Gittens was forced to leave the home she had lived in with her son and his family for 30 years.

Sybil Gittens: "I felt helpless. I couldn't help her. I couldn't do anything."
Tecia Gittens: "It was very disturbing. My grandmother was like my best friend." The court stepped in and appointed a guardian after a family disagreement over the mother's finances.

Keith Gittens: "Ninety percent of families have family squabbles. I'm sure you're aware of that, but that doesn't mean it has to reach this level of making a drastic decision like this for no reason." He says, first the guardian took over his mother's estate and eventually took her out of her home and put her in a group facility.

Keith Gittens: "The legal system is so complex that you can spend all your time and all your money and get nowhere." Keith says he could find no one to independently investigate his concerns about what was happening with his mother.

Keith Gittens: "There's too much power given in this guardianship program. There's no checks and balances really." Avril Schuckman says her mother had a picture-perfect life, but her last hours were a nightmare.

Avril Schuckman: "My mother suffered desperately. I think it was the most heinous crime." Avril says her mother had a do-not-resuscitate order, which her guardian ignored. In fact, the South Florida guardian did not call Avril in Tampa and tell her her mother was dying until four days after she was put on life support.

Avril Schuckman: "She lasted another 20 hours gasping for air. It was the most awful death I've ever seen. It was just tragic." Avril thought the guardian should have been investigated, but she could find no independent agency to hear her concerns.

Keith Gittens: "I think that the legislature should look at the entire guardianship program and revamp it." Avril and Keith are not alone. Nationwide, so many families are so upset about the treatment of loved ones they've organized.

Annie McKenna, National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse: "A guardianship is like being in quicksand. You never know what you're going to get into, and it's almost impossible to get out."

Annie McKenna is with the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse.

Annie McKenna: "There's a saying in our organization that the main point of the guardianship is to isolate, medicate and take the estate." McKenna's group has found hundreds of families frustrated with nowhere to turn, like this postal worker who complained because his guardian wouldn't let him use his own money to get his teeth fixed.

Postal worker on YouTube: "The guardianship is taking my pay every two weeks, plus my overtime money." The association has posted videos like this on YouTube in hopes of getting states to do a better job of regulating the guardianship program and to create avenues for families to make complaints.

Annie McKenna: "If we can educate enough people now about the abuse of guardianships, we can do something to stop it." There is an organization that licenses guardians, but critics say there should be an independent agency to oversee the programs, somewhere families can turn if they believe a guardian is not making the right decisions for their loved ones.

For More Info:

National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse

Miami-Dade: 305-627-CLUE
Broward: 954-921-CLUE


Anonymous said...

Pitches forks and torches are the only answer. These judges, guardians and lawyers are criminals. Taking an old lady out of her home and pissing on her is normal to them. They no longer understand that this is criminal. This is why guys like Madoff and his brother walk into a court with smirks on their face. They don't feel they have done anything wrong and they simply endure the inconvienience of a trial. The legal system is done and the class war has begun. Until the torches come through the trees with the villagers carrying pitchforks, nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

You are is up to the people to initiate legal reform, because the FEDS..whomever they might be..have left this state;s citizenry stranded and abandoned.
The citizens are furious about the offensive judicial situation..even though I informed the FBI in detail about it 4 yrs ago..from a long time, insiders detailed view. They chose to cowardly backdown and screw all NYER'S IN EVERY guaranteed right we have under the constitution...LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS!

All of this is just about gone today, because the FBI failed is your fault, because my information could have protected a great number of now fallen NY state citizens!

Nancy from Port Chester said...

It's only about money. They don't care about kids or families being run into the ground. I know a few Guardians who should be behind bars.

Anonymous said...

The Surrogate's Court and guardians are vestiges from that famous New Yorker, Boss Tweed.

I guess it was one of his more ingenious inventions since the scam was able to continue all this time, under the noses of the innocent citizens who were fed the b.s. from lawyers that this was a good thing and would protect them.

There is a very interesting letter to the editor in this past week's Westchester Guardian, from a victim of the Surrogate's Court in Rockland. (Download WG-04-02-09.pdf)

Maybe now would be a good time for some of those investigate reporters to hop on this.

Guardian victim said...

It is a business in Westchester Co.,the Judges and attorneys have it down to a well oiled machine they take over the money (what they are after) and run your life for you. Hope they all rot in Hell.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if one of the reasons the abuse hasn't been reported ie social service.. is the agency's standard form is insufficient .. under section 350.. most of what is reported here is ABUSE!!! but the form to report abuse only states spouse and/or partner.... The form should conform to the lawful definition...

Anonymous said...

perhaps its time to start naming the federal government in the federal court of claims for knowing about all of the abuses and doing nothing? oh, but wait a minute, it might be happening next week, or maybe the week after, but if not, then maybe the week after that or after that or sometime after that so just hold on.

Lori View said...

Guardianship was a good law - maybe a long time ago. It has been misused by judges and lawyers for the sake of unjust enrichment. They such the assets out of the estate, together with the lifeblood of the victims.
Many of the cases involve lack of due process, violation of civil/human rights.
There is no meaningful monitoring or oversight, very little or no law enforcement. No one cares!

These are the people we vote for?
They even took two of their own in recent years!

Baby Boomers are next!

Anonymous said...

Three cheers for the Federal Judge in the Ted Stevens case. He isn't letting the misconduct of the prosecutors just get away with it.

I just hope this is just the beginning of holding these crooked lawyers and regulators accountable.

Elaine Renoire said...

NASGA is an organization of victims and families working to expose and end unlawful and abusive guardianships/conservatorships -- a growing national epidemic.

Guardianship wards are stripped of all rights: the right to decide where to live and whom to associate with, how to spend (or save!) ones own money, to accept or refuse medical treatment -- or even ask for a second opinion, marry, vote, etc. Most important, wards are stripped of the right to complain.

With the fox guarding the henhouse and the hens muzzled, guardians and their attorneys can easily unjustly enrich themselves at the expense and to the detriment of the very person they have been court-appointed to protect.

And where to the victims go for help? Many go to the AG, only to be turned away because the abuse has been court-sanctioned.

Visit NASGA at or NASGA’s blog at for more information.

West Guardian reader said...

Catherine Wilson had a story a few weeks ago about a guardian who was a former State Senator and by the way a disbarrred lawyers who Anthony Scarpino the Surrogate Judge has allowed to rip off a sick girl. What is wrong with Scarpino? What kind of a jerk is he to permit this kind of things to continue? If Scarpino permits a disbarred lawyer to act as a guardian then Scarpino should be disbarred also. Scarpino and the former State Senator both belong in jail for this type of conduct.

Retired NYC Atty said...

Anyone who wiolates the Role of Guardianship is more than a criminal they are ENEMIES OF HUMANITY...including but not limited to Guardians in any form or for that matter any Judge engaged in untoward practices concerning Guardians or Guardianships. I more over agree with the precending post, they all belong in JAIL for a long time.

Fedup said...

Screw these scum sucking dirtbags that includes the judges and the illegal attorneys that are involved in the guardianship business --- may the rot in HELL!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who is intrested should check out Keith Gittens and Sybil Gittens. You would be shocked with what you may learn about them. They are worse than the guardians

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