February 2016

The Nationwide Problem of Court-Sponsored Elder Abuse

by Diane Dimond on February 29, 2016

Robert & Betty Were Married For 72 Years

Robert & Betty Were Married For 72 Years

I recently wrote about the plight of 94-year-old Betty Winstanley, who resides at the Masonic Village retirement home in Elizabethtown, PA. She doesn’t want to live there anymore. Now that her husband of 72 years is gone she longs to move to a care home closer to her two children in Maryland. The state of Pennsylvania won’t let her leave.

To the state Betty is case #1201 of 2014, just another old person the court has declared, “totally incapacitated.” Once someone is so labeled they get a court appointed guardian who, literally, takes over their life. Guardians decide all the ward’s finances, who can visit and for how long, when or if they can leave the home – everything. [click to continue…]

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Elder Guardianships a Shameful ‘Racket’ in America

by Diane Dimond on February 22, 2016

Elizabeth “Betty” Winstanley

She is a well-spoken, elegant and wealthy 94-year-old widow. And as Betty Winstanley told me from her room at the Masonic Village Retirement facility in Elizabethtown, PA, “I feel like I am in prison. My life is a living hell.”

Welcome to America’s twisted world of court appointed guardianships for the elderly.

Quick backstory: Betty and her husband, Robert, were married for 72 years. They had three children, Richard, David and Betsy. For nearly 7 years the couple occupied a “lovely” independent living apartment at Masonic Village retirement home in Elizabethtown, PA.

In early 2014, Betty, who uses a rolling walker to get around, says she felt faint and seeing no staff nearby lowered herself to the ground. [click to continue…]

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Eyewitness Testimony – The Eyes Can Be Deceiving

by Diane Dimond on February 15, 2016

Not Always Reliable

Not Always Reliable

How many times have you heard someone say, “Believe me, I know it’s true. I saw it with my own eyes!” When someone passionately tells us they were an eyewitness to an event we are programmed to believe their story.

It happens in courtrooms all across the country every day. An eyewitness takes the stand, puts a hand on the bible and swears to tell the truth about what they saw. In sometimes vivid detail they tell their story, point the finger of blame at a defendant and proclaim they are 100% sure about the identification. This compelling, first-hand testimony sways juries and has resulted in countless convictions. Some include sentences of death.

So how trustworthy is an eye-witness, anyway? [click to continue…]

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Blind Justice: Laws Apply To All Citizens

Blind Justice: Laws Apply To All Citizens

The law says dangerous or illegal actions have consequences. Countless U.S. citizens enter the justice system every year after authorities determine they did something that physically or emotionally harmed someone, financially cheated another person or exposed people to peril.

So why do government employees so often escape the punishment you or I would face in similar circumstances?

Case in point: In what very nearly looks like a case of federally sponsored child trafficking the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement put countless children at risk yet no one has been held accountable. Beginning in fall of 2011, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America began to flood across the Mexican border in search of a better life in America. We were not prepared. [click to continue…]

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Juveniles and the Justice System

by Diane Dimond on February 1, 2016

Kids in the Criminal System. Then What?

Kids in the Criminal System. Then What?

Everyone knows youngsters aren’t mentally or emotionally equipped to make good decisions. That’s why most parents watch their teenagers like a hawk.

But every year thousands of American kids get themselves in to serious trouble with the law. Some of these youngsters had no prior police record. Some who entered the criminal justice system were under the age of 10. In the most dire cases, teens have been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of ever being released.

Imagine your son (or in less frequent cases, your daughter), suddenly caught up in a crime that resulted in murder, manslaughter or rape — doomed to spend the rest of their lives behind bars, perhaps in solitary confinement to keep them away from prison violence. [click to continue…]

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