Sunday, November 3, 2013

Connecticut Probate: What They Don't Want You to Know About Your Constitutional Rights (and especially about the Westport-Weston election)


Please feel free to Google for more. 

Could not get this piece in any of the local papers, so here it is ...

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OP ED:  "It Can Happen to You"

As one of the growing number of longstanding (third generation) Democrats in the community who are crossing the party line to endorse Lisa Wexler for Probate Judge of Westport, I am writing to praise not only her quick and ready intelligence and legal expertise ~ especially her background in Constitutional Law ~ but also her genuine human warmth and concern; and most of all: her honesty and integrity ~ all of which translate directly into what the other side condemns as her “lack of experience.” 

Lisa has exactly the kind of “lack of experience” that the entire Probate system of Conn. needs.  Lisa is an experienced Probate LITIGATOR.  This means she helps families fight "the Probate Machine."  Probate cases do not appear on the State's Judicial 
docket sites, or you would see her name going back for more than 20 years:  DEFENDING FAMILIES.  If Probate Court cases were on these sites, you would see her opponent listed as a cog in the wheel.  
Lisa has fought the Machine, rather than joining it.  She has defended families against the often predatory practices of Probate’s “Business As Usual,” as regularly documented by the Hartford Courant’s Rick Green.   It is of the utmost importance that the people of Westport (and Conn.) know this real-life story, because it can happen to anyone,
My mother's first Conservator, a real estate attorney that the nursing home holding her captive preferred over her pre-designated Conservator [me], went through approximately $400,000 in one year, before qualifying her for Medicaid.  (Also burdening the tax payer.)  And then he was ready to resign and have the State appointed.  (Her “protection” being completed, at a cost to her of several hundred dollars an hour.) 

Meanwhile, the facility doing its damnedest to keep me away entirely [
“Isolate, Medicate, Liquidate”] was dislocating my mother’s shoulder and neglecting multiple carcinomas.  There was no such thing as stroke rehabilitation for her at Wilton Meadows ~ which was why I signed her in, in 2010.  After she was “Conserved,” all I could do was go to the Dept. of Public Health, with the help of the Regional Ombudsman, and the DPH did issue several Citations.  But I could not get her out of there, even when I still held her Health Care Representative authority, after her Durable Power of Attorney was brushed aside – and this is NOT unusual ~ hence the National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse.

People need to know this:  We wouldn't have a National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse lobbying in Washington if this wasn't a growing national concern.  As more people age, this is truly becoming an epidemic Civil Rights issue, involving the most vulnerable (and often voiceless) members of our society, our disabled and senior citizens:

The first time I met Lisa Wexler, I knew she would never do this to any family.  She is simply not wired that way.  That is why she will not maintain her private law practice if elected, to avoid the inherent conflicts of interest, in which, according to her opponent, "every other Probate Judge in Conn." indulges.  Well, exactly.

… In May, a new Conservator was appointed for my mother.  (Lisa has never served as a Conservator, because she does not believe in charging attorneys' multi-hundred dollar hourly fees for this service involving simple tasks like paying bills.)  We had hopes of finally working together, to bring her home, after three years of her forced isolation and neglect.  But in five months, this Court-Selected and Appointed "highly experienced" Conservator never had time to meet with her family, community or a representative from her Westport congregation.  What kind of a Judge would that Conservator make?  Who would not even meet with her family and community?  When they had gotten her fully approved for a State program for home care "The Money Follows the Person" ("MFP") (now that she is destitute enough to qualify), and all they needed was a green light – all the more urgent because the house is in foreclosure as part of the collateral damage from his predecessor? 

There is a viable suit for my mother to bring against the nursing home (as I am doing for my own damages), but I can
’t sue for her it has to be her Conservator.  But the Probate Court won’t break rank with the nursing home, and this is another reason not to appoint me.

This Conservator had a golden opportunity to make this wrong as right as it can be made after all this time.  But he wouldn’t even meet with his ward’s community, and discuss what we had planned.  After five more months of Limbo in my mother’s life, after nothing but vague assurances, when I (again) enlisted support from the State, he chose to walk away from the controversy, rather than explore its resolution.
Westport deserves better than this.  Westport deserves a Probate Judge who will LISTEN.  Lisa Wexler will be a role model for the rest of Conn., and the rest of the country, if Westport has the chutzpah to go against the grain, and perhaps party lines, to elect the candidate with the right kind of experience, and true compassion and true integrity.
While the above is definitely my own heart-felt personal endorsement of Lisa Wexler – based upon numerous conversations, trustworthy recommendations and meetings – the attached email exchange was not intended to imply the author’s endorsement of any political candidate.  It was intended as an endorsement of Justice and my mother's Human Rights, for which the author has been advocating for the past three years:
~ Marjorie Partch

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