« Tiger Ratings | Main | Author Interviews »

Lawyers Up To No Good

The Washington Post has a two part series on troubles in the DC Probate Court. Part I is here, and Part II is here. Various other sidebars and interviews are here.

The court's probate division, which is mandated to care for more than 2,000 elderly, mentally ill and mentally retarded residents, has repeatedly allowed its charges to be forgotten and victimized, an investigation by The Washington Post has found. Chaotic record-keeping, lax oversight and low expectations in this division of the court have created a culture in which guardians are rarely held accountable. They are often handed new work even when they have ignored their charges or let them languish in unsafe conditions.

It is a system that in practice often serves lawyers over clients. Even as the court's lax oversight allows guardians to neglect their responsibilities, it also permits some lawyers to take unnecessary control of people's lives.

A detailed review by The Post of 130 cases filed last year shows that judges routinely bypassed a D.C. law meant to protect individual rights in guardianship cases. In three of four instances, they appointed guardians for elderly and disabled people who were not present at the hearings where their fate was decided.

Those hearings often lasted less than 10 minutes. Judges sometimes overruled people's wishes about who should care for them. In fewer than one of four cases was an independent expert appointed to evaluate whether a guardian was necessary, court records show.

Wayward probate lawyers are rarely punished by the District's attorney discipline system, even when they have broken the law, violated ethical standards or failed their clients. When it does punish, the system is inconsistent and slow, giving accused lawyers so many protections that cases can drag on for as long as nine years, according to court records and interviews.

Lawyers lying, cheating, and stealing from clients? Who would believe that?...

The comment section for this entry is now closed.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy