By Tanya Dennis
On Thursday, August 8th, Alameda County Advocates against Probate Court the neglect and abuse of the elderly and dependent adults, gathered at Board of Supervisor Nate Miley’s Castro Valley Office to discuss “next steps” on how to protect the county’s most vulnerable citizens, our aging population.
Nationwide, seniors are prisoners of County-appointed guardians taking total control over their lives and exploiting their wards for personal profit. Judges, conservators, guardians & attorneys are forcibly removing elderly wards from their homes, isolating them from their families and systematically emptying their bank accounts. Allegations of murder with psychotropic drugs and isolation tactics have emerged.
After viewing “The Guardians”, a film that graphically depicts abuse of elders and the disabled, County Supervisor Nat Miley, Berkeley City Councilman Ben Bartlett, Senator Bob Wieckowski and recently added Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s, Commission on Aging, Director Sylvia Stadmire, have come aboard to assist probate reform advocates .
Supervisor Miley held a meeting to discuss next steps regarding probate reform with Randy Morris, Social Services Director, Public Defender Brendon Wood’s representatives, Roger Spencer & Yousef Elias, District Attorney, Nancy O’Malley representatives, D.A. Sabrina Farrell & Jeff Israel, County Counsel, and Ms. Victoria Wu. Conspicuously missing was the Legal Assistant for Seniors agency which advocates point to as a major source of the abuse they have witnessed in Alameda County.
In February of 2019, Attorney Tom Coleman attended a meeting with Presiding Judge Wynne Carville to discuss the alleged reports of financial and psychological abuse by LAS. At that meeting Judge Carville advised Mr. Coleman, that Legal Assistant for Seniors would no longer work with Alameda County Courts, however LAS still conducts business within the court system. Agencies and advocates are uniting to understand why.
“It’s time for an “all-out campaign” to expose and bring attention to those who are not being responsible for the care of the elderly. Judges, conservators, attorneys, guardians are public servants required to take an oath to serve with honor and integrity. That is not occurring!” states Venus Gist, founder of Care4People Court and SHOUT OUT JUSTICE co-founded with advocate/reporter Tanya Dennis.
Linda Kincaid & Richard Calhoun, founders of CEDAR CA said, “Deputy DA Sabrina Farrell and Investigator Jeff Israel stated unequivocally that all cases submitted to the DA’s office were thoroughly investigated. They said they did not find any crimes in any of the cases although advocates have proof of perjury and fraud in multiple cases.” Alameda County advocates utilize the documentary film, The Guardians by filmmaker Billie Mentz, featured at 2018 Alameda Film Festival as a teaching aid.
The Guardians depicts a retirement community in Las Vegas, Nevada where the elderly are removed without cause from their homes with court orders because they have assets. The Guardians can be viewed on Netflix. “Unfortunately, what happened in The Guardians, is occurring in Alameda County and we want it stopped”, said advocate Venus Gist.
The Probate Court Reform Movement SHOUT OUT JUSTICE, Alameda County Care Alliance, CEDAR CA, Care4People Court, Ms. Cynthia Perrilliat, of Warren Publishing, and Ms. Antoinette Warren, Advocates for Seniors and members of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland have their separate organizations, but they are joining together to create one voice to protect the Alameda County elderly community. Probate Court Reform Movement hold protests outside the Berkeley Probate Court every Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
This article originally appeared in Oakland Post.