FOURTEEN of the best-spun tales you will ever hear
There are only two legal reasons that the State may constitutionally institutionalize someone against their will: If they are judged a danger to themselves or others, or if they are deemed to be “gravely disabled”. Gravely disabled doesn’t mean what it sounds like, that someone is disabled except more so, it is a legal term meaning unable to provide for themselves the basic survival needs of life due to a mental illness. The police do not generally understand this and are not sufficiently well trained to understand this concept. If a person may survive with the help of willing and able friends or families, even if they are mentally ill, even then they may not be deemed “gravely disabled”.
The purpose of such laws is to make sure that anyone that is in need of treatment may receive it. Persons that are merely developmentally disabled (the law uses the term “retarded” not developmentally disabled) and not mentally ill may not by statute in California be deemed “gravely disabled” and therefore may not be involuntarily confined against their will. That is the law. Developmental disability and autism are not yet treatable illnesses and despite the best research, scientists still do not understand why it happens. Therefore, there is no legal justification to detain a person for treatment for developmental disability because there is no treatment. In that case, our Constitution guarantees the same rights and privileges to those who are handicapped as to anyone else. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) assures that persons who are developmentally disabled are guaranteed the same rights as other handicapped persons. While common law historically gives the state the paternalistic right and responsibility of the doctrine of parens patria (the state as parent) to care for those that are mentally disabled and in need with no one to look out for their interests, it does not trump the rights of the family to care for their children where a family remains available, and our courts have always held that families have a fundamental constitutional right of association guaranteed by the First Amendment, under the freedom of assembly clause. The constitution is the supreme law of the land that all state laws must follow according to Article VI, the “Supremacy Clause” something that many state courts often forget.
Pursuant to the ADA, in 1999, the US Supreme Court handed down the landmark decision, Olmstead v. LC, which held that the ADA meant that “institutionalization is segregation by virtue of disability”, in other words as illegal today as Jim Crow segregation of blacks in the pre-civil rights South. It held that the states must de-institutionalize their state hospitals and place their inmates into community care facilities as soon as possible, and integrate them into the community. This was the so-called “integration mandate” of Olmstead. The US Attorney General in his guidelines interpreted that dicta to mean that this must mean to place developmentally disabled people in placements that afforded the maximum degree of contact with normal persons. Many families want to keep their children in state hospitals because they can’t handle them at home and do not want to undertake the burden, and other families want their children at home with them. State hospitals for the developmentally disabled are horrendous places where people regularly die or are killed and no one can give them effective supervision.
Pure example of age discrimination! The Golins did a good job of caring for Nancy, and experience has shown that the state is not caring for her. Are we being asked to presume because of age bias that parents beyond a certain age are too old to have intact families? A few of our elder federal judges should object to this. This is bias not only against Nancy because she is developmentally disabled but against her parents as well, presuming they cannot manage her due to age discrimination.
First, Nancy is relatively well behaved in public and not a danger to anyone, so she is not that difficult to care for in that way. She does wander off from time to time and must be carefully monitored, but she is actually safer in her parents’ home rather than a group home where it is more difficult to keep her from wandering with others in the house that come and go. Moreover, records show that the group home is not effective at all in keeping her corralled. In contrast to the parents lapses of attention, the first group home in which Nancy was placed was shown by their own records to have allowed her to wander of become AWOL 138 times in the first year, the very failing that the parents were pilloried for having let happen only one time, a piece of evidence that the Martin court once again chose to ignore. Second, her parents have a lifetime of knowledge about how to care for her accumulated from real professionals, which is out of the ordinary knowledge. Third, the Golins are still quite young for their ages, both 64 and fit with decades of vitality left.
The state is jumping the gun in their eagerness to turn Nancy into a zombie cash cow for the state. The key thing is for the state to stop pestering the Golins to give up their daughter and let them alone to enjoy their retirement without having to worry about their daughter. This is the time when the Golin family should be able to enjoy life together and not have to spend all their time and money dealing with corrupt bureaucrats holding Nancy as a hostage.
If there is any future planning to do the Golins are the best ones to do it in due course. They are motivated by unselfish love and concern and not for the money as are others. They have a modest income from Social Security, next year they will have MediCare, and Nancy always had MediCal and went to the doctor any time she needed to. Nancy had SSI and her mother received an income from In-Home Health Services (IHHS) for her care, which would again provide a sufficient income for them to continue to care for Nancy if she came home. As far as the Golin’s willingness to care for Nancy, whenever Nancy showed the least sign of illness everything in the Golin family would immediately stop and the problem addressed. You can’t be too careful with Nancy because she can’t describe her condition to a doctor if she is in pain or ill. Nancy belongs at home.
Not so. Risperdal and Zyprexa are the two psychiatric drugs that were given to Nancy. They are FDA listed exclusively for schizophrenia, in which a person hears voices and has hallucinations and psychotic episodes due to chemical imbalances in the brain. Nancy has no such illness. These drugs are extremely dangerous and are overmarketed by the drug companies to these group homes, nursing homes and state hospitals as an all purpose drug that is shockingly over prescribed to “prevent mood swings”, as a “standard of care”. They prevent mood swings all right, by preventing moods. Nursing homes and group homes like them because they make their patients easier to watch because they don’t want to be bothered by them, and it makes these facilities more economical since they can operate with less staff. There is no clinical benefit to these drugs, and even the studies involving schizophrenics have a hard time beating the placebo groups, the groups that are not taking the drugs, as a control group. The only real benefit is manageability of the inmates, who suffer terribly from the side effects of these drugs.
Neurologists are in the majority as being fiercely opposed to them, due to the dangerousness. They call their use “chemical lobotomy”, after the barbaric procedure of the ‘30’s where victims had their frontal lobes surgically severed from the rest of their brains in what psychiatrists at the time believed was a beneficial operation for all sorts of mental disorders. These drugs inhibit dopamine, the neurotransmitter chemical that communicates thoughts and messages between the frontal lobe and the cortex, so the person is deprived of that part of the brain that controls all the higher functions that make us human beings. This cruel treatment deprives a person of any real quality of life and turns them into a zombie, which is a living psychic death of sorts. If the drugs are discontinued too suddenly, terrifying psychotic episodes can result.
But that is not the worst part. These drugs cause a condition known as tardive dyskinesia which gives a person permanent tremors and brain damage, and in most cases cannot be reversed if the drugs are discontinued. Nancy was videoed with this condition and suffers from it now. If a person is kept on these drugs after those warning signs are seen, they could suffer death. Even if that doesn’t happen, these drugs may not be used for people who like Nancy have a pre-existing seizure condition because they lower their seizure thresholds, meaning that the seizure drugs don’t work well anymore. That means seizures that can permanently cripple or cause overpressures so severe in the esophagus, a rigid tube, that they can rupture it or cause complete erosion of the esophageal lining as they did in Nancy’s case, which ordinarily leads to cancer of the esophagus in a short time. They can cause heart failure, kidney failure and pancreatic cancer. A further effect is Parkinson’s Disorder, where the lost neurological function due to the drugs gradually impairs their ability to move and control their bodily functions. They can lose bowel and bladder control and lose their ability to swallow, which means tube feeding and diapers for the rest of their lives. Then there is no going back. The next step is death.
The drug companies are dealing like big time drug pushers through the psychs because these drugs are so widely distributed and profitable they are abused without discretion. The drug companies hold mental health conferences in all the communities to convince health professionals [and public defenders] of their purported benefits and safety downplaying the terrible side effects. Their main use is as a convenience to the caregivers and not for the patients. If anyone should think that Nancy is any way better off with drugging they should merely look at her pictures on and off the drugs.
People generally assume that the Regional Centers must have special medical expertise on hand in the area of mental retardation and their programs have access to the best specialists. That is far from the case. Autism is an untreatable disorder by present medical standards. Anyone with any medical ability in the area of autism would not work for the Regional Centers who are primarily motivated by greed and thrift. You will not find a single autism expert in the employ of these Regional Centers. They have less knowledge about kids like this than most caring parents do. Regional Center officials’ claims to their “professional” status is overblown and based on puffery, limited almost exclusively to Masters of Social Work, towards the lowest rungs on the academic ladder, having no special medical training. When a person is a high-functioning autistic they are able to learn and develop themselves, but for a lower functioning person the prospects are far less promising in a group setting or program. The best prospects are for one-on-one settings where the subject is removed from all distractions, as they are very distractible. That is something that the California Regional Centers are not geared to provide either doctrinally… or financially. Even after all the fuss about the parents not involving Nancy in a program, when her SARC program instructor in state care wanted to purchase a communication device for Nancy that she felt she could benefit from, the Regional Center still turned the thumbs down on it. The parents sought out the best doctors and specialists they could find regardless of their standing with the Regional Centers to care for Nancy and they listened to their advice. In state care, her neurologist was not board certified, and she didn’t have a neurologist at all for a full year because few doctors take MediCal and the Regional Center was not about to pay for anything themselves. Then the neurologist they found did not have board certification and could not stand up to the Regional Center nurse who interfered with Nancy’s care because of political considerations.
This is a very slippery concept, framed precisely in order to justify keeping the cruel and Byzantine system of state hospitals for the developmentally disabled open, worse than the worst prisons, and the psychiatrists and bureaucrats busy and fully employed in spite of the Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead v. LC mandates. This is the same tricky reasoning that led to Plessy v. Ferguson, the deplorable 1892 Supreme Court decision that justified the continuation of “separate but equal” justifying evil Jim Crow segregation in the Old South until it was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. It is the same idea endorsed by San Andreas’ staff psychologist Dr. Carrie Mulhoe with SARC’s blessing at trial to justify the idea that it was in Nancy’s best interests to live at a group home instead with her parents.
Olmstead was a historic advance in the rights of the disabled to participate in the life of the community. The state hates it however and has done everything it can to stop it because placement in state hospitals maintains a system where the state controls all avenues of accountability and thus limits any legal liability for injuries or deaths, as flatly stated by state attorneys in the class action suit still pending, Capitol People’s First v. DDS. The state has done business this way for generations and isn’t about to give it up without a fight, as testified to by the hundreds of unmarked graves recently discovered by construction workers within Agnews’ grounds. Many parents however endorse the maintenance of the state hospital system because they feel that the community care facilities are not as well medically staffed as the state hospitals are and they fear that their children and relatives will suffer in the community. That is not an answer however, because the state must improve community care to the point where it supplies the necessary care in an integrated setting. And that should never inhibit the rights of a family to take care of their children and relatives at home in a loving and caring environment.
After all, what state agency has the right to determine for us who our “peers” are? Shouldn’t that be up to us each of us individually, as a mainstay of the fundamental freedom of association? If an aristocrat wants to associate with a vagrant, shouldn’t they have the right to do so if they find that relationship mutually satisfying for some reason? Suppose the vagrant is an unknown and promising artist, like Vincent van Gogh? Would society be better off now if artists and revolutionaries like van Gogh or Jackson Pollack were declared to be gravely disabled? What about the inestimable legacy that they bequeathed to mankind that was never understood or appreciated in their lifetimes? Who should care? Who should have the right to control association between consenting adults? And what makes it so beneficial? If I have a broken arm, should I be put away in a facility where everyone else has a broken arm? As the Supreme Court ruled in Brown, “separate but equal is inherently unequal”. In Olmstead, the Supreme Court held that integration of the handicapped in the community served two purposes, first to reverse decades of discrimination that the disabled suffered that impaired their constitutional rights, but also to dispel notions of the larger community that the handicapped were not a part of the community that could enjoy their liberties and should be entitled to their rights.
Nancy Golin absolutely hates being segregated in a community of developmentally disabled people. We know that from years of experience observing her. It makes her feel discriminated and second class. There is nothing wrong with this at all. A great many of us dislike our peers intensely and would prefer to have nothing to do with them! That is our right. It is one thing to be able to socialize with our peers and another to be forced to socialize with them every day whether we want to or not, and no one else. Nancy has never been brought up to feel inferior. Able people are more interesting to those who lack their abilities and do more things that are interesting. That is why we all watch pro sports on TV. She enjoyed first class citizenship all her life, and all of a sudden now the state comes crashing in and shoves her back into what for her is a dungeon, saying “time’s up”. All the things that made Nancy most happy, her family and friends, are gone. We regard Nancy as a peer. That is a matter that is up to us to decide, and no one else. Nancy is a square peg that the State feels compelled to smash into a round hole. She had so little that she could do, why deprive her of one of the few things in life she could truly enjoy? Judge Martin thought that Nancy should be enjoying her newfound company of developmentally disabled people, too, for the most part. He hesitatingly said in his opinion, “Nancy should occasionally, within reason, experience people and situations other than those with her ‘peers’”. In other words, let’s not go overboard, be careful, not too much! That was a shocking revelation of institutional bias and discriminatory animus by the judge that conserved Nancy in an institution rather than letting her go home to her family.
This philosophy is called “utilitarianism”*, and we abhor it. Another way this is often expressed is, “the greatest good for the greatest number”. All these arguments have immediate pragmatic and moral relevance in the controversy about euthanasia, right-to-die, hospice care, doctor assisted suicide, health care rationing, bioethics, and the Schiavo case. One alternative theory advanced in this case is that the state sought conservatorship to limit their health care costs of Nancy under her MediCal entitlement, because in fact her astute and caring parents were bringing her to highly qualified doctors and clinics such as Stanford Hospital too often and costing the state too much money. According to this theory, the state conservatorship is a form of health care cost management. The state had better people to spend their money on.
Since they removed her, the State has been penurious in allocating costs to Nancy, confining her primarily to storefront GP’s instead of seeking world class specialists. Incredibly, Nancy’s first state doctor assigned by APS and SARC was a GP who had through misfortune lost his license, who worked in a tiny walk-in clinic in impoverished East San Jose where they specialized in examining poor Chicano immigrants for green-card qualification, in 2002 while she was being held captive by the state without any legal authority. The only point goes to show that costs were the paramount issue here. The State denied the doctor, Dr. James Morgan, any knowledge of her past medical history, telling him her parents were in jail for abusing her and therefore unavailable to interview for medical history, and implying she had been an abandoned street urchin (one more of APS/Buckmaster’s many amazingly inventive lies). She didn’t have a neurologist for a full year after being abducted because few neurologists take MediCal. When she finally got a neurologist, she was recently graduated and uncertified and had no knowledge of the effects of psychotropic medications or the harmful effects of the anti-seizure medication Dilantin that the state insisted on giving Nancy, even though it was discontinued by her doctors in 1992 because it caused bone and tooth loss. Again the neurologist Susan Gaskins was denied any medical history and was ordered by SARC not to speak to the parents in order to get that history after the parents tried to help because Nancy had been in San Jose Medical Center in serious condition throwing up her esophageal lining with intractable seizures as a result of resumption of the psychotropic drugging by her family GP Marvin Masada, who is lacks the qualifications as a neurologist or a psychiatrist to prescribe psychotropics. When Susan Gaskins saw the light and wanted to change Nancy’s anti-seizure medication discontinuing Dilantin just as the parents had warned, because she was in imminent danger of tooth loss, SARC’s staff registered nurse Wendt flew into action and stopped her, fearing that this would vindicate her experienced parents that were pilloried for “not trusting doctors” when they warned Judge Gallagher that Dilantin was bad for bone and tooth loss. The Golins knew this from past experience when her original neurologist Barnes had discontinued this drug for that very same reason in 1992.
But “now she has a doctor” the state’s unctuous attorney H. Dean Stiles huffily boasted! Another example of spin control, just the opposite of what the state claims: that the parents never took her to doctors…or did they take her to too many doctors? The spin twists back and forth, depending on what is needed at the time. Now that Nancy’s in serious trouble they secretly take her to Stanford again because they are being sued, but that’s not how it started out. It is all so incredible it strains the imagination to believe they could be so crooked and hateful without anyone holding them accountable.
A great deal is at stake in this debate for all of us. Why is all this important to everyone? Because while we have always taken our freedom for granted, tyranny progresses step by gradual step to deprive everyone of their rights by setting examples of certain groups of people showing that there are certain classes of persons to whom it is legal for the state to do anything, without limitation. This is a slippery slope corrosive to the rights of everyone because once that principle of inequality is established it becomes easy to extend it to others by constant gradual encroachments on liberty. Each creeping step is not so much worse than the step that came before, and if you didn’t resist the step before, why should you resist it now? The concept of “Equality” becomes a historical footnote this way, bending to the frequently misguided will of contemporary society. This time, however, we have seen it all before, and if our memories of history do not fail us, we can longer pretend we do not know for certain where it all leads. We know. Martin Luther King explained it this way, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” as history amply teaches us. But perhaps this is precisely why opponents of universal justice seek to attack the defenseless, hoping some day to be masters of us all. Thus we must all defend the defenseless.
*(My apologies to J. S. Mill if I misrepresent his original philosophy here, because over a century it has been so distorted by others to the point where the modern interpretation is something quite different from what he intended. In a paradoxical way this is a utilitarian argument against utilitarianism, but in our society we must reach those that are persuaded by its force to question it more carefully.
Wikipedia gives this example of utilitarianism: “… consider the following scenario: A surgeon has six patients: one needs a liver, one needs a pancreas, one needs a gall bladder, and two need kidneys. The sixth just came in to have his appendix removed. Should the surgeon kill the sixth man and pass his organs around to the others? This would obviously violate the rights of the sixth man, but act utilitarianism seems to imply that, given a purely binary choice between (1) killing the man and distributing his organs or (2) not doing so and the other five dying, violating his rights is exactly what we ought to do.”
Even here, the way we use it today, “utilitarianism” is being misapplied, very shortsightedly, because in the long run it is to everyone’s benefit even pragmatically to regard every human life as sacred by resisting every small encroachment upon our liberties, even viewed by apart from the most worthy spiritual or moral considerations.
Scholars and political scientists have a long established but recently forgotten name for a philosophical concept that accepts different classes of people depending on their utilitarian value to the state: Fascism. It is time we reacquainted ourselves with the meaning of that term (see also). To some degree we have utilitarianism now. If you are killed in a car crash, the value of your insurance settlement to your heirs will be based on the wages you would have made if you had lived. Thus, if you are developmentally disabled, you are deemed worthless. We should never forget that the Holocaust started with the developmentally disabled and handicapped, proceeding step by step, as an attempt to eliminate the “useless bread gobblers” or “life undeserving of living” of German society by euthanasia performed by doctors and psychiatrists.
Our country was founded on the core Jeffersonian belief established in the Age of Enlightenment that our value as human beings is ours to determine ourselves as sovereigns, not to be determined by others or by the state. If we decide to be useless bread gobblers and dedicate our lives for better or worse living in garrets as misunderstood artists, that is our constitutional right as long as society leaves us alone. We belong to ourselves, not to others. This fundamental concept is our birthright as Americans. Nancy teaches us that anyone can have the right and ability to enjoy life even if they may be handicapped, and if they teach us that spiritual lesson they are far from being useless. This underlies the fatal flaw in utilitarian philosophy, that it relies on narrow materialistic values and ignores “priceless” spiritual rewards. No truly strong man is ever burdened by the weak. They derive essential spiritual strength from serving them.
The profound wisdom and long term benefit to society of anti-utilitarianism and personal sovereignty is that it promotes the welfare of those that society fails to understand or appreciate within their lifetimes and encourages creative independent thinking outside the box, even if society mistakenly disapproves. Perhaps it is precisely because thinking outside the box is so threatening to rulers that utilitarianism, psychiatry, eugenics and sociology are promoted! Society has historically never been that smart about judging the value of people during their lifetimes. Van Gogh died penniless, now his paintings sell for millions. Scientists say, “scientific thought progresses one funeral at a time”: the old guard dies hard.
Jesus Christ died an outcast’s death, then he was deified, yet his fundamental revolutionary ideas are still misunderstood by many. Whatever your religion, even if you have no religion, if you never understood anything else about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, his teachings, his life and death, and Christianity, understand this. When we deem certain people “throwaways” we never know for sure what we might be throwing away. The jury may be out for a long time. We routinely deify our martyrs. Galileo, persecuted by the Inquisition.
Justice as the pursuit of truth is intended to be modeled on scientific method, but scientific method itself rarely ever, except in the most exceptional circumstances, even Newton’s Law applied to the quantum domain for example, admits finality. Res judicata will never be made a principle of science, and science courts should never sit in final judgment nor enjoin emergency action. In scientific method, the case may always be reopened by new evidence. You will never hear the terms, “Statute of Limitations” or “collateral estoppel” in a scientific paper. You cannot bribe Einstein to find that space is flat. You cannot exclude the evidence or alter the transcripts. Only tyrants insist on omniscience and finality. Conservative careful consideration requires time to settle questions, especially when moral considerations are involved. The ultimate fallacy is dogma.
This has serious consequences for one thing in the area of scientific and technical progress and national competitiveness, for those that care about such things. Real revolutionaries in scientific or philosophical thought have frequently, or ordinarily, been ostracized for decades or even generations by peer reviews before gaining acceptance, while they labored in obscurity or obloquy. Prions, rogue proteins that recently were proven to cause mad cow disease, were ridiculed by experts for 20 years. Cold fusion looks like it might be real after all. Hitler lost the bomb perhaps because he considered nuclear physics “Jewish science”. Are we getting set to make this same fatal mistake? Pounding square pegs in round holes constitutes a great loss to humanity. We almost lost this concept once and are in grave danger of losing it again.
What about eugenics, the “science” of genetic health, which advocates eliminating the genetically unfit? Isn’t it better for survival of the species to eliminate the weak? Darwin says, survival of the “fittest”. Shouldn’t we help ensure that the fittest survive?
First, again, slippery slope. Who should be able to judge who is unfit? Scientists? Politicians? Doctors? Hitler? Bush? The Pope? Aryan Brotherhood? Liberals? Conservatives? The Supreme Court? The party in power? Isn’t this a hidden political agenda?
More importantly, what is “fitness”? Darwinism was not as sophisticated in Hitler’s day as it is now. Now biologists understand the Theory of Natural Selection much better than they did 100 years ago. “Fitness” means adaptability of the species to environmental changes. Stresses to a species occur when sudden and unexpected changes occur to the environment that wipes out the majority of the population. Species that lack diversity to meet adaptability challenges become extinct. At times like this, those square pegs that didn’t fit the round holes often are the very ones that get to carry on the gene pools. Nobody but God can predict what the earth will be like 100 years from now. Genes, like the gene for sickle cells, that might be disadvantages in one environment, might be advantageous in others, like malarial subtropics. There is absolutely no way of predicting what genes will prove advantageous in the future. The key to survival of the species is not strength, but diversity. Often the very things that constitute strength in one environment are disadvantageous in another. Eugenics might even end up wiping out the species as we outsmart ourselves in our hubris as a race because it eliminates variations. Biologists today know this. They should tell the politicians. Of course, politicians and rulers love conformity. Nancy for all her failings might carry a dominant gene that might have benefits in the future for such things as surviving a future plague, who knows? Man is not equipped with sufficient intelligence or foresight to determine his own genetic fate. Best left for God to decide, not man. The key is to have the widest diversity of genetic variation possible, the exact opposite of eugenic ideology. Don’t blame Darwinism. Blame those that misinterpreted it.
Not only that, but Nancy’s condition might have nothing whatever to do with genetics. It could have been caused by an early injury, such as a childhood vaccination. Autism is suspected in one theory to have been caused by mercury preservatives used in the DPT vaccine that is administered at 18 months. If that were the case, eugenics has nothing to do with it. Sparing the insurance companies expensive claims might have more to do with it in that case. Economics setting a value on human life, or utilitarianism again, may actually be the culprit. Disposable people. Christ in distressing disguise.
In theory, yes. In reality, NO. There are all the nice utopian words that state social workers have practiced saying about this, and the nice sentiments in the statutes, but when it comes right down to it the real concern and interest of these state bureaucrats is summarized with one nice old fashioned five letter word: MONEY. The State DDS has a $6 Billion budget, and that controls a lot of power and signs a lot of paychecks. The laws are not being followed by the courts, except in the most superficial way to achieve a predetermined result. In a conservatorship system where there are virtually no effective judicial limitations on their power, it becomes repressive. A special needs child like Nancy is worth up to $350,000 a year in financial incentives to the state, from federal money. As far as Nancy herself is concerned, they have proven they don’t really give a damn about her or anyone like her. There is a system of kickbacks and a river of dirty money that flows like cocaine into the state welfare system, corrupting everything it touches. This is simply too much money for any ordinary person to fight. Our family is not the only one that is touched by this corruption. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of others. Many that we know personally that do not want to come out and fight, because they fear retaliations against their relatives who are already in state care either by having them injured, or fear being attacked and or having their services cut or having their vulnerable loved ones ripped away from them. The state system is out of control and until the governor or someone else in power says stop the system will keep on chugging out victims.
We disagree. This is where the principle evil lies. If one family member seizes all the control of an elderly or dependent adult, and the rest of the family is shut out, it drastically increases the probability that their power will be misused to the detriment of their ward. That is what happened in Schiavo. An unscrupulous husband with highly questionable motives was able to actually force his wife’s death, acting as her guardian. Under our present system of conservatorship laws, his exclusive powers were unchallengeable. We feel that as long as anyone wanted to see Terri Schiavo alive, such as her parents, they should have the right to insist on her remaining alive. No one person should have that much exclusive power over another. As the old saying goes, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Power sharing in families must be the law. The rights of family preferences over the state must be reinforced by clarifying the patchwork of statutory authority that blurs these rights.
In our case, as a small example, we wanted to have Nancy’s teeth cared for because her dental care was terribly neglected for three years and her front teeth were in danger of coming out from the Dilantin anti-seizure medication the state insisted on using that we warned caused bone and tooth loss, and the caregivers were threatening to have all her front teeth pulled to save money rather than trying to save them. The conservator kept taking her to the dentist who merely looked at her and never saw the back of her mouth, and they just took her home each time without his doing anything (see right). We knew how to get her to cooperate but the caregivers did not. As long as they had a record of taking her to the dentist that was good enough for them.
And conservators should be held accountable. If they fail to care for their wards and merely treat them as prisoners or property, they should be subject to lawsuit without having the almost impossible burden of taking them back to probate court to have them removed, by a judge that does not like to hear that he made a mistake in the first place, and without the benefit of discovery.
In other families, predatory nephews and greedy children very often abuse conservatorship proceedings in order to put their parents into nursing homes and seize their assets. Elder abuse does not only involve family members. The counties and states have become very practiced in doing the same thing, under the guise of “protection”, and this is the corrupt practice going on daily in Santa Clara County probate court that has gained national notoriety. The very agencies that are chartered to protect the elderly are in fact doing just the opposite, conspiring with the public guardian to take elderly people out of their homes during their precious golden years and put them in neglectful and abusive state nursing homes, have their assets stolen from them by county officials and judges, their houses sold out from under them, leaving their families to spend what is left of their estate fighting a futile battle in corrupt state courts to save their parents. These were the very facts involved in The Matter of the Guardianship of Heldris, a Northern District Court case argued by the state in federal court to apply to Nancy’s case, as an argument against federal civil rights and habeas subject matter jurisdiction, saying that state court remedies were available in theory and thus were sufficient. Why should any family be required to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to regain what was theirs in court and merely to keep their relatives at home with them, fighting against a ruthless state agency that has bottomless pockets for litigation? It’s a very profitable business, and it is receiving scant attention in the press.
Some should, some shouldn’t. That should be for the families and the children to decide, not the state. The state has too many vested interests to play a neutral role in such a decision, and the law says they should defer to parents. The State has not been following the law however. We have to follow their law but they don’t. They are honing their strategy case-by-case to defame parents and families building up false records in order to gain valued possession of these wards in spite of the families, in spite of the laws. There are many good parents that love their children and want to continue to care for them, especially the more severely impaired functioning ones that retain emotional aspects of childhood wanting to remain with their parents. It is a wrenching emotional dislocation when a child lives with their family for all their lives and a deep emotional bond of profound dependence and trust is formed that is almost impossible to explain to a parent of a normal child. The state laws were founded on that legislative intent, which is now being undermined. We know many families like this. Unless you live the experience you cannot truly understand it. A higher functioning autistic has the ability to maximize their self-reliance and ability to make their own choices as the law allows. More severely developmentally disabled people may never have that ability unless greater advances in rehabilitative medicine occur. Until then we should afford those that cannot advance to a better condition the mere pursuit of happiness that they can have, as Nancy has shown us.
Last, but not least, this is the most twisted myth of all, taking a lemon and turning it into lemonade. The State has been hiding behind this new tale for more than a year. An even more flagrant new variation of this myth from DDS’s unctuous attorney Stiles is, “there was an incident so severe [!] that Nancy had to be taken to the hospital!”, so “the parents were subsequently arrested for felony dependent abuse as a result [!],” conveniently forgetting to mention that the so-called “incident” was merely one instance of Nancy’s wandering, which could not possibly justify taking Nancy to a hospital, nor the parents terribly wrongful and malicious arrest designed to shut them up and incapacitate them, or that the parents were ultimately both exonerated. Normally an unsuspecting listener would assume, coming from a presumably reputable state official [i.e., one that had not been fired for lying], that this that the “incident” must have caused some terrible injury due to abuse, for her to have had to go to a hospital as a result. And the parents were arrested for felony abuse, too? What would you assume? Abuse? Everyone is against abuse! The police would never have done this without a good reason…could they?
Unfortunately, too many in state government, in the habit of presuming their friends to be ordinarily truthful, were easily taken in by this flimflammery, and yet it is the most shameless, egregious and deplorable lie of them all. The State’s game has been to so prejudice the Golins with inflammatory lies that nobody listens to them anymore no matter how much they try to be heard. Sadly, witch hunts do work.
This is the truth: Nancy was not taken to the hospital due to need, but due to pure police misconduct and conspiracy. Rather than admit this inexplicable and legally inexcusable official malfeasance that could easily cost them a lawsuit and judgment and possibly their jobs and reputations, DDS officials who are spreading this myth must now make it sound like a necessity and work backwards from their lie to insinuate false facts they could never show. George Orwell’s dystopian rulers would be rated mere apprentices, compared to these corrupt State attorneys. The myth works.
In fact, there were absolutely no signs of abuse or neglect found! The facts show conclusively that Nancy was not found by doctors to be unwell at all, and she was being properly cared for and in good condition when the police took her to the hospital and put her into a psych ward. Her medication "level was good at time of admission', according to Stanford’s neurology consult records, admitted in evidence…he wrote, “I know her from a previous admission to our service”. She was not having seizures, not until Stanford psych interns once again mistakenly or deliberately cut her established, long prescribed medication levels in half throwing her into a week of seizures, and then neurologists restored them a week later after this mistake was found. Therefore, Stanford knew full well Nancy was okay on her parents’ administrations of medications on the day she was taken into the hospital. This inconvenient evidence did not deter Judge Martin from finding that Mrs. Golin was “abusing” her daughter by following her neurologist’s prescription, concurring with the medical error. This evidence is the smoking gun of Judge Martin’s abuse of discretion because he ignored that evidence and irrationally “found” as his core finding of supposed “abuse” that Nancy was being overmedicated, even though mistakenly cutting her dosage threw her into seizures, and the qualified neurologist consult had to restore them to the same admission levels her mother was supposedly abusing her with to stop the seizures!
Nancy looked happy, well nourished, and well dressed, albeit understandably rumpled from her travels. The so-called “infection of unknown origin, probably due to neglect” Stanford psychs noted on the top of her left foot was caused by Stanford ER nurses four months earlier causing a terrible tissue burn from a misplaced IV procedure that their specialist passed the buck on treating, leaving it up to the parents to promptly get treated by specialists at another hospital. Stanford doctors either knew or should have known from reading their own records that it was their own error and not that of the parents. By that time it had almost completely healed as police photos showed, thanks to her mother’s four-times-daily ministrations and regular follow-up appointments. The supposed head lice that Det. Kratzer invented were never found, so Nancy was treated for “presumed head lice” according to records. Her hiatal hernia was in complete remission due to parental care under doctors’ supervision.
Every one of the police and SARC allegations were quickly found to be meritless and without probable cause, as her regular doctor Jerold Kaplan notified Stanford physician Deisseroth. The only alibi the police gave the parents when they snatched Nancy was to get a welfare check due to her being missing. To cover up their obvious misconduct, the Palo Alto police detective Kratzer who did this felt it necessary to perjure herself that she had informed the parents, not that this was for a welfare check which is what she actually said, but for a supposed psychiatric hold. The parents were in fact not given any such advance warning. That lie was soundly impeached under cross examination. The only reason the police cited to the hospital was to put her on a §§5150, 5250 psych hold, for supposed “grave disability”, but not for health reasons as they now allege, as shown by admitted evidence. The psych hold was judicially denied at a hospital hearing. She was not even gravely disabled. So…there was absolutely no reason to take her to the hospital, at all, in the first place, contrary to the state’s latest tale. But APS and SARC were not about to ever admit they had erred.
After two weeks, Stanford wanted to discharge Nancy because they could find nothing wrong with her, nothing to treat. Hospitals are not in the business of being used as hotels by bumbling police. They are way too expensive. If you are not sick, they kick you out. The hospital asked APS, who is going to pay for all this? The bill at that point was well over $60k. APS worker said, we have absolutely no idea! Stanford psych doctors warned APS that “Nancy is not safe with the men here”, to get her out of there! APS records show APS refused [against medical advice], “we disagree, this is the most safest (sic.) place”. Next, three days of hospital records disappear, and a flurry of meetings with Stanford Risk Management, and the next time Nancy is seen she is constantly clutching her crotch, and nobody is noting it, and APS is telling the parents, “NO QUESTIONS!”. At that point, if APS and SARC had ever suspected that they had a potential lawsuit problem to deal with, they realized it then. They could not let go her free after that.
SO, who was not caring for Nancy properly? It was obvious in the very first instance that APS and SARC officials lacked even the common sense or caring to know that it was not good for Nancy (in her “best interests”) to be throwing such a defenseless person into a locked psych ward with mental patients that had been demonstrated to be a harm to themselves and others.
“The Golins were dragging their daughter around living in some kind of nomadic existence living out of the back of a van!”
This is pure social worker boilerplate, folks -- Nothing to worry about. They tear out pages from Sociology 101 text books and plagiarize them because they can’t write anything original. They do this to everyone to make their victims sound like migrant farm workers so they can attack them. Not that there’s anything wrong with migrant farm workers’ families, most of them are better than the ones these social workers come from, rich with love and nurturing. But that’s not the way social workers are trained to see things. They wrote this in the first sentence of Nancy’s Individual Program Plan (IPP), the one they forged Nancy’s signature to: “It is difficult to tell the story of Nancy due to the constant move of her parents”. But Nancy’s parents are not migrant farm workers, and did not constantly move, and this does not fit the facts at all. There were easily located hospital records on Nancy going back to before Age 2. More spoken gospel from pathological liars. Where are the facts here?
IN FACT, Nancy never once lacked a roof over her head a day in her entire life and her housing was always stable! Here they go making lemonade out of lemons again. Was Nancy “kept locked in a closet”? Or taken everywhere with her parents in the community who involved her in real life activities? It can’t be both! Was she “dragged” around or did she go because she wanted to? This was another of the false allegations that Det. Kratzer refused to reallege on the witness stand when challenged because it wasn’t true and she knew it. More skillful lying.
These are the facts: The family always lived in houses and apartments and always had stable housing. One apartment they kept for 15 years in Mountain View. The most recent apartment they had in Mountain View for 7 years until 2001. They had a house in Carson City that they lived in for three years. They had a business which they ran for 15 years, which they spent many long hours operating in one location in Mountain View from 1993 to 2001. When Nancy was grabbed, she was living with her mother in a 26 foot fully equipped Class A motor home for five months, like a vacation, because Mrs. Golin had inherited enough money to buy a house and a loan guarantee, and they were driving around looking for a suitable home to buy. They had just bought a spanking new mini-van but they weren’t living in the back of it, as they proved to the court. When they traveled by car on a vacation as they did when they visited Disneyland in 1994, they stayed in motels. Is that a “nomadic existence”? Nancy absolutely loves to travel with her parents, and loved the motor home because she had everything she needs right there and can use the toilet or bed anytime she needs even while they are driving, and loves to watch the scenery go by, and stop at interesting places, like anyone else on a vacation. But they always had a home as well. She never had to be “dragged”, nor was their existence “nomadic”. Most importantly she was always with her family who loved and protected her, always. The parents have lived in a nice large new house in Santa Nella, CA, in a fine neighborhood for the past three years, waiting for their daughter to be able to come home. Even the probate court investigator proved that. It’s in the Court records! But that doesn’t stop the backstabbing and sniping.
Actually, Nancy loves traveling with her parents and would be delighted to be on a long vacation with her parents in their RV!
“That is What Conservatorships are For! The State Stepped In!”
No it isn’t! This is NOT what Conservatorships are for. That was not the legislative intent. The State did not have any legitimate interest in “stepping in” (See Myth #10). The Regional Centers are illicitly engaged in trying to turn the probate courts into an even more lucrative adult-sized version of the authoritarian juvenile and family courts, with APS playing the role of CPS carrying on the state’s protection racket into adulthood, but this game only plays well with people who are not well versed in conservatorship law and constitutional law, which includes most of the family law attorneys and judges. When a foster child reaches adulthood he or she is free to go seek out his natural parents without any restraint by the courts. The State does not have constitutional authority to “step in” just because they sell themselves to a judge as being able to do a better job than a family, presuming they know their adult children’s best interests better than their families. Families have rights and preferences over the State. The state is supposed to be last in line after family and relatives according to state law (Cal. Prob. C. §1812). Adult children have all their rights, unlike minor children. Adults have constitutional rights of familial association, rights of freedom from unreasonable personal seizure, due process, freedom from endangerment, and all the other constitutional rights being ignored here, that trump state conservatorship laws according to Article VI of the Constitution, the Supremacy Clause, which makes the Constitution the supreme law of the land trumping all state laws.
Probate courts are not intended to extend oppressive family law rules into the realm of dependent adults and elders, playing the game of destroying families and committing children and elders to adult versions of foster homes, reaping all the same lucrative benefits for the state that that entails. Conservators cannot treat their wards as property or chattel. Conservatorships are intended to protect those that are abandoned and have no families and NEED the protection of the state. When there are available families those families are entitled to statutory preference over the state, by express state laws and Supreme Court precedents. (See Myth #1) Conservatorship laws are NOT intended to be misused as a pre-emptive defense strategy to immunize state actors from lawsuits, attacking the family as an excuse and bankrupting them into submission. State welfare and institutions codes state that developmentally disabled persons have the same civil rights as anyone else.
The Golins were never convicted of abusing or neglecting Nancy, nor did they ever do so, and the facts show that the State has completely bungled her care. If the State “steps in”, who steps in when the State abuses and neglects the conservatee rather than the family? This just creates another prison like system that locks people up that are supposedly entitled to state protection in order to make money off them, but here the state does not have to prove guilt. This is precisely what the Supreme Court’s decision, O’Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975) held unconstitutional. Yet, nobody is paying attention to the Constitution right now in cases such as these. Let’s hope they start to.
“”The Golins must have scheduled, limited supervised visits with their daughter for the rest of her life because they might kidnap Nancy”.
Any parent under such circumstances would be a very poor parent if they did not at least imagine rescuing their beloved daughter from such terrible abuse under such circumstances. There is no court order requiring the state to impose supervised visitation. There is no restraining order preventing the parents from contacting their daughter. The courts have no such authority to make an order like that, nor has their ever been any showing of cause to justify ordering one. All contact/no-contact orders were dissolved by the criminal courts when the parents were exonerated. The state must know this because they have a guilty conscience. It would hardly be much of a kidnapping because Nancy would not only be willing to go with them, in fact she dreams of being rescued by them. Even divorced parents are not required to go for such an interminable period of time of supervised visitation, in family court where there is authority to make such orders. SARC wants to place security on the loss of Nancy as an asset for federal dollars; it does not want to risk losing such a precious cash cow. The Golins have had 3-1/2 years of supervised visits with their daughter and yet have resisted many opportunities for several reasons. First the Golins are not stupid enough to violate court orders. Second, they do not want to go to jail because if they did they would not be around to try to advocate for Nancy. They are also 64 years old and retired. Lastly they might unwittingly cause harm their daughter without intending to for medical reasons if they did, which would be antithetical to the purpose of rescuing her. The Golins hope to find a legal solution to this problem. They care about their daughter more than anything on earth and would not take any risk of harming her. So the chance of fleeing with Nancy is not contemplated.
Right now the parents have not seen their daughter in 5-1/2 months, because SARC has made this as difficult as possible for them. They are barred from entering the house where Nancy’s allegedly resides to visit her. SARC says they “stand ready to provide a visit supervisor”, but in the same breath they make new scurrilous fabrications to justify the reasons why these conditions are supposedly so necessary. SARC now claims that the parents are not welcome in the house because they supposedly went around to all the other residents “interrogating them” as to whether they were happy or not, seeking to make trouble. . The Golins never did any such thing. They would be entitled under normal circumstances to find out how Nancy was doing. They did have one or two friendly conversations with another verbal resident but were seeking only to find out how Nancy was doing in her program, not about the resident. Nancy’s roommate is non-verbal. So the claim is absurd on its face. The point is that every time the parents are alone in the presence of one of SARC’s social workers or agencies, they fabricate more scurrilous reports about the events of the visit, adding more weight to their long history of slanderous fabrications that have already muddied the waters so much. It is virtually common knowledge among social workers working for the state, although less well known in the public, that a social worker who does not lie for the agency doesn’t last very long, and they are constantly asked to lie in order to support their jobs and their agency. So the parents would be foolhardy at this point to trust any of them.
In the past when SARC offers visit supervisors, the initial contacts play games with the Golins. SARC swears that they do not want to cut off visits with Nancy with her parents. Of course they could not say anything else since to do so would be unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional even with the supervision. So Liske pretends to want to sponsor visits while he does everything possible to make it as difficult as they can and do everything they can to destroy the family ties and scare off potential visit supervisors. They will not discuss unsupervised visits at all, saying they are “out of the question“ Their “independent” visit supervisors contact the parents without leaving a phone number to return, saying they will call back, but they don’t call back, and without any phone number the parents cannot call them back. They will leave messages but will not take their return calls.
The present visit supervisor and trusted family friend Ruth Davis had to wait a year to be “approved” as a visit supervisor. Mrs. Davis has been very ill for the past several months and unable to continue her duties. SARC now has further tightened the requirements requiring supervisor candidates to make a personal face-to-face meeting with Tucker Liske at SARC, provide three references, drivers’ licenses and insurance, and be fingerprinted. Lately Liske has been reported to be intimidating the newer volunteer candidates that the Golins may kidnap their daughter and the supervisor might be held criminally liable if they did. Given that the volunteer efforts would take a significant commitment of time from another person that is not likely to be as committed as the parents, this is enough to discourage anyone from volunteering. So lately despite the parents diligent efforts contacting everyone they know, sending out calls for volunteers, they have been denied visits with their daughter on the grounds that there is no visit supervisor available. The Davis family has very good reason to be intimidated by SARC as well, for reasons we cannot publicly disclose.
After the trial, SARC attorney Nancy J. Johnson proposed by letter to the court that the Golins could have unsupervised visits with their daughter after six months of uneventful visits, but that has come and gone four times now. Each time SARC has staged an arbitrary “incident” to justify cutting off visits and stopping the clock again. The visits are being used as a reward and punishment system unrelated to any conceivable reasons for the supervision. If the Golins are unable to have visits with their daughter for six months, she proposed, the visits might be cut off altogether. On the most recent attempted visit in April the parents and a friend Donna Crowder went to the door of Talla House with Mrs. Davis but were denied entry at 6pm on the grounds that “everyone is in bed and resting”. The parents with ample grounds believe this either means that everyone was knocked out with strong psychotropic drugs at that hour to restrain them make it convenient and economical for the aides to watch them, or else she was transported to another more restrictive facility and not actually there.
No one in the State cares about what this is doing to Nancy emotionally. She misses her parents and wonders why they are not there for her when she needs them most. The State is using her as a sword against the parents. The parents want very much to see their daughter every day if possible. Nancy has the statutory right to see visitors every day without limitation at any reasonable hour.
“She is no longer your daughter. Your parental rights have been terminated by the probate court conservatorship”.
This is wrong. Nancy is a 35 year old adult child, not a minor child. No matter how old your children are they are always your children. Nancy’s parents raised her from birth into adulthood. Even foster children who have been removed from their parents’ custody by a family court are free to seek out their parents when they reach the age of emancipation. This is a probate court, not a family or juvenile court. She is no longer subject to the authority of the family courts. Probate courts are not courts of equity like family courts but only courts of statutory authority, and can exercise only those powers expressly granted to them by statute. No such statutes exist because they would be stricken down as unconstitutional if they were enacted. Even incarcerated convicts are granted visits by their relatives, conjugal visits by wives or visits by friends. Yet everywhere we look in recent years we see these powers being abused by unrestrained probate courts acting ultra vires, beyond the court’s authority, and no one is opposing them. Daughters being required to have supervised visits with their elderly mothers, wives being required to have supervised visits with their disabled husbands. The supervised visitation industry has been exploded far beyond the original purposes of its conception, in cases where children who have been abused or molested are ordered to have visits with the molesting parent. No such justification has ever existed here, nor is any justification being offered. If this statist notion were ratified by the courts it would constitute a unprecedented and unauthorized expansion of the judicial powers of the probate courts, lacking any grant of legislative authority, gradually encroaching into the sacred realm of family affairs in this and countless similar cases, rendering the historically deeply rooted constitutional right of family association guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments nugatory, and extending the scope of Family Law far beyond the purposes and concerns there into adulthood. This is a very dangerous direction because it imposes on all persons young and old the arbitrary authority of the courts upon their most essential liberty interests. It would grant the state virtually despotic powers over families. It must not be sustained.
The real unanswered question lurking behind all these myths was, could it have involved covert action? We may find out soon.
(page last updated August 21, 2005, copyright, Jeffrey R. Golin)