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August 29, 2012

Probate Cour: Where Some Elderly Citizens Disapear

 Probate Court: Where Some Elderly Citizens Disappear; the Case of Former WestConn Professor Eli Schutts (Second in a Series; Updated With Daughter's Reaction)

August 17, 2012
By ANDY THIBAULT
And JACK CORAGGIO

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Latest update: New Twist in Former Philosophy Professor's Health Care and Probate Saga: Document Shows Power Of Attorney Revoked For Longtime Companion

Also read: Daughter of Ailing Former WestConn Professor Caught Up in the World of Probate Backs the Conservator.

Previously on countytimes.com: Eli Schutts and Edith Johnson of Bethlehem: A Tragic Love Story at Life's Final Turn, and Probate Court’s Most Recent Ruling On Eli Schutts And Reaction.

TORRINGTON—Probate court rulings and administrative practices vary widely in Connecticut, which has a sordid history of failing to oversee commitments of elderly citizens to nursing homes.

The horror stories are legion: Tales of officials draining the estates of those they are charged with protecting, and friends and neighbors disappearing into the bowels of a secretive system with little, if any oversight. One significant case of unlawful imprisonment culminated with a state Supreme Court ruling this year, stripping layers of immunity from lawyers appointed by probate courts, and from conservators and nursing homes. Aggrieved family members can now sue those officials and nursing homes if they ignore the wishes of the clients they are charged with serving.

Daniel Gross had been held against his will in a Waterbury nursing home, the victim of collusion among a court-appointed lawyer, a conservator and a probate judge. He was freed after a year by superior court Judge Joseph Gormley, who called the case “a terrible miscarriage of justice.” Mr. Gross died in 2007, but a civil rights lawsuit filed by his daughter resulted in the high court ruling five years later.

The operations of probate courts still lack consistency, according to several elder care lawyers interviewed by The Litchfield County Times. Two of the lawyers who practice in the probate courts requested anonymity for fear of retribution. They had been asked to review court records and other documents related to the case of Eli Schutts, Ph.D., a retired philosophy professor at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury who is now at the Litchfield Woods nursing home in Torrington, based on a probate court ruling.



(A case worth following. Please go to SOURCE)
 Abridged
SOURCE:      The CountyTimes
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