Amid tears and calls for criminal prosecutions, the Nevada Supreme Court Guardianship Commission took substantial action today.
Chief investigator Darcy Spears was there to see the unprecedented steps in fixing a broken system.
When it comes to your civil rights, being put under guardianship is worse than being sent to prison. Those words from a judge who sits on the commission.
Plus, the state Supreme Court's chief justice called some of what's been going on in our guardianship system just plain crazy.
One of those crazy things is how people can be deemed incompetent by a physician's assistant. The same physician's assistant whose name appears on case after case handled by private guardian April Parks.
"Later my aunt was examined by a neurologist who determined she was competent," Brenda Ralphs told the commission, through tears. "My aunt was victimized based on a defective document and incorrect diagnosis by an unqualified person!"
Brenda Ralphs found our Contact 13 investigation online, then flew in from Seattle to share her aunt's story with the guardianship commission.
She told commission members she fought to free her 92-year-old aunt, Barbara Lasco, from an unnecessary guardianship, but succeeded only after Parks and her lawyer drained nearly $20,000 from Lasco's accounts.
"This whole mess was unnecessary and expensive and it was emotionally devastating for my aunt--a proud and competent woman who was reduced to asking for her own money to go to the hairdresser, like a child asking for an allowance!"
After hearing that, Chief Justice Hardesty addressed what we've been asking about for months--what's being done to hold private guardians accountable for exploiting the people they're supposed to protect?
The commission unanimously voted to send a letter to all sheriffs and district attorneys in the state, as well as the Attorney General, asking them to prosecute misconduct and seek restitution for people subject to unjust guardianships.
The commission also voted to establish a bill of rights for people under guardianship and to ensure they have legal counsel.
They will also create a permanent guardianship commission to keep tabs on reform.