By Dr. Sam J. Sugar, M.D., Founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship
Perhaps the most painful aspect of the guardianship racket is how it retaliates against its victims and their loved ones by placing them in abject isolation. The inability to commiserate with a loved one who is in pain and in trouble is one of the most difficult aspects of coping with an abusive guardianship.
The serious nature of isolation can be deduced from the account of the biblical leper found in the Old Testament. The punishment for gossip, according to sages, was the imposition of a physical ailment called biblical leprosy. It does not exist today. The punishment for evil talk and slander was one of the most serious in all biblical literature. Isolating an individual from his society, from his network of support, from his family, was intended to deprive the guilty party of living in a community that shares the same principles and code of conduct. The punishment was intended to prevent sin.
But what sin have wards committed? Why do we hear so many stories about wards who have been thrown into lockdown facilities? Why have we seen instances where law enforcement bars the entry to a facility for families who simply want to see their loved ones? Why is it so often necessary for guardians to punish wards and families with stayaway orders? Why would a judge whose directive is to do what’s in the best interests of the ward prevent them from being visited by the very people who mean the most to them?
These and similar questions are the focus of advocates around the country. These advocates are demanding laws that facilitate the visitation of family members caught up in guardianships. Their efforts bring attention to this egregious attack on innocent victims and their families in state after state. Whether you agree with the legislation or not, these advocates are calling attention to the plight of countless wards in countless facilities whose lives are unnecessarily shattered by abusive guardians whose near complete control over their lives sentences them to loneliness, depression, multiple severe medical complications and consequences, and ultimately, a lonely death with no one who loves them to comfort them.
We have all been critical of predatory guardians and deservedly so. It is the guardians and their lawyers who intentionally abuse families who oppose them by the exercise of their power and influence over the judge. But it is beyond me to understand how and why any judge could with a clear conscience issue a stayaway order against a family member who poses no threat to anyone and whose absence is such a mortal blow to their loved one. Court approval is the hammer that pounds the nails into the coffins of innocent victims of abusive guardianship.
Knowing that they will never be monitored, criticized or sanctioned allows them to act as a god within their court. And victims and families have no choice but to bow down before that god whose actions are so often orchestrated by criminal guardians and lawyers.
The guardianship racket is merciless, illegitimate, punitive, greed-based and a perversion of the laws intended to protect the vulnerable. Guardian behavior that can only be described as sadistic and cruel is the natural outgrowth of unchecked greed based power. It is a black stain on our society. The only possible reason that it flourishes is the undeniable heinous corruption of our Judiciary. When elected by a disinterested polity, Judges are realistically unassailable and immune from effective criticism, monitoring or supervision; they predictably will grow increasingly bolder and more corrupt and emboldened to feather their nests with the booty and benefit they surely receive for their complicity.
Across the country we have found that, while there may be many fine honorable Judges, in so many hotspots of abuse like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, California and many others, “equity” Judges in probate, family and divorce courts commit grievous atrocities that, in the name of greed and power, destroy innocent families, lives and fortunes.
The brutal fact that no level of government is willing to perform an honest investigation of these criminal acts is a sign that our society is terribly sick and that the government on which we all depend to protect us is no better than the corrupt banana republics we so casually scorn, whose ruling classes brazenly steal, kill, abuse and act as a very well organized crime network—until they are exposed. Even then, very few receive any meaningful punishment because the game is fixed.
For all of our sakes we must bring this organized crime crashing down on itself. Whether at the state or federal level, we must be the ones who will spearhead a nationwide effort to clean up our courts and rescue the victims within them. We must take every opportunity possible to expose this racket, protest against it up to and including civil disobedience because only a national coordinated movement to dislodge this firmly entrenched corruption has the slightest chance of success.
Sam J Sugar, M.D. is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine residing in Aventura Florida. A 1972 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a faculty member at both Rush Medical School and Northwestern University Feinberg School Medicine in Chicago, Dr. Sugar is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Sugar founded Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG) in 2013 as a result of his personal experiences in the probate process in Miami-Dade probate court, and was quickly joined by a nearby neighbor, Lydia Abramovici. Together Sam and Lidya have brought AAAPG to the national forefront of bringing justice to victims of Guardianship Abuse. Dr. Sugar has been widely published in the media in regards to his activism against elder abuse and has been instrumental in the development and passage of guardianship reform laws in Florida.