My investigative research has uncovered a major flaw in America’s court system. It has to do with how overburdened and underfunded courts deal with family disputes over what to do with an elderly Mom or Dad. A growing number of families, nationwide, have learned that once a family member turns to the courts for help their parent could be placed under an odious elder guardianship situation managed by total stranger. Families caught up in this system say it turned their aging parent’s final years into a nightmare. These are my findings about the system in one state.
(This is a five-part Albuquerque Journal series was awarded the Institute for American Studies prestigious Clark Mollenhoff Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. Please read the sidebar stories in the left hand column under: More Info.)
Check out the cool trailer for my latest book. Just click in the box above.
Thinking Outside The Crime and Justice Box is a compilation of some of my favorite and most thought provoking columns – with updates and new text. The book discusses today’s headline crime cases as well as crime and justice issues readers may not realize even existed. Compelling human stories at the core of crime are often the centerpiece of my columns and reading about stranger’s struggles can help readers better understand the dynamics surrounding crime, law enforcement and justice. Look, there is good and evil in the world and I figure it is my job to point it out.
Welcome to my home base where you’ll find my weekly Creators Syndicate crime and justice newspaper columns re-posted. The paper of my childhood — The Albuquerque Journal — continues to be my column’s showcase spot for as long as they’ll have me.
My writings here are always different. Sometimes I’ll simply tell you a story. Sometimes I’ll share my opinions, praise or criticism. Other times I’ll hold a mirror up to our society and invite you to form your own opinion. I hope the columns will give you something new to think about each time you visit. It’s a complicated world out there, full of situations of good versus evil, right versus wrong. My job is point them out. - Diane
Former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, cut a pitiful figure this week as he left a federal prison in Minnesota and his wheelchair stuck on a bump in the sidewalk. His wife, fumbling at his side trying to manage his aluminum walker and other items wasn’t immediately able to help him over the hurdle. The just released prisoner was momentarily stuck. Pathetic for a man who was once second in line to the presidency of the United States.
I didn’t feel sorry for him one bit. Hastert is one of the worst kind of criminals in my book. He robbed children of their innocence and damaged their futures forever.
Summer time. Vacation Time. But no time to let your guard down. Traditionally, crime goes up during warmer weather with property crimes and aggravated assaults on the rise. In some locations murder rates increase too. When temperatures get hotter there are more windows left open, more sweaty and irritated people seeking relief outside and more alcoholic beverages consumed in public – all of which can prompt bad behavior.
So maybe you and your family have decided to take an ocean cruise to get away from it all this summer? Well, beware because there is crime on the high seas too, sometimes violent crimes.
Upon passing two people in the street the other day I heard one say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He’s a psychopath or a sociopath – or both!”
I’m no expert but from what I’ve learned studying crime and personality disorders I don’t think one person can have both of those qualities. So, how can you tell if that certain someone in your life is just annoying or has a diagnosable condition? Here’s a quick primer.
The parents of Michael Brown, who was killed by Ferguson (Mo.) police Officer Darren Wilson in 2014, have just gotten a financial windfall. The city’s insurance company has agreed to pay them $1.5 million to settle their wrongful death lawsuit against the city, the former police chief and Wilson.
In other words, Ferguson folded, probably on the advice of their insurance company’s lawyers.
While I cannot imagine the grief of those parents, losing their son the way they did, I can’t shake the feeling that they are being rewarded for their 18-year-old’s bad behavior.
A reader from New Hampshire wrote to ask, “Why, just because you are born here, are you an American citizen? I know the history of this law but it is out of date and just encourages more illegal immigration.” Well, I cannot argue with that.
The reader, who goes by the handle Rocheleau, expressed displeasure with the practice that automatically awards all babies born on American soil a certificate of U.S. citizenship. “Just because you are born in a garage,” Rocheleau wrote, “does not make you a car.” That may be an odd analogy but I take the reader’s point.
Sherry Johnson gave birth when she was 10 years old. When she turned 11, her parents, members of a conservative Pentecostal church, decided she should marry the 20-year-old man who had raped her. Their reasoning? Marriage would deflect a criminal case and help protect the reputation of the church. Amazingly, a clerk in Pinellas County, Florida, issued a marriage license (which noted Sherry’s birthdate), and the deed was done.
I was raised in the great American Southwest by parents who stressed personal responsibility, integrity, compassion for others and the ability to tell a good story. Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico I absorbed the moral and ethical values I would carry with me throughout life and use daily as a journalist.
After a humble beginning in Albuquerque radio (covering the cops and courts beat) I moved east. First, radio in Washington, DC where politics was the name of the game and then to New York where I got my first taste of television. It was to be a long draw at the TV trough, from New York to Hollywood and back again. And always my most fulfilling work was done in the crime and justice genre. My long running syndicated column allows me to deep dive into the human stories behind the headlines on a weekly basis. Writing books about crime and how society reacts to it still fascinates me.
Former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, cut a pitiful figure this week as he ...
Summer time. Vacation Time. But no time to let your guard down. Traditionally, crime goes ...
Upon passing two people in the street the other day I heard one say, “I ...
The parents of Michael Brown, who was killed by Ferguson (Mo.) police Officer Darren Wilson ...
A reader from New Hampshire wrote to ask, “Why, just because you are born here, ...