Spring 2014: Courts and the Elderly—Challenges and Solutions

The Case for Specialized Elder Abuse Prosecutors

Features

The Case for Specialized Elder Abuse Prosecutors

Had the abuse of 64-year-old Leonard Swenson been reported to police in 1998 rather than 2008, nothing would have been done about this “civil matter.” In 2008, Leonard was still failed by most systems but, because of the existence of specialized elder abuse prosecutors and other dedicated people, his exploiter did ultimately go to prison.

In this issue, we explore challenges arising out of the interaction between courts and the elderly, as well as resources crafted by courts and agencies to improve access to justice for the elderly.

The ABA House of Delegates has adopted a policy sponsored by the Commission on Law and Aging and co-sponsored by the Senior Lawyers Division that urges courts and community organizations to collaborate in establishing court-focused elder abuse initiatives.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional and a resulting IRS ruling erased a century’s worth of tax history. This ruling is a welcome equitable change to the tax and estate planning world. Where possible, you should help your clients capitalize upon this historic change.

With a bit of caution, we can continue to use email productively and beneficially. If we do not exercise that caution, however, email, like other technologies, has the potential to bite us in the posterior.

Even in states where ethics rules do not punish incivility, lawyers can rely on some ethics provisions to serve clients while courteously interacting with everyone around them.

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