BUZZFEED: BEYOND BRITNEY: ABUSE, EXPLOITATION, AND DEATH INSIDE AMERICA’S GUARDIANSHIP INDUSTRY
In local courts across the country — often woefully unfit for the sweeping power they command — guardians, lawyers, and expert witnesses appear frequently before the same judges in an established network of overlapping financial and professional interests. They are often paid from the estate of the person whose freedom is on the line, creating powerful incentives to form guardianships and keep them in place.
“The judge knows the lawyers, the lawyers know each other,” said J. Ronald Denman, a former state prosecutor and Florida lawyer who has contested dozens of guardianships over the past decade. “The amount of abuse is crazy. You’re going against a rigged system.”
“Often there is a little buddy-buddy system going on … sometimes a judge has friends who are attorneys,” said Thomas Coleman, a Palm Springs lawyer who specializes in representing the disabled."