This page is here to provide the public with factual information about the "alleged" judicial misconduct of judge
JULIA B. OWDZIEJWashtenaw County, MI. Probate Court, in order that the public becomes aware of reasons to request and support her
By the MIchigan Legislature.
Impeaching a local judge is a serious matter. I've been giving you reasons. Now, let's give you contact information. On the 21st I sent a letter to Governor Whitmer, to Attorney General Nessel, to the four State Congressional Representatives for Washtenaw County, and or State Senator, as well as the Senators on the Judicial, Seniors, and Family Committees. That letter spelled out concerns, offered a legislative solution, and asked them to support the movement to impeach Julia Owdzeij from the Washtenaw Probate Court.
I'm going to ask you to please consider adding your voice to the request to remove judge Owdziej. The citizens of Washtenaw County and the State of Michigan deserve a judge who follows law and due process. Contact information for our Legislators from Washtenaw and sample letter which you can model yours from can be found here: http://www.randyasplund.com/probate/impeach.html
Here's the letter:
August 21, 2020
From: Randall C.
2101 S. Circle Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI. 48103
To: Michigan Governor Whitmer, MI Attorney General Dana Nessel, the various Michigan Legislators, directly: Washtenaw County Representatives Donna Lasinski, Yousef Rabhi, Ronnie Peterson, and Rebekah Warren, and Washtenaw County Senators Stephanie Chang, Betty Alexander, Tom Barrett, John Bizon, Marshall Bullock, Jeff Irwin, Ruth Johnson, Pete Lucido, Jim Runestad, Curt Vanderwall, and Dale Zorn, and to the people of Michigan,
RE: Public Health and Safety compromised by improper Probate Court process carried out by judge and court appointed attorneys regularly and severely violating Due Process, Statutes, and Rights.
Dear Governor Whitmer, Members of the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate, and Attorney General Nessel,
I am writing to you, especially my county Representatives, and to the State Senators who are on the Judiciary, Families, and Seniors committees regarding three intertwined matters, all of which pertain to an aggressive pattern of abuse and exploitation involving Michigan's Probate courts. I am certain that many of you are aware that abuse and exploitation of vulnerable persons, especially the elderly, is being looked at by the Legislative and Executive branches. The Elder Abuse Task Force is an example of the State of Michigan's attempt to address certain concerns.
The reasons for my letter are threefold:
I. To present argument that probate court corruption is even more systemically destructive to vulnerable persons via abuse and exploitation than that by caregivers and family members. The later deserves action, however, it is only a small part of a much larger problem which demands serious attention. We already have laws to protect against the later, but nothing to protect from abuse and exploitation under Color of Law by lawless courts.
II. To present to you in the legislature with an elegant legislative solution to the problem which would serve to remove the temptation towards probate corruption, and would make our guardianship and conservatorship laws finally comply with the US Constitution.
III. Sadly, there are some matters which must be addressed now, and cannot wait for changes in law. Both civil and criminal laws are being broken regularly, with little regard to due process. This misuse of legal power results in the needless and unwarranted devastation of victim's lives, the loss of everything they had, the destruction of family relationships, and complete destruction of the victim's quality of life and reason for living. Michiganders are frequently abused physically, mentally, and financially, with impunity under the knowing eye of certain probate judges. Therefore I wish to make a case to you that it is a right and proper thing for the Michigan Legislature to commence Impeachment proceedings against Judge Julia B. Owdziej (P42715) of the Washtenaw Probate Court.
*For a brief description of the mechanism used by Probate judges and the fiduciaries whom they appoint as guardians and conservators, please view this webpage. The link provides the synopsis of method. The other links are supportive information.
*For a brief description of my proposal for a legislative solution which would be far more effective than proposed tweaks to the EPIC, please see the same page and follow the link on the left for the VGCL proposal.
MY REQUESTS EXPLAINED:
I. THE LARGER ISSUE OF VULNERABLE ADULT ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION:
Yes, there are times when a professional caregiver or even a nefarious family member may commit acts of abuse and exploitation. Unfortunately, the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable persons, especially the elderly, b probate court appointed attorneys as guardians and conservators are often far worse. It is simple for a probate court to fall into this pattern of corruption because of the lack of genuine accountability. The judge appoints and defends attorneys and other professionals, all of whom are only accountable to that judge. The judge abuses their power of judicial discretion to exploit holes and vagueness in the law where possible, and where the law is more commanding, the judge uses their judicial power to ignore both due process and statute.
This is why EPIC and the new tweaks to it must fail. We presume that a judge is honest. But such presumption is ill supported and often contradicted. What we really have is a closed system where the judge is only accountable to themself, not law enforcement, and not the JTC. (The JTC has a terrible record for holding probate judges accountable for their part in promoting these crimes and civil law violations).
We then put probate judges into a position where they are responsible for their appointees being able to profit vastly at the expense of the ward's estates. I argue that this creates a “perfect storm” of temptation which is too lucrative for many judges and attorneys to ignore. Their complete authority over a human being's life, property, money, health treatment, and even what should be the common human rights of family relationships and self-determination which is clearly supported by the American Bar Association provides the unfettered ability to commit and profit from criminal acts and civil violations under the Color of Law. The judge allows their appointees to act with similar freedom. They say “Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely,” and Michigan probate confirms it. The temptation to profit without any fear of being caught or punished is not a reasonable policy, and must be changed.
1) A judge must have immunity from prosecution and must have a wide discretionary power so that they can use that power to ensure the best, most just and equitable outcome. Therefore the broad judicial discretion is essential in good law.
Answer: This attitude is exactly what allows and promotes corruption. It presumes honesty, but allows the fox to be in charge of the hen-house. Laws need to be better written to account for different situations, and their applications better understood, rather than providing language so vague that judges exploit it to stray from law. Not all probate cases are exploited. They are selected and chosen for vulnerability.
2) Errors of the court are correctable at the Court of Appeals and above.
Answer: Technically and judicially true -in theory. But the reality is that most cases are unable to get to the Court of Appeals, and often those which do become moot when the victim dies of old age. Once wards are in the system, the fiduciary obstructs their defense, with support of the judge. The victims are denied their money, their fair access to legal recourse, and are often isolated from family or friends who would help. The judge enables and supports all of this. Even if someone files a case to attempt a rescue, by the time to CoA hears it, the person may have died. In our own case we are not even scheduled for CoA yet, and we appealed in June, 2019, fourteen months ago. My mother was appointed a guardian & conservator in 2017. She started fighting it within a month. Justice delayed is justice denied. -Especially when you are in your 90's.
3) When civil statutory infractions are alleged against fiduciaries, the judge has oversight.
Answer: In reality, the judge appointed these professionals, and they have a mutually beneficial relationship in which the fiduciaries are compelled to support because the judge gives them the lucrative jobs. When the fiduciaries break the law for profit, it makes no sense that the judge who put them there so they could to do that would be their judge.
4) If a judge commits a crime, or a fiduciary commits a crime, regular law enforcement can intercede.
Answer: In practice, most law enforcement in Michigan will say it is under Probate, even when the matter is criminal, and they will not investigate. The judge may even make the claim that it is all civil, -because the judge is corrupt and doesn't want to be caught. So they take the word of the judge as trusted and knowledgeable, even when the judge is accused of being criminally complicit.
5) Judges and attorneys who behave with misconduct in representation or while serving as a guardian or conservator are answerable to the AGC and JTC.
Answer: In practice, even in cases where criminal activity rather than just civil infractions are accused, law enforcement, including the FBI and national help lines, directs you to the Attorney Grievance Commission or the Judicial Tenure Commission. Neither tend to act to uphold Judicial Standards or the Rules of Professional Conduct in these probate court matters, regardless of the weight of the evidence. Nor can they change a verdict, and neither prosecute crimes. So nobody is going after the criminal violations.
6) Judges are disinterested, so they can better determine the needs of an individual.
Answer: First, even in an honest court this violates the constitution in most situations. Second, the judge is not trained in psychiatry or social work, so they have no business making that decision, only ratifying a decision made by experts. Third, I have personally witnessed many hearing to determine whether a person is in need of guardianship, and in every single hearing the judge listened to scant testimony, with little or no evidence, did not consider or explore the limits of guardianship necessary for the individual, and then after only a few minutes appointed a FULL guardianship. This prevalence to appoint a guardian with full powers, without clear and convincing evidence, and not exploring the true level of need, is a violation of law and negligent abuse of judicial power at best.
II. THE LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION:
Tweaking EPC is not going to change anything if the system allows the judges to igore the laws in the first place. Taking all rights away from a human being, especially when it is not necessary, and viable alternatives exist, and then depriving them of liberty, property, due process, and ultimately life, is the worst of US. Constitutional transgressions and morality. Yet this is done constantly under our Probate court system.
Those responsible for infractions done under Color of Law are immune to outside intercession. And yet, we can all agree that there are vulnerable persons who need protection. Unfortunately, our probate system is not inherently protective. It is inherently predatory. I have written a framework proposal for resolving the problem. I call it the Voluntary Guardianship and Conservatorship Law proposal.
The VGCL says that if a person who has not been diagnosed with an insanity requiring hospitalization can express their desire to have an added protection or not, then it is their choice, not that of a court. They may decline guardianship or conservatorship, regardless of competence, in favor of choosing a trusted person to serve as their Assisted Decision Maker. This is NOT a DPoA. They do not need to go to court to deny or terminate guardianship or conservatorship, but they must notify the court if they terminate a guardian or conservator.
This creates a safety valve; an escape clause. Vulnerable people know they are vulnerable, and when we provide for appropriate assistance for them to exercise their rights of self-determination and seek trusted help, we are providing that protection without taking their rights and liberties.
It is expected that many people would still want more direct aid or protection from a guardian or limited guardian, but they want a guardian who would help them, not someone who would abuse or exploit them. So the VGCL makes this possible by creating a State Guardianship Department where guardian/conservators are paid a standard salary and trained. They have no way to exploit financially (potential bribery needs to be addressed) because they only get paid at the rate of a social worker or accountant. This automatically makes it unprofitable for attorneys, but just fine for social workers and accountants.
Family members are still allowed to be guardian/conservators if preferred by the individual. Since the judge does not appoint, and the ward can leave the program at will, there is little opportunity for a judge to run the exploitation scam. And the benefit to the ward encourages the person to participate willingly.
If a person is unconscious or found by multiple, unaffiliated psychiatrists to be insane enough for hospitalization, and actual evidence is provided, that is ratified by the judge on behalf of the government after verifying the source, and then the person is hospitalized.
III. REQUEST FOR THE IMPEACHMENT OF WASHTENAW PROBATE JUDGE OWDZIEJ:
1) Judge Owdziej cannot be voted out because she runs unopposed.
2) Judge Owdziej conducts her court with very little heed to due process, the law, or the Court Rules.
3) Judge Owdziej continuously acts with transparent, blatant, and destructive bias to favor her appointed guardians, conservators, and appointed attorneys for wards, knowingly, and for the worst outcomes for the protected person.
4) Judge Owdziej enables and supports the financial waste of protected person's property and possessions, knowing that the fiduciaries pay themselves before debts of the wards.
5) Judge Owdziej is the cornerstone of the corruption in the Washtenaw Probate Court, and thus responsible for countless millions of dollars in losses to protected individuals, their families, heirs, and creditors. She is an economic force of destruction in the county.
6) Judge Owdziej promotes and defends her appointees accused of deprivation of rights, in unwarranted isolation of wards from family and friends who would help the ward, and in the mistreatment of the protected persons by mental and physical abuse.
7) Judge Owdziej is one of the greatest offenders of justice and proper adjudication in S.E. Michigan, a region already known throughout the US as a hot spot for probate corruption. Our Michigan Probate corruption is a National embarrassment.
For these reasons, I believe Judge Owdziej is a disgrace to the State of Michigan, to the State Bar, and an embarrassment to the concept of justice. She is destructive to the people of Michigan, and shows no remorse. To delay her removal from the bench would be a hostile act to the innocent and vulnerable people of Michigan and their families. I've started the public awareness campaign which is growing. We need you to please act.
Randall C. Asplund
2101 S. Circle Dr. Ann Arbor, MI. 48103
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