Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Protection and Advocacy for Lawyers

Imagine lawyers as a protected class who need public support and help.  It now seems that’s exactly what’s happening as so called “Protection and Advocacy” attorneys are circling the wagons to aid and abet the misdeeds of one of their own in Maine.

The lawyer posse was formed after an Aug. 16, 2008, front-page Wall Street Journal story detailed the handy work of the Maine Disability Rights Center and their lead attorney Helen Bailey in making sure that in 2006, William Bruce, a 24-year old man with schizophrenia was released from hospital care and his family was prevented from making sure he received treatment.  Despite that the doctors described Bruce as, “Very dangerous indeed for release to the community,” Bailey insisted she knew best.

As it turned out, Bruce was released because of Bailey’s legal handiwork and later killed his mother. 

The National Disability Rights Network has been busy trying to cover the tracks left in the carnage of Bailey’s legal tricks.  No wonder, there is no good that has come out of Bailey’s work.  The larger question remains:  Why keep defending what is clearly indefensible?

Bailey expressed her true sentiments of how she views her job to The Wall Street Journal.  “My job is to get the patient’s voice into the mix of where decisions are made,” she told the reporters.  “No matter how psychotic, that voice is still worthy of being heard.” 

Neither Bailey nor her legal posse has shown any remorse for what happened in the Bruce case.  “There is nothing in the William Bruce case that is contrary to the way we do business,” she says.

Hardly comforting words for a family in grief.  Here is how highly Bailey views the opinion of family members compared to her own sound legal judgment, “There are some God damn nasty families out there.”

Bailey considers this as business as usual, using taxpayer dollars.  As it turns out, they used those funds—in part given to them by the Bruce family and other law abiding citizens who pay their taxes and play by the rules—to offer protection from doctors trying to treat the sick.  Beyond that, Bailey’s group lobbied the Maine legislature to make sure she would get to keep her business as usual scheme going.  Did Bailey use federal dollars to lobby?  Did the Maine legislature believe her?

The answer to the first question is unknown and one would suspect Bailey has another Cracker Jack team of accountants carefully covering her tracks.  As for the second, the Maine legislature didn’t buy her phony argument that not providing medical care to someone with a severe mental illness was in that person’s best interest.  Has that fully stopped Bailey?  No.  She is now trying to use the courts, and likely public funds, to override the will of the people of Maine.