CONTEMPT OF COURT — THINKING FOR OURSELVES

Corruption in Wayne County Probate Court.

Corruption in Wayne County Probate Court.

By Shea Howell

(submitted to VOD by Anita Peek of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development)

June 17, 2013

Week 63 of the occupation

Wayne Co. Chief Probate Milton Mack

Wayne Co. Chief Probate Milton Mack

Lennette Williams and her daughter Mailauni first came to public attention in 1998. Ms. Williams then challenged the Chief Judge of Wayne County Probate Court Milton Mack because of his mishandling of her $30 million settlement with Henry Ford Hospital. The money was intended to provide for her and Mailauni because of complications that had arisen during the birth of Mailauni, 16 years earlier.

Their case became a symbol of the corruption endemic in Probate court. Over the next decade stories abounded of lawyers and judges lining their pockets at the expense of clients who were often unable to defend themselves.In a thoughtful article in 2002 then Metro Times reporter Curt Guyette did an extensive expose of the corruption surrounding probate court. In the course of this article he quotes Ms. Williams saying, “I resent to have to keep coming through this court and be ripped off. It is wrong. I have told the truth. I have papers proving what I am saying and you have constantly turned a blind ear to it.”

Mailauni Williams is at bottom left in white dress with her mother Lennette Williams behind her in this earlier photo of members of the Original Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality. Arnetta Grable (center), Cornell Squires (behind her) and Arnetta Grable, Jr. were among those in court to support the WIlliams family June 13.
Mailauni Williams is at bottom left in white dress with her mother Lennette Williams behind her in this earlier photo of members of the Original Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality. Arnetta Grable (center), Cornell Squires (behind her) and Arnetta Grable, Jr. were among those in court to support the WIlliams family June 13.

Last week, Ms. Williams not only found herself in court, but in jail. She was stripped of the guardianship of her daughter Mailauni, now a young adult, who sheriffs took from their home in late May. Judge Kathryn George ordered Ms. Williams locked up for 10 days for contempt of court.

 

It is hard to imagine why Ms. Williams would have anything other than contempt for a court process that has repeatedly placed her family at risk. Currently they are facing the possible loss of their home.

Without explanation, Judge George refused to accept the recommendation of the estate trustee, Walter Sakowski, that Monique Williams, Mailauni’s older sister, be granted custody. Mailauni [VOD: was first placed in a group home and is now under the guardianship of Attorney Mary Rowan, who immediately removed her from that location.]

In contrast to the intense battling going on in court, Guyette also describes the love and support Ms. Williams gives her children. As a single mother raising three children, often on income that was disrupted by court procedures, she managed to provide a home of love and affection. No one has ever alleged that she was anything other than a loving, supportive mother.

Caregiver beats young autistic woman, Vera Gossett, at Strathmoor Manor in Detroit. That home is not linked to Faith Connections.

Caregiver beats young autistic woman, Vera Gossett, at Strathmoor Manor in Detroit.
That home is not linked to Faith Connections.

The same cannot be said for the system of group homes to which her daughter has been sent. Just last month the vicious beating of a young woman at Strathmoor Manor by a woman charged with her care made national news. No one thinks this was an isolated case.

Reports of the chaotic court proceedings emphasized the disrespect shown the family by the Judge. Voice of Detroit reported: “The judge’s demeanor showed that she was a racist,” said Cornell Squires of We the People for the People, who has worked with the Williams family for 20 years. “Her behavior was offensive to Lennette, her attorney, and all the Black people in the courtroom. It was unbecoming a judge. I’ve seen some wicked judges, but she is the worst. She crushed Mailauni by taking her away from her mother. We are going to ask for a federal investigation of this matter, and there needs to be a forensic audit of the Williams estate.”

Maryanne Godboldo (2nd from left) with her attorney Allison Folmar (center), child's father Mubarak Hakim to Folmar's right, after 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles dismissed criminal charges against her for the second time.
Maryanne Godboldo (2nd from left) with her attorney Allison Folmar (center), child’s father Mubarak Hakim to Folmar’s right, after 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles dismissed criminal charges against her for the second time. Folmar also represents Lennette and Mailauni Williams.

The abuses in this case echo those of Maryanne Godboldo who defied a SWAT team in 2011 over her decision to cease administering a drug to her daughter that she thought harmful. Charges have been dismissed three separate times against Ms. Godboldo, who still faces a court hearing.

 

Ms. Williams is an original member of the Coalition Against Police Brutality. Edwards and Arnetta Grable, Cornell Squires of We the People for the People, and Elaine Steele and Anita Peek of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development support her.

Almost everyone in Detroit has a story to tell of abuses suffered at the hands of arbitrary uses of authority. Today, Ms. Williams symbolizes not only the abuses of a probate system, but the assault by unaccountable authorities on all that we love and value.

Related:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/16/shady-probate-judge-kathryn-george-jails-mom-seizes-daughter-and-estate/

http://www.wxyz.com/news/patient-at-detroit-adult-care-facility-beaten-by-woman-who-was-supposed-to-be-her-caregiver

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/25531122/video-caregiver-accused-of-beating-special-needs-patient

http://www.freep.com/article/20120720/NEWS02/120720045/Rosa-Parks-estate-Milton-Mack-Steven-Cohen


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One Response to CONTEMPT OF COURT — THINKING FOR OURSELVES

  1. Jerome McDaniel says:

    We need more press on the corrupt Wayne County probate court. My Aunt is under their control and we see the abuse and it is almost impossible to do anything about it or to remove their claws from her and her estate. The judges cause unnecessary litigation, are over turned on appeal, and allow their apointed cronies to drain estates.
    They should be put in prision. Where is the protection!!! When will someone in authority investigate these crooks?

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