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How an unwanted guardianship cost a firefighter his freedom and his fortune

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman  Posted by John Moffett (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Chief Justice Moyer has recently established a high-level commission charged with looking into the guardianship system in Ohio. Nationwide, hundreds of cases similar to Norman Baker's have been reported at places such as the www.stopguardianabuse.org web site. The Los Angeles Times ran a major expose several years ago which has resulted in reform in many states. Extreme as Baker's case may seem, numerous state and local court records are filled with cases of guardianship discord.

Moyers turned down the request that Judge Williams be removed from the case. An appeal on Judge Williams’s denial of the motion to vacate the guardianship has been filed in the Ohio Court of Appeals, Fifth Appellate District.

Thus far, Norman Baker has been in constant litigation for three years against the guardian appointed over him by the court. Norman’s guardianship was imposed in a hearing at which he was unpresented by counsel, and had no relative at his side, even though his brother lives in the state. He is no longer allowed to drive a car or vote. He has been deprived of the management of his properties and of his cash accounts, which by all indications have been seriously mismanaged. The home Norman built with his own hands has been largely ruined through neglect. He has been unable to obtain a full accounting of what has been done with his assets.

In essence, someone who has committed a murder or robbed a bank has more rights than have been granted Norman Baker.

Though the furthest thing imaginable from a terrorist, Norman Baker has no access to habeas corpus, or to a speedy trial.

Every night, Norman Baker goes to bed in his unwanted nursing home, praying for his freedom. If anything, his case stands as a bizarre warning against getting inconveniently ill, even briefly, while being in possession of enough assets to attract a legal guardian to "protect" you in your later years.
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As a Franklin County firefighter, Norman Baker worked to save lives. Now he must fight to save his own. "I never dreamed such a thing could happen in this country," he told the Free Press. "I just want to go home."


Letters of support for Norman Baker can be sent to Box 09683, Bexley, OH., 43209 or to harvey@freepress.org.


Robert Fitrakis is an attorney, and publisher of the Columbus Free Press. Harvey Wasserman is author or co-author of a dozen books, and senior editor of The Free Press . He is the spouse of attorney Susan Wasserman. Originally published by http://freepress.org. 

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