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Elderly, mentally ill and children trapped in broken court system

Thousands of Ohio’s most vulnerable residents are trapped in a system that was created to protect them but instead allows unscrupulous guardians to rob them of their freedom, dignity and money. Even judges who oversee the system acknowledge that it is broken, that it has ripped apart families, rendered the mentally ill voiceless, and left some elderly Ohioans dying penniless in nursing homes, a yearlong Columbus Dispatch investigation found.

Children under guardianship are all but forgotten. Adults without an estate are virtually ignored. And those who aren’t really mentally incompetent find it nearly impossible to end a guardianship. The 5-day series, which concludes May 22, has prompted criminal investigations by the Franklin County Prosecutor and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

"USA TODAY examined FBI data -- which defines a mass killing as four or more victims -- as well as local police records and media reports to understand mass killings in America. They happen far more often than the government reports, and the circumstances of those killings -- the people who commit them, the weapons they use and the forces that motivate them -- are far more predictable than many might think."

"In part three of Homes for the Taking, The Washington Post's Debbie Cenziper, Mike Sallah and Steven Rich found the District's tax office has risked 1,900 houses to foreclosure by mistakenly counting property owners as delinquent even after they paid their taxes, forcing them to fight for their homes in grueling legal battles that persisted for years. One mistake for $44.79 cost a 95-year-old woman her home. City leaders have offered up emergency legislation."

The series references a 2007 series of work by Fred Schulte. You can read more of Schulte's work on the topic below:

"They harvest the produce and process the meat and eggs Americans eat every day. But many migrant women are paying a high price to put food on their families' tables," according to a Center for Investigative Reporting piece.

"In the 12 years since American troops first deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2.6 million veterans have returned home to a country largely unprepared to meet their needs. The government that sent them to war has failed on many levels to fulfill its obligations to these veterans as demanded by Congress and promised by both Republican and Democratic administrations, a News21 investigation has found."

The nation's state medical boards continue to allow thousands of physicians to keep practicing medicine after findings of serious misconduct that puts patients at risk, a USA TODAY investigation shows. Many of the doctors have been barred by hospitals or other medical facilities; hundreds have paid millions of dollars to resolve malpractice claims. Yet their medical licenses — and their ability to inflict harm — remain intact.

"Being male and black in Oakland means being about as likely to be killed as to graduate from high school ready for college," a San Francisco Chronicle investigation found.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has locked up more than 1,000 people using controversial sting operations that entice suspects to rob nonexistent drug stash houses. See how the stings work and who they target in this USA Today report.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, 65% of fatal crashes that happen on weekends, in South Africa, are because of alcohol abuse by drivers and pedestrians.

However, in a report filed by Kirsti Buick, a journalism student from Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa, many drivers are getting off with paying a bribe, "some paying as little as R10 or simply handing over a cool drink to get out of traffic fines and jail time. According to Corruption Watch’s 2012 report, The Law for Sale, the practice of taking bribes “has become so common that it is, to a certain extent, not seen as such a big thing”."

 

A seven-month San Antonio Express-News investigation into the pervasive and long-standing problem of sex assaults in the military shows victims who report the incidents often are retaliated against and discharged on false claims that they have mental disorders. Offenders, meanwhile, are rarely punished, and most are allowed to stay in the armed forces.”

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