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April 11, 2005

BlogsForTerri Exclusive: Judge Donald Boyd's Complete Response VERSION 2

Topics: News

VERSION 2 IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL POST BELOW - BUT WITH JUDGE BOYD'S LETTER AND OUR COMMENTS PRESENTED IN REVERSE ORDER TO THE ORIGINAL.

Judge Boyd's Letter:

I am Probate Judge Donald W. Boyd and I am about to tell you the real
story. On March 31, 2005 one of the grand children of Mae Magouirk called me very upset saying that the brother and sister and cousin
(mullinax) were threatening to remove Ms Magouirk from Hospice and they were afraid of what would happen to Ms Magouirk if this was attempted. I asked if they had medical power of attorney and they stated, (we thought we did but have found out we have not) I told them the only way they could make decisions was to become her guardians. On Friday, April 1, 2005, I came to work at 8:00 am and Beth Gaddy and her brother along with their attorney (Danny Daniel)were waiting for us to open and explained the situation and after hearing the explanation from the grand children and the attorney I felt someone should be appointed Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could have a hearing and determine who that
person should be. The grand children and their attorney filed a petition for emergency guardianship of a gravely incapacitated adult. I ordered that Beth Gaddy become Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could hold a hearing to see who the permanent guardian would be. I scheduled a hearing to be held on Monday, April 4, 2005 at 9:00am.

Monday-April 4, 2005 at 8:00 AM I received a petition from the brother and sister and their attorney(Kirby).The brother and sister filed a petition to become guardian and a petition objecting to the appointment of Beth Gaddy as emergency guardian.

Monday April 4, 2005 the hearing began at 9:10 am with ALL parties present, except Ora Mae Magouirk. She was represented by attorney (guardian ad-litem) James Thornton.

After hearing the opening statements and about 2 hrs of testimony the
attorney for the brother and sister requested a break. We adjourned for a 15 minute break and was to start the hearing back at 11:15 am. When I came from my office back to the hearing, ALL the attorneys and some of the family members informed me that they had a possible settlement agreement and wanted a few more minutes. The attorneys came in a few minutes later and announced they had an agreement.

The attorney for the brother and sister proposed to the court that they would withdraw their petition to become guardians and would withdraw their objection to Beth Gaddy becoming guardian and would consent to appointing Beth Gaddy as guardian, provided that she would agree to follow the medical advice recommended by and agreed upon by 2 of three doctors (all heart specialists). The 3 Doctors were named and agreed to by all parties. The court ordered that the three doctors evaluate Mae Magouirk within 24 hours (or as soon as possible) as time was of the essence. The court told ALL parties they were not to have contact with any of the doctors to try and influence their decision. Everyone agreed and the family was laughing and hugging one another and I thought everything had been worked and I felt the right decision had been made and I thought it was great that the family made that decision and I didn't have to. The attorney for the brother and sister, Jack Kirby, drew the order up for the Court.

Then on Thursday all of these half-truths and lies started across the
internet started by Mr. Kenneth Mullinax. I have nothing pending in my court and I had nothing pending in my court, yet I have been accused of starving a grandmother, murder, called everything in the book and all I want is to get the truth out.

I am answering any e-mails as fast as I can and I have not refused to talk with anyone. I called a news conference to explain my side. I will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime about this matter.

It concerns me that people and so-called news agencies will print things that are not true or half-true and not bother to seek the truth. Please consider this in the future before you jump to conclusions you need to verify the story.

Regards,
Probate Judge Donald W. Boyd
Donald W. Boyd

What follows are first my observations and comments, which include most if not all of Judge Boyd's comments.

In a nutshell though, I deem Judge Boyd's actions to be entirely appropriate; but I do question some of his inactions(although even in regard to possible inactions on his part - legally, he might have had his hands tied, I'm not a lawyer). However, it's not over yet, and given what he knows now, hopefully we'll all see Judge Boyd take care of possible past inactions in the future. Having spoken with Judge Boyd several times and now having received his written explanations, I believe him to be sincere, but perhaps inexperienced with the Beth Gaddys of the world. I'll withhold including Michael Schiavo's name with hers until we know just a little more about her possible motivations.

There are several points in Judge Boyd's letter that caught my attention, none of which makes me believe that Judge Boyd has done anything out of order, except perhaps not question why the grandchildren were so dead set(sic) to have their Grandmother in a hospice instead of a "proper" medical center for treatment(such as UAB Med. Ctr. in Ala, where she is now):

1. Judge Boyd was contacted by the grand children of Mae Magouirk who were very upset and saying that the brother and sister and cousin (Mullinax) were threatening to remove Ms Magouirk from Hospice and they were afraid of what would happen to Ms Magouirk if this was attempted.

Mae Maqouirk could only be put in a hospice for one reason, and one reason only - to die. What possibly could happen to a living person requiring medical care than to be placed in a hospice where the living person requiring medical care could not get it and would die? So what were the grandchildren concerned about happening to Mae, that she would live instead of die? So who asked who for Mae to be put in a hospice instead of a nursing home or a qualified medical center where she could be treated for her aortic dissection?

2. After hearing the explanation from the grand children and the attorney Judge Boyd felt someone should be appointed Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could have a hearing and determine who that person should be. The grand children and their attorney had filed a petition for emergency guardianship of a gravely incapacitated adult. So Judge Boyd ordered that Beth Gaddy become Temporary Emergency Guardian until a hearing could be held to see who the permanent guardian would be. He then scheduled a hearing to be held on Monday, April 4, 2005 at 9:00am.

At this point, it seems to me that the action Judge Boyd had taken was appropriate, given that the grandchildren had asked for temporary custody, no one else had, and it appeared to the judge that someone had to make decisions for Mae. Again, my question is still how it was determined that Mae should be in a hospice instead of where she could get care. However, apparently Judge Boyd wasn't asked to make a decision on the hospice issue, and the action he took was to provide for temporary guardianship until more details were available.

3. On Monday, and after hearing the opening statements and about 2 hrs of testimony, the attorney for the brother and sister requested a break. They adjourned for a 15 minute break and were to start the hearing back at 11:15 am. When Judge Boyd came from his office back to the hearing, ALL the attorneys and some of the family members informed him that they had a possible settlement agreement and wanted a few more minutes. Later, the attorneys came in and announced to him that they had an agreement.

As in 2(above), it appears to me that Judge Boyd held the hearing that he had set when he assigned temporary guardianship to Beth Gaddy, then followed through with the Monday hearing, listened to the parties, and then agreed to that which was agreed upon by the parties. Judge Boyd seems to have acted appropriately.

4. In the Agreement, the attorney for the brother and sister proposed to the court that they would withdraw their petition to become guardians and would withdraw their objection to Beth Gaddy becoming guardian and would consent to appointing Beth Gaddy as guardian, provided that she would agree to follow the medical advice recommended by and agreed upon by 2 of three doctors (all heart specialists). The 3 Doctors were named and agreed to by all parties. The court ordered that the three doctors evaluate Mae Magouirk within 24 hours (or as soon as possible) as time was of the essence. The court told ALL parties they were not to have contact with any of the doctors to try and influence their decision. Everyone agreed and the family was laughing and hugging one another and Judge Boyd thought everything had been worked out, he felt the right decision had been made, and he thought it was great that the family made that decision and he didn't have to.

Here, Judge Boyd simply ordered what was agreed to by the parties. He wasn't asked to do anything more, and took no further action. The Judge acted appropriately.

5. Then, according to Judge Boyd, on Thursday is when "all of these half-truths and lies started across the Internet started by Mr. Kenneth Mullinax." According to Judge Boyd, he has nothing pending in his court, he 'had' nothing pending in his court, and yet he has been accused of starving a grandmother, murder, called everything in the book and all he wants to do is to get the truth out.

It is only at this point that I see a conflict between Judge Boyd's and Ken Mullinax's versions of the events, but even here, I don't find fault with any of Judge Boyds actions, although I could be critical of some of his inactions - failing to question why it was so important to keep someone IN THE HOSPICE and what were Beth Gaddy and the other grandchildren afraid of; what could possibly be worse FOR MAE then not being adequately evaluated FIRST and having the opportunity for REQUIRED MEDICAL CARE. The order for evaluation based upon three doctors came after giving Beth Gaddy the emergencey guardianship over Mae. And, as a matter of fact, ALL of Ken Mullinax's concerns and assumptions in regard to where Mae should be, are now validated - Mae is in the UAB Medical Center being cared for by experts. She is NOT in the hospice, she is so dehydrated that the attending physician believes(according to Ken and subject to verification) that it will take two or more days to hydrate her.

In regard to number 5 here:

Fact - Mae's life was in danger in the hospice and she was not receiving "adequate hydration for recovery and proper medical care for her condition."

Fact - Mae was placed in a hospice and given up on "to go home to Jesus," according to Beth Gaddy.

Fact - Clearly Mae's welfare was not the first consideration here, the 'will' of Beth Gaddy and the other grandchild(ren) was.


Fact - we now know that Beth Gaddy has had the Mullinax's removed from any ability to see Mae; sounds an awful lot like the Michael Schiavo situation.

Fact - Judge Boyd is not a Judge Greer. Judge Boyd is not trying to kill Mae. And now that Judge Boyd knows more about the situation, we hopefully can look forward to him acting more in Mae's interest and less in Beth's interest.

Questions: What is Beth Gaddy's motivation for Mae to die? Are there any financial considerations here? What does she fear that the Mullinax's will find out about Mae's medical condition, if anything? Why, after getting the power over Mae's life by Agreement, did she suddenly turn on the Mullinax's and forbid them to see Mae? Could it be that Beth Gaddy means well but is just seriously and critically(for Mae) misguided? Could Beth Gaddy possibly believe that just because Mae is disabled, elderly, and has glaucoma, that she is better off dead? If so, then she has no business being anyones guardian, let alone Mae's.

Posted by richard at April 11, 2005 7:48 PM


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Comments

I don't concur that Boyd acted appropriately in granting the emergency guardianship. It simply isn't correct that she would not have had anyone to make medical decisions for her otherwise. That was what Beth was upset about. Because it turned out Beth didn't have healthcare power of attorney, the legal "default setting" was that the siblings got to make decisions. That's why they were coming to take her away from hospice.

The only reason for granting Beth "emergency" guardianship was so Beth and not someone else would have power to make decisions. And what was the emergency need for that?

It sounds to me like Boyd just liked Beth and was annoyed at out-of-towners coming in out of the blue to take the old lady away against the wishes of the devoted granddaughter who had helped her all this time. But that wasn't sufficient reason for him to intervene in the situation and treat it as an emergency. A guardianship trial could have been held later in any event, as far as I understand.

As for the agreement at the trial, I'm still baffled about the implication (not stated but underlying this) that Boyd had _no idea_ that the Alabama relatives were concerned about dehydration until the whole thing broke out in the blogosphere. Can this really be true?

Posted by: Lydia at April 13, 2005 9:02 AM