Thursday, March 29, 2018
New Mexico, Where New Guardianship Laws Will Take Effect July 1, 2018, Struggles With Reporting Systems
Earlier this week, The Albuquerque Journal reported on continued problems with accountability for court-appointed guardians within New Mexico. Colleen Heild writes:
What’s become of Elizabeth Hamel? Hamel is among dozens of people placed under a legal guardianship or conservator in southern New Mexico over the past 20 years whose welfare is unknown – at least according to state district court records. . . . Nothing in the online court docket sheet indicates that Hamel’s case has been closed. But since being appointed, Advocate Services of Las Cruces hasn’t filed any annual reports about Hamel’s well-being or finances, the docket sheet shows.
There’s no indication as to whether she is dead or alive, or if the guardianship/conservatorship has been revoked. . . .
As New Mexico prepares for a new law, effective July 1, to help its ailing guardianship system, the state’s district courts still don’t have a uniform way to ensure guardian compliance with reporting laws that have been on the books at least since 1989.
State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said last week that he was disappointed that annual reports haven’t been filed in some cases.
“And I’m not surprised the courts wouldn’t know,” said Ortiz y Pino, a longtime advocate for reform. “That’s what we ran into over and over again, the lack of any kind of system to make it possible to log them (annual reports) in, let alone read them, let alone send somebody out to verify whether or not what they’re reporting is the truth. Those are the kind of things we shouldn’t be missing. Somebody should be at least saying, ‘Hey, you never did file a report.’ ”
For more, read Missing Reports Plague Guardianship System (3/25/18).