Leave Granny Alone!
Jul 01, 2016
Once a person asked me why I work at a law library. As he put it, "It must be the most boring place in the world!" Turns out, it is the most dichotomous career I know of which makes being a Law Librarian a vibrant, interesting and most rewarding gig in existence because you never know what's going to happen next. For instance, the other day as I was working the reference desk, a young lady came into our law library in seeking assistance to avoid jail having been charged with several counts of California Penal Code 368(d).
For the record, Penal Code 368(d) deals with people who, by theft or embezzlement, steals monies from an elderly person or dependent adult (and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is an elderly person or dependent adult). Ignoring the fact that the alleged crime was against someone who probably couldn't defend themselves, I was able to steel my emotions (what being the dutiful law Librarian that I am) and show her a number of resources that could help her avoid jail time.
Three days later, a grandmotherly woman came to the law library seeking information on how to prepare a civil action against her niece. Seems Granny was a victim of elder abuse when her niece had taken some checks from her purse (without permission) and made off with a sizable chunk of Granny's nest egg which was nestled in Granny's bank account. When Granny showed me the police report, I realized we had both met the same person. In short order, I was able to hand Granny a number of resources on how to develop a case against niece.
The sad thing is that I see scenarios like this almost daily. Someone taking advantage of old people. Makes me want to reach over the reference desk and shake them senseless. Of course, I can't do that but what I can do is hand them Penal Code 368 and show them what they're up against if/when they get caught.
As it turns out, the actual term “elder abuse” was only recently recognized as an actual classification it is reaching near epidemic levels. Just in California, in cases where monies are stolen from elderly people, 57.9 percent of abusers are family members, 16.9 percent are friends and neighbors and 14.9 percent are home care aids. Perpetrators of elder abuse are most likely to be adult children or spouses, more likely to be male (60%), to have a history of past or current substance abuse, have mental or physical health problems, have had trouble with the police, are unemployed or have financial problems.
Yep, it is truly a dichotomous existence we have here at the Riverside County Law Library. If you ever find yourself having been caught committing this crime, know that we here at the Riverside County Law Library will do what we can to help you find resources that will help in your defense. If, on the other hand, you find that you' or yours is ever a victim of elder abuse, know that the Riverside County Law Library is the place to be to help victims seek retribution from your perpetrators.
Bret is a Legal Research & Instructional Services Librarian at our Main Library.