Friday, April 3, 2009

No Peers

Sealing Guardianship court proceedings? That's scary business. Guardianship can completely strip all individual rights from a person. It is completely discomforting that the proceeding could be done, in whole or part, away from the view of the press and public.

George Hearst Jr. asked San Luis Obispo Superior Court to seal information regarding his twin sister Phoebe Cooke Hearst, and his efforts to take conservatorship of her estimated $2 billion estate.

The first time he was rejected; the second time the judge made a tentative ruling on to redact or seal from the public information on a case-by-case basis.

Cooke's brother claims that she is unable to handle her finances making her prey to elder abuse.

Cooke, whose husband Jack died in September, has fought the actions to take over her estate, saying her brother and the others do not have sufficient facts to prove she is mismanaging her assets or that she is being financially abused by others, according to her court filings.

In an interview with The Tribune, Cooke told them that she does need financial guidance now that her husband is dead, but is completely against her brother fulfilling this role. They have had a strained relationship for years.

She also told them that she wished "the court proceedings and resulting information be open to the press to help her receive a fair hearing."

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