California law provides that ‘“Financial abuse” of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following …” The statute goes on to list the actions that constitute financial abuse. The list is well covered in California’s jury instruction covering the essential factual elements of financial abuse. For now, I want to focus briefly on the factors that go into determining who is a “dependent adult?” California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.23 provides:
“Dependent adult” means any person between the ages of 18 and 64 years who resides in this state and who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or h[...]
The Psalms teach us to “vindicate the orphan and the oppressed” [Psalm 10:18] and that the Lord maintains “the cause of the afflicted and justice for the poor.” [Psalm 140:12]. We are to “Learn to do good; seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, Plead for the widow [Isaiah 1:17].
So here’s the deal. If we so choose how do we apply the wisdom of the Psalms and the admonitions of Isaiah? As lawyers, we do take comfort when we are able to help the afflicted and prevent harm to the powerless. That said, I must concede that all cases don’t present such lofty aspirations. Law is a mix of the mundane and the magnificent.
An area of justice in which the California legislature has a particular interest is the prote[...]