Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse | Penal Code §368(c)
- September 14, 2021 - Elder Financial Abuse,
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We litigate estate, trust, and financial elder abuse cases in California’s Superior Courts.
California’s courts serve nearly 40 million people. In California trial courts, or Superior Courts, a judge and sometimes a jury hears witnesses’ testimony and other evidence. The judge or jury then decides cases by applying the relevant law to the relevant facts.
We’re civil litigators. It’s our job to represent and obtain justice for individuals and often the injured.
Part of the job of County District Attorneys, the California Attorney General, and the United States Attorney’s Office is to criminally prosecute elder or dependent adult abusers. There are many criminal statutes that elder or dependent adult abusers may violate.
In this short video, I’m going to focus on California Penal Code §368(c), a misdemeanor. There are three elements that define this violation.
The first element is that the defendant inflicted unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on an elder or dependent adult. For purposes of this statute, unjustifiable mental suffering is suffering that is not reasonably related or is excessive under the circumstances.
I’ve seen cases where supporting evidence includes the defendant’s yelling at the victim coupled with other threats. The defendant’s intimidations to the victim included a promise to cut off the victim’s access to grandchildren and the defendant’s pressure that she was going to take everything that the victim owned. All of this behavior resulted in the victim’s great distress, sobbing, and anguish.
The second element in a case regarding an elder requires a showing that the victim was at least 65 years old. The third element requires evidence that the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was an elder.
Many elders suffer abuse. Many cases are not prosecuted. Law enforcement and prosecutors must allocate their limited resources in initiating prosecutions. Not all cases make is past this threshold.
At Hackard Law we serve clients in the civil courts – often heirs and beneficiaries – who have estate, trust, and elder financial abuse litigation issues.
If you’d like to speak with us about your case, call us at 916-313-3030. We’ll be happy to speak with you.
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