Can A Social Service Agency Be Saved? – Trumbull County CSB, Again.

April 19, 2012

By Attorney David Engler

The former Director of Trumbull County Children Services resigned yesterday and was replaced by Timothy Schaffner, current director of Valley Services, which is a local social service provider with long standing contacts and contracts with CSB. This is not just a local story but one of how a dysfunctional organization can cure itself.

Government workers

I wish him well in the new job and hope that his initial comments of having many friends at the agency and an appreciation for their commitment to protecting children and families does not preclude leadership that requires culture change. The death roll of children who have had direct CSB involvement over the last 9 years should be cause for institutional soul searching, not “way to go Brownie” comments.

A change of director is not enough. The problems are not going to be solved with a simple “we will fix what the State says is wrong” and be done with this ugliness. There is a wide felt sense in the Trumbull County population that CSB serves the agency is one that cannot be trusted.

Already the new director has parroted the Board’s and old Director’s misplaced belief that my actions are those of a lawyer seeking a quick dollar and publicity at CSB’s expense. That attitude will spawn additional mistakes and then litigation and lead to the proverbial fix of putting lipstick on a pig. The lipstick will be happy billboards and sugar coated statements that we protect children and-by-the-way-trust-us.

Like I said earlier, I hope Director Schaffner makes a difference. I offer my help. CSB will eventually crumble if changes are not made to the organization. CSB needs to share in accepting responsibility for the boy that died from cancer where his parents never took him for care, or the toddler that was molested in the agency or processing home studies based on fiction or allowing children to be murdered by a person they approved as a caregiver.

Director Schaffner would be the rare government bureaucrat who understood that it is healthy in any relationship to accept blame, seek forgiveness and then redeem. The relationship is with the people truly served by CSB. They are largely poor, minority, drug dependent, uneducated and abuse victims themselves. Show respect to these citizens and you will get it back in return. Do not settle for just correcting what the State says you failed to do. Seek to be a leader and adopt the model of service deliveries being pioneered across the country. And for sure: stop blaming the victims (your clients). If a child is injured, abused, neglected, murdered or dependent it is our fault. Change the culture. Please.

Attorney David Engler
Phone: 330-729-9777 Attorney Engler’s website
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

Also published on Family Fault Lines Blog

Florida Man MAIMS Flock of Seagulls…All Band Members Safe!!! – Animal Abuse

April 14, 2012

By Attorney David Engler

Flock of Seagulls Star Mike Score – NOT INVOLVED OR INJURED!

A 43-year-old Florida man was sentenced to 270 days in jail for killing one seagull and injuring two others when he twice drove into flocks of the birds in January. It was apparent from the police report that he knew it was a flock of seagulls and not the 1980’s band “Flock of Seagulls”.

Maimer Mug Shot
Nicholas M. Ulsch – the “M” stands for maimer?

Nicholas M. Ulsch was forced to plead no contest to animal cruelty charge and a probation violation from his 2009 case of animal cruelty. In 2009 he smashed a puppy to death against the wall in his apartment. He had recently purchased the puppy from Craigslist. The puppy had defecated in his apartment.

In no surprise to anyone, the Judge found Ulsch guilty. It is also not surprising that the crime took place in Florida.

The Orland Sentinel reported that on Jan. 7, Ulsch twice intentionally drove into flocks of seagulls, killing one bird and maiming another so badly it had to be euthanized. A third bird was injured. He was driving coincidentally a Jeep from the 80’s.

The incident occurred on the beach in Daytona Beach.

“Ulsch told officers he did not mean to hit the birds and thought he had missed them. But officers said he intentionally hit the birds with his 1989 Jeep.” according to

This guy is twisted.

  • Attorney David Engler
    Phone: 330-729-9777 Attorney Engler’s website

    Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal Law

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    Florida Walgreens Part of Oxy Epidemic

    April 8, 2012

    By Attorney David Engler

    In Jupiter, Florida the local Walgreen’s has been having a great couple of years. This means however that hundreds of mostly younger 20 to 40 year olds are hopelessly hooked on life ruining oxycodone. And when the Oxy’s run out or they can’t steal from Grandma’s prescription anymore then the next best cheapest high is heroin.


    The DEA filed an affidavit that allowed for the search warrant at the Jupiter Walgreen last month. The Walgreens affidavit showed sharp increases in oxycodone purchases at each of the pharmacies under investigation in southern Florida. For example, a pharmacy in Fort Myers went from selling 95,800 units of oxycodone in 2009 to more than 2.1 million units in 2011 – good for 67 percent of all the oxycodone purchased by pharmacies in that same zip code in 2011.

    Read more here:

    In the first two months of this year, the DEA added, 53 Walgreens pharmacies are listed in the agency’s top 100 purchasers of oxycodone. In 2009, none were on the list.

    Earlier this year, the DEA released figures showing that Florida may be losing its distinction as the nation’s leading illicit source for painkillers because of the ongoing law enforcement crackdown and several new laws. Florida also last year began operating a prescription drug tracking system and database aimed at combating illegal diversion of the drugs.

    The abuse of prescription drugs is epidemic in the country. This is a clear example of where there needs to be a national database so a doctor or law enforcement can type in a name to see if the patient has been pill shopping. Also warnings can be built into the system to show hot spots of pharmacy and pill mills that are complicit in this plague. 70% of all of my custody cases involve someone using opioids.

    It started in Appalachia, caught fire in Tennessee, then Florida and now all states.

    The guy that cleans your carpets may be taking from the medicine cabinet or maybe it is the grandson. $15 on the streets for one pill is a powerful motivator.

    Attorney David Engler
    Phone: 330-729-9777 Attorney Engler’s website

    Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal Law

    Also published on Family Fault Lines Blog

    Abused Adults

    April 3, 2012

    By Attorney David Engler

    Adult Protective Services (APS) is responsible for investigating reports of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of Ohioans aged 60 and older. Similar agencies exist in every state. APS is part of each Ohio County Department of Job & Family Services (CDJFS). The Ohio Revised Code defines “abuse” as infliction upon an adult by self or others of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish. “Neglect” is defined as the failure of an adult to provide for self the goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness or the failure of a caretaker to provide such goods or services. “Exploitation” means the unlawful or improper act of a caretaker using an adult or an adult’s resources for their monetary or personal benefit, profit or gain.


    APS can petition Probate Court for a temporary restraining order to prevent interference or obstruction of its investigation by any person, including the abused adult. The court must find (a) that there is reasonable cause to believe the adult is being or has been abused, neglected, or exploited, and (b) that access to the adult’s residence has been obstructed. APS can also petition the court to approve a service plan providing involuntary services. The adult must receive a notice describing his or her rights and the consequences of a court order at least five working days before a hearing on the petition. An indigent adult has the right to a court-appointed attorney. Notice of the hearing must also be sent to the adult’s guardian, attorney, caretaker and spouse.
    The court must find by clear and convincing evidence that (a) the adult has been abused, neglected, or exploited; (b) the adult is in need of protective services; (c) the adult is incapacitated; and (d) no other person authorized by law is available to give consent. If the court so finds, it must issue an order requiring protective services for up to six months, but can be re-authorized for up to a year.

    But like with any governmental organization, APS can be too intrusive. Before they act there needs to be clear authority that an adult can be removed.

    Recently, I met a distressed couple who had their Mother literally yanked from their home in the final months of her life. An anonymous tip was given by the Mother’s long time “friend” that she wanted to go back to the care-takers residence. The mother was in full scale dementia and would answer a few questions correctly and if asked would parrot the name of the “friend.” In horror the family of the elderly woman watched as APS took the mother from their home and moved her back to the friend’s house. After the Mother was there the friend arranged for her entire estate to pass to him. An attorney helped in the sham transfer.

    In a matter of months the family desperate for help asks the Probate Judge to order an evaluation of the Mother. She had dementia for at least a year and was unable to make any decisions on her own. Be careful when a governmental agency says that it knows best. Hold on to your liberty because they are about to snatch it from you.

    Probate Court acted quickly but it was too late. The Mother died a few days after the mental health assessment. Her possessions real and personal would have passed to the children, but for the friend getting everything transferred.

    More than the money the family loss the beauty of being with their parent as she lived her final months. All they are left with is bitterness towards a government going too far and a scrapbook of memories.

    Attorney David Engler
    Phone: 330-729-9777 Attorney Engler’s website

    Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal Law

    Also published on on April 3, 2012 and Family Fault Lines Blog

    Trayvon Martin case: What is difference between manslaughter and murder charges?

    April 1, 2012

    By Attorney David Engler

    Florida’s laws are pretty consistent with those throughout the country. The “Stand Your Ground” law will not be a factor if George Zimmerman is charged with a murder or manslaughter charge. (he will be…better to let a jury be the potential bad guy that acquits Zimmerman) Was the force of a deadly weapon necessary to end the threat of violence Trayvon Martin had against Zimmerman, if he is believed at all?

    Renee Stutzman of The Orlando Sentinel on March 31, 2012 laid out the differences between murder and manslaughter:

    “A 35-year-old Sumter County man whose hungry python strangled a 2-year-old child was guilty of manslaughter. So was the doctor who gave Michael Jackson a lethal dose of a sedative.

    But is George Zimmerman, the Sanford Neighborhood Watch volunteer who got into a fist fight and wound up killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, guilty of the same crime?

    Trayvon’s father says Zimmerman should be charged with murder, but manslaughter is the crime that Sanford police investigated, according to case records.

    What exactly is it?

    “Manslaughter generally is a crime that’s committed in the heat of passion, meaning there’s no premeditation,” said Isadore Hyde Jr., a Lake Mary criminal defense lawyer. “It’s something that happens in the moment. It’s quick, and you’ve got a dead body.”

    Richardo Roach is one example. He celebrated New Year’s Eve by firing an assault rifle into the air at an Orange County gathering in 2004. A mile away, one of the bullets fell back to Earth, striking a 75-year-old man in the chest and killing him.

    Roach was arrested, accused of manslaughter but wound up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and served one day in jail.

    As spelled out in Florida Statute 782.07, manslaughter is a killing caused by an individual’s “culpable negligence.”

    What is culpable negligence?

    “You’ve got to do something really stupid,” said William Orth, a Longwood lawyer and former Seminole County prosecutor, “…something that you and I as intelligent humans — adults — know, ‘Don’t do that. Somebody could get hurt.’ ”

    It requires a suspect to be much more than negligent, lawyers say. It requires him to show a gross disregard for the safety of others.

    In Trayvon’s case, prosecutors would have to prove Zimmerman was wanton and reckless, according to the set of jury instructions that all Florida judges read aloud before sending jurors to begin deliberations in manslaughter cases.

    If Zimmerman was the aggressor and provoked the fight, that might be manslaughter, said Orlando defense attorney Diana Tennis.

    For example, if he had his gun drawn and was chasing Trayvon, cornered him then the 17-year-old turned and began to throw punches and Zimmerman shot and killed him, that might qualify, she said.

    But that does not match Zimmerman’s account to police. In his version of events, he stepped from his SUV and followed Trayvon but lost sight of the teenager and turned and was walking back to his vehicle.

    Trayvon appeared from behind, Zimmerman told police, they exchanged words then Trayvon punched him, knocked him to the ground, got on top of him and began banging his head against the sidewalk.

    Zimmerman pulled his 9 mm semiautomatic pistol from his waistband and fired one shot in self-defense, he told police.

    If that’s what happened, Tennis said, “I don’t believe that’s manslaughter.”

    One critical piece of evidence is how the two came to be face to face, lawyers said.

    But how that happened is not clear. Police said they have someone who may have caught a glimpse of that — but not a full picture.

    In her investigation, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey might turn up something more, but she imposed a news blackout last week, so no information is coming from her office.

    One witness could be Trayvon’s 16-year-old girlfriend. An attorney for Trayvon’s family said the girl was on the phone with him, heard someone ask the teen, “What are you doing around here?” then heard what sounded like a shove, and the phone line went dead.

    Prosecutors would have to prove, Tennis said, that Zimmerman set into motion an unbroken chain of events that he should have known had a reasonable chance of leading to someone’s death.

    If Zimmerman were to be convicted of manslaughter, he would face a possible 30-year prison sentence. Normally, manslaughter carries a 15-year sentence, but Florida law imposes a harsher sentence in the death of children, the elderly, the disabled and caregivers.

    Henry Pierson Curtis contributed to this report. or 407-650-6394.

    Copyright © 2012, Orlando Sentinel”

    Attorney David Engler
    Phone: 330-729-9777 Attorney Engler’s website

    Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

    Also published on Family Fault Lines Blog on April 1, 2012

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