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November 23, 2015

Darcy Spears
ABC 13 Action News

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - More startling discoveries about just how 'unjust' Clark County's guardianship system is.

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Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - More startling discoveries about just how 'unjust' Clark County's guardianship system is.

It's something the state is set to overhaul, and something Contact 13 has been reporting for more than a year.

The Nevada Supreme Court Guardianship Commission heard harsh words and even harsher criticism of how Clark County Family Court is overseeing cases.

Critics say lack of oversight is more like it. 

The guardianships Contact 13 has been exposing are now being called court-sanctioned exploitation.

Even attorneys and judges are acknowledging there's no protection against abuse built in to Clark County's guardianship system.

Former law enforcement officer Larry Braslow says his mother, Ruth Braslow, was the victim of an unjust guardianship.  He told commissioners, "One of the things I was aware of in law enforcement is that when you are in front of a judge and they become aware of a crime, they're supposed to report it and take action. And apparently in this county, that's not happening."

The question of whether current Family Court hearing masters and judges will be held accountable for rubber-stamping guardians' wrongdoing is still unanswered. 

Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada Director Barbara Buckley told commissioners there is evidence that courts failed in their duty to protect vulnerable citizens. 

Many cases under review are missing crucial documents--like accountings of where a ward's money went, how they're being cared for and even proof that the guardianship was necessary in the beginning.   

"Improving the system on the front end is critical," Buckley testified.  "Winning a court victory ending a guardianship pales in comparison to preventing the injustice from happening in the first place." 

Supreme Court Chief Justice James Hardesty  said law enforcement agencies should open their doors to guardianship victims and make their cases a priority. 

The commission's recommendations on a full system overhaul are due before the end of this year.