• Report:  #1520662

Complaint Review: Charles C. Woodroof - Athens Alabama

Reported By:
Denise - Athens, Alabama, United States

Charles C. Woodroof
100 South Clinton Street, Suite D Athens, 35611 Alabama, United States
(256) 233-6427
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Ala. Statutes, Ch. 52, Art. 1, Sec. 22-52-1.2 refers to the filing and contents of a petition when someone seeks to have another person sent to a mental health facility on an involuntary commitment. Sec. 22-52-1.2(4) states “That the beliefs of the petitioner ARE based on SPECIFIC behavior, acts, attempts, or threats, which SHALL be specified and DESCRIBED in detail.”

It is the opinion of DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY, that WILLIAM G. MATHEWS should have advised LEMUAL ELLIS HANBACK that a couple of telephone messages did not constitute a specific behavior, act, attempt, or threat in accordance with the law. This DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was experiencing some problems with people from her neighborhood, and simply repeated neighborhood gossip to her son, LEMUAL ELLIS HANBACK. Although, DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY could not corroborate the rumors, as there was insufficient information on how to contact the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Relaying neighborhood gossip to ANY other person does not constitute a SPECIFIC behavior, act, attempt, or threat that would justify involuntary commitment under the laws of the state of Alabama. WILLIAM G. MATHEWS and EMILY D. GEARY were equally obligated to research the Alabama Statutes and other applicable laws regarding the COMMITMENT process.

If WILLIAM G. MATHEWS and EMILY D. GEARY needed clarification of the appropriate statutes, titles, and rules they should have consulted with colleagues. WILLIAM G. MATHEWS took money from a long-time UNEMPLOYED man whose last temporary assignment ended in August of 2013. LEMUAL ELLIS and MARGARET FRANCIS HANBACK have been living on MARGARET FRANCIS HANBACK’S social security income, which is insufficient funds to meet their monthly financial obligations.

WILLIAM G. MATHEWS should have discovered this during his initial consultation with LEMUAL ELLIS HANBACK and should NOT have agreed to ACCEPT the CASE. There was NO other person with knowledge of DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY’S alleged mental illness and the HANBACKS have had very little to NO contact with DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY since July 2017.

Ala. Statutes, Ch. 52, Art. 1, Sec. 22-52-2 refers to the review of the petition by the probate judge and the examination of the petitioner. Any reasonable judge would want to have a clear understanding of the specific behavior, acts, attempts, or threats that would fit the profile of A mental illness.

If the petitioner did not have sufficient detailed information that would indicate A specific mental illness, then the petitioner’s motivation for having a 68-year-old person committed would be questionable. The judge should have ordered the petition to be dismissed as LEMUAL ELLIS HANBACK could only cite some telephone messages, which is only HEARSAY evidence.

The PETITION never should have been assigned a case number on April 27, 2021 at 8:39am. CHARLES C. WOODROOF then proceeded with a NOTICE OF RESPONDENT on April 27, 2021 at 8:39am and COMMANDED the Sheriff to SERVE a copy of the petition on DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY. CHARLES C. WOODROOF then allowed the HEARING date to be set on April 27, 2021 at 3:30pm, that SAME day.

CHARLES C. WOODROOF then proceeded with a WRIT FOR BODY, which is NOT specified in the Alabama Statutes. The writ for body acted as an ORDER to the Sheriff to TAKE into custody DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY, who is ALLEGED to be mentally ill AND have her present before THIS court. The writ for body was filed with the court on April 27, 2021 at 8:39am. All THREE (3) documents were filed with the court on the SAME day at the SAME time, AND the HEARING was on THAT same day.

The Ala. Statutes, Ch. 52, Art. 1, Sec. 22-52-3 specifies the criteria for the service of the petition and the order setting said petition for a hearing upon the person sought to be committed along with the contents of the notice. This section specifies that the sheriff is to SERVE the petition and order for hearing upon DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY, not break down the door and lay hands on the person.

These documents were supposed to provide a clear statement of the purpose of the hearing, however, DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was NOT handed the documents at all. These documents were to include a FACTUAL basis for the proposed commitment, however, DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY did NOT receive the paperwork.

These documents were supposed to include a statement of the LEGAL standards that authorized the commitment hearing, however, DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY did NOT receive any of the paperwork.

The actions of CHARLES C. WOODROOF was further convoluted by the actions of the former sheriff, MIKE BLAKELY, and his replacement JOSHUA MCLAUGHLIN of the Limestone County Sheriff’s office. On the morning of April 27, 2021, Sheriff deputies STORMED the home of DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY, formerly Leone, and committed crimes against a 68-year-old disabled woman.

These crimes include breaking and entering, destruction of private property, excessive force, arrest without a warrant, unlawful confinement, dereliction of duty, ACTED IN CONCERT with the PROBATE COURT, etc. Two deputies physically man-handled DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY when they each took hold of an arm and started to twist said arms, like a common criminal who recently escaped from prison and was resisting arrest.

It is amazing that the deputies did not throw DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY to the floor and put a KNEE to her disabled body. DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was gruffly ordered to get dressed, the deputies appeared to be in a rush for some reason. One deputy tossed a piece of clothing to DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY, said put it on, but then would not even allow the door to the BATHROOM to be closed so that a change my clothes could be performed.

DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was then escorted from the home, was politely assisted with moving the walker along the ground, and TRANSPORTED directly to the probate court, like a common criminal. DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY remained in the custody of the sheriff’s deputies for the remainder of the time prior to the scheduled hearing set for 3:30pm on April 27, 2021, like a person who is presumed to be dangerous.

DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY discovered days later that the deputies ACTED on a WRIT FOR BODY order from the probate court. These deputies knew DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was disabled as they have responded to calls regarding Hampton Lane on numerous occasions between August 2015 through March 2022.

When the deputies twisted the arms of DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY, they did not know that the left arm was already in considerable pain due to some physical activity around the house. The next day the arm was in excruciating pain, like a muscle was about to be torn. The deputies SHOULD have contacted their superiors to inquire as to HOW they should proceed with a disabled senior citizen.

The sheriff’s departmental personnel SHOULD know the laws of the state of Alabama and JOSHUA MCLAUGHLIN needs to be held accountable. DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY has made REQUESTS to the sheriff’s office in an attempt to get the door repaired. These requests were communicated through email messages.

The writ for body is not specified on the Alabama Statutes that govern the commitment process. However, Ala. Statutes, Title 35, Sec. 35-9A-461 refers to a WRIT for the seizure of property and is a WRIT of restitution issued by a trial court. There is no writ to authorize the seizure of an actual person. Landlords use a WRIT for the purposes of eviction, rent, monetary damages, or other relief relating to a tenancy issue.

Writs are used in appellate procedures, there is no writ to AUTHORIZE the seizure of an actual PERSON. Again, a writ for body is not part of the Ala. Statutes, Ch. 52, Art. 1. The “writ for body” signed by CHARLES C. WOODROOF refers to Sec. 22-52-3, which states “When any petition has been filed seeking the involuntary commitment of a respondent and such petition has been reviewed by the probate judge, the probate judge shall order the sheriff of the county in which the respondent is located to serve a copy of the petition, together with a copy of the order setting the petition for a hearing, upon the respondent.

Said notice shall include the date, time and place of the hearing; a clear statement of the purpose of the proceeding and the possible consequences to the subject thereof; the alleged factual basis for the proposed commitment; a statement of the legal standards upon which commitment is authorized; and a list of the name and addresses of the witnesses who may be called to testify in support of the petition.

The hearing shall be PRECEDED by ADEQUATE NOTICE to the respondent.” CHARLES C. WOODROOF, WILLIAM G. MATHEWS, and EMILY D. GEARY all took part in the accelerated commitment process that ended in a ten (10) day incarceration of DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY.

While DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was held in custody at Decatur Morgan Hospital, West Campus, a hospital staff member provided copies of the court documentation. The paperwork included the PETITION for involuntary commitment, the NOTICE of respondent, the WRIT for body, the PROBABLE CAUSE order, the HIPAA order in commitment proceeding, and the order for mental EVALUATION.

DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY is familiar with the notice of respondent and performed this task a number of times in a probate process in another state. The notice of respondent was nothing more than making copies of court documents and mailing them to each interested party involved with that probate case. All the Alabama statutes says is that the sheriff’s office is to perform this task in Sec. 22-52-3.

DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY is acquainted with the purpose and role of a guardian ad litem due to the probate process in another state. The purpose of a guardian ad litem is to conduct an in-home interview with that particular person to ascertain their mental, physical, and financial position in order to make a recommendation to the court.

All the Alabama statutes says in Sec. 22-52-4 is that the guardian ad litem is intended to determine whether or not a person has the funds and mental capacity to obtain counsel to protect their rights in a court of law. DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY is familiar with a judge that appoints an attorney to protect the rights of an individual and preserve the legal process.

The Alabama statutes in Sec. 22-52-5 simply states that the probate judge shall appoint an attorney to serve as the ADVOCATE in SUPPORT of the PETITION. It also says that the petitioner has the right to hire an attorney in lieu of a court appointed attorney. The Alabama statutes does not account for the probate judge to appoint an attorney to defend the person that someone wants to have committed, involuntarily or otherwise. All of MCCAFFERREY’S were stripped away by CHARLES C. WOODROOF in C3-062.

DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY is somewhat familiar with HIPAA law, the gatekeeper of medical records. The HIPAA order signed by CHARLES C. WOODROOF was simply an attempt to obtain psychiatric information to indicate that DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY did in fact, have a mental illness.

No one, not even a psychiatric professional like GERALD K. WILHOITE, would be able to get this information without a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process that is NOT accompanied by an order from a higher court. The HIPAA order signed by CHARLES C. WOODROOF is a bold attempt to obtain the cooperation of Decatur Morgan Hospital.

DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY eventually came to an understanding that the probate court document could not be honored at Decatur Morgan Hospital as it was not legal authorization for release of medical records. The order for mental evaluation that was signed by CHARLES C. WOODROOF could also NOT be honored by Decatur Morgan Hospital.

This would explain why YELENA V. CHISTYAKOVA did not conduct an interview with DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERRY nor did she prescribe any medication for a mental illness. However, YELENA V. CHISTYAKOVA made an inference to a principal diagnosis at discharge that stated DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY had a schizoaffective disorder bipolar type.

The discharge instructions reflected a referral to the Limestone County Probate Court and a mental center in Limestone County as an outpatient that does not exist, as well as a referral for Quitline – Alabama Quit Now program. DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY does NOT smoke. YELENA V. CHISTYAKOVA also indicated limitations on DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY’S activity.

The Decatur Morgan Hospital transition of care documentation stated that DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was not to drive until directed by a medical doctor. GERALD K. WILHOITE of North Alabama Court Consultants, LLC, conducted an interview with DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY (LEONE), at Decatur Morgan Hospital on May 3, 2021.

DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY received a copy of GERALD K. WILHOITE’S report from the probate court on May 6, 2021 but was unable to decipher the contents of this document. The end result was, GERALD K. WILHOITE made a recommendation to the probate court that DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY should be allowed to return to her home, but that is not the way the report reads.

GERALD K. WILHOITE’S report does validate the fact that DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY does not have any symptoms of suicidal or homicidal ideations. However, GERALD K. WILHOITE’S report does record a diagnosis from YELENA V. CHISTYAKOVA of schizoaffective disorder which indicates a violation of the HIPAA laws.

GERALD K. WILHOITE’S report also records a diagnosis from Athens-Limestone Hospital doctor Allen J. Schmidt that includes “hypertension; neck and back pain; possible urinary tract infection; dry eyes; dry lips; history of diabetes; hypokalemia; and abnormal EKG.” This statement is also a violation of the HIPAA laws.

None of the above-mentioned diagnosis could be confirmed by the medical records collected by DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY’S primary care physician. It would stand to reason that notification was provided to Decatur Morgan Hospital in accordance with Sec. 22-52-6 as they had this information at intake.

The Ala. Statutes, Ch. 52, Art. 1, Sec. 22-52-9, conduct of hearings states, “At all hearings, including probable cause hearings, conducted by the probate judge in relation to a petition to involuntarily commit a respondent, the following rules shall apply:

(1) The respondent SHALL be PRESENT unless, prior to the hearing, the attorney for the respondent has FILED IN WRITING a waiver of the presence of the respondent on the ground that the presence of the respondent would be DANGEROUS to the respondent’s PHYSICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH or that the respondent’s CONDUCT could reasonably be EXPECTED TO PREVENT the hearing from being held in an ORDERLY manner, and the probate judge has JUDICIALLY found and determined from EVIDENCE presented in an ADVERSARY HEARING that the respondent is SO mentally or physically ILL as to be INCAPABLE OF ATTENDING such PROCEEDINGS.

Upon such FINDINGS an ORDER shall be ENTERED APPROVING the WAIVER.” The Probable Cause Order reflects that “A Probable Cause hearing was conducted in this cause on this date. (April 27, 2021) Respondent, Denise Karen Leone, whose presence is BEING WAIVED, was represented by EMILY D. GEARY, a practicing attorney in Limestone County, AL…” First and foremost, EMILY D. GEARY did not CONDUCT an initial consultation with DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY prior to the start or the hearing of the petition on April 27, 2021.

EMILY D. GEARY (1) did not explain to DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY that a petition for involuntary commitment had been filed by LEMUAL ELLIS HANBACK. EMILY D. GEARY (2) did NOT conduct an initial consultation; (3) did NOT explain DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY’S rights under the applicable laws; (4) did NOT explain the legal procedure, i.e., what could be expected to occur during the hearing; (5) did NOT ask DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY to explain the allegations listed on the petition; (6) did NOT issue any advice of counsel statements; (7) did NOT advise in any way, shape, or form; etc. If EMILY D. GEARY did not want to provide decent legal representation to DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY, she should have DECLINED the appointment. DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY did NOT receive any court documents regarding the commitment case until a copy of said documents was eventually provided by a Decatur Morgan Hospital staff member.

In accordance with Ala. Statutes, Ch. 52, Art. 1, Sec. 22-52-8, holding of the probable cause and final hearings generally, states the following: (a) When any respondent sought to be committed has any limitation placed upon his liberty or any temporary treatment imposed upon him by the probate judge pending final hearings on such petition, the probate judge, at the time such limitation or treatment is imposed, shall set a probable cause hearing within seven days of the date of such imposition.

If, at such probable cause hearing, the probate judge finds that probable cause exists that the respondent SHOULD be DETAINED temporarily and finds that TEMPORARY TREATMENT would be in the BEST INTEREST of the respondent, the probate judge SHALL enter an ORDER so STATING and setting the date, time and place of a final HEARING on the MERITS of such PETITION.”

The Probable Cause Order reflects that the hearing was conducted on April 27, 2021 at 4:30pm. It also states that the presence of the respondent is being WAIVED. That the respondent was represented by EMILY D. GEARY and the court-appointed guardian ad litem. Also in attendance at the probable cause hearing were LEMUAL ELLIS HANBACK, and WILLIAM G. MATHEWS.

The order further states that DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY and her guardian ad litem were SERVED with NOTICE of the HEARING and its PURPOSE in ADVANCE in order to prepare. The Probable Cause Order also stated that DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was ADVISED that she was represented by a guardian ad litem, but that she could PROCURE, if she so DESIRED, an attorney of HER own choice. 

DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY was not aware that the court had appointed a guardian ad litem. DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY most definitely would have sought an experienced probate attorney if given the opportunity. None of this was disclosed to DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY. There was NO notice given to DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY as she was taken out of the courtroom and transported to Athens-Limestone Hospital for EXAMINATION.

The Probable Cause Order also states that LEMUAL ELLIS HANBACK called witnesses and they were examined by counsel and cross-examined by the guardian ad litem. All of DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY’S RIGHTS WERE STRIPPED AWAY BY THE PROBATE JUDGE AND THE ATTORNEYS.

In accordance with the Ala. Code, Title 26, Ch. 2A, Sec. 26-2A-102(c) DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY “is entitled to be present at the hearing IN PERSON. The person is entitled to be represented by counsel, to present evidence, to cross-examine witnesses, including the COURT-APPOINTED PHYSICIAN or qualified person and any court representative, and upon DEMAND to trial by jury as provided in Sec. 26-2A-35.

The issue may be determined at a closed hearing if the person alleged to be incapacitated or counsel for the person so requests.” Ala. Code, Title 26, Ch. 2A, Sec. 26-2A-35(a) states that “Except for proceedings in a court having general equity jurisdiction, a party is ENTITLED to a trial by jury of six disinterested persons in any proceeding to DETERMINE the incapacity of the individual and in other proceedings as to which a party has a constitutional right or a right under this chapter to a trial by jury.

In any proceeding in a court having general equity jurisdiction, the right to trial by jury shall be determined under Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 38.” It does not appear that WILLIAM G. MATHEWS, EMILY D. GEARY, or CHARLES C. WOODROOF had a full understanding of the laws regarding the involuntary commitment process, as no part of the applicable laws were expressed or clarified or adhered to in this probate court case C3-062 on April 27, 2021.

Ala. Statutes, Ch. 52, Art. 1, Sec. 22-52-10.4(a) refers to findings NECESSARY for inpatient treatment, which states “A respondent may be committed to inpatient treatment if the probate court finds, based upon CLEAR and convincing EVIDENCE that (i) the respondent IS mentally ill; (ii) as a result of the mental illness the respondent poses a REAL and present THREAT of substantial harm to self and/or others; (iii) the respondent will, if not treated, continue to suffer mental distress and will continue to experience deterioration of the ability to function independently; and (iv) the respondent is unable to make a rational and informed decision as to whether or not treatment for mental illness would be desirable.”

The Family Education and Resource Center (FERC), a program of the Mental Health Association of Alameda County, CA. With regards to Code “5150 section of the Welfare and Institutions, which allows a person with a mental illness to be involuntarily detained for a 72-HOUR psychiatric hospitalization. A person on a 5150 can be held in the psychiatric hospital AGAINST their WILL for UP to 72 HOURS; it means that PHYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS have the legal right to do so if DETERMINED to be NECESSARY.

What makes people eligible for 5150? A person can be held against their will in a psychiatric facility only if they meet at least ONE of the three basic criteria listed: (1) The person is a danger to others. The courts have MOST OFTEN interpreted this in a VERY restrictive way.

It MUST be generally SHOWN that an imminent THREAT exists, that the person MEANS to carry out the THREAT, and they WILL do so IMMEDIATIATELY. The threat MUST also be SUBSTANTIALLY related to the MENTAL illness. (2) If the person is a DANGER to SELF. The courts generally INTERPRET this as a life-threatening danger (i.e., SUICIDE). (3) If the person is GRAVELY disabled.

GRAVE disability as the RESULT of a MENTAL DISORDER has been interpreted very differently in different jurisdictions in California. The law states that a person MUST be UNABLE to provide for their own food, clothing or shelter as the RESULT of a MENTAL DISORDER in order to qualify as GRAVELY disabled.

Sometimes this provision is interpreted liberally in order to allow mentally ill persons to receive treatment. However, it is also often interpreted restrictively. For example; courts generally rule a person to be NOT gravely disabled even if they are totally incapacitated but have friends or family who will provide food, clothing, or shelter for them.

This is important, as ‘HAVING A PLACE TO GO’ and ‘having someone to provide for them’ influences decisions as to whether to release a loved one; knowing whether you are able to take a loved one home with you ‘at this time’ is important to discuss as a family.” No one, not LEMUAL ELLIS HANBACK or anyone else, had any inclination regarding EVIDENCE that DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY posed a REAL and present THREAT to anyone.

Even GERALD K. WILHOITE stated that he was “unable to elicit any current signs or symptoms of suicidal IDEATIONS.” GERALD K. WILHOITE also stated that he was “unable to elicit current signs or symptoms of homicidal IDEATIONS.” GERALD K. WILHOITE also stated that he was “unable to elicit any current signs or symptoms of hallucinations.”

So, where did CHARLES C. WOODROOF secure his definition of real and present threat to herself or others. What criteria did CHARLES C. WOODROOF utilize to conclude AND justify the NECESSITY required for INPATIENT hospital treatment for a period of ten (10) days, it does not appear to be in any laws that DENISE KAREN MCCAFFERREY can ascertain.

According to State Laws on Emergency Holds for Mental Health Stabilization, only a police officer or mental health professional can initiate emergency commitment and judicial review in Alabama.

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