Sunday, August 23, 2015
In a rather disturbing case of police misconduct, Aaron Goodwin, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire police officer, took advantage of a 91-year-old woman with dementia. She had called 911 for some reason, and after he responded to the call, he began to insert himself into her life. Goodwin called the victim hundreds of times, took her out for entertainment, and gradually turned her against her children. Finally, he hired a lawyer to write a new will that left him just about everything. He ended up with $2 million.
The woman's children, however, contested the will. After two years of litigation, a judge has voided the new will, ruling that it was written under undue influence and is fraudulent. The judge also blasts the police department for not helping the family members who complained about the situation. The department's "investigation" involved asking the detective whether he was doing anything unprofessional. He said no.
Based on these limited facts, the lawyer who wrote the new will should face disciplinary hearings. If a nonfamily member hires a lawyer to rewrite a will giving him all of the money owned by an elderly person with dementia, this should raise a number of red flags. A reasonable attorney would have investigated or hired a guardian to represent the woman.
OUTCOME: The judge ruled Goodwin cannot keep the 2 million dollars. The new will was voided. Goodwin has been fired from the Portsmouth Police Department.