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“They’ve Killed Her” – Retired Alabama Schoolteacher Dies under State Guardianship

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Terri LaPoint

“She’s gone.” The call came in Monday from Nancy Scott regarding her mother, Marian Leonard, who had been taken from her family and placed onto hospice care against her will. Nancy was in tears when she told me that her mother died on Saturday, August 24, but nobody bothered to notify her until Monday.

Marian Leonard died in a nursing home that she was forced into by a judge in early 2018. Last month, her court-appointed guardian Sidney Summey restricted her from having any visitors except a token hour and a half visit twice per month from her daughter – the woman that Mrs. Leonard had designated as her chosen power of attorney, not just once, but 3 different times over a 30 year period.

She died alone. No family or friends were permitted to be with her in her final weeks. The guardian had even taken her away from her roommate, whom Nancy viewed as her mother’s “guardian angel.”

Nancy, who has been fighting the court since custody of her mother was seized by the state, is devastated.

It’s like being in the middle of a horror story.

All her mother’s planning to ensure that she would live out her elderly years on her own terms vanished with the stroke of a judge’s pen, at the request of social workers from the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) and St. Vincent’s Hospital. The simplest request, that her only daughter be with her at the end, was denied.

Nancy’s voice cracked as she cried:

I couldn’t save her. I tried so hard to get her out of there.

Marian Leonard was known to her former English students as “Mrs. Gregory.” Yearbook photo provided by family.

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Tennessee To Arrest Attorney Connie Reguli for Advocating for Client’s Rights

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Connie Reguli is a strong voice for families. This photo was taken in 2018 at a rally in Washington D.C. Photo by Freedom Public Press.

By Terri LaPoint

July 16, 2019

Attorney Connie Reguli of Brentwood, Tennessee, is known for being an outspoken warrior who fights legally on behalf of families who are dealing with Child Protective Services. Now, she is being arrested after trying to help a parent secure due process.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 16, 2019, Connie Reguli received a phone call notifying her that there is a warrant out for her arrest.

She will be turning herself in to the Brentwood Police Department on Wednesday morning.

Connie has never been arrested before. The founder of the Family Forward Project has no criminal history, nor have there been any allegations of criminal activity. Yet, for doing her job as an attorney to have the voice of her client, a parent, be heard, she is being criminally charged.

Retaliation like this, Connie says, is the reason that families often cannot get legal help when their children are taken from them. Attorneys who fight for clients’ Constitution rights such as due process and who fight against corruption are often threatened or bullied into backing down.

This makes it difficult for parents whose children are taken by Child Protective Services, no matter how unjustly. Many attorneys are simply scared.

More often than not, the allegations against parents are baseless and end up being unsubstantiated. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Child Maltreatment” Report, only 17% of allegations against parents are substantiated. (See link.)

The charges against Connie Reguli are facilitation of custodial interference and accessory after the fact of custodial interference in the case of a client she represented. The client is also facing charges of custodial interference.

The client’s children were seized by the Tennessee Department of Children and Families (DCF) based on an “ex parte order.” That is, the order was brought before a judge and signed by a judge without notifying the mother or her attorney.

As the mother’s attorney, Connie Reguli asked for her client to have due process and get a court date where she could be heard after the children were seized on the basis of an ex parte order.

Ex parte orders are supposed to be reserved for times when there is an emergency situation, one in which there is risk of irreparable harm if parties have to wait for a court hearing. All too often, however, they are the normal practice in Child Protective Services cases.

In the case in question, there was never any evidence of the allegations against the mother, and the petition against her was ultimately dismissed. However, DCF took her children away from her, put them in several different foster homes, and subjected the children to almost a year of trauma before the case was dismissed and the children returned home.

Action Sparks

Connie will be turning herself in around 11 am. She anticipates being released on her own recognizance.

Anyone who would like to support Connie Reguli is invited to come to the Brentwood Police Department, 5211 Maryland Way # 1000, Brentwood, TN 37027, at 10:30 am on Wednesday, July 17.

Calls may be made on Connie’s behalf to the Williamson County District Attorney Kim R. Helper at (615) 794-7275. She is also on Facebook.

Real News Spark will be in Tennessee covering the story live from our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RealNewsSpark/.

Follow RealNewsSpark.com for more updates.

For more on this story, watch “We Hold These Truths” with Seraphim Schwab. Connie Reguli was his guest Tuesday evening to talk about her story.

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