Law Review Articles CAN Have An Impact

Preying on the Graying coverOne doesn’t have to look far to find criticism of law professors for spending such a large portion of their time writing long, heavily foonoted, sleep-inducing law review articles.  We even poke fun at ourselves for it, Exhibit A being The World’s Greatest Law Review Article.

But law review articles can and do have an impact.  Have to share the good news that my proposal for a statutory presumption of elder financial exploitation in my recent Hastings Law Journal article, Preying on the Graying: A Statutory Presumption to Prosecute Elder Financial Exploitation, was signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott on June 20.  The proposal passed unanimously through every legislative committee and both the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate, showing that at least some bipartisan issues still exist.

Don McClurg, USS JeffersThe article arose from a cruel financial exploitation incident involving our remarkable dad shortly before he passed away last year.  He’s shown here during WWII.

On October 1, 2014, when the law takes effect, prosecutors in Florida will have several more tools at their disposal.  In addition to my presumption statute, the new law (HB 409/Offenses Against Vulnerable Persons) creates the nation’s only elder hearsay exception and eliminates the requirement of proving deception or intimidation in elder exploitation cases.

Elder financial exploitation is a problem of enormous scope and growing rapidly as baby boomers age.  The crimes are notoriously underreported and under-prosecuted, often due to the same factors that make older adults vulnerable to exploitation in the first place.  If you care about this issue and know a legislator in your state, contact them and let them know they can help by supporting legislation similar to Florida’s.

In the meantime, watch after your own elders.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming they are immune to exploitation.  We would have voted our father to be the World’s Most Unlikely Victim.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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