Two different complaints against two Memphis attorneys are on file with the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility filed by Ms. Amber Crawford. The center of the case involve none other than Ms. Crawford desperately fighting for the life of her child. It should be an easy case. All counsellors for the past 7 years indicate the father as the abuser or the trigger. The child threaten suicide to avoid visiting the father. But in both complaints either negligence or inaction by the two aforementioned attorneys have gotten Ms. Crawford no where but excessive fees, disappointment, and hope deferred. Ms. Crawford currently has a new attorney- Attorney Teresa Childress of the Dowden, Worley, Jewell, and Owswing, PLLC- we will be able to report to you after July 29,2021 the results of that upcoming court date. However, the results of Ms. Crawford two previous attorneys were so shocking, we have printed below the complaints filed by Ms. Crawford on each attorney. To hear about the arrogance and lack of accountability and professionalism of too many Memphis lawyers is shocking, but to read about it in an official complaint is down right deplorable.
TN Board of Professional Responsibility complaint Guardian Ad Litem Laura English:
Based upon Rule 40A GUARDIAN AD LITEM FEES AND EXPENSES. This section clearly shows the guardian ad litem has run up unnecessary fees based upon (3) “ the complexity of the issues before the court.” All medical records ( exhibit 1 medical records) and all counsellors testimony and safety plans ( exhibit 2 safety plan) have clearly shown that the abusive father is the trigger to the child’s anxiety and suicidal ideations. The child has reported to the guardian ad litem her desire to not be with the abusive father and his visitation time should have been long ago adjusted accordingly. However, Laura English’s bias against me has caused her to unnecessary run up fees that would have never existed had she had no bias seeing she has had enough information from medical records and from my daughter to end this case several months ago ( see exhibit 3 of emails showing the GAL fabricating stories while lying on the counsellor to smear me so as to make the father’s case credible).
The minor child has reported to the guardian ad litem and to her counsellors her desire to not be with the abusive father. The child has threaten suicide to avoid being with the abusive father; yet, while risking the health and safety of the minor child, the guardian ad litem has ignores these facts and runs up the bill in a futile and biased attempt to make me appear not credible while trying to make the abusive father appear credible. If the guardian would have followed the medical recommendations and the child’s reasonable wishes, this issue would have been settled back in November 2020. Knowing that this case should have not been difficult to solve, I requested a fee update from the GAL several months ago and she said she would sent it but never did ( see exhibit 4 fee request email). There is no justification for the guardian to have prolonged this matter other than to make money running up the bill and to advocate for the abusive father.
Additionally, because of that bias, the GAL has knowingly not done her job as prescribed by state law and consequently run up unnecessary fees.
Under RULE 40A: APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIANS AD LITEM IN CUSTODY PROCEEDINGS.
SECTION 8. DUTIES/RIGHTS OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM
(a) The guardian ad litem shall satisfy the duties and responsibilities of the appointment in an unbiased, objective, and fair manner. She has clearly not done this.
(b) A guardian ad litem shall:
(1) conduct an investigation to the extent that the guardian ad litem considers necessary to determine the best interests of the child, which can include, but is not limited to, to ascertaining:
(i) the child’s emotional needs, such as nurturance, trust, affection, security, achievement, and encouragement;
The guardian has knowingly disregarded all medical records and counsellor reports which clearly show the best interest of the minor child is with the mother and clearly shows the minor child has no trust in the abusive father and due to the father’s abuse, the minor child seeks no affection from the abusive father.
While risking the health and safety of the minor child, the GAL has totally disregarded the minor child’s wish to cease visitation with the abusive father and yet has chosen to run up fees that were not collected in the operation of her duty and responsibilities listed below Under RULE 40A: APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIANS AD LITEM IN CUSTODY PROCEEDINGS.
SECTION 8. DUTIES/RIGHTS OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM
(7) perform any specific task directed by the court.
(c) If the child asks the guardian ad litem to advocate a position that the guardian ad litem believes is not in the child′s best interest, the guardian ad litem shall:
(1) fully investigate all of the circumstances relevant to the child′s position, identify every reasonable argument that could be made in favor of the child’s position, and identify all the factual support for the child′s position;
(2) discuss fully with the child and make sure that the child understands the different options or positions that might be available, including the potential benefits of each option or position, the potential risks of each option or position, and the likelihood of prevailing on each option or position.
(i) subpoena any witnesses and ensure the production of documents and other evidence that might tend to support the child’s position; and
(ii) advise the court at the hearing of the wishes of the child and of the witnesses subpoenaed and other evidence available for the court to consider in support of the child’s position.
In total disregard for state law, the GAL during the court hearing knowingly neglected to advise the court of the wishes of my daughter. In total disregard for state law, the GAL during the court hearing knowingly was negligent is calling any witnesses that supports my daughters wishes. In total disregard for state law, the GAL during the court hearing knowingly presented no evidence that supported my daughter’s position. Any and all evidence and testimony presented by the GAL has been to advance the abusive father’s position. The majority of, if not all of the GAL’s fees have had nothing to do with investigating and reporting the minor child’s wishes but rather the GAL’s fees have all to do with her seeking to act as the attorney ad hoc for the child’s abuse father. In fact, the GAL has not communicated with the minor child in 7 months. She justifies this absurdity by fabricating buzzard stories ( speculation ) that I have interfered with her communicating with the minor child but the GAL has filed no evidence before the court which remotely supports her fabrication. The GAL’s fees and even her being allowed to remain on this case respresents a miscarriage of justice. The GAL in violation of the court order used the retainer without submitting the necessary documents before the expenditure ( see exhibit 5 court order ) . Please review her fees ( exhibit 6) and based upon the evidence I’ve submitted via the aforementioned exhibits please make the necessary adjustments to remove most of not all of the GAL’s aforementioned fee.
TN Board of Professional Responsibility complaint against Juliet Akines:
Attorney Garrett, thank you for giving me an opportunity to respond to Ms. Akines. Once again, I’m asking the Board of Professional Responsibility to discipline Ms. Akines for her negligence and incompetence to the fullest extent of your authority so as to prevent future citizens from being victimized by her arrogance, negligence, and incompetence- as I was. Her actions clearly bring dishonor to the legal community.
In addition to what I sent in my previous email, I am adding via attachment the Safety Plan that the counsellors at Youth Villages created for my daughter a few weeks ago. In this Safety Plan, the counsellors identify my daughter’s father as a “high risk individual “meaning my daughter’s chances for suicidal behavior increases when he is around. Ms. Akines never took me serious regarding this, choosing instead to make deals behind my back with the guardian ad Litem who also serves as the de facto attorney for my child’s father. I didn’t need the safely plan to know the father was a high risk individual, I hired Ms. Akines to protect my daughter because I already knew he was a high risk individual. I have over 70 pages of information that dispel all Ms. Akines blatant lies attempting to cover up her negligence, arrogance, and incompetence.
As I stated before, Ms. Akines has again failed to submit any evidence as a rebuttal to the 8 facts I sent in one of my precious correspondence ( see below). Again, Ms. Akines has only presented hearsay and speculation. Therefore, her inability to submit evidence as a rebuttal to my evidence clearly proves her guilt and negligence.
- Based on my initial consultation on December 22, 2020 with Attorney Akines, we discussed the biased GAL and the lies the GAL had been sharing with the attorneys regarding the medical records and the counselor, counseling my daughter’s medical recommendations and how my daughter was evaluated at Baptist East Pedaitics Emergency Room November 19, 2020 due to writing a suicide note, one in which was failed to be entered into the court by the GAL, as well as, Attorney Juliet Akines until I represented by new counsel on March 5, 2020. Attorney Akines and I discussed how I had an open complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility and on December 29, 2020 contacted the GAL due to Attorney Akines statement “no one can unbiasedly represent in case knowing they have an open complaint against them.”
- At a zoom meeting with Judge Valerie Smith on March 5, 2021, Judge Smith stated “I can not sign anything because she had no petition in front of her stating why I had not been following the court ordered parenting plan and I could be held in contempt and be punished to jail.” I later that evening found out when I hired my new attorney, Theresa Childress, on March 5, 2021 that after having a meeting with the GAL that the attorney involved in the case and the GAL mutually agreed to stop visitation due to my daughter being suicidal of my new attorney’s emergency injunctive relief where on page 2, point 9, the GAL (Laura English), Johnathan Davis (the defendant’s attorney), and Cornelius Bostick (my former attorney) clearly agreed to suspend visitation prior to March 5, 2021. All three attorneys kept me completely in the dark about the suspension because the Judge, Valerie Smith, was angry because they never put it in writing.
- Based upon a October 2, 2020 court date the judge, Valerie Smith, stated to my previous attorney that “my daughter needed an injunctive relief petition drawn up due to my daughter having suicidal thoughts” at the time. On page 69 in Exhibit 4 of the attachment, I clearly stated that “ In addition to the injunctive relief, I am also seeking child support from Mr. Sturden.” That was non-negotiable from the very beginning. Injunctive relief was never to be put aside because it was equally as imperative as removing the GAL. On December 24, 2020, to comply with Attorney Akines request for medical evidence to justify her filing the injunctive relief, I emailed her as she requested, 54 pages of documentation including medical records as evidence to coincide with the injunctive relief that she was hired to file but never did. Additionally, on March 8, 2020. I requested for a full refund due to Attorney Akines not performing the injunctive relief services as I hired her to do. Why would I fire the previous attorney, Cornelius Bostick, for not filing an injunctive relief , only to turn around and not want injunctive relief? She is clearly fabricating to cover her negligence. How an attorney would not know the importance of having the injunctive relief on file before the court is pure negligence and further proof that Attorney Juliet Akines was being manipulated by the GAL into not filing the injunctive relief.
- Attorney Akines had me approve the motion to dismiss the GAL on December 30, 2020 , as if we were moving forward with the motion to dismiss the GAL. Yes, Attorney Akines filed the motion to dismiss the GAL, however she never requested for a court hearing to have the motion heard which is further proof of her unethical, conniving, and deceptive ways towards me as her client. She took advantage of the fact that I do not know the rules and protocol of the courtroom by not following through with all the steps necessary to make sure the judge would hear the motion to dismiss the GAL. Furthermore, on February 2, 2020, I emailed Attorney Akines and stated “what happened to the motion to have Laura English removed? The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility sent me a letter a week or so ago stating “the first step is to ask the judge to instruct or remove her” and “you did not state what reasons your attorney gives for not acting”…… I am again requesting a motion be filed to remove Laura English if you are not filing a motion to remove her please explain why you have decided to take no action against her when we have evidence of her discrediting herself by lying during an official court proceeding.” This further discredits Attorney Akines because for her to say “I’m not sure why she is saying the motion was not filed” after knowing she never completed all the steps to make sure it was heard is totally unscrupulous at best and pure evil at worst.
- I have questioned why the GAL was not removed based on her discredibility. During mediation the GAL made a statement that “the current counselor did not find any reason to suspend visitation.” However, on December 30, 2020 I emailed proof with my daughter’s counselor’s statement regarding her decision to not allow my daughter to resume visitation with her father and the GAL not being able to get in touch with her for fabricating the truth in regards to the counselor’s recommendations. Filing for a motion to remove the GAL was not up for discussion and was not an option to consider removing the motion to dismiss the GAL.
- On February 2, 2021, I clearly disapproved of a stair step plan with the biological father not based upon my feelings but based upon the medical recommendations given concerning my daughter. Attorney Akines was doing what Laura English and herself wanted, not what I wanted, nor what the medical recommendations recommended or what the judge wanted to see. A stair step plan would contradict the injunctive relief. Aso, in exhibit 7 you will see I clearly made a reasonable request and requested supervised visitation if any visitation had to be resumed.
- Based on the February 2, 2021 email, I clearly disapproved of a stair step plan and referred to the medical records recommendation. I never left her to believe I approved a stair step plan, as I clearly emailed a written out request as well as she had all the medical evidence needed to prove the severity of the mental fragility my daughter was and is suffering from due to her father. On March 5, 2021, my new attorney, Theresa Childress, charged me $4500 to file an emergency injunctive relief petition the same day I left court to appease Judge Valerie Smith’s anger because she said in court “I do not see an emergency petition on file, so she is clearly in violation of the court order.” How an attorney that reviewed medical records and drew up an emergency petition within 4 hours of being hired was adamant about keeping me out of jail when Judge Valerie Smith was appalled at the negligence of the previous 2 attorneys, Cornelius Bostick and Juliet Akines. So to not have entered a petition she had requested 5 months prior is more proof of the negligence of Attorney Akines for not filing the injunctive relief.
- Attorney Akines further discredits herself because for her to say I put myself in jeopardy of going to jail further proves why I was adamant about her filing the injunctive relief. By making such an arrogant statement, she admits she knew I was in jeopardy of going to jail and she knew the injunctive relief petition the judge, Valerie Smith, requested is what the judge wanted to see as justification of why I was not following the court ordered visitation parenting plan. So to say I put myself in jeopardy yet she was hired to advocate for me and keep me out of jeopardy yet to not do so is unethical and unacceptable. Then after she used up all of my money, she quit less than a week before my court date putting me in further jeopardy of going to jail by having no representation. This further shows proof that she was an embarrassment to the legal profession.
Again, Exhibit 1 shows the judge’s motion to suspend visitation, which is what I hired a new lawyer to do, which is what Ms, Akines refused to do.
Lastly, in court, before my new attorney on April 15, 2021, the judge was alarmed and appalled that Ms. Akines had misrepresented me the way that she did.
Exhibit 2 shows the judge apologizing to me for Ms. Akines negligence, “ the court apologized to the parties that this matter was not brought to her attention sooner by previous counsel.” The judge knew Ms. Atkines did not do her job and quit on me. The judge stated she almost sent me to jail because she didn’t know what Ms. Atkins failed to do until my new attorney explained the facts surrounding Ms. Akines negligence.
If you don’t take my word and my evidence for it, please take the judges word, my daughter was suicidal and Ms. Akines wouldn’t even file the injunctive relief to suspend visitation despite the medical recommendations of every counsellor and medical doctor to do so. I had to risk going to jail to violate the court ordered visitation and the judge had no clue I was fighting to save my daughter’s life all because Attorney Akines failed to represent me properly by bringing the facts to the attention of the judge. One last time, “ The court apologized to the parties that this matter was not brought to her attention sooner by previous counsel.” That previous counsel was none other than Attorney Akines. Due to my daughter’s suicidal ideations being as recent as June 2021, the monitoring of this case is so sensitive. My daughter’s most recent counselors have created a safety plan (Exhibit 3) on my daughter’s behalf to try to keep my daughter from taking her own life. I presented and provided Ms. Akines all evidence to show the cruciality and sensitivity on my daughter’s behalf. I risked going to jail to save my daughter’s life, as well as, put my daughters life at further risk with her increased depression and anxiety while being misrepresented by Ms. Akines.