Sequence of events


Because of actions and decisions of the Escambia Circuit Court in Florida, Douglas Franks was dismissed as Ernestine's guardian in wait, health care surrogate, and had his power of attorney removed. Her advance directives, court testimony, and neurologist report just two days before the final court date that stated she was of sound mind in making Douglas her guardian was dismissed.


Douglas took and completed the required 8 hour Guardianship class at Pensacola State College the day after the court case.


Her three boys have restrictions on contacting her and she has little or no way to contact them. They are restricted from what they can say to her, and  some subjects are not allowed. Her life is now controlled completely by a 3rd party guardian, a stranger.


On 10/15/2012 Ernestine’s beloved dog had to be euthanized to end her pain and suffering. The Veterinarian explained that Ernestine’s caregivers had not been giving her the daily pill she required due to a condition similar to asthma.

Ernestine was extremely distraught after losing her “little girl”.   On 10/16/12 Douglas contacted the guardian requesting a visit to comfort his mother while she mourned. He was immediately cut off from any contact with her and threatened with a restraining order because he was upsetting her.  An emergency court hearing date of 12/12/12 was scheduled to determine if Douglas could begin to have contact again.


There was a one hour court hearing but time ran out before Douglas had a turn to be represented. The Judge asked Douglas’ lawyer to come back later that day to finish “Sorry I have to catch a flight”. He was then asked if he could come back later that week, his answer was NO. The Judge then stated we are here to make a schedule and then took the Guardians  draconian restrictions and made them a court order. Ernestine’s isolation from the outside world was now official!


Ernestine had Easter lunch with both Charles and Douglas (the first “family visit since the nightmare began).  The guardian and their attorney thought it was too much and again isolated her from her family and outside world.  It would be 155 days before this 91 year old would be able to see or talk to her all of her family again.


 Her boys were served with a injunction that denies them “ANY” contact with their 91 year old mother.  

What does Ernestine think when she no longer gets a daily phone call “ringer turned off” from her three sons?  “Do my children care about me anymore”?



The guardian’s counsel (with 20+ years of experience with Pensacola court proceedings) emailed Douglas that the order never showed up on the court docket and although she worked hard to make the Mother’s Day visit happen it was out of her control.

Ernestine spends maybe her last Mother’s Day ALONE!

On Monday 5/13/13 Douglas found out the court order allowing a visit had been signed on 5/10/13. A simple call to the Clerk of the Court was required to learn this since the docket is one day behind in posting orders, etc.  A fact every attorney practicing in Pensacola Circuit Court is or should be aware of.

More “court ordered” restrictions were put in place that included Ernestine paying $100 per hr to have a supervisor during visits with her children. Ernestine pays a total of $600 for the 2 three hour weekend visits.


A court date has been set then reset just to determine if Ernestine will be allowed future phone calls and visits with her family.  

The court date has now been reset for 10/1/13


A deal was struck that keeps the isolation tight around Ernestine and at  $90,719.56 in legal fees “just this year through November” that Ernestine has payed the law firm for the continued high standard of protection through isolation. She gets the following. All the fast food she can eat, no physical therapy, limited or no interaction with the out side world, Paying a social worker $80 to $100 per hour during her sons visit to create some reports that are miss leading, No trips to the Bayview Dog Beach...the list goes on.

It is estimated that Ernestine will have payed $300,000.00 in 2013 to stay in her home in Pensacola FL under the new guardianship. That is a increase of just $240,000.00 a year....


A letter from House Representative Mike Hill District 2

The guardian and her attorney operate under the guise of “protecting” Ernestine while they drain her financially and isolate her from her loved ones.

Ernestine's Guardians are Terry Bell Bush and Donna Potts.

On there website they state the following

“Ensuring safety, Nurturing independence, Sustaining relationships”.

“The goal of effective guardianship is to be able to restore the rights of the individual who, for whatever reason, has had some of them removed by a court after due process. It is true that in many instances once a guardianship has been initiated by a court, it is in place until the incapacitated person dies. However, an annual review and assessment will monitor the need for maintaining or terminating a guardianship, and alert the court to a potential restoration of some or all of the incapacitated person's rights.”

“The guiding principle in all guardianship is that of least intrusive measures to assure as much autonomy as possible. The guardian's authority is defined by the court and the guardian may not operate outside that authority. A guardian may be a family member or friend or a public or private entity appointed by the court.”

Her children have no say and she has no say, in her life. She is a prisoner in her own home!

DISCLAIMER: The information presented here is not intended to serve as legal advice or to take the place of a professional legal consultation. The creators of this web site shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information presented on this web site.

Anyone who feels information herein is wrong or nonfactual please send proof and reasons why for editorial consideration.  A retraction will be made upon such proof.

Copyright © 2014, All rights reserved.

Ernestine’s life

Ernestine Franks was born in Pensacola, FL Escambia County where she has lived for 92 years. Her childhood was that of most of her era hard workers and close family that suffered but gained insight from the Great Depression and WWII. She went off to Bowling Green Business College were she majored in business. 

Upon her return she was employed by GMAC and held down two other part time jobs. She met her future husband Charles Watts Franks at one of her part time jobs at Walgreens. Charles asked her to pick out a bathing suit for him then he asked her out.  They were married soon after and spent the next 53 years raising their three sons and serving their country at Pensacola Navel Air Station in the Civil Service. Ernestine was in Cost Accounting and moved up quickly to a supervisor  position. Charles was a top metalsmith of over 33 years.  If a job was to hard for someone else the word was  “Put Franks on it.”

They saved their money and invested it wisely and put their children through the best schools to ensure they would get the best education. They were quite involved with their children from band to football games  to going on over seas trips to England and China. Ernestine was even the manager for her middle sons rock in roll band in the 70s.  Ernestine and Charles’ life was devoted to their boys and always went the extra mile for them. 

In 2011 Ernestine health became more of a concern of her children. Safety measures were implemented for Ernestine. Her home care turned into 24/7 care, 8 video cameras that sent notifications if any movement was detected inside or out at nighttime, and video conference with her on her iPad. Home improvements were also made including a stair lift, ramps, guard rails inside and outside, grab handles, and a glass front storm door.

In 2012 one of her children was told by a attorney that the best care for Ernestine was to be in a Guardianship. Not being fully aware of how life could change he proceeded to set in motion the wheels that he would later find out stripped her of all her rights and dignity, isolated her from her children and the outside world but also sacked her life savings. Her attorney fees are closing in on $100,000.00 in just a years time. Ernestine faces the end of her days with the prospect of being alone but if she lives long enough she will find her loneliness to be in a state run institution because she is broke. 

The only crimes Ernestine committed was working hard, saving her money and just living to long. She and her husband contributed greatly to the city of Pensacola and in the end it was the city's elected and legal representatives that turned their back and took advantage of her vulnerability. Her civil rights were stripped away by a three panel committee that lied to the court about her capacity. The Dr. that did evaluate her just two days before her court date opinion after a four hour evaluation was she was of sound mind to pick her guardian and understood the ramifications of such a decision. His opinion did not fit what the court wanted the out come to be so it was discarded.