RIGHT TO COMPETENT COUNSEL
Patients do not have a statutory right to counsel during the 72 hour (5150) hold. However, patients retain the right to competent counsel should they file a writ during the 14 and 30 day holds and they are automatically appointed counsel for the T-con/P-con LPS conservatorship proceedings. Counsel must be appointed within 5 days after the filing of a temporary conservatorship petition pursuant to Welf & I C §5365. For almost all patients they are appointed a public defender.
All conservatees have the statutory right to effective assistance of counsel. This means that their counsel must meet the Strickland two prong standard for effectiveness. (1)Counsel's performance must meet an objective standard of reasonableness and (2) counsel needs to perform adequately enough as so their decisions/actions will not prejudiced their client's case (changed the outcome of the case).
Along with the right to effective assistance of counsel, the conservatee must be given the opportunity to right to convey to the trial court his dissatisfaction concerning the quality of representation of his appointed counsel and the right to request new counsel. Conservatorship of David L. (2008) 164 CA4th 701.
Understand that LPS conservatorship proceedings are emotional and that you may feel certain ways about your lawyer's trial strategy. However, IAC claims are very hard to prove and simple disagreement about trial technique or failure to raise certain objects will not guarantee a successful IAC claim.