I’d like to address Britney's conservatorship because this is becoming an issue with the #freebritney movement on the rise, misconceptions are trickling into my area of LPS conservatorship. While placing a call to determine the status of a LPS Conservatorship petition there was a strong assertion by a professional in charge of a facility that a family member was going to get the same conservatorship as Britney Spears. When pressed about it the professional doubled down and said yes the LPS Conservatorship was the same kind of conservatorship that Spears is currently fighting. This family member became a bit confused and thought the LPS Conservatorship could be easy to get and “indefinite” like a probate conservatorship. This family member then began to incorrectly assert things such as it being easy to get a mental health conservatorship, she herself could petition to get mental health conservatorship over her son, or that the public guardian didn’t need to be involved. Allow me to clarify….
Spears is under a probate conservatorship of her person and estate. She has been under the LPS act when she was under a 5150 hold and a 14 day 5250. But she was not under an LPS Conservatorship nor is she fighting one currently. There are several key differences. First to look at the courthouse and judges. Spears’s conservatorship is being heard by Judge Brenda J. Penny at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Dept 004. This courthouse handles probate matters.
The mental health court recently moved from Department 95 at 1150 N. San Fernando Rd to Hollywood Courthouse 5925 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, 90028 (fax 442-247-3972)
STATE, COUNTY OFFICIALS JOIN PRESIDING JUDGE KEVIN C. BRAZILE TO REOPEN HOLLYWOOD COURTHOUSE Closed in 2013, Courthouse Reopens to Exclusively Handle Mental Health Cases
The judges who hear mental health matters are:
Bianco, James Judge 203
Harrison, Robert S. Judge 113
Jaskol, Lisa R. Judge 103
Kaye, Ronald Owen Judge 213
According to the new notice to attorneys
Judge Harrison and Judge Kaye handle LPS Conservatorship matters. Harrison has been serving for a while and Kaye is newly appointed. Regardless these are the only two judges listed for LPS Conservatorship matters which are handled in this courthouse unique to LPS Conservatorship and other mental health matters. To clarify probate conservatorships can be used for mental health but for LPS law specific matters the hearings occur in the Hollywood courthouse.
Next, Spears’s court papers that have leaked are named accordingly, GC350 and GC 310. These are letters of conservatorship of the person and estate and petition for conservatorship of person and estate. These are probate forms. Some counties use probate forms for LPS Conservatorship matters but LA county has specific forms for LPS Conservatorship like: MH041, MH027, MH04.
They appear similar but the mental health forms are to be used specifically for LPS Conservatorship not probate matters.
Finally if Spears was even on an LPS Conservatorship, she is no longer presenting as gravely disabled as she does care for herself properly, care for her children, and lives successfully with the help of other persons in her life. Thus by LPS statute she cannot be held under LPS Conservatorship as the standard, current grave disability beyond a reasonable doubt, is required for LPS Conservatorship renewal. Probate conservatorships require a lower burden of proof for review.
Additionally, if she were on LPS Conservatorship, you’d be hearing more about the public guardian in the news as they play a mandatory role in the re-establishment of LPS Conservatorship regardless of who is private conservator. Private parties, family members, or other persons cannot petition for LPS conservatorship. Only the public guardian can petition for LPS temporary conservatorship. Probate conservatorships do allow for any party to petition for conservatorship.
This should be cleared up and stopped because there are people out there who may be told yes you will get the same conservatorship as Spears, go look her case up, think their conservatorship is easier to get and doesn’t face as strict renewal criteria, and mess up their LPS Conservatorship case. Moving forward lets keep this in mind shall we? Spears does not need a probate conservatorship and in a bad abusive situation in my opinion but as she fights her case lets not get the two conservatorships conflated as LPS Conservatorship is still far more prohibitive than a probate conservatorship.
Just a quick update.....
In regards to those wondering about medication compliance and placements in IMDs... IMD's usually prefer to see their patients medicated and compliant. Alpine intake paperwork specifically states that they do not tolerate noncompliance. When managing clients on LPS conservatorship, the letters and orders stipulate that the LPS conservator has the right to order involuntary psychiatric medication. However, in reality most IMDs in San Diego and LA do not engage in daily forced medication administration; rather, they use verbal encouragement to make the patient more compliant. Alpine Special Treatment Center has been known to be the IMD to use the least amount of restraint and involuntary medication administration.
What more realistically plays out is that the hospital will hold the patient until they are stable and ready for transfer to an IMD. They want to see the patient who has some degree of insight and willingness to adhere to medication before discharge. Once discharged to the IMD the patient will do their activities and therapies in the IMD. If noncompliance becomes an issue, then the IMD will try verbal techniques to encourage med compliance. If verbal deescalation does not work and too many emergency IM injections are required then the IMD can transfer the conservatee back to the facility for stabilization and med compliance. The hospital may also transfer the conservatee back to a different facility if the previous facility is unable to take back the patient.
The IMDs have changed in that they are less hands on and work to preserve the patient's rights. Because of this IMDs try and use less restrictive methods of encouraging med compliance. They can also work on having the patient transition to a long acting IM shot to encourage med compliance without daily struggle of oral medication. Invega sustenna/trinza and Abilify Maintena are two commonly used long acting IM injectables.
Now within the world of hypothetical legal scenarios...
Would IMD return the conservatee to acute inpatient hospital or would there be a hearing to modify placement to move conservatee to a higher level of care such as Metropolitan Adult Acute LPS Unit/ Atascadero? (San Diego county supposedly contracts only a limited number of beds in the state hospital system and most of those are for murphy conservatorships)
Given that the current legal authority mandates that a “long-term Lanterman–Petris–Short Act conservatee possesses the right to refuse antipsychotic medication absent a determination of incompetence” In re Welf. & Inst.Code § 5000 et seq/ in re Keyhea v. Rushen (1986) 178 Cal.App.3d 526, 542 there would need to be a showing that the conservatee does lack capacity at an evidentiary hearing.
Assuming that this required prior determination of incompetence would be satisfied upon the imposition of disabilities under §§ 5357-5358 where the conservator has the power to require the conservatee to receive mental health treatment related to remedying the grave disability would these disabilities suffice for Metropolitan hospital to forcibly give routine daily antipsychotic medication/monthly IM depot meds.
Should state hospital not consider the § 5358 powers in the letters of LPS Conservatorship valid then would state hospital petition to ask a court to make a Qawi order, which authorizes state hospital to involuntarily administer daily nonemergency antipsychotic medication. In re Qawi, 32 Cal. 4th 1, 81 P.3d 224 (2004)? And although Qawi orders are for mental disordered offenders and the like, could there be a case where one is written for an LPS conservatee to enforce daily anti psychotics?
I doubt it but still.... pure speculation
Juvenile Dependency and