Regarding issues with conservatees not being properly noticed at the T-con of their hearing date and their right to set the matter for contest or a jury trial; this shall serve as a preferred re-imagining of the procedural safeguards for conservatees at the T-con stage.
In the case where the PG acknowledges its incomplete search for conservatee/ relatives and not gotten proof of service and the PG failed to make additional efforts to find conservatee. When the PG made only cursory attempts to reach conservatee had clearly been kept out of "the loop" by the BHU there shall be a finding of prejudicial improper notice despite LPS being in the best interest of the patient.
The best interest standard shall not apply “when a conservatee shows he did not receive notice of the LPS petition" as the court shall be in direct violation of due process under the law. Due process for civil cases may not be as coextensive as criminal cases but due process in civil cases focuses on the right to notice and the right to be heard. Due process shall comport with principals of fundamental principals of fairness and decency. Where the department's efforts to notice conservatee are unreasonably lacking and the failure to notice leads to a prejudicial delay in the conservatee's meaningful participation, any best interest standard ought not apply. A patient's best interests cannot act as a dispositive failsafe and reliance on this best interest standard eases the burden on the agency and may run risk of sloppy noticing practices. When the agency fails to provide the conservatee of statutorily required materials, including advisement of the nature of the proceeding, notice of rights lost, notice of jury trial rights, the conservatee shall have been denied adequate due process and the ability to assert his rights. Had conservatee been properly noticed, the court would likely have viewed the recommendation for LPS and placement with in a closed locked facility less favorably. Thus, this error was prejudicial and not harmless, and the order establishing LPS is vacated. However, at any new 5350 P-con hearing, the court shall consider any new and relevant facts that have arisen since the new filing for LPS. The appellate court cannot accept the idea that the PG may neglect its duty to conduct proper notice for conservatee and relatives and then move to rely on the best interest of the patient standard to preclude that conservatee from participating in the LPS case in a meaningful manner.
Juvenile Dependency and