LPS and changed circumstancesRead Now
I have heard word that some counties are using "changed circumstances" as its own legal criteria for LPS contested hearings. Drawing from dependency framework from changed circumstances and 388 petitions:
The MH court may deny release from conservatorship if the conservatee fails to show changed circumstances. Changed circumstances may be construed to mean showing (1) a change in circumstance (2) with substantial evidence that necessitate a change in the previous court order, and (3) and would be in patient's best interest. If the conservatee were to show all three, then the court should hold an [evidentiary] hearing to resolve any credibility or factual disputes. Some may assert that the conservatee when alleging changed circumstances must proffer specific facts supporting why it would it would be in the patient's best interests. Simple conclusory statements may be insufficient. Take for example if the court may not make a finding of changed circumstances where the conservatee has had evidence of serious and long term mental illness and grave disability, made little progress during the course of treatment, and has no concrete or serious plans for psychiatric care if discharged.
An appellant alleging merely changing circumstances would mean stopping treatment before the patient has fully stabilized. If a conservatee has repeatedly failed to remain safe in their community and provide for their food, clothing, or shelter, their posture that they might be able to return to safely living at some future point, does not promote stability in their own best interests. Life and society does not wait for the patient to become adequately stable. This alleged change in circumstances must be substantial and permanent. As covered in other areas of Welf and I C the petitioner would carry the burden of proof in showing changed circumstances. The conservatee bears the burden of poof showing that by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is no longer gravely disabled due to changed circumstances. Baber v Superior Court (Hill) (1980) 113 CA3d 955, 965.
In regards to appeals and post judgement relief, (Prejudicial error) a trial court’s erroneous dismissal of a changed circumstances [rehearing] based on lack of jurisdiction may be harmless when the conservatee could not have prevailed regardless but a court cannot generally assume an erroneous lack of a hearing is harmless. The standard of review for denying a re-hearing alleging changed circumstances would fall under abuse of discretion
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Juvenile Dependency and