Mind your mannersRead Now
I would like to address a problem that is not too common but does occur. I have seen it personally with my own eyes a couple of times and can testify that it does occur on some level.
Attorney's are supposed to treat their clients with respect and regardless of mental orientation are supposed to verbally instruct their clients. There are some instances where the patient's counsel treats the client as if they are incapable of understanding the basic LPS procedures. Even if the client does not maintain a presence of mental stability they are entitled to equal protection under the law. And that should include equal treatment and explanation of the law. Not all of these patients have the privileged of access CEB onlaw, legal opinions, and other literature that will inform them of their legal rights and processes they are facing, I can say for myself that when you first enter the system, it can be very intimidating. There are lots of doctors, administrators, social workers, and other legal people involved when dealing with court. This would confuse anyone.. And more often than not the patient is not informed of the process in of itself. The doctors may something along the lines you may have a court hearing or yes you have started your fourteen day hold three days ago. "Three days ago?!" There was one time I was involuntarily detained and it was not until four days after my cert review hearing that I had learned they placed me under a 14 day hold.
The instance I speak of occurred during the patient's P-con hearing. When the patient was wheeled into the waiting area outside of the courtroom he appeared visibly upset and confused. When I listened in he was under the impression that he was still on a fourteen day hold. After he briefly conferenced with his counsel she entered for another hearing. I was able to talk to him. I gleaned that he was placed on a 14 day hold and after it had expired, he was not served notice of establishment of T-con until five days had passed the expiration of his 14 day hold. He was visibly upset that no one has bothered to tell him the reason for delayed service. As we spoke more he revealed that this was the first time talking to his counsel. His counsel had not prepared him at all for his upcoming hearing. She asked him if he wanted to contest the matter and the basic process he was facing. When pressed for more she dismissed his questions and concerns. He was left high and dry. When county counsel walked by him again he asked her who she was and if she could help him. As far I am concerned she made no effort to answer his question and just walked by. It does not take too much effort to say I am an attorney who represents the public conservator. The only reason I knew it was county counsel was that I had sat in on hearing for a long time. Otherwise I would not have known either. When he asked for more information about challenging his position his counsel did not answer his question. She just said we will see what the judge has to say. Mind you if I was his counsel I would have answered his question by explaining the process of challenging it. Even if he faced a large chance that he would have lost I would have still explained it and added that you will probably be conserved. If that is the case we will discuss how to prepare a proper strong argument that hopefully demonstrates to the judge that you are not gravely disabled and do not need to on conservatorship.
I am personally facing a the same issues with large delays in responses and lack information with a juvenile dependency court case and I know how frustrating it feels for a conservatee. The feeling that you are denied access to the knowledge to winning a case in this case your freedom. As I vaguely recall doesn't professional responsibility cover basic manners. Or does it?
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