Britney Spears case prompts California to limit conservatorships | English Film News

Disability rights activists and Britney Spears advocates on Wednesday backed a California proposal to provide more protections for people under court-ordered guardianship while promoting less restrictive alternatives.

Their decision came as the volatile Spears case spilled over again into a Los Angeles County courtroom.

The hearing to address lingering issues following Spears’ conservatorship, which ended in November, quickly turned into a series of angry accusations between Spears’ lawyers and her father, and the case appears to be heading for a lengthy trial to determine the truth of the misconduct allegations against him.

The case is exhibit No. 1 for groups including Disability Voices United, Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and Free Britney LA who say so-called probate guardianships are overused and misused. used in California.

They most often involve people with developmental or intellectual disabilities or people with age-related conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

But advocacy groups argue conservatives like Spears can find themselves trapped in a system that strips away their civil rights and the ability to defend themselves.

The Professional Fiduciary Association of California, which represents many of those named as conservators, did not immediately comment, but said answers to many questions about the process can be found at

“Guardians should be rare and a last resort,” said Judy Mark, president of Disability Voices United, a Southern California advocacy group. “The default should be that people with disabilities retain their rights and get help when they need it.”

The groups have backed Democratic Assemblyman Brian Maienschein’s legislation that will also make it easier to end conservatories for people who want it.

Instead, they promote so-called “supported decision-making” agreements as a less burdensome alternative. They allow people with disabilities to choose someone to help them understand, make and communicate their choices, but allow the person to make the decision anyway.

This option has already been adopted in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Washington, DC, supporters said.

California law states that conservatories should only be ordered if a judge decides they are the least restrictive alternative. But defenders argue they are often imposed without considering other options.

Maienschein’s bill would require that before granting conservatorship, judges first document that all other alternatives, including supported decision-making, have been considered.

It would enshrine supported decision-making in California law and support this alternative with grant programs, training, and technical assistance.

The bill would also make it easier to end probate conservatories by mandating periodic review, including asking the Tories if they want to make the conservatorship less restrictive or end it altogether.

Curators would also be required to consult with curators and make decisions that reflect the curator’s wishes or previously expressed preferences.

Prior to his election to the Legislative Assembly, Maienschein clerked for a San Diego Superior Court judge who oversaw conservatories.

“I have seen with my own eyes the role the court plays in establishing guardianships and the potential for abuse,” he told an online press conference. “The system in California is in desperate need of reform.”

He called Spears ‘arguably the most famous conservative in the world’ but said her bill would help the many others who don’t have the ‘benefit of world fame’ to shed light on her case. “.

Spears drew widespread attention to the issue, culminating in November when a Los Angeles judge ended the conservatorship that had controlled the pop singer’s life and money for nearly 14 years.

But the fallout continued in Wednesday’s hearing, when Spears’ attorney Mathew Rosengart objected to Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny approving the numerous unpaid attorney’s fees in the case until trial.

Rosengart repeated allegations from a New York Times documentary that James Spears had tapped his daughter’s phone and home, saying it was numerous instances of “serious, potentially criminal, misconduct by the from Mr. Spears”.

James Spears’ lawyer, Alex Weingarten, said the charges, along with the allegations of financial malfeasance, are “all nonsense”.

“Virtually everything alleged in these objections is patently false or out of context,” Weingarten said.

Weingarten plans to file a motion for a mass unsealing of documents from the entire trusteeship, saying “we need this truth to come out.” Rosengart said he would oppose it as well.

Penny ordered the final transfer of Spears’ assets by the court registrar and ruled that the November order ending the conservatorship be sealed. She told lawyers to return to court in July, when she could decide to order the trial.

Britney Spears did not participate in the hearing.

“I believe that if AB1663 had been in effect 13 years ago, the court would have been unable to retain Britney Spears, and now Britney’s story lights the way for where changes in our laws need to be made,” said said Mark, of Disability Voices. United.

Lawyers said it’s unclear how many people are under conservatorship in California because data isn’t being collected. They said the Spears battle is an example of how conservatories are too easily imposed and too difficult to end.

She was a 26-year-old new mother who had suffered several public mental health issues at the height of her career in 2008, when her father sought guardianship, initially on a temporary basis.

Spears was not present at the court hearing where her constitutional rights were awarded to her father, nor were less restrictive measures attempted before placing her in guardianship, the Free organizer said. Britney LA, Leanne Simmons.

It only ended after Spears engaged in a years-long struggle and won the right to choose her own attorney.

“While unique in many ways, it follows a very common pattern of exploitation within the probate court system here in California,” Simmons said.