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Conservatorship of Richard K. v. Richard K

August 21, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. PMH20060026)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robie , J.

Conservatorship of Richard K. CA3


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Richard K. appeals the judgment reestablishing a Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS; Welf. & Inst. Code,*fn1 § 5000 et seq.) conservatorship of his person and estate. He contends there is not sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that he was presently gravely disabled. We disagree. Richard also contends there is not sufficient evidence to support the imposition of special disabilities denying him the rights and privileges to possess or carry firearms, possess a driver's license, enter into contracts, and vote. We find substantial evidence supporting the imposition of all the special disabilities, except the denial of Richard's right to vote. Accordingly, we shall remand to the trial court to restore Richard's right to vote. In all other respects, we affirm.


Richard is an 80 year-old man, who has suffered a long history of mental health problems. He has been diagnosed as bipolar and been psychiatrically hospitalized 26 times.

In August 2009, Richard was living under a conservatorship in a board and care facility. He had been decompensating and his behavior was increasingly unsafe. He needed one-on-one monitoring by the staff. At one point, he wandered away from the facility and had to be returned by the police. He refused to eat his meals and refused his medications. He had to be moved from the board and care facility to a locked facility because the board and care could not maintain him. His insight was impaired and his judgment limited.

Tom Donohoe, El Dorado County mental health supervisor and case manager testified as an expert in conservatorship investigations and the conservatorship process. Donohoe has been working with Richard since 2006. He also reviewed Richard's mental health records back to 1982.

Richard's records and Donohoe's personal experience with Richard, reveal Richard has never willingly and without prompting taken his psychiatric mediation. Sometimes Richard agrees he is bipolar, but he does not understand what that means and how it affects him when he does not take his medication. This lack of insight into his condition and need for medication inhibits his ability to live independently. No family or friends have offered to assist Richard. Richard did not have a place to live.

Richard has not been able to live independently since 2006. He has gone back and forth between locked facilities and board and care facilities. The last time he was living independently, police officers were called to his apartment due to a commotion he caused. His room was in disarray and filled with alcohol bottles, he was very irate and manic. Richard is unable to live independently because he refuses his medications, claiming he does not need them, decompensates and is unable to maintain his behaviors. As he decompensates, his behavior becomes more manic, argumentative, obtrusive, and delusional. His most recent behavioral decomposition included walking the hallways of the facility nude, refusing food and medication.

Richard also suffers from delusions. He believes his current net worth is $100 million. Based on Richard's psychiatric history, his numerous psychiatric hospitalizations, his continued refusal to take his medication, his refusal to eat and his repeated evictions caused by his extreme manic behavior Donohoe concluded Richard was unable to provide for his food, clothing, or shelter.

Mari Robertson, a deputy public guardian, testified as an expert regarding the process of conservatorship, a conservator's duties and the proposed conservatee's ability to provide for food, clothing, and shelter and handle his finances. Mari first met Richard in 2006 after he was placed in a temporary LPS conservatorship and she was assigned his case. She also reviewed his medical and mental health records and discussed his history with another public guardian who had worked with Richard.

Richard was diagnosed bipolar and was not medication compliant. In 2006, when she first worked with him, he already had a long history of not being medication compliant. Over the years, Richard's status has remained the same. He has fixed delusions which have been unchanged and he lacks insight into his mental illness. Each time he is placed in a lower level of care, he decompensates. Richard believes he can communicate with the press and God through numbers, that he worked for the CIA and is still affiliated with the CIA. He told Robertson that if he were not conserved, he would live at the Stanford Ranch and the Hewlett's, of Hewlett-Packard, would take care of him. He believes the person who discovered bipolar disorder was a relative of his. His current income is from the Social Security ...

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