California Court of Appeals, Second District, Eighth Division
Conservatorship of the Person and Estate of D.C. LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC GUARDIAN, as Conservator, etc., Petitioner and Respondent,
D.C., Objector and Appellant.
from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No.
ZE042151, Robert Harrison, Judge. Affirmed.
Matulis, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for
Objector and Appellant.
C. Wickham, County Counsel, Rosanne Wong, Assistant County
Counsel, and William C. Sias, Senior Deputy County Counsel,
for Petitioner and Respondent.
GRIMES, ACTING P. J.
appeals the appointment of a conservator under the
Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) (Welf. & Inst. Code,
§ 5000 et seq.) after a jury found her to be gravely
disabled due to a mental disorder. She contends the trial
court failed to timely advise her of her right to a jury
trial and improperly granted a conservatorship without an
evidentiary hearing after her counsel submitted on the
petition. She also claims the jury trial she received did not
cure the prejudice of the denial of her right to an earlier
trial; the order that she be medicated without her consent is
not supported by substantial evidence; and ineffective
assistance of counsel. We affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
August 14, 2017, the Los Angeles County Office of the Public
Guardian filed a petition for the Appointment of Conservator
of the Person and Estate for D.C. In support of the petition,
the County filed an application for a Mental Health
Conservatorship Investigation, which included a declaration
executed by two medical doctors recommending a
conservatorship. The doctors declared D.C. had been diagnosed
with schizophrenia, was unable to accept voluntary treatment,
and a conservatorship was required because D.C. is unable to
provide for her personal needs for food, clothing, and
report appended to the declaration stated that D.C. suffers
from polysubstance abuse disorder, and had been placed on a
Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150 psychiatric hold
on July 14, 2017, after she threatened to hit her mother and
“burn the house down with [her mother] in it.”
Responding officers saw furniture strewn about the home and
holes in the walls. At the psychiatric emergency department,
D.C. displayed tangential and disorganized thinking, and was
so agitated she had to be sedated. D.C. tested positive for
amphetamine, and had a severe lice infestation and scabies.
was admitted to the psychiatric hospital on July 18, 2017.
She suffered from rapid mood swings, could not answer
questions, and was seen talking to herself and laughing. It
was difficult to treat her extensive lice infestation because
she could not understand the need for treatment.
Mental Health Information System report revealed that D.C.
had many psychiatric encounters in Los Angeles County,
starting in 1996. She had 10 psychiatric hospitalizations
from 2010 to 2017. She was hospitalized in August 2015 when
she threatened to kill family members, after she stopped
taking her psychiatric medications. She was diagnosed with
schizophrenia, paranoid type, and had been discharged with
report opined that D.C. is gravely disabled due to her
psychiatric illness. She needs frequent redirection for
self-care, and is unable to communicate in a clear manner.
D.C. denied any mental illness or the need for medications.
August 14, 2017, the trial court appointed the Public
Guardian as the temporary conservator, and temporary letters
of conservatorship issued that same day.
initial hearing was set for August 28, 2017. The
conservatorship investigator's report was filed that day.
According to the report, D.C. denied that she suffered any
mental illness or that she was gravely disabled.
was present in court, and her counsel represented that D.C.
would submit on the petition. Counsel “spoke with
[D.C.] about the rights, powers, and disabilities involved in
the conservatorship, ...