Dear Editor,
I’d like to offer applause and and big thank you to the 2007-2008 Grand Jury for their clear, concise report which came out in last week’s paper. I’d also like to add a couple of small points of clarification to their findings in the Public Guardian watchdog.
Under Finding 3 they state, “A conservator of the person may be appointed for a person who is unable to provide for his/her personal needs of... food, clothing and shelter.”
This is correct and is in fact the legal definition of “gravely disabled.”
Later, under Finding 9 it reads in reference to LPS conservatorships, “Clients are most often a danger to themselves or others because of a mental condition.”
This is misleading, as it sounds like a person can be placed on an LPS conservatorship based on being judged a danger to self or others, which is false. The sole criterion for LPS qualification is “gravely disabled.”
Under LPS law (named after its authors, legislators Lanternman, Petris and Short) a suicidal person cannot be held no more than 31 days involuntarily, which would be a 72-hour hold provided by the well-known Section 5150, followed by two consecutive 14-day holds under Section 5250.
A person who is deemed a danger to others can be held involuntarily under Section 5300 on a single certification for up to 180 days.
Also, though an LPS conservatorship indeed expires after one year, the law provides the right to petition for a rehearing if a person under an LPS conservatorship shows improvement and wishes to challenge the conservatorship.
If that person can demonstrate to the court that she/he is no longer “gravely disabled,” the conservatorship can be ended immediately by the court so ruling.
Richard DuPertuis
Patients’ Rights Advocate
County of Siskiyou