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Britney Spears inspired the reform in this Bay Area county with the FREEBRITNEY Movement.

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I will put some important points, as the article is long, and leave the link at the end.

The very public conservatorship of Britney Spears inspired a larger movement to reform the conservatorship process in the Bay Area. Alameda County released a grand jury report Tuesday that outlines what appears to be deficiencies in the delivery of legal services in conservatorship cases by Alameda County Department of Public Defender (ACDPD).

According to the grand jury report, “The widely publicized Britney Spears case and two films…led to a new wave of public interest and induced media outlets to take a critical look at conservatorships. These developments drew the attention of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.”

In 2021, the California Legislature passed AB 1194, known as the zealous advocacy law. This law “requires counsel to act as a zealous advocate, meaning that the attorney must advocate for what the client wants, rather than what the attorney (or anyone else) thinks is in the client’s best interest.” If a client states that they do not wish to be placed in a conservatorship, the lawyer representing them must fight for that outcome.

There’s a reason for this law. The grand jury report outlines that these lawyers are the only hope for people to avoid being placed into conservatorships that are unnecessary or too restrictive. The report also lists some of the key differences between the way cases are managed by the public defender and LAS.


The grand jury report also states that “the 2021 zealous advocacy law expands the risk of litigation by, or on behalf of, conservatees who
are dissatisfied with their attorney.” This means that the County of Alameda could be found liable if conservatees don’t feel they were represented well.

KRON4 spoke with Legal Director of the Spectrum Institute Tom Coleman about the impacts of the grand jury recommendations. In 2021, the Spectrum Institute published a report on the state of “Public Funding of Legal Services in Conservatorship Proceedings,” which was then sent to all 58 counties in California. Alameda County responded by opening an investigation into the proceedings.

The grand jury investigation revealed several key findings:

  1. probate conservatorship unit is severely understaffed and overworked
  2. failure of the Public Defender to gather data on conservatorship case outcomes
  3. not all proposed conservatees receive the same level of service
  4. involuntary conservatorship proceedings can quickly drain proposed conservatees’ estates

“Think of Britney Spears, if she ever should have been in one it could have been for a few months, but there were other ways of dealing with it,” Coleman told KRON4. “More than 13 years she was trapped, and her defender had a financial incentive to keep the case going.”

A new bill that is currently pending, AB 1663, “that’s going to impact Alameda County and could be on Governor Newsom’s desk in a matter of a few months.

SOURCE: https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/how-britney-spears-inspired-cries-for-conservatorship-reform-in-this-bay-area-county/

The end of the article discusses how a person or loved ones can protect themselves from unnecessary conservatorships.

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