Complaints allege CA court violating Americans with Disabilities Act

08/16/2018, Court Rule or Initiative, Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Protected Person

The Spectrum Institute, along with the Arc of California and California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, has filed administrative complaints with the Sacramento County Superior Court relating to the failure to appoint counsel for prospective wards in certain guardianship proceedings.  The complaints address the way California law treats limited and general guardianships: in the former, which are designed specifically for developmentally disabled adults, counsel is appointed automatically, while in the latter the ward has to request counsel or the court has to independently find that counsel is necessary. 


For the first complaint, the issue stems from the fact that petitioners seeking to establish a guardianship of a developmentally disabled adult can elect to use either one, and frequently choose the general guardianship.  As a result of this elective process, the data shows that many developmentally disabled adults are in fact proceeding without counsel in general guardianship proceedings.  The second complaint focuses on the lack of appointment of counsel for general guardianships of people with cognitive disabilities.