Britney Spears’ new lawyer vows to move 'aggressively' to end her conservatorship

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Page Six 19 July, 2021 - 06:24pm 13 views

July 19, 2021 | 7:24pm

LOS ANGELES — An attorney recently hired by pop superstar Britney Spears vowed on Monday to move swiftly to end the restrictive conservatorship that she’s been subjected to for more than a decade.

“My firm and I are moving aggressively and expeditiously to file a petition to remove Jamie Spears unless he resigns first,” Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart said outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon.

Rosengart, who was granted the ability to represent the “Toxic” singer last week, made the declaration after a highly-anticipated hearing in Britney’s battle against her “abusive” conversatorship was adjourned until next week.

Monday’s hearing was expected to include arguments over a money dispute between Spears’ legal personal guardian, Jodi Montgomery, and the singer’s father Jamie Spears.

Montgomery was set to argue that she needs upwards of $50,000 a month for a private security detail since she began receiving death threats in June, when Britney launched her court push to break free.

But Jamie Spears says lots of people connected with the case have received such threats, and it would be impossible to provide such a level of security for them all — so the necessary dough should come out of Montgomery’s own pocket.

The issue is likely to be broached next Monday, when the two sides will meet again in court.

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Britney's plight is not surprising if you've been a psychiatric patient in Ireland

Irish Examiner 19 July, 2021 - 11:10pm

The news about the details of Britney Spears conservatorship has shocked many people. For those of us with experience of the psychiatric system, it isn’t shocking, just relatable.

In Ireland, we talk a lot about mental health; the problems in accessing our mental health system, the long waiting lists, encouraging people to reach out when we can’t cope. 

We rarely talk about what happens after we do reach out, or what that care actually looks like. In my experience, some practices in our mental health system, particularly our psychiatric inpatient system, are both deeply harmful and disempowering. We don’t normally hear about them.

We don’t hear about people being forced to have an IUD. We do not hear about people being prevented from having access to their own money. We don’t hear about women be forced to attend clinics and therapy against their will. 

It happens every day, right here in Ireland, but rarely makes news. We only know about Britney, because she is Britney. We don’t know about the other people who experience numerous human rights abuses as part of a ‘treatment plan’.

I’ve been an inpatient in different parts of Ireland and have had many different cocktails of therapies, professionals and medications involved in my mental health. 

Looking back on my treatment, it is clear that in signing the papers to be admitted, I signed over ownership of my body, of my life, of my health to professionals. They made decisions for me, and my voice didn’t count.

The decision that are made for people are wide-ranging. Forced medication is a significant issue. Medication which can be forcibly injected if I refuse to take it myself.

Forced medication is a very common practice in our psychiatric system. There are many valid reasons why someone does not want to take a particular medication. These refusals are very often brutally disregarded.

All of these measures are acted on ‘for our own safety’ a common phrase for every inpatient. They hear it on a regular basis when their power is taken away. This is happening to Britney Spears, who is denied control of her life ‘for her own safety and best interests.

All of these abuses are presented to us patients as care.

Britney is being forced to do things, or not do things, under the very same guise of care. We must be very clear about it, this is not care, it is punishment. 

It is a result of a disempowering system. The system overpowers patients and our right to decide what happens to our bodies. We are rarely active participants in our own care plans.

 These plans are very often handed to us without our involvement in the creation of the treatment goals.

She felt that she wouldn’t be listened to if she spoke out. As patients, we don’t have the opportunity to have our voices heard, and our experiences are lost.

I understand why Britney never spoke out. Self-advocacy is incredibly difficult when you are in a system. You feel that if you speak out or refuse things, your ‘treatment’ will get a lot worse. 

So many patients never speak out or get to have their voice and concerns meaningfully heard by the people who can change things. They fear retribution. 

This creates a culture of patient passivity. The system values obedience. This is why we often quietly accept harmful and traumatic responses to our distress within mental health systems.

We don’t respond with compassion and understanding, instead remove a person’s power to decide what happens next. Changing Britney’s guardian will make little difference in her life. 

It could potentially make it worse if someone who does not know her will and preferences is making intimate decisions about her life.

We need to critically analyze as a society how we react to people in emotional distress and find ways to respond with care that does not erode the human rights or humanity of the patient.

We must create environments where we, as people with experience of emotional distress, can ask for what we need, without fear of retribution. Patients must be partners. 

Only by working together in partnership with our mental health teams can we reach a place of recovery. 

Forceful paternalism is not care.

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Britney Spears CALLS OUT Father and Sister Jamie Lynn in New IG Post

Entertainment Tonight 19 July, 2021 - 11:10pm

Why conservatorships like the one controlling Britney Spears can lead to abuse

Yahoo News 19 July, 2021 - 07:12am

She may soon get her wish after the judge in the case said she could hire her own lawyer, former prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, who plans to file paperwork soon to end the conservatorship on her behalf. To terminate a conservatorship, California law simply requires the filing of a petition demonstrating that it is no longer required.

Spears’ case is unusual: Conservatorships are typically not imposed on someone who doesn’t have severe cognitive impairments, and Spears has toured the world, released four albums and earned US$131 million, all while deemed legally unfit to manage her finances or her own body.

But it does illustrate how easily conservatorships can be abused – which is one reason some members of Congress are considering ways to reform the state-run system.

I teach about conservatorships in my course on aging and law and have written extensively about the parent-child relationship.

Conservatorships are legal arrangements that give a third party control over someone else. They can be imposed only by a court, and only a court can terminate them. The person put in charge of the person’s affairs is called the conservator, or the guardian in some states.

Conservatorships have been around for centuries and are critical legal mechanisms to help people – often older persons with dementia or other neurocognitive disorders – who are considered unable to care for themselves or their finances.

Conservators are subject to court oversight and are typically required to submit annual reports to the court. And California law – which is similar to the rules in most statesrequires the court to monitor each conservatorship to protect against abuse and ensure that the conservator is acting in the best interests of the subject.

Jamie Spears has been a conservator for his daughter since he was appointed to this role by a California court in 2008 and has reportedly received at least $5 million in fees.

He has served as both the “conservator of the person” – able to make decisions about his daughter’s personal needs, including medical decisions – as well as that of her estate – able to make financial decisions for her. Currently, he serves only in the second role, while Jodi Montgomery, a licensed personal fiduciary and care professional, is Britney Spears’ conservator of the person.

While the standard in many states is to impose the fewest restrictions so the person retains the most rights possible, the powers of a conservator can be broad. And the person subject to one may lose the right to marry, make a will, vote or consent to medical treatment.

And imposing a conservatorship is not supposed to be easy. California requires “clear and convincing evidence” that one is necessary. The law also states that the individual has the right to be represented. The one imposed on Spears, however, was done quickly.

Broad powers and “anemic” oversight make conservatorships subject to multiple forms of abuse, ranging from the imposition of unnecessary restrictions on the individual to financial mismanagement. Nothing can be done if no one finds out about the abuse.

A 2010 U.S. government report identified hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, neglect and financial impropriety by conservators. Most of them related to financial exploitation, and that, in turn, often meant that the victim’s family was affected, losing not just expected inheritances but also contact with the person subject to the conservatorship.

A 2017 New Yorker article on abusive guardians highlighted the case of April Parks, who was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for financial conduct related to numerous conservatorships she handled. She was also ordered to pay more than half a million dollars to her victims.

But beyond these anecdotes, no one even knows the magnitude of the problem. That’s because conservatorships are subject to state law, and each state handles the imposition of them as well as data collection differently. And a 2018 Senate report found that most states are unable to report accurate data on conservatorships.

The National Center for State Courts estimated in 2016 that 1.3 million adults in the U.S. are subject to some kind of conservatorship – representing about $50 billion in assets – but a previous report suggested the number of cases could be more than double that.

There’s virtually no data on how often conservators misuse their power or when a conservatorship has been improperly imposed.

However, this may begin to change, thanks to growing publicity of the issue.

Last year’s Netflix movie “I Care a Lot” told the story of a fictionalized abusive guardian played by Rosamund Pike, who won best actress at the Golden Globe for the role. And a 2020 episode of the investigative series “Dirty Money” profiled what it alleged was guardian abuse by several lawyers, including one who subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming defamation.

And in February 2021, The New York Times aired “Framing Britney Spears,” which documented her “yearslong struggle under” the conservatorship. Times reporters also exposed confidential court records that showed Britney Spears has been unhappy with her father since at least 2014. A court investigator in 2016, for example, wrote that the conservatorship “had become an oppressive and controlling tool against her.”

Now, members of Congress as ideologically opposed as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have joined the “Free Britney” cause and are pushing for conservatorship reforms and more data on the legal arrangements.

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While states have made some improvements, such as urging more autonomy for conservatees and less restrictive alternatives to conservatorships, reform advocates such as Syracuse law professor Nina Kohn say more is needed to protect the rights of individuals and prevent abuse, including stronger oversight.

Spears may soon find herself free of her conservatorship. Regardless, her situation has already put a spotlight on the potential for abuse – and it may lead to a better system for those who genuinely need the assistance.

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