Judge Allows Britney Spears To Hire Her Own Lawyer, ACLU Offers To Help
On Wednesday afternoon, a judge granted Britney Spears the right to her own lawyer after it was revealed last month that her lawyer may not have given her sound legal advice about her case to be freed from her conservatorship.
The news comes the day after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advocated for Spears’ right to choose her attorney by filing an amicus brief with the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.
The amicus brief – which is a legal document that provides information concerning a case from a person or organization not directly involved in the case that is given to a court – is supported by 25 civil rights and disability rights organizations including the Center for Public Representation, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.
“We don’t know whether Spears identifies herself as disabled,” staff attorney with the ACLU’s Disability Rights Project Zoë Brennan-Krohn said. “But we know that, by placing her under conservatorship, the court is de facto identifying her as disabled.”
In ACLU’s press release for its amicus brief, they explained that judges usually designate conservatees with a lawyer and that someone in a situation like Spears’s has little power over the matter. Conservatees have no power over anything that involves their conservatorship.
“It is. up to the court to decide who her conservator or conservators will be,” Brennan-Krohn said. “Many people get into conservatorships not realizing that the court – not the family, the conservator, or the person under conservatorship – is in charge.”
Spears said she wanted to hire her own representation during her testimony last month. The ACLU said that the singer’s right to choose her attorney “is a core element of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and people under a conservatorship should be able to retain this right.”
“Britney Spears has said that she wants to pick her own lawyer and the court should respect that wish,” said Brennan-Krohn during the press release.
“The California Superior Court must recognize Spears’s autonomy and the rights of people with disabilities to live independent, self-directed lives as active members of their communities,” said Brennan Krohn.
In a separate document, also filed on July 13, the ACLU offered to help the singer choose a different lawyer with “supported decision-making.”
The organization explained that supported decision-making “is a widely recognized approach to ensuring people with and without disabilities can make their own informed choices, typically with assistance from trusted advisors, mentors, friends, or professionals.”
People with disabilities have a right to lead self-directed lives and retain their civil rights.
If Britney Spears wants to regain her civil liberties and get out of her conservatorship, we are here to help her. https://t.co/uLRakw7c4C
— ACLU (@ACLU) August 19, 2020
“If Britney Spears wants to regain her civil liberties and get out of her conservatorship, we are here to help her,” they tweeted in 2020.