TIME TO STEP IN?

Marianna Polonio (left) met with a client's daughter.

Marianna Polonio (left) met with a client’s daughter.

Every student handled a guardianship case.  Usually they were court-appointed to represent someone who was alleged to be incompetent.  It is not always clear who needs a guardian or who should be selected as the guardian. It takes good investigative skills and a thoughtful advocate to do this job.  Here are just a couple examples.

Sarah Guthrie’s client had worked for years as a brick mason before retiring a few years ago.

Unfortunately, his wife developed dementia, and the strain of caring for her was more than he could handle.  He tried to kill himself by drinking anti-freeze.  After emergency care, he spent time in the behavioral health section of a hospital.  Sarah spoke with him (which was challenging for many reasons) as well as to his relatives, health care providers, and others.  At his court hearing, she made the recommendation that  he be adjudicated incompetent and a public agency be appointed to serve as guardian.

Lenae Davis represented a lady who has been involuntarily committed almost a dozen times due to mental health crises.  Let’s call her “Liz.”  In the past, Liz had often been capable of telling her family, “Take me to the hospital!” when she was having a breakdown—but not anymore.  Recently, Liz was evicted from her group home, and taken to the locked psychiatric unit of a hospital by police.  Lenae advised the court that Liz was unable to manage her affairs in a reasonable fashion even with medication.

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