Complaints Filed with the
Department of Justice


Press Conference at Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles on June 26, 2015


  Statement of Thomas F. Coleman

Statement of Nora J. Baladerian

 


Three complaints have been filed with the U.S. Department of Justice for violations of federal laws by the Los Angeles Superior Court.  An informal complaint was filed recently with the County of Los Angeles.  We have exhausted all state and local remedies and must now seek relief by way of federal intervention.  More information is available through the links below.


Press Packet for Class

Denial of  Access to Justice:
Complaint for Class
Filed June 26, 2015

Spectrum Institute filed a complaint on June 26, 2015 with the Department of Justice against the Los Angeles Superior Court for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The complaint alleges that the Superior Court has failed to provide limited conservatees and proposed limited conservatees meaningful access to justice to defend their statutory and constitutional rights when these rights are placed at risk in limited conservatorship proceedings.

The complaint alleges and the supporting documents demonstrate that attorneys appointed to represent individuals in such cases are not providing effective legal representation due to inadequate training, systemic conflicts of interest, and ongoing violations of ethical duties and professional standards.  Click here to read the 90-page "Efficiency vs. Justice" exhibit to the complaint filed with the DOJ on August 17, 2015.
 




 
Denial of  Access to Justice:
Complaint for Gregory Demer
Filed June 26, 2015

A complaint was filed on June 26, 2015 for Gregory Demer, a limited conservatee, with the Department of Justice against the Los Angeles Superior Court for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The complaint alleges that the Superior Court has failed to provide him meaningful access to justice to defend the right to make his own personal choices with respect to his freedom of association and his religious practices.

The complaint alleges and supporting documents demonstrate that the attorney appointed to represent him in the limited conservatorship proceedings did not provide him with effective legal representation due to inadequate training, a systemic conflict of interest, and multiple violations of ethical duties and professional standards.
 



Denial
of Voting Rights:
Complaint for Class
Filed July 10, 2014

This Disability and Abuse Project of Spectrum Institute filed a voting rights complaint with the United States Department of Justice in July 2014.  It alleged that the Los Angeles Superior Court routinely and systematically engaged in activities that violate the civil rights of people with developmental disabilities. 

Violations of the Voting Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act are alleged in the 100-page complaint.  Victims are identified as adults who have had or who will have a limited conservator appointed by the Superior Court of the State of California. 

The DOJ sent a letter to the Chief Justice of California and the California Secretary of State on May 15, 2015, notifying them that the DOJ has opened a statewide investigation to determine the extent of voting rights violations by the California judiciary.

For more information about the complaint, click here.  To learn details about our voting rights activities, read: What a Difference a Year Makes. 
 



ADA Noncompliance Complaint
Filed with Los Angeles County
Filed June 9, 2015

Spectrum Institute filed a related complaint with the County of Los Angeles for noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  In addition to its obligations under Title II of the ADA, the county has agreed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 not to discriminate on the basis of disability in any of its programs or services.

The complaint alleges the legal services program funded by the Los Angeles Superior Court violates the ADA because the attorneys appointed by the court are not abiding by the terms of the ADA.  Although the attorneys are appointed by and supervised by the court, their fees and costs are paid by the county.  Since the legal services program is county funded, the county also has responsibility to make sure that it complies with ADA requirements.

The complaint filed by Spectrum Institute provides the county supervisors and the county Executive Officer with information showing the attorneys have been systematically engaging in practices that deny their clients access to justice and failing to ensure that their clients can participate in their cases in a meaningful way. To read the complaint, click here.

Because the county failed to follow its own procedures for an informal ADA complaint of noncompliance, Spectrum Institute withdrew the complaint.  To read the letter withdrawing the complaint, click here.

 

Dr. Nora Baladerian and attorney Thomas Coleman stand outside of the county building where they filed the ADA Non-compliance Complaint on June 9

Case Studies, Reports,
and Proposals


Spectrum Institute has published the following documents regarding limited conservatorships.

     Proposals to Judicial Council:
     New Rules for Court Appointed Attorneys

     Proposal to State Bar of California:
     Task Force on Attorney Standards

     Proposal to Los Angeles Superior Court:
     Rescind Rule 4.125 (Formerly 10.85)

     Proposal to Department of Developmental
     Services: Amend Social Rights Regulation