Capacity Assessment Workgroup

An Advisory Committee of Spectrum Institute

Spectrum Institute has convened a Capacity Assessment Workgroup to review the current capacity assessment process in probate conservatorship proceedings in California. Spectrum Institute is a nonprofit organization advocating for disability rights and conservatorship reform.

The workgroup will identify any deficiencies in policy and practice and develop specific proposals to improve the capacity assessment process. The underlying goal is to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities retain as much independence as feasible and that due process is afforded in proceedings that threaten their decision-making rights.

The workgroup is focusing on the role of petitioners, medical and mental health professionals, social workers, judges, court investigators, ADA coordinators, court-appointed attorneys, professional fiduciaries, public guardians, and regional center employees as they conduct assessments of a respondent's capacity to make various types of decisions.

Members of the workgroup include physicians, mental health professionals, attorneys, elder care consultants, disability rights advocates, public agency officials, and people whose lives have been directly affected by the probate conservatorship process.

In consultation with the workgroup, Spectrum Institute will issue a report and recommendations to the Judicial Council, Legislature, and Governor.


Memo to Workgroup Issues to be Explored Commentary on Issues

Reading Materials

Comments and Suggestions

Workgroup Director

Thomas F. Coleman, J.D.,
researcher, author, and civil rights attorney (Riverside County)
Contact: / (818) 230-5156

Workgroup Members

Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D., forensic and clinical psychologist (Riverside County)

Carol Chambers, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (Nevada County)

Patricia Harris, M.D., specialist, geriatric medicine, UCLA Dept. of Medicine (Los Angeles County)

Barbara Imle, M.A., researcher; former regional center employee; graduate student (Portland, Oregon)

Arlene Diaz, manager, Public Guardian’s Office (Santa Barbara County)

Susan Sindelar, J.D., deputy public defender (Santa Barbara County)

Brook Changala, J.D., private attorney (Orange County)

Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik, conservator for fiancÚ and reform advocate (San Diego County)

David Rector, conservatee and former NPR producer (San Diego County)

Alison Freeman, Ph.D
., clinical psychologist; staff psychologist at CSUN (Los Angeles County)

Judy Mark, president, Disability Voices United; UCLA disability studies instructor (Los Angeles County)

Sharon Holmes, elder care consultant (Orange County)

Theresa Jankowski, proposed conservatee and retired FBI employee (Orange County)

Angela Kaufman, ADA compliance specialist (Los Angeles County)

Stephen Dale, J.D., private attorney, Arc of California board member (Contra Costa County)

Jaqueline Moreno, M.A., vice-president, California Siblings Leadership Network (Los Angeles County)

Wendy Dutton, social worker, Alameda Health Services (Alameda County)

Judith Rochlin, J.D., private attorney (Los Angeles County)

Marc Dubin, J.D., private attorney; ADA consulting and litigation specialist (Big Pine Key, Florida)

Verah Bradford, J.D., head deputy public defender, mental health unit (Los Angeles County)

Kaely Shilakes, Psy.D., sibling's co-conservator, regional center staff psychologist (Los Angeles County)

Michelle Uzeta, J.D., attorney specializing in disability rights law (Los Angeles County)

Genethia Hudley-Hayes, education/social services deputy to Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (Los Angeles County)

Molly K. Rearick, Ed.D., nonprofit director, university faculty, co-president of Cal-TASH (Los Angeles and Mono Counties)

Melissa Brown, J.D., professor, Elder & Health Law Clinic, McGeorge School of Law  (Sacramento County)

For a pdf version of this page, click here.

For a summary of remarks about California to the
World Congress on Adult Guardianship, click here.


The workgroup of Spectrum Institute will be independent of a similar workgroup being convened by the Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee of the California Judicial Council.  For information on the PMHAC Legal Capacity Working Group, click here.