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ACLU SoCal, civil rights orgs, ask court to allow Spears to choose attorney ahead of July 14 hearing

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Posted at 12:29 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 12:29:57-04

LOS ANGELES — The ACLU of Southern California, along with 25 civil rights and disability rights organizations, has filed a brief asking the court to allow Britney Spears to weigh in on the selection of her next court-appointed attorney overseeing her conservatorship.

“Britney Spears has said that she wants to pick her own lawyer and the court should respect that wish,” said Zoë Brennan-Krohn, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Disability Rights Project.

Spears made headlines last month when her comments during a conservatorship court hearing were made public. The popstar said her 13-year conservatorship, a legal status that gives court-appointed representatives the right to make decisions for a person, “traumatized.”

She told the court she was not allowed to make decisions about where to perform or when, her birth control status, and didn’t know her rights under the conservatorship arrangements.

“I just want my life back and it's been 13 years and it's enough,” Spears said of the conservatorship, adding it is her “dream for all this to end.”

Following her court hearing and shocking testimony, her court-appointed lawyer, Sam Ingham, filed paperwork to resign. In addition, a wealth management company, Bessemer Trust, that had been selected to take over as a co-conservator of her estate, asked to resign from the position.

Lynn Spears, Britney’s mother, has asked that her daughter be allowed her own lawyer. Jamie Spears, Britney's father, is currently another conservator of her estate.

Another hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 14.

“The court should ensure Spears has access to the tools she needs to make that choice meaningfully and to hire someone she trusts to advocate for her stated goal: to get out of her conservatorship,” the American Civil Liberties Union stated in a release about their filing.

“Spears’s right to select an attorney is not only a basic tenet of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, but also consistent with principles of personal autonomy and agency.”

The ACLU says they and the other organizations who are signed on to the amicus brief, have an interest in “ensuring every person in a conservatorship, or at risk of a conservatorship” is able to enjoy “meaningful due process rights.”

Spears’ situation has raised awareness around the country of conservatorship arrangements and potential overreaches or controversial legal decisions they can cause.

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