Conservatorships (Celebrity Edition)

A few weeks ago, I googled “conservatorship,” and the first search result that popped up was a Fox News article entitled “Why Amanda Bynes is not eligible for conservatorship, while Britney Spears is.”  While I’m not one to feel schadenfreude at the sight of twitter-voyeuristic celebrity misfortune, I took a glance at the article to scour for legal analysis. The ultimate conclusion of the article is that, despite Ms. Bynes’ tragic, ongoing descent into Lindsay Lohan territory, conservatorship is not an option for the former child/teen star because (so far) there isn’t any evidence that Ms. Bynes is a danger to herself or society.  Ms. Bynes is currently a resident of New York.

While not explicitly addressed in the article, the type of conservatorship being evaluated in the article appears to be a New York parallel to an “LPS Conservatorship” under California law.   An LPS Conservatorship, named after the last initials of the three California politicians who authored the applicable law, allows the State to involuntarily commit persons who are either gravely disabled, or who are a danger to themselves or to others.

I think that the most important distinction between the cases of Ms. Spears and Ms. Bynes is only briefly mentioned in the article: Ms. Spears, at the time her conservatorship was being established, had two young children.  Conversely, Ms. Bynes is childless.  Hollywood has seen more than its share of self-destructive individuals through the years, many of whom were not involuntarily committed by the State for their “protection.”  The Court’s perception that Ms. Spears was putting her children in danger was likely the tipping point that led to her conservatorship.

The article referenced in this post can be accessed by clicking here, but discretion is advised as the article contains pictures that are NSFW.