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Elder abuse: Monterey County Public Guardian denies right to attend hearings

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The Monterey County Public Guardian seized control of San Francisco resident Margarita Zelada and her estate. Since March 2013, Margarita has been unlawfully confined in Monterey County, forcibly isolated, and denied nearly all contact with loved ones and advocates.

The Public Guardian allows Margarita no contact with her daughter, occasional brief contact with her niece in Texas, no contact with elder rights advocates, and no contact with legal counsel of her choice. The Public Guardian denies Margarita her right to attend court hearings on her case and denies her right to oppose the abuse she has suffered.

On January 29, 2014, the Monterey County Probate Court will review Margarita’s case and hear the Public Guardian’s petition for authority to forcibly administer chemical restraint. Niece Bonnie Lind repeatedly asked that Margarita be allowed to attend the hearing on her case and be allowed her right to oppose forced chemical restraint.

December 10, 2013

Jennifer Empasis and Chris Campbell,

I would like to request my aunt, Margarita Zelada be allowed to attend her conservatorship hearing scheduled for December 18, 2013. According to the Notice of Conservatee’s Rights, Margarita has a right to take part in important decisions affecting her life, property and way of life. Please do not deny her this basic right.

January 24, 2014

Jennifer Empasis and Chris Campbell,

I would like to again request that my aunt, Margarita Zelada be allowed to attend her conservatorship hearing that had been re-scheduled for December 29, 2014. Ms Giovannini let me know on Wednesday, December 11, that she had a call in to Ms Zelada’s legal counsel to discuss, but I haven’t yet heard the outcome. According to the Notice of Conservatee’s Rights, “The conservator must give due regard to the preferences of the conservatee and to encourage the conservatee’s participation in decision-making.” I ask again to please allow my aunt, Margarita Zelada to attend her own hearing.

California’s Notice of Conservatee’s Rights states a conservatee has the rights to:

Be represented by a lawyer;

Ask the judge to replace the conservator;

Ask the judge to end the conservatorship;

Exercising those rights presumes the opportunity to meet with legal counsel and to address the judge. The Public Guardian consistently violates Margarita’s most basic rights.

The Public Guardian denied Margarita her right to attend her May 8, 2013 and June 17, 2013 hearings, when the court awarded conservatorship of Margarita’s person and estate to the Public Guardian.

The Public Guardian denied Margarita her right to attend her November 20, 2013 hearing, when the Public Guardian petitioned to strip her right to have contact with advocates.

The Public Guardian has not responded to requests to honor Margarita’s right to attend her January 29, 2014 hearing, when the Public Guardian will petition for authority to forcibly administer chemical restraint.

The Public Guardian reports to the Board of Supervisors. Readers may send comments to the Board of Supervisors at the following email addresses.

Monterey County Board of Supervisors

District 1: Fernando Armenta, district1@co.monterey.ca.us

District 2: Louis R. Calcagno, district2@co.monterey.ca.us

District 3: Simón Salinas, district3@co.monterey.ca.us

District 4: Jane Parker, district4@co.monterey.ca.us

District 5: Dave Potter, district5@co.monterey.ca.us

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