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Name: In re Conservatorship of Ben C.
Case #: S126664
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/05/2007

Appellant was found gravely disabled by a mental disorder and unable to provide for his basic needs, and a conservatorship was established under the LPS Act. Appointed appellate counsel found no arguable issues and filed a Wende/Anders brief, asking the appellate court to independently review the record. The DCA appointed new counsel and requested briefing on the applicability of Anders/Wende to conservatorship proceedings under the LPS Act. The DCA found Wende/Anders inapplicable and declined independent review, affirming the judgment. In this opinion, the California Supreme Court agreed and affirmed the opinion of the DCA. Anders/Wende procedures are not required in appeals from conservatorship proceedings under the LPS Act. LPS proceedings are civil, and conservatees are not criminal defendants entitled to Wende/Anders review. Nor are conservatees and criminal defendants similarly situated for purposes of equal protection, as an LPS commitment is not a punishment in either design or purpose.