Dealing with the Law (Criminal and Civil)
LEGAL ASSISTANCE, REFERRALS, AND RESOURCES
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles offers free civil legal services, advocacy, and representation to low-income people in LA.
Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc. (MHAS) private, non-profit organization, provides free legal services to people with mental and developmental disabilities. Specialty areas and programs include: Education Advocacy, Fair Housing, Government Benefits, Access to Mental Health Services, Whole Person Care Legal Medical Partnership, Veterans Reintegration, and Impact Legislation.
MONTHLY FREE LEGAL CLINIC sponsored by Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc and Friends In Deed. The clinic is held on the second Tuesday morning of each month from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm at First United Church of Pasadena, Great Hall, 500 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena 91101. Drop-ins welcome, but priority is given to those with appointments. To make an appointment, call today 213-389-2077, extension 12 and ask for Pam. Individuals, families, and local case managers welcome. Volunteers and attorneys from MHAS will provide consultation and information. Bring any documents relating to your question.
NAMI’s Legal Support Portal: has been discontinued. Call NAMI Help-Line instead 1-800-950-NAMI.
The Prison Law Office: is a nonprofit public interest law firm based in Berkeley, California that provides free legal services to adult and juvenile offenders to improve their conditions of confinement. The office provides direct services to thousands of prisoners and juveniles each year, advocates for policy changes, and, if necessary, engages in impact litigation to ensure that correctional institutions meet standards required by the U.S. Constitution.
Psych-Appeal, Inc is the first private law firm in the nation devoted exclusively to mental health insurance claims and to overcome insurer denials of treatment.
Public Counsel: is the nation’s largest not-for-profit law firm specializing in delivering pro bono (volunteer) legal services. Public Counsel annually assists more than 30,000 families, children, immigrants veterans, and nonprofit organizations and addresses systemic poverty and civil rights issues through impact litigation and policy advocacy.
CRIMINAL COURTS RESOURCES / DIVERSION PROGRAMS in Los Angeles County
The Court Liaison Program is at 23 courts countywide. This recovery based program serves adults with a mental illness or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorder who are involved with the criminal justice system.
The Co-Occurring Disorders Court (CODC) is a specialized drug court that focuses on those charged with non-violent crimes who suffer from both a mental illness and a substance abuse problem. It serves approximately 60 participants at any given time who agree to participate in the 12 to 15 month comprehensive, court-supervised co-occurring disorders treatment program, instead of a jail sentence.
The HALO Project is a pre-plea diversion program which provides an alternative to incarcerating homeless clients who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled and/or addicted to narcotics or other substances.
Juvenile Mental Health Court (JMHC) is a comprehensive, judicially-monitored program for juvenile offenders with diagnosed mental health disorders or learning disabilities and whose crimes demonstrate a link to the disorder or disability.
Project S.T.A.R. provides eligible domestic violence survivors with early assessment of trauma, substance abuse and mental health disorders and appropriate residential treatment and wraparound services to address their needs.
Veteran’s Court accepts those Veterans who have served in the United States military; are entitled to benefits through the VA; and suffer from any of the following disorders that are related to their military service: Post traumatic stress disorder; Traumatic brain injury; Substance abuse; Sexual trauma; Mental health issues.
The Mental Health Department of the Superior Court is composed of Departments 95, 95A, 95B, and the Office of the Counselor in Mental Health.
The Departments consider psychiatric evaluations, treatments, investigations, hearings and trials relating to involuntary detentions.
The Office of the Counselor in Mental Health assists mentally ill patients in filing Writs of Habeas Corpus; writes reports regarding minor children requesting release from psychiatric detention; and provides information to the community regarding mental health resources among other duties.
Mental Health Court Linkage Program Files
SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS & FIDUCIARY SERVICES
The Proxy Parent Foundation safeguards public benefits for disabled persons through the PLAN of California Master Pooled Trust and provides “family like” Personal Support Services for people with mental illness and other brain disorders.
The Golden State Pooled Trust is a type of special needs trust established by the North Bay Housing Coalition (NBHC) to support persons with disabilities in California. GSPT assists in preserving resources, protecting public benefits, and providing choices for individuals with disabilities in order to enhance their quality of life.
PROFESSIONAL FIDUCIARY ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA A fiduciary’s role is not merely that of business manager, decision-maker, or guardian. It is also a nurturing bond of trust, concern, and attentive care-giving. A fiduciary seeks to support mental and emotional well-being; reduce the stress of changing circumstances or unexpected events; and, most importantly, help each client, and their families, enjoy a fulfilling life.
Important Caveat: While a good fiduciary can be heaven sent and absolutely necessary, a bad fiduciary or not understanding your fiduciary’s obligations to you can have negative, even disastrous, ramifications. What a fiduciary is and what they do for you is confusing. Just because someone is a fiduciary, carries that title, and does transactions with you, doesn’t mean they are your fiduciary at any given moment and in any given transaction. It could even be a case of sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. Some fiduciary’s are not allowed any conflicts of interest. Others merely have to disclose conflicts somewhere in the fine print. Experts recommend that your best legal protection is to sign a specific contract outlining the fiduciary services and obligations of the fiduciary, but make sure you understand what you are contracting for. You might start by reading this https://www.kitces.com/blog/the-4-different-types-of-financial-advisor-fiduciaries/.
What if I have a problem with the trustee?
In researching a query to NAMIGlendale about a beneficiary’s concerns about a successor trustee’s possible mis-handling of the investments in a special needs trust, our research came upon an article “5 Reasons to Remove a Trustee.” *
Also, you may wish to explore how some of the other resources on this page can help you. Comparing and contrasting how a competitor trust operates and their advice on your situation may be helpful. Learning about the fiduciary duties of the trustee from a fiduciary expert may help you understand your issues more clearly. However, only an attorney can give you actual legal advice, so do some research to find the right one. A rule of thumb many use, is to research potential lawyers first, then interview at least three, and pick the one who demonstrates strong knowledgeable experience in your area, who listens to you carefully, and takes the time to explain things thoroughly. If they want money from you for this initial interview, go elsewhere. If they want money from you to proceed, consider that you might do better with an agency that provides free, low cost, sliding scale, or pro bono services.
*No one here at NAMIGlendale has the expertise to vouch for the content of this article or the blog site if comes from. However, reading this article may help you to clarify your concerns and give you some additional things to think about.