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ACLU and disability groups file amicus brief in support of Britney Spears’ effort to end conservatorship

ACLU brief argues the pop icon should be free to choose her own lawyer

Kevin E G Perry
Wednesday 14 July 2021 01:00 BST
(Getty Images)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with 25 civil rights and disability rights organisations, have filed an amicus brief with the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in support of Britney Spears’ right to select her own attorney for her conservatorship proceedings.

The document, filed on Monday (12 July), sets out: “the importance of ensuring that a conservatee can select her own lawyer, where, as here, she has expressed a desire and an ability to do so.”

Spears’ court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, resigned from the case last week. The brief also calls for Spears to be given access to assistance and tools to make her selection for his replacement.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

She continued: “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 California Superior Court must recognize Spears’s autonomy and the rights of people with disabilities to live independent, self-directed lives as active members of their communities.”

Spears has not been seen on stage since 2018 and has said she will not perform again until her father is removed from her controversial conservatorship.

“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” she said in court recently. “It’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end.”

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