If your relative will be represented in court by a public defender, call the Public Defender’s Office at the court where the case is being heard and ask for the name and phone number of the attorney who will be handling the case. If you do not reach the attorney, be sure to leave a message requesting a return call with your name, phone number, your family member’s name and, if possible, the case number (PFN) and court date. Due to the attorney-client confidentiality requirement, there will be information the attorney may not be able to share with you. Inform the attorney of your family member’s condition and any information that may be beneficial to the case. Provide the attorney with your Loved One’s AB1424 and an extensive history of your family member in writing and include hospitalization, diagnosis information, medication treatment, and the contact information of those doctors/clinicians and of facilities that have treated your family member in the past. This information will be very useful in pursuing the best outcome for your loved one. Attorneys are extremely busy and many will appreciate written or faxed correspondence.
This informational guide was adapted from a document written by NAMI volunteers based on their own personal experience to help families navigate the system and edited for Alameda County by the CJMH program. We are not attorneys, and this is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Please assist your family member in obtaining proper legal representation.