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The Court Visitor is someone with a legal, social work, or psychology background appointed by the Judge to serve, personally, the Order for Hearing/Notice of Rights for new Petitions for Guardianship/Conservatorship on respondents. The Court Visitor must also serve Petitions for Emergency or Successor Guardianship/Conservatorships, or change of status for Public Guardianship (developmentally delayed adults). Petitions for electroconvulsive therapy are also served. This entails 700 visits per year, including many outside the metro area. During the visit, an interview is conducted, a report is completed as to the respondent’s opinions, and a recommendation is made by the Visitor as to the appropriateness of the guardianship or conservatorship. This report is reviewed prior to the hearing by the Judicial Officer and copies are also provided to the attorneys prior to the hearing.
The Court Visitor also acts as a Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) in Mental Health commitment cases. The SDM is empowered to consent to the use of neuroleptic medication for incompetent consenters. In this process, the patient is interviewed, the medical chart is reviewed, and there is discussion with members of the treatment team before a consent is signed.
Complaints by interested parties as to the inappropriate actions or difficulties experienced in dealing with the guardians or conservators are referred to the Court Visitor to investigate the issues and to report on the investigation directly to the Presiding Judge.
The Court Visitors are:
Gretchen Crowder - Legal Services Specialist: (612) 348-3265