Folk singer Joni Mitchell may be released from the hospital soon but still cannot confer with doctors about her medical care or long-term treatment, an attorney told a judge on Monday.
The assessment by attorney Alan Watenmaker compelled a judge to place the singer-songwriter’s longtime friend in charge of health care decisions for Mitchell.
Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III appointed Leslie Morris, Mitchell’s friend for more than 40 years, as the singer’s conservator during a brief hearing Monday. Morris will now be able to confer with doctors and make decisions about Mitchell’s treatment and lifestyle when she leaves a Los Angeles hospital.
An attorney appointed to represent Mitchell’s interests agreed that Morris should receive emergency conservatorship authority.
“I believe that it is very necessary,” Mitchell’s court-appointed attorney Rebecca Thyne told Cunningham.
Mitchell, 71, has been hospitalized since March 31 for undisclosed reasons. No further information about Mitchell’s health or prognosis was discussed during Monday’s hearing, and Watenmaker declined comment after the proceedings.
The eight-time Grammy winner has no relatives who can serve as her conservator, which led to Morris filing a petition last week stating that her friend was unconscious and unable to make decisions about her care. A message posted on Mitchell’s official website, however, stated that the singer was alert and is expected to make a full recovery.
The conflicting information was not addressed at Monday’s court hearing.
Morris will not have any control over Mitchell’s finances.
In addition to winning multiple Grammy Awards, Mitchell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
She started her career in her native Canada before moving to Southern California, where she became part of the flourishing folk scene in the late 1960s. Her second album, “Clouds,” was a breakthrough with such songs as “Both Sides Now” and “Chelsea Morning,” winning Mitchell the Grammy for best folk performance.
Her 1970 album, “Ladies of the Canyon,” featured the hit single “Big Yellow Taxi” and the era-defining “Woodstock.” The following year, she released “Blue,” which ranks 30th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
Her musical style integrates folk and jazz elements, and she counts jazz giants Charles Mingus and Pat Metheny among her collaborators.
Anthony McCartney, AP