Joni Mitchell May Soon Be Released from Hospital, Lawyer Says

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Attorney Alan Watenmaker cited Mitchell's possible release as the reason for why Leslie Morris, a friend of Mitchell's for more than 40 years, needed to receive emergency conservator powers.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joni Mitchell may be released from the hospital soon, an attorney told a judge during a hearing Monday that ended with the singer-songwriter's longtime friend being placed in charge of her medical decisions.

Attorney Alan Watenmaker cited Mitchell's possible release as the reason for why Leslie Morris, a friend of Mitchell's for more than 40 years, needed to receive emergency conservator powers.

Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III appointed Morris as Mitchell'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.

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. An attorney appointed to represent Mitchell's interests agreed that she should be placed under a temporary conservatorship.

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 as a street musician 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.

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