Joni Mitchell's friend remains in charge of singer's medical care, judge decides

A judge ruled Wednesday that Mitchell's good friend, Leslie Morris, should remain Mitchell's conservator, with the authority to oversee medical care for the eight-time Grammy winner.

Both Sides Now singer, 71, recovering at home after suffering an aneurysm in March

Canadian music icon Joni Mitchell stands in front of her artwork the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon in 2000. A judge ruled Wednesday that Mitchell's good friend could continue to make medical decisions on behalf of the folk legend. (Glen Berger/Canadian Press)

A judge on Wednesday praised Joni Mitchell's longtime friend for helping the singer-songwriter recover from an aneurysm and ruled that she should continue to make medical decisions for the musician.

Superior Court Judge David Cunningham III said Leslie Morris should remain Mitchell's conservator, with the authority to oversee medical care for the eight-time Grammy winner.

Morris has been acting in that capacity since May, when Mitchell was recovering in a hospital from an aneurysm in late March that rendered her unable to speak for some time. The singer has since returned to her Los Angeles home and regained her speech.

Mitchell, 71, is expected to make a full recovery, a court-appointed attorney wrote in a filing Tuesday.

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      Cunningham was impressed with Mitchell's progress and said the conservatorship may not be needed for much longer. Morris does not have any control over Mitchell's finances, and the singer also retains her ability to vote, the judge ruled.

      Morris and her attorney, Alan Watenmaker, declined to comment after Wednesday's hearing.

      In addition to winning multiple Grammy Awards, Mitchell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

      Era-defining music

      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.

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