Saturday, October 21, 2017

Do I Have to Accept The GALs Appointment?

Because the courts recommend a Guardian ad litem (GAL) does not mean you have to accept the appointment.

We have talked with a number of parents who told us that they had a Guardian ad litem appointed and were afraid to say no to the appointment. We were asked could they have objected to the appointment?

Yes they can.

Object to the appointment. Let the court know that you refuse the appointment of a Guardian ad litem so that it is on record.

You lose nothing and gain everything by doing so. The courts may feel that the appointment is needed - let them force the GALs appointment.

If you agree it becomes harder to make a case against the "work" the GAL will do during your families divorce. If something happens that does not sit well with your beliefs you now have to show why this GAL should be removed - an impossible task. The courts are going to look at you and ask why you agreed to the GALs appointment in the first place if you didn't want one. You look bad and indecisive in the eyes of the court.

By refusing the appointment of the GAL in the beginning you are telling the court that you do not believe in the use of this vendor. It becomes easier to object to the continued use of the GAL. You still may not be able to remove the GAL - but at least you do not appear to be sour grapes who has had a change of heart half way through the process.

MeGAL works for change in the "Family Court" system by educating parents and our representatives. If you have a concern about your case we encourage you to talk with your state representatives.
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felicity myers

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Has Your Child Been Brainwashed or Programmed?

If you as a parent feel that your child(ren) is being programed or brainwashed by the other parent you are not alone.

In a study by the American Bar Association (ABA) Family Section some surprising facts came about.
  • Accusations made by the brainwasher/ programmer (Alienator) were never followed up upon by Guardians ad litem (court vendors), lawyers or others who were party to the case. Many Guardians ad litem - for instance - claimed that it was almost impossible to detect.
  • In the majority of cases - there was no history of abuse, drug or alcohol abuse or that the child(ren) lived in an environment that was poor and sickly. Yet when these types of accusations were made against the alienated parent they were rarely if ever followed up upon.
  • If you as the target parent of the alienation had moved on - career, new house or marriage - it was shown that the brainwashing/ programming only intensified against that parent.
 How did the children fare?
  • In interviews with the children - 80% - of them wanted the alienating process discovered.
  • That - 70% - felt some kind of relief when the alienating process was discovered.
  • It was discovered that many of the children would say what the alienator wanted - especially when that person was present. When in the presence of the other parent they would often display love and affection towards that parent.
  • Simple but specialized interviewing techniques would uncover this alienating behavior in the alienating parent.
As a parent it is hard to bear hearing some of the things that our child(ren) may say to us as a result of the brainwashing/ programming they are going through. You have to understand that your child is probably struggling and may feel powerless to do anything for fear of punishment. Talk to your child and ask if there was anything that may have upset or cause concern during your visit with them. Do this before they are brought back. If there is address it with them and if it becomes a problem later on with the other parent you can let them know that you worked it out with your child(ren).

Family Courts have known for years about alienating parents and the brainwashing/ programming that happens. Yet they have either chosen to do nothing or are ill equipped to do anything about it.

MeGAL provides support and education on the issues within the Family Court system. If you have or are experiencing problems please contact us at MeGALalert@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Programming and Brainwashing of Children by Another Parent

The American Bar Section of Family Law did a twelve year study on the issue of programming and brainwashing of children by a parent.

Some of the findings:

Those who were/ are a part of the case - Lawyers, Judges and other court vendors often knew of the problem but would do little or nothing because of the process involved with proving it.

Many Guardians ad litem (GALs) (court vendor) and mental health professionals were (and still are) ill equipped to recognize that programming and or brainwashing was occurring.

If you feel that brainwashing has been going on or that your child(ren) are being programmed - you are probably not alone in knowing that. There is a good change that the courts and their vendors also know - but choose to do nothing about it.

The courts choose to ignore.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

MEGALs Reply to the Judiciary Committee

Janet Stocco
Legislative Analyst
Office of Policy and Legal Analysis

Dear Ms Stocco,

Please, convey my thanks to the Chairs of the Judiciary Committee, Keim and Moonen, for including me as one of the recipients of their important letter to Chief Justice Saufley. I was impressed that the committee which has oversight of the Judicial Branch would take this very direct oversight step, which I've often wondered about in the past, but never seen before. They are to be commended, and one hopes that "long journey begins with first step."

The Guardian ad litem complaint procedure would benefit from a detailed analysis of why no complaints from "consumers" ever seem to stick? Are the complaints naively formulated? Are they defeated in internal committee debate? Is the judgement of a complaint an "all or nothing" event in which there is no room for even minor "corrective action"? Is the committee unfairly balanced with "special interests" that are protective of GALs? One is tempted to ask, with a "perfect record" of complaint defeat, are all GALs in fact "perfect". One might further observe; with a complaint record suggestive of "perfection", do these "paragons" really need a complaint procedure? Is any procedure which never once scores a "hit" in its entire history, a waste of time and money?

I would suggest that a careful, formal analysis of this "phenomenon of apparent GAL perfection" by the Judicial Branch for review by the Judiciary Committee might provide enlightenment for the very perplexed public.

Yours for understanding GAL "perfection".

Sincerely,

Jerome  A Collins, MD

Saturday, July 22, 2017

ME Judiciary Committee to Chief Justice Saufley on GAL Review Board and Complaint

In what was a surprise move by the Judiciary Committee - a letter was sent to Honorable Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice of Maine's Supreme Court regarding the Guardian ad litem Review Board and Complaint process.

The recommendations made - while they do not go nearly far enough in our opinion - is a start. It also shows that consumers of these services who spoke out or wrote in had an impact on the opinions of this committee. Below is the letter which was sent:



July 18, 2017

Honorable Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice
Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Cumberland County Courthouse
205 Newbury Street
Room 139
Portland, Maine 04101-4175

Re: Guardian Ad Litem Review Board and Complaint Process

Dear Chief Justice Saufley:

As you may know, the Judiciary Committee this session considered and unanimously supported LD 457, An Act To Repeal the Sunset Date on the Children Guardians Ad Litem Law. As the title suggests, this bill repeals the sunset provision in Title 4, Chapter 32, the comprehensive law enacted by the 126th Legislature to reform the statutes, rules and procedures involving the court-appointment, compensation, and oversight of children's guardians ad litem in guardianship, adoption, divorce, parental rights and responsibilities, and child protection proceedings.

At the public hearing on LD 457, we encouraged to learn from Chief Judge E. Mary Kelly about the reforms the Judicial Branch implemented after the enactment Of Title 4, Chapter 32: the development and adoption of the new Maine Rules for Guardians ad Litem governing the qualifications, standards of conduct, and appointment of guardians ad litem as well as the procedures governing oversight of guardians ad [item by the Guardian ad Litem Review Board, a new, independent unit of the Board of Overseers Of the Bar. We are satisfied that these reforms were necessary responses to address the concerns that led to enactment of Title 4, Chapter 32.

We were troubled, however, by the testimony we heard and received indicating that some parties in court proceedings where guardians ad litem have been appointed remain frustrated by the perceived lack of accountability enjoyed by guardians ad litem. Individuals who testified against LD 457 expressed confusion surrounding what they view as an overly complex and impersonal Guardian ad Litem Review Board Complaint system as well as dismay that the heavy representation of rostered guardians ad litem on the Review Board prevents complainants from receiving a fair evaluation of their grievances. We therefore respectfully request that the Judicial Branch and the Guardian Ad Litem Review Board consider implementing the following changes to the Guardian Ad Litem Review Board and the complaint process:

  • improve the balance in board membership between rostered guardians ad litem (currently 8 members) and members of the public (currently 4 members);
  • clearly inform complainants both on the complaint form and on the board's publicly accessible website that board staff are willing and able to assist complainants both with filling out the complaint form and with understanding the complaint process; 
  • remove question C. 1 from the complaint form, which inquires whether the complainant is aware of any past complaints against the guardian ad litem; 
  • require board staff to immediately acknowledge receipt of all complaints in writing; 
  • ensure complaints are processed in a timely manner, with periodic updates provided to complainants to keep them informed of the status of the complaint; and 
  • provide a written explanation to the complainant of the reason for dismissal whenever a complaint is dismissed at any point in the complaint process.
Thank you for considering these recommendations. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Senator Lisa Keim
Senator Chair


Representative Matthew W. Moonen
House Chair

To review a copy of the actual document please follow this link.



Monday, May 29, 2017

Change Takes Dedication and Perseverance

Change Takes Dedication and Perseverance

Family Court is one of the most in-humane institutions ever invented by humans. There is no quick fix to bringing about change. It takes education of those who can bring about change and there will be those (lawyers, Guardians ad litem and other court vendors) who will be there every step of the way to tell those same people that there is no problem.

For 10 years Peter Szymonik has been standing up to the Family Court system in Connecticut. It takes this kind of dedication to bring about change. On May 22 Peter went before Connecticut's Judiciary Committee to give testimony on the appointment of Barry Armata as a judge.

Please watch the video of testimony give by Peter:

Judiciary Committee Public Hearing on Judicial & Workers’ Compensation Commission Nominations Followed by Committee Meeting - Video

MeGAL has been working since 2012 to bring about change in Family Court system. We encourage you to be involved in the process by contacting your representative and start to educate him/ her with what the problems are.

Guardian ad litem -  Felicity Myers

 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Will Your Complaint Against A Judge Work?

An important question about any quality assurance (QA) program, such as the Judiciary Responsibility and Disability Committee, is:

"Does it work?"

To which we would add:

"And for whom?"

For the public users of court services? For Judges themselves? For the Judicial Branch of government? For Lawyers who use the courts? Here are some reflections on these "QA" issues that suggest quality protection is the M.O. of the Committee; rather than public quality assurance:

1. Can any honest probe of one judge's performance avoid tarnishing (or bringing to question) the performance of other judges? Part of the power of the judiciary comes from its unassailable, sacrosanct role image as honest, incorruptible, dispassionate, objective, fair, impartial, knowledgeable about the law and above the fray of whatever contention appears in their courts. A successful consumer complaint "dings" this vulnerable image and suggests that the product, as a whole may not be as advertised. The inevitable questions follow. Is this a "one-off" situation, or are there other product defects?

2. A successful complaint about a judge would be highly likely to attract the attention of other dissatisfied "consumers of court services", who have had the same judge, and complaints might start to come "out of the woodwork". Once there is a precedent of allowing exposure of and sanction for bad judicial behavior, the precedent can be applied to other similar cases. 

3. Apart from "just one bad judge", public complainants may start to examine similar behaviors in other judges. Transparent documentation of new complaints might embolden members of the bar to get into the act and use their legal skills to zero in even more incisively.

4. An open "hunting season" on judges along with better transparency about complaints and their handling would destroy forever the "sacrosanct" judicial image, an important marketing device which maintains public confidence (and lawyerly confidence) in judges.

So how do legitimate, worrisome complaints get handled by "the powers that be"? Dismissal can be "a many splendored thing." The 100% solution.

1. Dismissed. Because the legal complaint was not not well formulated, failed to specify the exact judicial canons or to cite the exact law that may have been infringed upon. In other words, you may have "something", but "WE" set the rules of the game, and "WE" enforce them.

2. Dismissed. For lawyers complaining, there is the above issue, but there are also various potential accusations of "disrespect" of the judge.
  • Too candid in criticism = disrespect. 
  • Too forceful = disrespect. 
  • Too persevering = disrespect. 
  • Too zealous in building a case = disrespect. 
Are you planning on practicing in this state? Will you ever again expect to appear in this judge's courtroom, if he/she is exonerated? Will you be "sanctioned for disrespect/contempt" with referral to the overseers of the bar - with an impact on your license - for disrespect? There are NO rewards for lawyerly zeal in complaining about judicial bad behavior.
3. Dismissed. But working behind the scenes in the "murk" of the Judicial Branch, the offending judge is subsequently "transferred" (for no particular reason), say, from Portland to Ft Kent. All the potatoes you can eat, judge, and you're just a stone's throw from Canada.

4. Dismissed. But the judge "retires", and moves out of state or goes back to being a lawyer.

5. Dismissed. But the behind the scenes maneuvers at the Judicial; Branch lead to someone(?) making an unpublicized decision not to request judicial re-appointment when reappointment time comes up. Now you see him/her; now you don't! 

It all bears a striking similarity to another totalitarian institution, and the now, long passed, Catholic Churches opaque handling of dysfunctional priests: retire, transfer, send away for therapy, move out of the country or to another jurisdiction. Judges appear to be the "new priests"? So far the Boston Globe's Spotlight hasn't assigned its star investigative reporters to this situation.

Do you still want to file a complaint?

In the past 30 years there has not been one successful complaint against a judge - that we are ware of.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Examined - A Parents Right to Free Speech

While this appeal does not center around a Guardian ad litem that has failed. It could have.

In an unusual case the Tennessee Court of Appeals indicated that some of the restrictions placed on the Mother regarding communications were vague or broad.

As an example the Mother was restricted from mentioning the Father at all on social media. This meant that the most benign reference would land the Mother in trouble.

What is even more interesting is that this was a Family Matters case and the Mother was Pro se.

For more details please follow these links:

Herston Law Group - Parent’s Right to Free Speech Examined in Nashville, TN Child Custody Modification: Gider v. Hubbell

Court of Appeals - SINAN GIDER v. LYDIA HUBBELL