Thursday, December 3, 2015

Judicial Branch - Your Complaint has been filed -

The question is will it be filed between "It sucks to be you" and "We really don't care what you think"? Or will they give it the attention you feel it deserves?

In researching complaints and the complaint process you should be aware that very few consumers of judicial services are successful. Out of thousands of complaints that we have seen those who have had any success can be counted on one hand. Set your expectations low – very low.

There are things which you can do to make your complaint stand out and have some bearing on the quality assurance process.

In talking with consumers of judicial services about why there is something wrong with their case I often hear every detail – in detail and how it relates to them. It is like they have a machine gun and just unloaded the clip. They feel the courts should know everything. The courts do not need to be presented with everything. Why? In telling the courts everything you are also showing your hand to the person you are filing the complaint on. In the end you have nothing left to play when it will count.

Keep it short and to the point – you are playing by their rules and it is their game. You need to be able to relate to the way the courts think and talk. Writing a 20 – 30 page complaint about the lies and abuse you went through in story form will fall on deaf ears. I can tell you from personal experience that it is hard to read through and make sense of what someone is complaining about in this format. The first complaint I filed with the judge about the Guardian ad litem (GAL) was in this format. Looking back at what I wrote – it was terrible – even though the points being made were valid then and still are. On the other hand the second complaint to the courts and the one to the licensing board were written in a way that could be understood by the person(s) reading it. It was short – maybe three pages or so and they referenced statutes, laws and/ or rules and why the GAL had malpracticed as it related.

Another issue is a sense of urgency in filing a complaint. Gotta have it in tomorrow! You have time. As the SOS band sang “Take your time do it right”. Time is on your side and use it to your advantage. Write your complaint then return a day or two later – reread it. Read it out loud - you will pick up on awkward lines and thoughts. Have a family member read it or someone you trust. The more eyes that  see it and offer an opinion the better for you in making your complaint understood.

In filing a complaint you are providing the judicial branch the quality control which their system lacks. Keep in mind that there is a high probability that your complaint will go nowhere. With that being said it will be part of the record and can be used at some point in the future when the courts become more consumer oriented as opposed to the current mind set of stakeholder oriented.

One other thing – while we tend to think in terms of our reality – 21st century mindset on consumer issues and relations. Our courts are woefully behind the times lagging behind society by decades and in some cases centuries. It is also a closed group with its own lingo and customs which can be frustrating to no end. Part of their process is keeping issues compartmentalized. Don't. Let others know what it is that you are complaining about. Educate your representatives before filing. Educate your family and friends but do it with grace not as a child. In letting others know what your complaint is about it becomes harder for the courts to sweep the issue under a rug.

MeGAL is a grassroots organization trying to bring sanity to an insane system. We can be reached through email at or finding us on Facebook.

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