Saturday, January 28, 2017

Consumer Survey On - The ReAppointment of the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll

As a consumer of judicial services you have a unique opportunity to complete vetting of the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll who is up for re-appointment. The Maine Judiciary Committee will be going through formalities Thursday February 2, 2017 at 2 pm in State House room 438.

The Maine Bar and Judicial Advisory Committee have sent out emails asking for the opinions of lawyers and have cleared the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll for the Judiciary Committee. Consumers were left out of the equation. Your views as consumers of Judicial Services are just as valuable - if not more so - than those of lawyers. Otherwise without actual human experiential dimension any reappointment is just rubber stamping the judge back into court.

Our survey is one question - whether you believe the Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll should be reappointed. You then have the opportunity for comment before submitting. Wednesday February 1 2017 we will be submitting the results to the Judiciary Committee for consideration.

Our survey may be found here: Honorable Daniel F. Driscoll ReAppointment

MeGAL is bringing about change in our Family Court System through educating the public and legislative action. For further information please contact us at of find us on Facebook.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Are Our New GAL Rules and Complaint Process Working in Maine?

2016 was the first year that the new rules for Guardians ad litem were in use for consumers. It is also the first full year that these new rules and complaint process was in effect. For those who don't remember the old rules for Guardians ad litem (GAL) consisted of 14 pages of instruction and simply put that if you as a consumer felt a GAL did not follow the rules could file a complaint with the head Judge. The Judge would determine the merit of the complaint based on both sides telling their story and issue a verdict. The model is similar to the complaint process that just about every business in America uses.

Up to 2014/ 2015 there were no successful consumer complaint brought against GALs that resulted in any form of discipline.

The Judicial Branch determined that this old antiquated process needed improvement. In September 2015 the Judicial Branch unveiled their new and improved rules and complaint process. We as consumers now had 78 pages of legalistic rules to go through as part of this improvement. The portion that covered the complaint process alone covered 30 pages. In addition the process for filing a complaint became a multi layered process that is similar to the complaint process used by the Maine Bar.

So what happened last year?

24 Complaints were filed against Guardians ad litem using this new and improved process which resulted in the dismissal of 24 complaints. No GAL was disciplined in any way, shape of form. But it gets even better. As part of the improved complaint process if you as a consumer feel that the GAL Review Board got it wrong - you may seek review by a public member of the GAL Board. While we do not have a number for how many reviews were sought - we can tell you that none were successful.

100% of the complaints filed resulted in 100% being dismissed.

That is an amazing figure when one looks at how the Family Court system is set up - to encourage conflict. It is even more amazing when one experiences the personal bias of a GAL in a system which provides no actual oversight and management of these court vendors. In Maine we are truly blessed with this perfect system.

MeGAL provides support and education to parents, consumers and representatives about the issues which plague our Family Courts. If you would like more information we encourage you to contact us at or find us on Facebook.

For details on what members of the GAL Review Board have done since inception to help better GAL rules and complaint process we present minutes of their meetings:

2015-10-21 Organizational Meeting of the GAL Review Board
2016-01-19 GAL Review Board Meeting
2016-04-25 GAL Review Board Meeting
2016-09-16 GAL Review Board Meeting

Monday, January 16, 2017

Maine's 128 Legislature to Consider Bills Concerning Guardians ad litem

We are aware of three bills concerning Guardians ad litem which will be up for consideration in Maine's 128 legislative session. Currently all we have are the titles of three bills. They are as follows:

Under the heading of Domestic Relations / Child Custody - found in page 90

LR 688 An Act Concerning Guardians ad Litem and Determinations Regarding the Best Interests of a Child in Custodial Relative Caregiver Cases - Rep Picchiotti of Fairfield

Under the heading of Probate / Guardian ad litem - found on page 94

LR 383 An Act To Ensure Complete Investigations by Guardians ad Litem - Rep Picchiotti of Fairfield
LR 1937 An Act To Repeal the Sunset Date on the Children's Guardian ad Litem Law - Rep Moonen of Portland

We have written to both Representatives for a summary of these three bills to help us determine the impact on the consumers of Judicial Services - Maine's Families. More will be forthcoming on these bills,

MeGAL is working to bring about change to the Family Court process in Maine. We do this through the education of Parents and our Representatives of the issues regarding "Family" Courts and the vendors our courts support. If you would like more information we would encourage you to contact us at or find us on Facebook.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pro se Civil Rights Abuse not Important Enough for Senator Susan Collins

In 2015 MeGAL approached Senator Susan Collins office for help in supporting the civil rights of Pro se parents who are being systematically abused by the justice system. It was pointed out that across the country over 50% of the "Family Court" cases are Pro se. Maine has the distinction of having 75% of court cases being Pro se.

As a Pro se litigant you are going into battle often knowing little or nothing about the rules of engagement. You are a caveman against a modern day soldier.

In June 2015 the process was started and in September of 2015 her office agreed to help and make inquires into this issue.

Almost two years later we are still being told that the office is working on the issue with the Department of Justice and that something maybe happening next month. This was the same canned answer given a month or so ago and the time before that. For all we know nothing has happened in the past two years other than being told that something maybe happening.

When pushed recently as to why Senator Collins did not go directly to Attorney General Loretta Lynch the staff person replied that the Senator only does that for "IMPORTANT" issues. Otherwise it is low level staff member to low level staff member for issues like ours. We asked if this meant that Senator Collins doesn't consider Maine and other families whose civil rights are being abused in Pro se "Family Court" cases as being important - we were told "Oh No. Every constituent is important! Everyone!".

Yeah sure they are Senator Collins.

That is why something is always going to happen "next" month.

MeGAL encourages you to contact Senator Collins to ask her why Pro se litigants whose civil rights are routinely abused by the system of Justice that should be protecting them. Why is this not important enough for her to pay attention to?

MeGAL is a grass root organization that is working for "Family Court" change and the management and oversight of court vendors like Guardians ad litem. If you are having a "Family Court" issue we encourage you to contact us at or find us on Facebook.

Senator Susan Collins may be contacted by filling out this form