Petition 20: the Dow Petition

Additional commentary by Timothy Horrigan

(member of the House Petitions & Redress Committee)

This is one of several child-custody cases which ended up being the subjects of petitions.  Some material is redacted here which is still shown on the official version of the  petition:


TO: The Honorable House of Representatives
Petitioner Representative Brian Seaworth, Merrimack 7
October 20, 2011
Grievance of Carl E. Dow

Your Petitioner, Representative Seaworth on behalf of Carl E. Dow and for the citizens of New Hampshire who may likewise be affected, hereinafter presents the following summary of his grievances involving Judge Susan Carbon, Marital Master Deborah Kane Rein, and Guardian ad Litem [name redacted] and invokes the constitutional authority and duty of the Honorable House of Representatives pursuant to said Articles 31 and 32 to bring about redress:

Grievance involving:

  1. Marital Master Deborah Kane Rein and Judge Susan Carbon for flagrant failure to act in the best interest of a child by:

    1. Disregarding strong evidence, including medical and 911 dispatch records and other testimony, and medical records of doctors and counselors that show [redacted].

    2. Allowing a guardian ad litem to act outside her authority and allowing a guardian ad litem to impose fees in excess of the amount authorized by law.

    3. Sealing records containing evidence that the mother [redacted]

    4. Considering the merits of the case while having a conflict of interest based on women's rights activism.

  2. Guardian ad litem [name redacted] for concealing medical reports and witness testimony and for other abuses that occurred at the time of the divorce.

Wherefore, your Petitioner prays that the House of Representatives consider this proposed remedy:

  1. Introduce legislation to further define the "best interest" of a child in the context of shared parenting plans.

  2. Introduce legislation to amend the circumstances under which medical records introduced as evidence in family court can be sealed.

  3. Introduce legislation to amend the procedures used by guardians ad litem to impose fees for their services.

Respectfully Submitted by Petitioner Representative Seaworth on Behalf of Carl E. Dow and the citizens of New Hampshire.

October 20, 2011

On Valentine's Day, February 14, 2012, Mr. Dow appeared before the House Redress Committee. The gist of his story is that he is a middle-aged factory worker from a small town near Concord who married a somewhat younger (and college-educated) Filipino woman who he met over the internet. The marriage did not turn out well. The ex-wife is still living in the Concord area along with their son, who is now in grade school.  After hearing Mr. Dow's story, I feel sorry for her.  She came halfway around the world and entered into an unhappy marriage which quickly ended in divorce. She got just a little money and a used Chevy Lumina out of the divorce settlement, and she is now a single mother who is (reportedly) working for next to nothing at a big box store on the outskirts of Concord. But, Mr. Dow believes she has been exploiting him.

We had a lengthy discussion of this petition on June 28, 2012 (after Mr. Dow returned to repeat the presentation he made earlier in the year.) We were close to an almost unanimous "Unfounded" vote, but I dug in my heels because the original draft impugned the GAL's integrity. We ended up with a 10-3 "Founded" vote, after half a day of impassioned debate. Ironically, both reports say pretty much the same things.

PETITION # 20 grievance of Carl E. Dow.

MAJORITY: Grievance Founded.

The Committee found that the Petitioner's complaints against the Concord Family Division amounted essentially to disagreement and disappointment with the outcome of his divorce proceeding. In particular, the Committee found:

  1. that the Court's Final Decree contained a thorough and thoughtful discussion of the background and course of the Petitioner's and his wife's courtship, marriage, and separation;

  2. that the Court's findings of fact set out in the Final Decree were reasonable;

  3. that the Court's disposition of the case was supported by those facts; and

  4. that the Petitioner's allegation that the Court's disposition of the case was unduly influenced by the marital master's and judge's alleged general bias against husbands was not proven.

The Committee was concerned by evidence that the guardian ad litem in the case routinely billed for and collected fees in excess of each then pre-approved limit in advance of applying for and receiving the permission of the Court to exceed it, thereby improperly placing the Court in the position of considering, and the Petitioner in the position of defending against, a fait accompli. The Committee believes that the Supreme Court should consider amending its rules governing guardians ad litem to expressly forbid this practice, and in light of these problems, to remove the absolute quasi-judicial immunity as determined in Surprenant v. Mulcrone.

Vote 10-3.

Rep. Gregory Sorg for the Majority of the Committee

MINORITY: Grievance Unfounded.

The Minority finds that the Final Decree is a comprehensive and thorough explanation of the transition from a long-distance courtship to the demise of the marriage. There were major differences in expectations due in large part to wide culturally diverse backgrounds. However, it does not appear that the marital master and judge decided rulings or orders based on any bias against the Petitioner. We do agree with the Majority that in many of the petitions that have come before the Committee, it appears that guardian ad litem fees are approved by the court after the expenses are incurred. We, therefore, agree the Supreme Court consider amending the rules to end this practice.

Rep. Sandra Keans for the Minority of the Committee.

In the wake of the newly elected Democratic leadership's decision to do away with the House Redress Committee, the following letter to the editor appeared in the January 11, 2013 Concord Monitor.

Letter: Democrats are violating their oath

For the Monitor
Friday, January 11, 2013

Re the decision by House Democrats to kill the Redress of Grievances Committee:

The Democrats say they represent the people, but by ignoring and dismissing Articles 31 and 32 of the New Hampshire Constitution, not only are they violating the citizens' rights, but they are also violating their oath of office to protect defend and obey the Constitution and citizens' rights.

I have been to many redresses in the past year. I have heard many complaints against the judicial system and have heard of many abuses against the citizens of New Hampshire.

One testimony that surprised and appalled me was from Associate Attorney General Richard Head, who said he did not recognize the common man's right of redress.

The attorney general's office's main concern is supposed to be protecting the individual's rights against abuses of government, not protecting government from its abuses against the common man and violations against its oath to abide by the Constitution.

I saw some on the redress committee who tried to made a difference and get evidence on the record so wrongs could be corrected and those violating the citizens' rights could be punished, but too often I saw those who do not want our Constitution obeyed. They made sure that grievances are not looked into and the citizens' rights stay violated.

Our Constitution is not a living constitution that can be changed at a ruler's whim, and we are not a democracy. We are a republic and our founding fathers had much more insight on human nature than our government of today would like to admit to. Absolute power can have an effect on people, and in time it can be an addiction when held unchecked.



Original URL:

Other 2012 Petitions:

See Also:


The Forgotten Liars

2012 Session