Petition 26: the Youssef Petition

Additional commentary by Timothy Horrigan

(member of the House Petitions & Redress Committee)

I had an email dialog with Mr. Youssef in the summer of 2011, when he sent me an Affidavit of Truth and some other stuff. I politely declined to cosponsor his petition, my reason being that I didn't think I could work with him effectively. I am not sure how to summarize his divorce and child-custody case, except to simply say (using words found in his own petition) that his case is "highly conflicted."

Attorney Ed Mosca's name does not appear in the petition itself, but it does appear in Mr. Youssef's "Summary of Grievances." Mosca was, and apparently still is, Mr. Youssef's ex-wife's lawyer. Mosca is also a friend of Speaker Bill O'Brien, and more to the point he was the House Counsel during O'Brien's memorable single term as Speaker. He continued to practice law on the side while he was House Counsel. The events which led to this petition predated Mosca's service as House Counsel, so he would have been named even if he wasn't still representing the former Mrs. Youssef.

GAL Tracy Bernson's name appears both on the petition and in Mr. Youssef's documents. Her attorney sent a letter on January 31, 2012 to Chairman Ingbretson and others (including myself) stating the opinion that the committee has no jurisdiction over her because she is not a government official. Her attorney also made some comments about Mr. Youssef's conduct during his child-custody battle which differ significantly from Mr. Youssef's own accounts. (Click here to download PDF of Attorney Pearson's letter.)


TO: The Honorable House of Representatives
Petitioner Representative R. Luther, Belk. 4
October 17, 2011
Grievance of Joshua Youssef

Your Petitioner Representative Luther on behalf of Joshua Youssef hereinafter presents the following summary of his grievance and invokes the constitutional authority and duty of the Honorable House of Representatives pursuant to Articles 31 and 32 to bring about redress:

Grievance involving Guardian Ad Litem, Attorney Tracy A. Bernson for filing a fraudulent complaint with the police, making fraudulent complaints to the child's therapist, refusing to withdraw for conflicts of interest, failing to comply with ethical standards and standards of practice for guardians ad litem, misrepresenting and omitting facts, assuming roles beyond her professional capacity, violating certain administrative orders of the court, refusing to disclose records, filing a fraudulent report with the department of health and human services, division of children, youth, and families, publicly misrepresenting Mr. Youssef's family at a divorce mediation seminar and referring to him as a foreigner "without the ability to understand American culture," refusing to comply with a court order to investigate specific matters, failing to file a final report with the court, and reporting Mr. Youssef for stalking when he asked for the final report and supporting documentation.

Grievance involving Marital Master Nancy Geiger for alienating the child from his father without any finding of abuse or neglect, subsequently ordering Mr. Youssef to finance the reunification process, issuing sanctions in the absence of any violations of rules of discovery, misrepresenting discovery supplementation, creating undue financial burdens, willfully utilizing falsified testimony, issuing ambiguous orders and refusing to grant requests for clarification, denying Mr. Youssef due process of law, refusing to admit certain testimony, failing to maintain decorum in the court, failing to grant Mr. Youssef sufficient or equal time in which to present his case, and exhibiting bias and prejudice against Mr. Youssef.

Grievance involving Judge Ned Gordon and Judge Brackett Scheffy for approving Master Geiger's orders without proper oversight or judicial review, permitting the alienation of a parent-child relationship without any finding of abuse or neglect, and approving such alienation and violation of Mr. Youssef's parental rights based upon mere hearsay of the guardian ad litem.

Grievance involving Marital Master Leonard Green for unprofessional and rude behavior and for violating the constitutional right of Mr. Youssef to due process of law.

Grievance involving Judge Edwin Kelly, in his capacity as administrative judge for the family division, for failing to provide adequate oversight and supervision of marital masters, misrepresenting the nature of the problems within the judicial branch family division to the general court and news media, failing to train his staff to follow the law and protect the constitutional rights of the litigants and their children, and allowing his administration to do permanent damage to the families in New Hampshire.

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

  1. Forward a complaint against Attorney Tracy A. Bernson from this body to the guardian ad litem board on behalf of Mr. Youssef.

  2. Introduce legislation to eliminate any requirement for contracts and guardian ad litem stipulations.

  3. Introduce legislation to provide greater supervision and accountability of guardians ad litem, marital masters, and judges in the circuit court family division.

  4. Introduce legislation for the appointment of arbitrators in highly conflicted cases.

  5. Introduce legislation to remove Article 73-A from the New Hampshire Constitution.

  6. Introduce legislation to permit courts to deviate from equal parenting time distribution only in cases where there is clear and convincing evidence of abuse or neglect by one or both parents.

  7. Introduce legislation to require the supreme court to adopt rules of evidence for the judicial branch family division.

  8. Examine whether impeachment proceedings should be initiated to remove Marital Master Nancy Geiger, Marital Master Leonard Green, Judge Edwin Kelly, Judge Ned Gordon, and Judge Brackett Scheffy.

  9. Introduce legislation to require all judges to disassociate themselves from the New Hampshire Bar Association.

Respectfully submitted by Petitioner Representative Luther on Behalf of Joshua Youssef.

Mr. Youssef sent us the following five-page summary of his grievance in advance of the February 2, 2012 hearing. I am not necessarily endorsing anything he says in it, nor am I condoning anything he or the various parties to the case did:

  • [roman numerals] refer to footnotes.

  • "Bethany" is Mr. Youssef's ex-wife.

  • The adjective "unfounded" as used in cases like this merely means that a particular set of allegations didn't lead to prosecution or other serious legal action. It doesn't necessarily prove that the persons who made the unfounded allegations were guilty of wrongdoing, nor does it always mean that the case should be closed.

Summary of Grievances
Petition #26

I am a fit parent[i] and a good parent. There are scores of people that will testify to this. I have never been adjudicated unfit. I am also an upstanding citizen, business owner, job-creator and employer, community activist, and have absolutely no criminal history whatsoever. I am known and respected in my community and beyond, and have been urged by my fellow citizens to run for State Representative because of my fervor for the constitution and tenacity with regard to the administration of justice.

I have always had a wonderful and appropriate parent-child relationship with my son [son's name redacted] until Feb. 12th, 2011. On that date, at the hands of the N.H. 6th Circuit Court – Hooksett Family division, under Marital Master Nancy Geiger, and at the unlawful, unethical, faulty recommendation of one guardian ad litem, Tracy A. Bernson, and Judge Brackett L. Scheffy, and with the assistance of Edward Mosca, Bethany's attorney, all visitation with my son [son's name redacted] was stripped in scorched earth fashion with no findings of abuse or neglect. Then on May 20th, my parental rights were modified and my joint decision making was stripped.

I have not seen my son in over one year, and this continues to the date of this summary.

  1. In a hearing dated Oct. 29th, 2010 before Leonard Green, I was treated as a second-class citizen by Green. His demeanor was condescending, disrespectful and he lacked all of the qualities listed in the Legislature's statement of purpose defined in N.H. RSA § 490-D:1[ii].

  2. Green fraternized with Atty. Edward Mosca for several minutes on the record about his vacation plans and with guardian ad litem Tracy Bernson about a dinner function. Green generally showed distinct biases against me throughout the hearing, and wasted valuable court time. I expressed concern about parental alienation to Green, and he conferred with Edward Mosca and Tracy Bernson about the topic. The three simultaneously chuckled and Green exclaimed "ha, parental alienation, that was the buzz-word of the 1980's," to which Edward Mosca laughed and readily concurred. He showed a complete disregard for the reality of Parental Alienation.[iii]

  3. Green proceeded to ask me what I do for work. I replied "computers, sir." And he said you'd better stick with computers, because you don't know law." And then admonished me to "get a lawyer son."

  4. A short but respectful disagreement ensued when I questioned Green as to my right to appear pro se, and he yelled at me telling me that I know nothing about the history of American Jurisprudence and began to incite an argument on the topic, on the court record.

  5. It is this petitioner's opinion that Green should be terminated, as he does not meet the requirements set out by the legislature in RSA § 490-D:1 and engages in the abuse of the citizens that appear before him by leveraging his position of authority on the bench.

Grievance against Tracy A. Bernson, GAL

I have always enjoyed a proper, appropriate, and joyful relationship with [son's name redacted], but only until the Hooksett Family Division became involved. His mother (Bethany) and I were divorced in August, 2006 and we subsequently went through periods of ease and periods of difficulty in getting along and co-parenting [son's name redacted]. By and large, things were working, but it was clear to me that from [son's name redacted]'s declining behavior that there was something going on at Bethany's house that was inappropriate with regard to [son's name redacted]

  1. [son's name redacted] reported to me that his mother told him that she thinks I am stupid, that his mother told him that I am ruining his life, he reported to his paternal Grandparents (my parents) "my mom doesn't like my dad or anyone in his family," he reported to me that he will have a stepdad soon and he will not need me anymore because his stepdad is better than his real dad, he reported to me that he is never going to see me again and doesn't want to ever see me again and that the Judge will not allow me to see him ever again, and there are many more instances that I have entered in my journal and would be happy to provide to the committee upon request.

  2. Beginning spring and summer 2010, and ongoing, I encountered innumerable violations of the GAL ethics rules, state, and federal law, by GAL Tracy A. Bernson including but not limited to:

    1. Bernson did not fulfill the court-ordered stipulation that she authored[iv]:

      1. She did not investigate the influence of companions of either party on the child and never even contacted or interviewed my longtime girlfriend, Julie, with whom [son's name redacted] enjoyed a wonderful relationship.

      2. She did not investigate where [son's name redacted] should attend school, contrary to the stipulation.

      3. She did not interview school personnel against the ordered stipulation.

      4. She never interviewed [son's name redacted] on my parenting time and never made a home visit to my home in Laconia, N.H. contrary to the stipulation.

      5. She never saw [son's name redacted] with me in her entire 26-month involvement and thus could not have seen the context of our relationship firsthand.

      6. She neglected to provide me or my lawyers with invoices for her services, against Superior Court Administrative order 17[v].

      7. She included all of my communication with her to Bethany, but refused to forward her communication with Bethany, to me – giving Bethany an unfair tactical advantage and created an unfair alliance between Bernson and Bethany.

      8. She refused to make her GAL file available to me[vi].

    2. She exceeded court-allotted fees without filing motions to exceed fees in violation of Superior Court Administrative Order 17[vii].

    3. She never filed a final report with the Court and did not provide her final bill on time, in violation of Judicial Branch Administrative order 2011-03[viii].

    4. When I requested of her via email to provide a copy of her final report and bill, she contacted the Dover, N.H. police department and filed a false police report indicating that I was stalking her. I was visited at my place of business in Laconia, N.H. by a Laconia Police Department Commander and served with a "stalking warning letter." I challenged the letter to both the Dover and Laconia police departments on multiple grounds including the fact that she was an appointed officer of the court and had a fiduciary duty to me, as well as first amendment and other grounds and both departments declined to take action on her frivolous and false report.

    5. Bernson falsified a report with DCYF in mid-December, 2010 alleging inappropriate touching behavior existed because I was attending to [son's name redacted]'s hygiene needs in a co-showering context, when he was 6-years old. I admitted the co-showering, but have always denied and maintained that nothing inappropriate has ever occurred. DCYF conducted a full, detailed investigation and returned Bernson's allegations "UNFOUNDED" on February 1st, 2011. Two months later, [son's name redacted]'s psychologist Dr. Brian Jackson testified that in his expert opinion, "it is not necessarily inappropriate for a child of [son's name redacted]'s tender age to co-shower with his father.[ix]"

    6. f. On the same exact date of February 1st, 2011, Bernson reported to Dr. Brian Jackson, that she "Fears Dad [Josh]" and this appears in Dr. Jackson's notes[x]. I have never given Bernson anything to fear me for, except that I have been committed to challenging her unethical and unlawful behaviors.

    7. At that very moment, Bernson reporting this "fear," created a clear conflict of interest and compromised Bernson's neutrality. She had a duty to recuse herself for conflict of interest, yet, Bernson never recused herself[xi].

    8. Instead, just ten days after she reported that she is fearful of me, she issued a GAL report for a hearing on February 11th, 2011 which included, but is not limited to, the following "recommendations" to the Court. All of which were adopted by the Court at the recommendation of Marital Master Nancy J. Geiger to signing Judge Brackett L. Scheffy. The orders are wholly unlawful under federal and N.H. state jurisprudences.

      1. "No further unsupervised visitation with Dad should occur until it is therapeutically appropriate for [son's name redacted]. Therapeutically appropriate means [son's name redacted] is able and willing to regularly engage his Dad in a therapeutic environment, with the assistance of Brian Jackson, PhD, so that trust and respect is re-established. Under no circumstances should [son's name redacted] be exposed to an in-person meeting with Dad until [son's name redacted] is able and ready to be so exposed. He absolutely should not be forced to do so.[xii]"

      2. "During this period, [son's name redacted] should be encouraged to speak his mind to his Dad, without fear of consequences, such as being yelled at or punished.[xiii]"

      3. "In the meantime, [son's name redacted] and Dad may have telephone contact once per day, at 7PM... Under no circumstances should [son's name redacted] be questioned about whether he loves or misses Dad during these telephone calls..." This is a serious infringement on my free speech, and is a fundamentally antifamily recommendation.

      4. "Dad shall enroll in a parenting course, and show by transfer of knowledge, that he has developed better parenting skills for a child [son's name redacted]'s age...[xiv]"

      5. Dad shall enroll in therapy, with an individual therapist, to address his anger toward Mom[xv].

    9. Bernson is not an expert on child psychology, child development, forensic psychology, child education, individual or family therapy. She is merely a "fact finder" under N.H. law. Her recommendations constitute extra-percipient, improper conduct and are not based on any expert findings, but merely her own opinion.

    10. At a private seminar on mediation conducted in Mid-May, 2011 by Atty. John Cameron of Laconia, NH, Tracy Bernson, an attendant of that seminar, proclaimed that she had a "very difficult case involving a local Egyptian family who, as foreigners, lacked the ability to understand American culture." What Bernson didn't realize is that a good friend of this Petitioner was also an attendant of the same seminar and he reported Bernson's prejudicial remark to your petitioner. Bernson misrepresented Joshua Youssef and revealed private information concerning her involvement in the Youssef matter in a public forum.

    11. Further, Bernson failed to recognize that your Petitioner, Joshua F. Youssef was born in Laconia, N.H. in 1976, holds citizenship only in the United States, and has never lived outside of the United States and not only understands American culture, but also well understands American law and jurisprudence.

    12. Bernson was the impetus for the destruction of my relationship with [son's name redacted], which was fully supported by the Family Court under Marital Master Geiger, and Judges Gordon and Scheffy.

  3. It is this petitioner's request that disciplinary action be recommended by this committee to the Guardian ad Litem board concerning this guardian ad litem, Tracy A. Bernson.

Grievance against Marital Master Nancy Geiger, Judges Brackett Scheffy and Edward Gordon

The February 11th hearing was noticed improperly and was scheduled at my ex parte request to deal only with Bethany's interference with my custody and parenting time with [son's name redacted]. It was never noticed as a hearing that would alter my parental rights and responsibilities, and was conducted as "offers of proof." I was afforded no such notice of any other hearing matter, and thus was unable to defend.

  1. The following non-noticed matters were heard on Feb 11th, 2011:[xvi], [xvii]

    1. The GAL sought an injunctive-type restraining order suspending all parenting time between father and child, and otherwise having the force and effect of a termination of parental rights[xviii].

    2. The Court unlawfully modified a long-standing parenting plan from August, 2006 and none of the RSA 461-A:11 conditions were met[xix], and the Judicial officials acted under color of law. The complete disunification between father and child is a modification of a standing parenting plan in fashion and in function.

    3. The Court heard matters concerning discovery issues which were not on the notice of hearing.

    4. The Court issued orders implementing Bernson's totally unlawful and eccentric recommendations (above) that she was not qualified to make, lacking expert credentials and in violation of applicable law. This was done at the recommendation of Marital Master Nancy J. Geiger, with absolutely no findings of abuse or neglect, actually, after allegations of the same were declared "UNFOUNDED" by DCYF.

      I had absolutely no means to defend myself as my former lawyers and I were caught completely by surprise by this improperly conducted and un-noticed hearing.

  2. Judge Brackett Scheffy was not a regular signing judge and his name rarely appears on orders in this matter, however he signed and certified that he had read the recommendations of Marital Master Nancy Geiger and that she applied the correct legal standard to the Feb. 11th, 2011 order.

    1. This cannot be true, and I believe that in light of the content and context of the issue(s) and surrounding facts, that Judge Scheffy did not read, evaluate, consider, or even question the inaccuracies and legal deficiencies of Geiger's recommendations.

    2. I find it certain that Judge Scheffy engaged in perfunctory "rubber stamping" of orders as he could not possibly have read and acquainted himself with the 2000 page court record on the same day that the hearing was conducted and Geiger presented her recommendations.

    3. Judge Scheffy, though only one player in this tragic scenario is ultimately responsible for the deprival of this petitioner's rights and the destruction of the parent-child relationship.

    4. It is amazing the destruction that can be caused by a single signature.

    5. This petitioner believes that grounds exist to investigate Judge Scheffy for impeachment for malpractice and maladministration.

  3. Every single Court order (approx. 20) that followed the order of Feb. 11, 2011 relied upon and/or incorporated that order is de facto unlawful and represents a perpetuation of the deprival of this petitioner's due process and fundamental human rights and liberties.

  4. At a two-day (14-hearing hours) "final hearing" on parenting matters conducted on April 4th & 8th, 2011, Marital Master Nancy J. Geiger presiding, at least the following violations of your Petitioner's rights occurred:

    1. Petitioner was not afforded equal time to present his case in chief. Explicitly, I was not even permitted to start my case in chief until 1:00pm on the second and final day of the final hearing. This only left 3 hours out of 14 hearing hours to present a complex defense, to a set of zany allegations, and gravely restricted my ability to call witnesses in my defense.

    2. Master Nancy Geiger refused to accept as evidence a personal telephone call journal (of calls between my son and me) that would have substantial evidentiary weight and significance, though it complied with the rules of evidence and was authored by me, and I was in the witness chair testifying to its authorship and authenticity. Geiger commented that she was not going to admit it as an exhibit because she didn't believe that I could possibly have created a journal with such detail. This violates the rules of evidence and the N.H. Constitution[xx].

    3. Master Nancy Geiger continually exhibited a condescending tone and attitude toward me and a longstanding bias; I believe that it represents reprisal for this petitioner challenging the legal sufficiency of her work.

    4. Master Nancy Geiger failed to maintain decorum in the courtroom and routinely allowed cacophonous outbursts from Bethany's attorney, Edward Mosca, including one particularly offensive outburst to my [former] attorney when Edward Mosca exclaimed in a heightened volume and exacerbated tone "for Christie sake Chrisf" Geiger did not reprimand or even comment at this exclamation.

    5. The rules of the [then] Judicial Branch Family Division were ignored and the proceedings were best characterized by the word "circus."

    6. Geiger permitted Atty. Edward Mosca to testify, when the rules of civil procedure forbid an attorney from testifying.

    7. Geiger relied on known false statements of the guardian ad litem, Tracy Bernson, during the hearing.

    8. Geiger's orders represent a longstanding pattern of "safety" and "ambiguity" leaving the parties in a state of flux and suspension and not knowing the boundaries of permitted conduct. Motions for clarification were ignored in some instances and were untimely in other instances.

    9. Geiger summarily denied all of my requests, in spite of overwhelmingly valid, copious legal theory, citation, and foundation.

    10. The final order on parenting dated May 20th, 2011 contains innumerable errors of fact, and errors of law, which I would be delighted to expound upon to the committee.

    11. Geiger removed joint decision making contrary to the Muchmore doctrine.

    12. Judge Edward Gordon (whom I have never met), signed and certified the narrative order which is rife with inaccuracies unlawful enactments, in his usual "rubber stamping" fashion, However, the parenting plan that the court fashioned, was never certified by the judge under N.H. RSA § 490-D:9. The parenting plan does not comport with state law[xxi].

    13. In an order dated June 15th, 2011, the court referred to Joshua as "Joseph" and to [son's name redacted] as "Joshua." This clear error in nomenclature may appear at first blush as an innocent scrivener's error, but in fact represents a much larger problem: Judge Edward Gordon certified that he read and agreed that the law was appropriately applied to the facts. However, the facts were not correct, because the actors were not even properly identified. This is prima facie evidence that Judge Edward Gordon engaged in the practice of "rubber stamp ordering" which is a violation of the Judge's oath of office, and is a violation of sworn certification that appears on the bottom of the order that he signed.

    14. Though only two examples have been provided, and many more exist, I believe that Judge Edward Gordon should be investigated for impeachment for malpractice and maladministration under the N.H. Constitution.

    15. It is this petitioner's opinion that Nancy Geiger should be terminated immediately, as she does not meet the requirements set out by the legislature in RSA § 490-D:1 and engages in the abuse of the citizens that appear before her by leveraging her position of authority on the bench, by improperly restricting and admitting evidence, and then by misapplying the law to the facts. She is a grave danger to the citizens before her and in my experienced opinion; she is an enemy of freedom, an opponent of family, and a disgrace to the Judicial branch of the New Hampshire government.

Grievance Against Circuit Court Administrative Judge Edwin Kelly

  1. Judge Edwin Kelly has a duty to ensure that his Circuit Court and all Judicial Officers and employees operate according to the Constitution, State Legislative Enactments and Law, Rules of Court, and other legal and ethical regulations.

    1. Judge Kelly has the authority to discipline, censure, or terminate marital masters, who are "at-will" employees of the Judiciary when it is brought to his attention that they have committed violations of the rights and liberties of the citizens whom they "serve."

    2. I contacted Judge Kelly by means of a lengthy letter delivered by fax, email, and U.S. Mail describing in grave detail a "handful" of injustices I have suffered, yet Judge Kelly responded that he could do nothing. In fact, he could do something, but chose not to which has led to an ongoing denial of my civil rights under Title 42 Sections 1983, 1985, 1986, et al.

    3. I believe that Edwin Kelly's actions and inactions have exposed the state to serious civil rights liability.

    4. I believe that grounds exist to investigate Judge Edwin Kelly for impeachment proceedings under the N.H. Constitution for maladministration of the Circuit Court of the State of New Hampshire, his maladministration causing permanent and serious harm to the citizens of the state of New Hampshire, namely this Petitioner, among the many more, both silent and vociferous.

Further Grievance against Atty. Edward Mosca

This petitioner reserves the right to supplement this grievance petition or to file a new petition for redress of grievance against Atty. Edward C. Mosca [nonspecific allegations deleted]


I have lost absolutely all faith in the Circuit Court Family Division of N.H. I am certain that I cannot obtain justice there because of its endemic and intrinsic maladies, biases, flaws, and systemic inconsistencies with both State Law and well-established case law and principles of American Jurisprudence. There are serious problems in N.H. Family Courts.

This petitioner wishes that this was an isolated incident, however after three years of entrenchment in the family court, with a pattern consistent with abuse of this litigant (and many others), I have come to know better. Only the legislature can fix these problems — and it should act quickly and swiftly before someone less resilient snaps and does something even more rogue and rash than Thomas Ball did on the Cheshire Superior Courthouse steps.

My relationship with my son, and my rights were intact before the Court became involved and stripped them from me. I have had my civil rights violated, have been financially and emotionally destroyed, and I still have not seen my son in over one year. The damage that was caused by the stroke of a pen, may take decades to repair, if any repair is even possible.

Respectfully submitted.

Joshua F. Youssef

Footnotes (corresponding to [roman numerals] in main body of text):

  1. In Re Guardianship of Reena D., N.H. Supreme Court, 12/28/2011— "We have also ruled that fit parents are those who have not been adjudicated unfit"

  2. N.H. RSA § 490-D:1 - "The goals of the family division are the respectful treatment of all citizens by justices, marital masters, and other family division staff, the prompt and fair resolution of family issues by justices and marital masters specially selected and trained to deal effectively with such issues, the use of alternative dispute resolution to reduce the adversarial nature of proceedings involving families."

  3. In the Matter of Miller & Todd, 161 N.H. 630 (2011) —"Across the country, the great Weight of authority holds that conduct by one parent that tends to alienate the child's affections from the other is so inimical to the child's Welfare as to be grounds for a denial of custody to, or a change of custody from, the parent guilty of such conduct."

  4. GAL Stipulation, available upon request

  5. Superior Court Administrative order 17, Paragraph 8: GALs are required to send copies of their bills to the parties irrespective of whether their services are being paid for privately or by the GAL Fund.

  6. Ross v. Gadwah, 131 N.H. 391, (1988)—"Communications between a guardian ad litem and a minor child are not privileged... Parents' rights of due process therefore mandate that they have an opportunity to counter evidence that a fact-finder will rely on in reaching a judgment determining their child's fate. Therefore, none of the information the guardian gathers can be shielded from discovery by the attorney-client privilege."

  7. Superior Court Administrative Order 17, Paragraph 4: "The maximum fee shall not be exceeded Without prior approval of the Court, after hearing with the parties and the GAL present. Any request to exceed the maximum shall be filed with the Clerk of Court in Writing and shall set forth in detail the reasons for the request and the amount by which the maximum is to be exceeded."

  8. Judicial Branch Administrative order 2011-03—"Guardians ad Litem in any such pending matter are directed to conclude their Work and provide a report and final bill to the court no later than June 1, 2011."

  9. DCYF Closing Letter "UNFOUNDED" available upon request

  10. Psychologist notes available upon request

  11. GAL Ethics Rule 503.06(a) - "Seek to decline appointment in a proceeding where he or she has a present or prior personal, professional, business or legal relationship with any party involved in the proceeding that would adversely impact upon his or her ability to perform the functions of a guardian ad litem in accordance with these rules and in accordance with any requirements of the appointing court."

  12. Placing the reunification in the hands of an alienated 6-year old child

  13. Removing my right to parent my child

  14. Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292 (1993)—"'the best interests of the child' is not the legal standard that governs parents' or guardians' exercise of their custody: So long as certain minimum requirements of child care are met, the interests of the child may be subordinated to the...interests of the parents or guardians themselves."

  15. No parental arbitration provision exists in N.H. family law which predicates visitation and parental rights upon completion of parenting classes, therapy, or other seminars.

  16. Douglas v. Douglas, 143 N.H. 419 (1999), the N.H. Supreme Court held: "an elementary and fundamental requirement of due process is notice reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections."

  17. Duclos v. Duclos, 134 N.H. 42 (1991)—the N.H. Supreme Court held: "notice meant that the notice sent to a litigant must be 'reasonably calculated to give the defendant actual notice of the issue and the hearing.'"

  18. Cir.Ct.Fam.Div. Rule 1.28(D) states that "Requests for restraining orders against any person should not be presented by offers of proof."

  19. xix. Muchmore v. Jaycox, 159 N.H. 470 (2009), a final parenting plan may only be modified by the statutorily enumerated conditions set out in N.H. RSA 461-A:11.

  20. Part First, Art. 15 of the N.H. Constitution—"Every subject shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be favorable to himself; to meet the Witnesses against him face to face, and to be fully heard in his defense..."

  21. N.H. RSA § 490-D:9 - "All recommendations of marital masters shall be signed by a judge. The judge signing such recommendations shall certify that he or she has read the recommendations and agrees that the marital master has applied the correct legal standard to the facts determined by the marital master."

On July 24, 2012, we finally voted on the Youssef petition. The vote was 8-2 with 3 abstentions. Kevin Avard and two other members chose to abstain because they had endorsed Josh's State Senate campaign I have reason to believe that Youssef himself wrote the majority report, and he did a good job, too. Most of the draft reports were riddled with errors, but Youssef's was error-free and needed few if any revisions. We Democrats made this report as bland as we could, and it got printed with relatively little hassle. The reports appeared in the August 9, 2012 House Calendar:

Redress of Grievances Committee

Petition 26 Youssef
Founded With Recommendations

After hearing the testimony of the Petitioner, reviewing the documentation and supplements, and having received no responsive testimony, substantive documentation, or other evidence from any of those cited officials, the Committee finds that the Petitioner was wrongly denied by the Family Division all visitation with his child contrary to N.H. law and his constitutional rights for approximately 13 months. This wrongful situation was due to: Guardian ad Litem Tracy Bernson who:

  1. Made unlawful recommendations to the Court in her 2/11/11 guardian ad litem report including suspension of all visitation with his son with no findings of fact that it would be detrimental to the child and with no findings of abuse or neglect contrary to RSA 461-A:2;

  2. Posited as fact the psychological condition of the minor child without being an expert herself, and with no expert psychological findings or report, and apart from any testimony that is the product of reliable principles and methods contrary to RSA 516:29-a;

  3. Recommended the imposition of extrajudicial conditions on reunification contrary to RSA 461-A:2, RSA 461-A:6 and contrary to the presumption that fit parents are presumed to act in the best interests of their children;

  4. Recommended unlawful prior restraint of Petitioner's free speech by restricting him from talking with his son about the subject of love (see RSA 461-A:6 I(a);

  5. Recommended as a condition to see his son, that Petitioner enroll in a parenting class and separately in individual therapy which is contrary to the Troxel presumption that "fit parents are presumed to act in the best interests of their children," (Troxel v. Granville, 530 US 57);

  6. Did not complete the duties ordered by the Court in her stipulation;

  7. Failed to comply with Family Division Administrative Order 2011-03 by not filing a final report with the Court and not submitting her final bill by the deadline;

  8. Failed to comply with Supreme Court Administrative Order 17 by exceeding her court-ordered fee-maximum and not requesting a hearing to do so;

  9. Fraudulently filed a stalking warning letter with the Dover/Laconia police departments in response to pro se Petitioner's court-related correspondence for actions that do not qualify as stalking;

  10. Failed to comply with GAL Ethics Rule 503.06(a)(1) by not recusing herself as requested after reporting that she was "fearful" of Petitioner; and,

  11. Improperly recommended suspension of all of Petitioner's visitation and parental rights with only allegations, but no findings of abuse or neglect per RSA 461:A-5 III.

The Committee finds that Marital Master Nancy Geiger also contributed to this when she:

  1. Conducted a hearing that affected Petitioner's parental rights without proper judicial notice per Duclos v. Duclos, 134 NH 42 - NH: Supreme Court 1991, quoting Morphy v. Morphy, 112 N.H. 507 – NH Supreme Court 1972[1];

  2. Wrongfully recommended the suspension of Petitioner's visitation and parental rights with no findings of abuse or neglect and no expert testimony;

  3. Compelled Petitioner to finance the "therapeutic reunification" with his son in a forced contract contrary to Hale v. Henkel 201 U.S. 43;

  4. Utilized what she knew to be false and/or incomplete GAL report testimony of GAL Tracy Bernson in arriving at her decision;

  5. Refused to admit Petitioner's properly authenticated telephone logs as exhibits at trial; and,

  6. Issued a parenting plan that does not comport with N.H. RSA 490-D:9, requiring the signature of a judge accompanied by the judge's sworn oath.

Further the Committee finds that Judges Ned Gordon and Brackett L. Scheffy also contributed by:

  1. Approving a Marital Master's wrongful orders, therefore failing to provide proper review or oversight; and,

  2. Approved a parenting plan that does not comport with N.H. RSA 490-D:9.

The Committee finds that Marital Master Leonard Green also contributed when he denied Petitioner due process of law by declining to issue orders on Petitioner's motion for reconsideration and; finally, that Administrative Judge Edwin Kelly failed to provide adequate oversight and supervision of marital masters and judges in the Hooksett Family Division by permitting ongoing malfeasance to occur after Petitioner notified him of it in a lengthy letter to which same judge, with the power to fire Marital Masters at will, responded that he had no authority to intervene.

The Committee therefore recommends that legislation be introduced to so amend our laws as to:

  1. Eliminate coerced contracts and/or stipulations with guardians ad litem;

  2. Make clear that there is a presumption that fit parents will act in the best interests of their children;

  3. Provide greater supervision and accountability of guardians ad litem, marital masters, and judges in the circuit court family division;

  4. Permit courts to deviate from equal parenting time distribution only in cases where there is clear and convincing evidence of abuse or neglect by one or both parents or it is requested by party receiving the lesser proportion of time;

  5. Adopt strict rules of evidence for the family division;

  6. Require advance notice for any and all hearings; and,

  7. Investigate whether impeachment proceedings should be initiated to remove Judge Edwin Kelly, Judge Ned Gordon, and Judge Brackett Scheffy.

Vote 8-2.

Rep. Alfred P. Baldasaro for the Majority of the Committee

Minority Report on Petition #26 (Youssef)


The Petitioner is a party to a highly conflicted divorce. He submitted many documents and testified for eight hours (spread out over four committee hearings). The most important document is a May 20, 2011 court order which modified the parenting plan for the one child of the Petitioner and his ex-wife. In a case summary submitted along with his petition, he stated that the order "contains innumerable errors of fact, and errors of law, which I would be delighted to expound upon to the committee." After hearing the Petitioner's testimony and reviewing his documentation, the Minority is convinced that the May 20, 2011 order was legal, factual and proper.

The Petitioner asked for the impeachment of numerous officials involved in his case. The Minority sees no need to impeach any of them: these officials were acting legally and in good faith. He also asked to have the legislature forward a complaint against Attorney Tracy Bernson to the Guardian ad Litem Board. The Minority feels that this would be unwise for constitutional reasons, and also because of the specific circumstances of the case. The Petition suggested a variety of legislative proposals, some of which have been actively considered. In the Minority's opinion, the Petitioner shed little if any light on these proposals.

Rep. Timothy Horrigan for the Minority

Other 2012 Petitions:

See Also:


The Forgotten Liars

2012 Session