Petition 33: the Nicholas Haas Petition

Additional commentary by Timothy Horrigan

(member of the House Petitions & Redress Committee)

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TO: The Honorable House of Representatives
FROM: Petitioner Representative John A. Burt, Hills. 7
DATE: February 10, 2012
SUBJECT: Grievance of Nicholas Haas of Hooksett, New Hampshire

Your Petitioner, Representative Burt, on behalf of Nicholas Haas of Hooksett, hereinafter presents the following summary of his grievance involving the State of New Hampshire, Marital Master Leonard Green, Marital Master Jennifer Lemire, Judge Edward B. Tenney, Guardian ad litem Suzanne D. Decker and invokes the constitutional authority and duty of the Honorable House of Representatives pursuant to Articles 31 and 32 of the New Hampshire Constitution to bring about redress:

Grievance involving Manchester Judicial Branch Family Division Marital Masters and a Manchester Judicial Branch Family Division Judge for making an incorrect order that led to a parent's financial ruin, a violation of the standards of best interests of the children; a Guardian ad Litem who conspired with and encouraged the mother to alienate the children causing pain and suffering and violating parental rights; violation of child support guidelines; unlawful incarceration; unlawfully ordering a parent to obtain a loan; refusal to follow due process, including not allowing a parent to provide proof or evidence of inability to pay; violation of the right not to incriminate under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution; unreasonably restricting access to a copy of a contempt order before jailing a parent; abuses of discretion and power; and the New Hampshire Supreme Court for refusal to act on motions for summary judgment, as required by law, and refusal to correct a plain error of the lower court.

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

  1. Determine if there was maladministration on the part of Judge Edward B. Tenney, Marital Master Leonard Green, and Marital Master Jennifer Lemire and consider commencing Articles of Impeachment against such Judge and Marital Masters.

  2. Review the abuse of statutes in the above grievance and determine what authority the Legislature has in said case for corrective action.

  3. Broaden the investigation to further determine if there are similar failures that possibly suggest a "pattern of problems" that should be corrected by legislation for New Hampshire families.

Respectfully submitted by Petitioner Representative Burt on Behalf of Nicholas Haas

This petition was inspired by a tragic situation. The petitioner Nick Haas is an executive with a local software company, a member of the Hooksett Budget Committee, a lay minister with a local church, and an all-around solid citizen. He somehow ended up in jail over Father's Day weekend 2011 (which included his stepson's birthday), after he allegedly failed to pay his child support. The specific amount which was in dispute dated back to the time of the divorce decree: the court ordered several months of retroactive child support and alimony which went totally unpaid for five years, and most of which is still hanging over his head. He says he paid over $125,000 after that time.

Sadly he hasn't seen his two older kids in a long time. Nick's two older children have a three-year-old sister they have never met, thanks to the dispute which led to this petition.

Nick submitted a lengthy summary at his hearing which began on Thursday, March 22, 2012 and continued the following Tuesday, March 27, 2012. He also gave the committee some affidavits related to various court cases, none of which have been refuted to his satisfaction by his ex-wife or by any other parties. Rep. Burt also gave us an affidavit. In the interest of protecting the many people involved in this case, I have decided not to post any of these documents on my website at this time, aside from Mr. Haas's "Points of Law and Parties Involved".

You can also learn more about his story by hearing what he had to say to the Redress Committee during two hearings in the spring of 2012. Moreover, he and his current wife both did interviews with Rep. Kevin Avard.

On August 23, 2012, the following pair of reports finally appeared in the House Calendar. The Minority had a hard time getting any report at all approved by the Speaker and the committee chair. Rep. Sandra Keans and I submitted at least four totally different reports, and that is not counting our many minor revisions. I am reasonably pleased with my final report, even though it is brief: I am surprised they let me say as much as I did. While the Speaker was still going over the reports, the Executive Council approved Marital Master Jennifer Lemire's nomination to be a circuit court judge, over Nick Haas's vehement objections.

PETITION #33 grievance of Nicholas Haas.  (Report filed 8/21/12)

Grievance Founded with Recommendations.

Committee Majority Findings:

The Redress of Grievances Committee listened to the testimony and saw the supporting documents of a Petitioner who in the process of a divorce case found himself suffering from numerous inexplicable, and arbitrary acts at the hands of the Family Division which have not only reduced him to virtually no income to support his home family but has wrongfully jailed him for inability to pay. Despite never being adjudicated an unfit parent, he has been denied all contact with his children for nearly three years without any order of the court preventing such contact in violation of his fundamental parental rights and contrary to NH RSA 461-A:6, (Best Interests of the Child); NH RSA 633:1-A and 633:3-A and 633:4, (Interference with Custody); and, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Specifically, the Committee finds that Manchester Judicial Branch Family Division Marital Master Leonard Green: 

  1. Made an incorrect and confiscatory order (see RSA 458-C:2 IV c) that has reduced Petitioner to near financial ruin, violating NH Child Support Guidelines, and improperly awarding unnecessary alimony per NH RSA 458:19 and 546-A:5 (Uniform Civil Liability for Support);

  2. Failed to comply with NH RSA 461-A:VI a (Parental Rights and Responsibilities). (See also NH Constitution Art. 35. [The Judiciary; Tenure of Office]); and

  3. Failed to consider the mandatory self-support reserve in RSA 458-C IV and the support for others mandated in RSA 546-A:5(g);

  4. Failed to comply with the NH Supreme Court Rule 38 Code of Judicial Conduct (Abuses of discretion and power with bias and prejudice) (See also: Miller v. Todd April 2011, Lawlor v. Lawlor, 123 N.H. 163 166; Russman v. Russman, 124 N.H. 593, 597); and

  5. Refused to correct a plain error of the court per NH Supreme Court Rule 16-A (Plain Error).

The Committee finds, similarly, that Manchester Judicial Branch Family Division Marital Master Jennifer Lemire: 

  1. Continued incorrect, confiscatory orders that led to the Petitioner's serious financial damage;

  2. Refused to properly hear regarding father's inability to pay per the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution;

  3. Failed similarly to comply with NH RSA 461-A VI a (Parental Rights and Responsibilities) by ignoring properly filed Motions for modifications of parenting plan and modifications of support (NH Art. 35. The Judiciary; Tenure of Office);

  4. Abused her judicial discretion and power with bias and prejudice per NH Supreme Court Rule 38 Code of Judicial Conduct; and

  5. Failed to comply with NH RSA 461-A:6 Best Interests of the Child.

The Committee finds further that Manchester Judicial Branch Family Division Judge Edward B. Tenney:

  1. Unlawfully incarcerated Petitioner per the 6th and 14th Amendments (equal protection) of the U.S. Constitution;

  2. Wrongly equated ability to borrow with ability to pay, then unlawfully ordered a parent to obtain a loan (see Supreme Court Hicks v. Feiock);

  3. Assigned excessive bail conditions (equal to the amount owed and far higher than criminal offenders and in cash) placing Petitioner and his family in harm's way contrary to the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Part 1 Art. 3 of the NH Constitution;

  4. Failed to follow due process including not allowing a parent to provide proof or evidence of inability to pay;

  5. Disregarded the equal submission of financial affidavits upon which to make proper judgment per NH Family Division Rule 1.30 (Access to financial information) and per Family Division Rule 2.16 (a) & (b) and NH RSA 546-A (Regarding Financial Affidavits, Uniform Civil Liability for Support);

  6. Attempted to have Petitioner self incriminate by ordering him to complete a financial affidavit while being jailed and without access to his financial records at the time (5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution);

  7. Unreasonably restricted access to a copy of a contempt order before jailing a parent per NH Const. Art 15; and 8. Abuses of discretion and power with bias and prejudice per NH Constitution Art. 35, Code of Judicial Conduct 2.2 and 2.3.

The Committee also finds that Manchester Judicial Branch Family Division Judge John C. Emery failed to follow due process of law per the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: 

  1. Denying a litigant the right to be heard despite several requests per NH Supreme Court Rule 38-2.6;

  2. Denying the right of representation to Petitioner by failing to apprise him of such rights once contempt had been claimed per NH Const Part I, Art. 3; and

  3. Failing to comply with NH RSA 461-A (Parental Rights and Responsibilities) when modifying parenting time.

The Committee finds, too, that Manchester Judicial Branch Family Division Guardian ad Litem Suzanne D. Decker:

  1. Ignored multiple filed police reports by the Petitioner showing a pattern of interferences with child custody;

  2. Ignored or failed to contact key eyewitnesses;

  3. Withheld evidence from the court of Petitioner being alienated from the children;

  4. Unlawfully blocked access of Petitioner to communicate with his children;

  5. Failed to uphold the ethics of GALs; and

  6. Failed to protect the equal parenting provisions of New Hampshire including RSA 461-A: 2, RSA 461-A: 6: I (e) (f) (g) (i) (j), III, IV (a), VI, RSA 173-B: 1: I (b) (d) (g), RSA 631 :4: I (c) (d), RSA 633:1, RSA 631:2, RSA 633:3-a I (a) (b) II (a) (1) (2) III- a, RSA 644:4: I (a) (b) (c) (f), RSA 169-C: 3 II (c).


The Committee recommends the House: 

  1. Initiate a full investigation into this case to determine the extent of wrongdoings including noncompliance with the laws of New Hampshire by the involved officials;

  2. Request that the GAL Board fully investigate the actions of GAL Suzanne D. Decker to determine the level and extent of wrongful acts in this case;

  3. Introduce legislation

    1. [to] remove GAL's "quasi-judicial immunity" for misconduct, perjury, and willful neglect of Statutory Guidelines, 

    2. that all statements made to a court by a GAL be verified by evidence, documentation, and sworn affidavit;

    3. to allow no incarceration for civil contempt or without findings of fact and disallowing  borrowing as a factor in assessing "ability to pay";

    4. to amend RSA 458 so that when child support percentages exceed those in Child Support Guidelines an opportunity to revisit the issue in court will be automatic; e) to amend RSA 461-C:2 IV

    5. making failure to supply financial affidavits a class B misdemeanor;

    6. to place the language of Turner v. Rogers (2011) into New Hampshire statutes; and

    7. to re-introduce House Bill 591 to require that all courts properly follow all rules of evidence and that evidence be required for any motions that have any impact on the divorcing parties' children.

We also recommend a study of court practices regarding Article 15 rights and, as in a previous petition, a full investigation of the Family Division to determine the extent of and reasons for the repeated failures of that division to protect citizens' constitutional rights and to follow statutes and court rules. 

Vote  8-2.    

Rep. Kevin Avard for the Majority of the Committee


Grievance Unfounded

Committee Minority Findings:

The Petitioner, Nicholas Haas, has not seen his two oldest children since 2010, and he spent Father's Day 2011 in jail after missing a deadline for paying a substantial child support arrearage. He was able to raise $10,000 fairly quickly, and he was released early the next week, but he still has an unpaid arrearage. There were also unresolved disputes related to visitations and other requirements of the post-divorce parenting plan. The Minority agrees that this is a deplorable situation but they are not convinced that the divorce settlement from his first marriage was illegal or improper, although there might be certain issues which need to be renegotiated. The Minority wishes the Petitioner well, but they see no legislative solution to his dilemma. Some changes may be needed to the family-law statutes, but the Minority sees no alternative to expecting parents to pay their child support and to meet the requirements of their parenting plans.

Rep. Timothy Horrigan for the Minority of the Committee

Other 2012 Petitions:

See Also:


The Forgotten Liars

2012 Session