How to Write an Effective GAL Report


In Massachusetts when the judge appoints a GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) the state MUST pay. Do not be bullied into paying for this service yourself. Object to the appointment and/or you paying so the state must pay.

Mass. General Laws:

"Chapter 215: Section 56A. Investigations

Section 56A. Any judge of a probate court may appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate the facts of any proceeding pending in said court relating to or involving questions as to the care, custody or maintenance of minor children and as to any matter involving domestic relations except those for the investigation of which provision is made by section sixteen of chapter two hundred and eight. Said guardian ad litem shall, before final judgment or decree in such proceeding, report in writing to the court the results of the investigation, and such report shall be open to inspection to all the parties in such proceeding or their attorneys. The compensation shall be fixed by the court and shall be paid by the commonwealth, together with any expense approved by the court, upon certificate by the judge to the state treasurer. The state police, local police and probation officers shall assist the guardian ad litem so appointed, upon his request. "


Collateral case.
A divorce case.
Mom brings 209A
Dad found NG
Dad files malicious prosecution case.  That is a collateral case, arising out of or related to the other case.

As to Richard Barrett's problem.
Section 56A allows a GAL's report to be automatically entered into evidence.
If it is evidence, you are absolutely entitled to cross-examine on that reports.  Dozens of cases on that point.
The sanctioning of in terrorem fines in this instance is some kind of larceny.
The problem is to find a DA with any balls at all.  There are none, I can tell you that.  So they will not bring a criminal complaint.
Bring a complaint to the CJC and go to AP room at the STate House and find there a reporter willing to do a story on the situation.
Go to the current candidates for A-G and see what they say.
This is a perfect scenario for a RADIO AD to make it public just how corrupt the system is.
$10 grand is one helluva lot of money to be gotten out of someone under threat of jail.  It is a threat of assault and battery that turned into an assault and battery.   Threat against his liberty. Etc. etc. etc.
He should write to Margaret Marshall, CJAM Mullligan, CJAM Dunphy, and the newspapers.
just-a-dad wrote:
Please explain "collateral cases".
Can a pro se legally copy GAL reports?
It would not be fair otherwise which, of course, would be nothing new.
Could you also explain Richard's $500.00 fine's for using the GAL report in his trial.
----- Original Message -----
From: Barbara C. Johnson
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 2:49 AM
Subject: Re: Judges hiding cases

Yes, and they can be offered and admitted into evidence in collateral cases.

just-a-dad wrote:
Are you saying that lawyers CAN legally copy GAL reports?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 2:01 AM
Subject: RE: Judges hiding cases


I went to copy specific papers in my file my attorney had and I came across the

GAL report, so I copied it too.

At one point later on, my attorney realized I had a copy, and actually asked me to

return it.  Funny though, I acted like I never heard his request and he never mentioned

it again.

I guess the moral is: if you have an attorney, ask to copy some of your file & get your

bought & paid for GAL report.  “Offer” to do it yourself so your attorney’s secretary or

legal assistant won’t “waste” their valuable time.


From: The Fatherhood Coalition [mailto:FATHERS-L@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM] On Behalf Of just-a-dad
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 10:29 PM
Subject: Re: Judges hiding cases

Every GAL report is sealed and can only be read, not copied. Amazing considering we are ordered to pay for it and then not allowed to use it in court, if needed.

At least not legally or according to the rules.

I heard of someone who brought a portable scanner and did it that way, you are allowed to sit outside the office to "read" it.

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 10:19 PM

Subject: Re: Judges hiding cases

The GAL report is "sealed" via a sticky note inside my docket.  Since I am not represented, can I still copy it?

Bob <condor68@COMCAST.NET> wrote:

Posted on Wed, Sep. 13, 2006

Restore transparency to state courts


Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Lewis commendably has taken the initiative to stop state judges from hiding court cases from public view with the introduction of a set of proposed rule changes.

It turns out that Broward County judges are not alone in sealing cases, effectively blocking them from public inspection. Now, it has come to light that judges in Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Pinellas and Pasco counties have hidden cases as well.

So new statewide rules that control what cases can be sealed are needed, especially for judges who ''super seal'' a record -- meaning the case is completely removed from public access.

Prominent people

The state already has rules governing when a court case could be sealed, such as when a juvenile is involved, for example. But after a Miami Herald investigation found that Broward judges had sealed more than 400 civil-court cases -- many of them involving prominent local people, not individuals entitled to privacy under the law -- Justice Lewis queried other counties about this practice. The news stunned Chief Justice Lewis and the rest of the Supreme Court justices. Justice Lewis asked the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers to draft new rules to govern judges. Any new rules would have to be adopted by the Florida justices.

The clerks group recommends that judges be required to hold hearings before a record can be sealed and that judges explain in writing precisely what information is being withdrawn. The group also proposed that clerks in each circuit identify every sealed case since 2003 and that each chief judge determine whether the sealings comply with current law.

After The Miami Herald's investigation, Broward Chief Judge Dale Ross began requiring Broward judges to return hidden cases to the public docket. But the contents of most of those cases remain secret, which is unacceptable.

Violation of legal system

Also, the proposed statewide rules don't address another egregiously bad habit of a few Broward judges -- the ''super sealing'' of a court record. For all intents and purposes, the case simply disappears. This is such a basic violation of the U.S. legal system that it calls into question the competency of any judge who would take such action. The state Supreme Court should explicitly ban the super sealing of court cases.

The court also should research the proposed changes for any loopholes before adopting them. For instance, there should be ample time between when a judge announces a hearing date on closing a record and when the hearing is actually held to allow all interested parties time to be notified.



Barbara C. Johnson, Advocate of Court Reform and Attorney at Law
6 Appletree Lane
Andover, MA 01810-4102

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