New Hampshire Bar Journal


2011 Fall, Pg. 36.


New Hampshire State Bar JournalVolume 52, No. 3Fall 2011TIMELINE OF A HIGH-CONFLICT DIVORCEEditor's note: Thomas Ball committed suicide by self-immolation on the sidewalk in front of a Keene courthouse on June 16, 2011. In a lengthy letter delivered to the Keene Sentinel before his death, Ball explained his views of the court system and his intention to take his own life in a way that would call attention to his complaints. This timeline was compiled by Kristen Senz, a freelance writer and editor who regularly writes for the Bar News.

What follows is a timeline of the major legal events that led up to Thomas Ball's death, drawn entirely from the flings in the Cheshire County Superior Court Marital Division.

May 5,1990: Thomas and Karen Ball get married.

Sept. 20,2000: The NH Division of Children, Youth and Families fled an unfounded [unsubstantiated] report of abuse against Thomas Ball based on a bruise a school nurse found on his daughter's neck. It was determined that Ball caused the bruise while restraining his daughter, who had been diagnosed with mental health issues at Monadnock Family Services, as she attempted to stomp on her 3-year-old sister

April 9, 2001: Thomas Ball's two daughters were "rowdy" at bedtime, and as he attempted to put her to bed, his then 4-year-old daughter began licking his hand, according to his own statement. Ball told her to stop and to close her mouth. When she did not comply he struck her three times on the face with an open hand, causing a bleeding cut on her lip. After consulting with a therapist at Monadnock Family Services (MFS), Ball's wife asked him to leave the house and later called Jaffrey police to report the assault.

April 10, 2001: Jaffrey police arrest Tom Ball at his workplace for simple assault stemming from the April 9 incident and mistakenly listed RSA 173-B (domestic violence statute) on the complaint. Department policy states that in a domestic violence situation, an arrest is "required whenever probable cause exists," according to court documents. The state's domestic violence statute specifcally excludes "minor custodial children residing with the defendant." Attorney William Philips fles a domestic violence petition against Thomas Ball related to the April 9 incident on behalf of Karen Ball in Jaffrey-Peterborough District Court.

April 12,2001: Attorney Philips fles for divorce on Karen Ball's behalf in the marital division at Cheshire County Superior Court, where Superior Court Judge John Arnold issues a temporary restraining order barring Thomas Ball from having contact with his wife and children and awarding Karen sole custody of the three children. A district court judge denies the criminal domestic violence petition, ruling that it "fails to allege abuse against the plaintiff on...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT