Contact: Debra McCarthy, 508-723-5364; Grace Ross, 617-291-5591
For immediate release: September 25, 2018
Today, September 25, 2018, twenty-one self-represented defendants fighting against the illegal foreclosure of their homes completed the filing and service of a petition to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, critical to the due process and appeal rights of the Inhabitants of Massachusetts under the state Constitution.
“Each ruling against us as homeowners which ignored multiple Massachusetts statutes was like a punch in the gut,” explained Petitioner Bruce Boguslav of Worcester, “To be priced out of an appeal was an affront to the sacred trust we thought we had in the justice system, and our right to an appeal of serious issues in housing court. Our health suffers terribly from the stress when you don’t know when you will be subject to an eviction with your home emptied of all your personal possessions.”
Having been stripped of their wealth and destabilized by illegal foreclosures, the Petitioners are seeking a definitive judgment by the SJC to stop Massachusetts courts from further barring access to the courts by pricing them out of justice with excessive and inapplicable bonds. The case is a multi-party petition, SJ-2018-0427
Homeowner’s constitutionally protected right to appeal is being denied based upon the Courts’ misapplication of extraordinary cash bonds in eviction cases, after a clearly questionable foreclosure. The financial bar of petitioner’s right to appeal is particularly egregious when defending against the taking of one’s inalienable rights under the MA and US Constitutions.
“Getting financially barred from the appeals process felt like a set up to me. All along Judge Fields peppered my hearings with statements like, “you can put that in your appeal, Ms. Woods” and “save it for your appeal, Ms. Woods” only to bar my appeal — $10k when I am experiencing a dire health diagnosis and living on SSI. This resulted in unlawful ouster from my home. I’ve been living in a tent since early July. Many of my possessions have gone missing and been destroyed due to improper storage. My health has deteriorated; my cancer treatments have been interrupted. The eviction process has clearly been weaponized by the courts to thwart my appeal, which has every chance of success due to case law precedent,” commented Petitioner Rorie Susan Woods of Hadley.
Overwhelmingly, these cases are arising in the jurisdiction of the Worcester Housing Court, whose credibility has been brought into question by numerous recent lawsuits.
However, the problem of unaffordable bonds and the misapplication of the strictly interpreted eviction law represent a widespread practice in too many of the trial courts across Massachusetts. The loss of access to the Appellate Courts have effectively kept illegal foreclosures from the eyes and review of the higher courts in Massachusetts.
Homeowners affected span the state and find themselves without the resources to pay appeal bonds levied against them improperly given our state’s strong laws protecting the appeals of all legitimate, non-frivolous claims regardless of financial circumstances.
Given our non-judicial foreclosure laws and In order to curtail predatory lending, the Supreme Judicial court has almost without exception, come down strongly on the enforcement of all of Massachusetts’ applicable laws but only because litigants have been able to appeal. This benefits the actual residents of Massachusetts in protecting the jurisprudence that underlies the inalienable rights to our homes.
“I want the SJC to uphold the letter of the law, not selective enforcement with great bias against wrongfully foreclosed borrowers,” Woods continued. “It’s as if the justices have their retirement funds wrapped up in mortgage backed securities sold with triple A ratings that turned out to be junk. The wrongfully foreclosed borrowers did not create the junk securities— the banks did. It’s time to lay the blame and consequences where they belong.”
Petitioners experience the injustice of these practices as indescribably unfair and painful. Long-term damage is caused to the families of our Commonwealth.
Petitioner Jim Bigelow of Oxford expressed the sentiment of all the Petitioners: “the Supreme Judicial Court is the last chance at restoring my childhood faith in our justice system.”