On Dec. 6th at approximately 10:00 AM, the combined lawsuits against the Worcester Housing Court, brought by 55 pro se homeowner and tenant litigants, will be heard by the full Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts.
"Being heard by the SJC is historic, and we are arriving in numbers because the laws laid out in the Massachusetts Constitution are not being followed by The Worcester Housing Court. Foreclosures, no matter what the details of each case, are a major and ignored issue in this country. Justice and a fair hearing in the Summary Process is not happening in the courts of Worcester Massachusetts,” explained Christine Hilton, one of the lead litigants on the case challenging the Judge’s refusal to recuse herself even after she had quizzed defendants openly seeking evidence to charge them with a crime. “What I don’t understand is why I am not treated as fairly as the opposition’s attorney if I am a Pro Se Litigant, representing myself as an educated consumer.”
Given denials of their basic due process rights to protect their right to their homes after foreclosures (all easily proven to have been illegal but regularly accepted by the Worcester Housing Court) these, who became the 55 litigants, are suing; they seek the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s interventionary powers to correct system-wide rights violations by the Worcester Housing Court (AKA Central Housing Court).
“Being heard by the SJC is the first sign of our true constitutional rights being acknowledged, administered and honored. For the first time throughout this nightmare, the glimmer of hope for being heard actually exists,” expressed Nunciata Sullivan after losing her home when the WHC relied on ex parte documents inserted into her case file, by the bank’s lawyers in violation of court rule and due process, “At the very least, I hope we accomplish being considered relevant and able-bodied citizens who not only can vote and pay taxes, but can also represent ourselves against the falsehoods, misrepresentations, accusations and lies which ultimately resulted in the theft of our homes.”
The journey began with a joint attempt to redress what seemed like a simple, but incredibly destructive, rights violation by the Worcester Housing Court, denying those who are indigent (as so many are after 2-3 generations of wealth have been stripped in a foreclosure) from accessing audio tapes necessary for appeals for redressing discriminatory interactions in the Court, etc.
That case was filed in front of the single Justice in the SJC on February 28, 2017 after 6 months of preparation. After that case was denied, reconsideration led to a denial. The litigants appealed and were accepted for hearing by the full SJC on August 11, 2017 (SJC-112380).
A year earlier, the Worcester Housing Court had begun to attack the credibility of litigants based on whether they were affiliated with the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team. Given zero resources for those who are fighting an eviction from a home after a claimed foreclosure, homeowners across the state and some tenants have had to turn to pro se documents created by the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending and support from a local mutual aid organization, such as the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team. Since the founding of our nation, the First Amendment of the US Constitution to affiliation for the purpose of redress of grievances. The now hostile environment in the Worcester Housing Court against those who affiliate for exactly that purpose has reached shocking, chilling and unconstitutional proportions.
“I can personally state the last two years in housing court has been not only stressful but a degrading experience. After hearing the testimonies tomorrow, the SJC will understand the major injustices that have been committed against homeowners of the Commonwealth. It will be clear that the housing court is ill equipped to try foreclosures,” stated Paulette McKenzie, also stripped of her home in the face of unquestionable evidence of an illegal foreclosure, “There will be safety nets in the future to stop the bullying of pro se litigants so those who come after us in will not have to endure being discriminating against because they choose to represent themselves. People who give up everything to fight for what they believe in must be able to trust the legal system to listen, be fair, unbiased and free of prejudice.”
On May 2, 2017, three homeowner/defendants worked feverishly overnight and filed a petition, again, for intervention by the Supreme Judicial Court in the actions of the Worcester Housing Court, which had now announced repeatedly that it was referring WAFT members for charges for the practice of law without a license.
The Judge was now regularly quizzing people, and trying to trip them up in some perceived conspiracy by people who sought merely to effectively learn their cases together. In one case, where a homeowner had spent hundreds of hours in preparation and used 80 citations in her brief, the Chief Judge Horan had sent her brief out to the statewide Housing Court Clerk to review every citation; she, then, accused this WAFT member of having had her brief written by a lawyer and publicly shamed her by questioning the defendant’s education level.
Initially denied by a Single Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, the case – SJC-12406 – was then taken up by the full SJC on 10-03-17. It has been joined with the other case for Oral Argument along with the individual case of Marjorie Evans also against the Worcester Housing Court (SJC-12337).
“If the SJC rules for justice it will send the message loud and strong that corruption and obstruction of the truth will not be tolerated within the very system responsible to maintain and uphold justice. It would mean fairness to all. It would stop innocent people from being robbed simply because they don’t hold a law degree. It will speak volumes about our individual and group ability to make changes happen through perseverance and persistence. It will stop the abuse of power and give equal regard to everyone no matter who we are,” concluded Nunciata Sullivan.