The Dreaded Star Chambers Were Real…Now They’re Resurrected Here in The US
Many of the attorneys that are out there fighting for homeowners and consumers show the very highest honor and calling that is the profession of law. The attorneys that are fighting for homeownerrs– and especially those who articulate that the fight for homeowners is also a fight to protect the integrity of our courts, our judges and this heart and soul of this country– show the general public the highest calling of the profession.
But this fight is not without severe and profound consequences for those attorneys who soldier on in this battle….but this battle must be fought because the fundamental rights of every single American are at stake every single time a homeowner walks into a courtroom and every time a homeowner loses a home in a non judicial foreclosure proceeding. As I endure the very real attacks, I must continue to be clear that my objectives are to support and defend our country, our courts, our judges from what is occurring. I’ve been sharing some thoughts about how the attack on court laws and procedures had resulted in a fundamentally unfair system and wanted to share some feedback to those comments I received from Michael Olenick at Legalprise because I found his comments so powerful….
One thing I remember, is how similar the
Star Chamber resembles foreclosure court. People make bad comparisons
to the Chamber all the time and they’re usually wrong .. but rocket
docket really is a dead on parallel.
* The Star Chamber was mainly used for evictions. I’ll skip the
treatise in English land law except to say that was functionally the
same as a foreclosure.
* The torture you hear about was uncommon until the end, when the
Chamber became widely used for political persecution. The primary
purpose of the chamber was rigged foreclosure hearings. People
described it as eerily normal; out would come the chancellor (judge),
his helpers, and the defendant would have a brief rigged trial and
almost always lose. Not always, but almost always.
* Where the torture did happen was for lawyers of Star Chamber
defendants. I won’t go into detail — they’re horror stories — but
they absolutely sent a message you’d better not try to hard with a
Star Chamber defendant, if you decided to take those cases at all.
Lawyers were tortured .. history remembers them as heroes, though I’m
guessing that doesn’t help much. Defendants who couldn’t find a
lawyer to represent them — keeping in mind that virtually all
land-lords had plenty to pay — lost automatically.
* The hearings themselves were the same: trial by affidavit, it was
nearly impossible to cross-examine the affiant, perjury (a capital
offense back them) was widespread, common .. and ignored. They were
open or closed depending on the mood of the Chancellor.
* The whole point was to make sure money flowed back to the King.
Bascially, when the King wanted land — whether it was directly or
indirectly (to give to somebody else) — off went the landlord
(yesterday’s mortgage borrower) to the Chamber. The whole point was
* Even the genesis of the Star Chamber may be land theft. Black, of
Black’s Law Dictionary, wrote the chamber came from the hebrew word to
record .. as in record and litigate land deeds. Historians later said
he was wrong, that there were stars on the court of the chamber. But
the chamber is still around and there are no stars, and nobody ever
wrote about stars, and Black would know — that was back in his time.
Of course, the Star Chamber defendants are how many of the settlers of
this country ended up here. After their minute or two at rocket
docket off they went to the new world. The Chamber is viscerally
hated in US history; when the Supreme Court writes about it (in
decisions as late as last decade) they always throw in an adjective
(ex: the dreaded Star Chamber, the wretched Star Chamber, etc..). Our
founders hated it so much they almost abolished equity courts but
realized some issues weren’t meant for juries so left it, but added
half the Bill of Rights to ensure it never came about again.
Read more about the Star Chamber and consider how the elements described can be applied to today’s judicial and especially non judicial foreclosure proceedings: