I recently took a foreclosure case to “trial” and the experience has me seriously questioning whether it’s ethically proper for me to continue accepting money from clients to defend foreclosure trials, in some instances.

In this particular instance, I had spent at least three years defending the case.  As with most of my cases, I had many, many more hours into the case than I had been paid…but I always work with my clients, and as the case progressed towards trial, I was increasingly confident that we would have a favorable outcome.  My belief in the favorable outcome came primarily as a result of the plaintiff continually missing important deadlines, not even showing up for hearings, and me obtaining several rulings from the court that should have prevented the plaintiff from presenting a winning case.  Specifically, I spent years asking the plaintiff to produce the records that it would need to show my client was in default and that he owed the plaintiff the money.  After repeated motions, the judge finally entered a series of orders, with one in particular that provided, “plaintiff will not be permitted to introduce records or evidence that have not been previously provided.”  This is a fairly standard sanction for abuse of discovery or failure to provide discovery in civil litigation.  Theoretically at least in all civil litigation, parties are not permitted to hide evidence….especially when that evidence is specifically demanded…and then, at trial, spring it on the other party.  But this is precisely what happened in this particular “trial”.  And the evidence that was sprung at the last minute, and in violation of the court’s own order, was in fact the most incredibly improper evidence I’ve ever seen in all my years of practice.  Page after page, line after line blacked out completely….by the court’s own recognition, nearly 20% of the lines in the multi-page document were blacked out.  I objected furiously, repetitively and incredulously.

Your honor, how can you possibly allow them to introduce and rely on this document, we have absolutely no idea what’s underneath the black lines….in fact, we have reason to believe the information under those black lines supports our legitimate defense that my client is not in default and that other wrongdoing occurred.

I’m going to admit the document.

But your honor, they don’t even have a copy of the document unredacted to show you what’s underneath the black lines.

I’m going to admit the document.

But your honor, they’ve flagrantly and blatantly tampered with the evidence and hidden from view critical information.

I’m going to admit the document.

This, quite unfortunately, is the state of affairs in courtrooms today.  A broad public policy decision has been made that any and all conduct of the banks and their attorneys is permissible, “our” courts must get to work throwing families out into the streets so that these homes can be turned back over to hedge funds and investors.  And it really doesn’t matter at all what other conduct lies intertwined within the case.  It doesn’t matter what the banks or their attorneys did on the long and winding journey to a foreclosure trial.  After all, they paid their settlement money which has been funneled directly to the courts and is now being used to implement and execute the  foreclosure “trials” that are occurring.

Oh sure, consumers can still find many fair courtrooms where rules and the law will be respected.  Foreclosure defense attorneys will still unleash strategies and defenses that will produce good outcomes for clients, but we must all recognize that our nation’s court system has taken a dramatic and terrifying turn into lawlessness and fascism, believing that their primary role and function is to serve the interests of banks, corporations and an overriding economic and social purpose that transcends what we knew as the Rule of Law.

This phenomena is not just on display in foreclosure courts, but it is especially apparent in foreclosure courtrooms.  Those facts that support the argument that fascism prevails in this country are so dramatically on display especially given the fact that money paid as a direct result of bank crimes is being used to pay, quite directly and explicitly, for the very courtrooms that are being used to return the property that was the subject of the crimes back to the banks.  Part of the $25 billion that was agreed to as part of the National Mortgage Settlement was supposed to be used specifically to “help” consumers who were the target of bank crimes and abuses.  That money instead has been funneled directly and specifically to fund courts that are unilaterally setting trials and then capriciously turning the property back over to the banks, trampling on due process and obliterating the Rule of Law in the process.  It gross, it’s reckless, it’s abusive and it will have long term negative consequences.

Should citizens, any citizen, have any respect for a government that is so clearly and dramatically working against them, in service to this new economic, social and legal order which defines “justice” as “whatever it takes to reward the corporations and banks that fund the court system”?

Clearly, they should not.  And right now, those citizens that see the court system functioning in this matter merely have front row seats to the much darker, far more sinister and monstrously dangerous environment in which we live.

America’s courts were supposed to be the check, the balance, the protection against tyranny, against abuse, against fascism.

When our courts turn their backs against The People, as indeed they have, these are in fact dire times for us all.

America is in fact, in distress.



  • Carol says:

    Yes, Matthew you should still take money from clients and continue the work to which you have committed your life energy. Your work if vital for many reason and one is morality and the concept of helping others have a voice and fight for what for their rights. Life can be a compromise but the people need to be heard. What is happening in criminal and any one who has applied critical thinking to the issue and time studying these issues has been enlightened. Our Country is in deep trouble and the people need to be emotionally empower and you and your work is a vessel for this empowerment. You, as all Americans have the right to earn a fair living for your life work, so don’t ever doubt that for one more second.
    What the movie Lincoln, many a battle is lost before the big picture battle is won. Lincoln was brilliant and he had the vision to know that the big picture, Africian American’s freedom from slavery, was the goal. You must be weary and at times overwhelmed as just one man fighting a crocked, dirty system but it is right, it is moral and please, I beg you continue with your life work. If they threaten your life or those that you love, which the NSA might surely do at some point, you should protect yourself and retreat to fight another day. You are a good man, and it is o.k. to let homeowners know that they can surrender and use their assets to start again. You are a wise man, brilliant and moral man, do not doubt your cause.

    There is truth and power in the law when practice ethically. Stick with it, you have thousands that need you and humanity needs to know another human was willing to stand by their side and carry them when they could not carry themselves. When a person passes they need to know that what they stood for in life was good, you are giving this gift to others and thank you.

    All the best.


    Carol Varnum

  • dlennon says:

    Is it ethical to pay you ( and Mr. Fuino) for taking my place in the Lion’s Den ? You were all that stood between me(+ many others) and, arguably or not, the world’s greatest power’s predictable absolution of incredible abuse. The risk to you played out in ways I was spared from. The twists of my suit may not be over. Yet I am blessed with priceless moments I would have never known without you – caused by an issue not of your making. You deserve so much more than I have paid. Thank You!

  • Carol says:

    The judges are BOUGHT by the banks, the DOJ is bought with the exception of a few and remember, the judges pensions are backed by MBS (mortgage backed securities)
    The system in a whole is utterly INSANE and I applaud you for standing up for the home owner!
    Please continue, never give up or in to the insanity! This injustice, on a daily basis makes me madder than hell! If I had a law degree I’d be right there with you! ( and Stoppa)

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