Lessons of the MA “Peeping Tom” Case for Foreclosure Defense


Last week, the Supreme Judicial Court issues its decision in the “Peeping Tom” case and held that state law did not cover “upskirt” photos taken by cell phones and other recording devices.  The Court’s decision, and the Legislature’s prompt passage of a bill to prohibit these practices, has important lessons for foreclosure defense.

Unsurprisingly, the reaction to the Court’s decision was negative, with some believing that the Supreme Judicial Court supported the right of perverts to take lewd pictures.  Not quite.  The job of the SJC, like any Court, is to interpret the law and here, Massachusetts law didn’t include these acts as crimes under the law.  This, of course, is not the outcome that many would have wanted, but as as a government of laws and not men, we are bound by only what is included in the law.

So what’s this have to do with foreclosure defense?  As stated by the SJC, foreclosure law comes primarily from written law.  As such, the rules on what can and can’t be done are mostly found in statutes; most of which are in Chapter 244 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.  These laws are the starting point for any foreclosure defense case.

As I frequently say, Massachusetts has the best legal community around.  The same, however, can’t be said about its laws.  I find many Massachusetts statutes to be complex and confusing and in need of a rewrite.  Nonetheless, until this happens, we are stuck with them and need to do our best in understanding what they mean, and what they do not mean.  In the area of foreclosure defense, which comes primarily from statutory authority, the importance of reading and understanding these laws cannot be overstated.