Issue March 2013

March 2013

Interfering with a police officer: a common law offense

In the District Court Complaint Language Manual (COMLAW4), under the Common Law Offenses, is listed: "Police Officer, interfere with: On [date of offense] did intimidate, hinder or interrupt a police officer in the lawful performance of his or her duty, in violation of the Common Law (penalty from G.L. c. 279, § 5: 'according to the nature of the crime, as conforms with the common usage and practice in the commonwealth')."1 This alleged common law crime lacks the appropriate legal pedigree to be an authentic crime in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and this article presents one way to challenge its authenticity, and therefore, the court's jurisdiction.

The Good Funds Statute revisited

The Good Funds Statute, G.L.c. 183, § 63B, was enacted by the Massachusetts legislature in 1994 to ensure that when a person obtains a loan that is to be secured by a mortgage on his or her home, before the mortgage is recorded the borrower has reasonable assurance of receiving the loan proceeds. The Good Funds Statute was passed in response to the crisis caused by the insolvency of Abbey Financial, a mortgage lender that went out of business without funding a large number of pending residential mortgage loans for which the mortgage documents had already been recorded. The result was that homeowners attempting to refinance their existing mortgage loans were trapped with new mortgages encumbering their properties, and no loan proceeds to pay off their prior mortgages.

Chapter 40B cases address the regional need for affordable housing standard

In a pair of cases decided in January 2013, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the availability of unsubsidized, affordable market-rate housing cannot be considered in weighing a city's or town's local concerns against the regional need for low and moderate income housing under the Massachusetts comprehensive permit act, G.L. c. 40B, §§ 20-23. In Zoning Board of Appeals of Sunderland v. Sugarbush Meadow, LLC, 2013 Mass. LEXIS 7, Sugarbush Meadow, LLC (Sugarbush) applied for a comprehensive permit to build five, three-story buildings containing 150 rental apartments. The Sunderland zoning board of appeals denied the application. Sugarbush appealed the denial to the Housing Appeals Committee (HAC), which overturned the decision and ordered the board to issue the comprehensive permit. The Superior Court subsequently upheld the HAC decision.

Tallage Adams, LLC, et. als. – Massachusetts Land Court Case. No. 10 TL 141227

On Nov. 5, 2012, Land Court Judge Keith Long sent notice to the Massachusetts Attorney General pursuant to Mass. R.Civ.P. 24(d) coupled with a request for amicus briefs on two questions arising from tax lien cases in which private collection entities were seeking to foreclose taxpayers' rights of redemption of unpaid tax bills pursuant to G.L. c. 60, §§ 65-75.