Now that I'm no longer a Community Moderator and I don't have to worry about embarassing IRV2.com, I will tell you why I made this posting.
A dispicable con-man sued me and committed perjury in court as well as producing forged documents, altered emails, etc. and won a judgment against me. I've never had a legal problem in my life, have NEVER had any kind of lawsuit against me - EVER. I've never had to defend myself against lies either - which I found is pretty much impossible to do. It's a matter of "he said, she said". This man has had at least one lawsuit against him every year for the past 24 years, as well as sued other people on a regular basis, was arrested on false pretenses and grand theft charges, served probation, got arrested again for having a gun in his possession while on probation, has basically been committing fraud for the better part of his life, owes the attorney that represented him in a civil matter $60k and lived in an RV so he couldn't be found until the statute of limitations ran out and he didn't have to pay the judgment against him. He is a MASTER at playing both sides of the law.
My attorney said to just let it go - that it would cost as much for him to represent me in an appeal as it would to pay the judgment. That the man was nuts, he had represented other people against him before, and his main concern was just "winning". He said he would never act on the judgment and if he did, my rig and car were exempt in the state where this happened. My credit was strong enough to withstand one "ding" so I just let it go. I realize now how DUMB that was, but when your attorney tells you it's ok . . . you figure it's ok.
To be on the safe side, I tried to make payment arrangements but those were refused. He wanted my rig. Period. He had an old 1970 POS, couldn't afford anything newer. So he waited until I was in a state that didn't recognize a motorhome as a homestead exemption.
And it wasn't exempt in New Mexico where I was visiting last month. He got a foreign judgment against me through the state of New Mexico - and took my rig - AND my car - although I got my car back.
I went to court and I was told that in New Mexico, my rig is a "vehicle" and you are only allowed one exemption for a vehicle.
According to the judge, since New Mexico's DMV licenses motorhomes and taxes are paid to the DMV, it's a vehicle and not a home.
Why is New Mexico allowed to uphold judgments from another state and use THEIR laws instead of the laws where the judgment originated? Good question. I'm trying to figure that one out myself.
In the New Mexico Statutes, NMSA 42-10-9 1978 regarding the definition of a homestead, a homestead is referred to as a dwelling house and land occupied by the person, OR IN A DWELLING HOUSE OCCUPIED BY THE PERSON ALTHOUGH THE DWELLING IS ON LAND OWNED BY ANOTHER, PROVIDED THAT THE DWELLING IS OWNED, LEASED OR BEING PURCHASED BY THE PERSON CLAIMING THE EXEMPTION.
Nowhere in the definition for homestead does it say that it has to be a HOUSE on a piece of REAL ESTATE.
It states that it can be a dwelling house located on land owned by another, which could be construed as an RV park or any number of other pieces of land, even Bureau of Land Management land, for that matter, owned by the United States Government.
Black's Law Dictionary defines “Dwelling House” as the house OR OTHER STRUCTURE in which a person lives . . . a residence or abode.
Only the SECOND definition given in Black's states REAL ESTATE.
If you read through Black's Law dictionary and look up the definitions of STRUCTURE, the definition is “ANY CONSTRUCTION OR ANY PRODUCTION OR PIECE OF WORK ARTIFICIALLY BUILT UP OR COMPOSED OF PARTS JOINED TOGETHER IN SOME DEFINITE MANNER.
I'd say that could describe a motorhome.
If you look up the definition of abode – the definition is LIVING PLACE IMPERMANENT IN CHARACTER (Fowler v. Fowler, 156 Fla. 316, 22 So. 2D 817, 818)
If you look up the definition of residence, “a place where one lives or has his home, a person's dwelling place or place of habitation, an abode, a dwelling house.
If you extract from that definition the word “Habitation”, it's definition is “place of abode, dwelling place, residence.”
The more you research, the more you will go 'round and 'round with the definitions of dwelling, structure, abode, habitation, residence, or home.
If you look up "dwelling house" under criminal law in Black's Law Dictionary, a motorhome is listed as a "dwelling house" - even a TENT is listed as a "dwelling house". So if someone broke into my motorhome and stole everything, it would be covered in criminal law as my "dwelling house" was broken into - but the state of New Mexico can assist this man in stealing my motorhome and that's legal. Go figure.
The NMSA is more than vague on the definition of "dwelling house" obviously.
The Supreme Court act Chung Fook v. White
(1924) marked the beginning of the looser American Rule that the intent of the law was more important than its text. This act, termed the soft plain meaning rule
, interprets the statute according to the ordinary meaning of the language, unless the result would be cruel or absurd. I'd say the result of this interpretation was cruel AND absurd.
And in Morgan Keegan Mortgage Co. v. Candelaria, 1998-NMCA-008, SS7, 124 N.M. 405, 951 P.2d 1066, as stated in my Motion toRelease, quote, “The purpose of a homestead exemption is to benefit the debtor.”
The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Code defines a motorhome as a vehicle and it has to be licensed as a vehicle. Yes it does. You can drive it so it has to be licensed as a vehicle. But you can't live in a motorcycle, a car or a truck. (Well you could, but they weren't made for living in, as a motorhome IS.)
And the same applies to California, Colorado, Arizona, Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, Nevada and many other states that have updated their statutes to recognize the fact that people DO live in motorhomes, that motorhomes are their primary residence, sometimes purchased with entire life savings, and are due the homestead exemption.
I've spoken to Good Sam and they have been in the process of trying to get legislation changed in ALL states, but that won't help my situation.
I have the choice of paying this conman, or letting the RV go. He'll get less if I let the RV go because it's not worth that much at a Sheriff's auction and that's what I'm probably going to do. But I'm going to fight this with everything I've got before I do either.
My new passion in life is to get this legislation changed in EVERY state so no one else has to lose their RV. I'm in the process of a letter writing campaign to every state that does not recognize RV's as exempt if it is the only home of someone that does not own other property.
And when I get back to the west, I'll be shopping for another RV. Hey, I wanted a new one anyway . . . .