ADVERSE POSSESSION LAWS — DO NOT APPLY TO LAND GRANTS
ADVERSE POSSESSION LAWS
DO NOT APPLY TO LAND GRANTS
THAT WERE ISSUED BY
THE SOVERNITIES OF SPAIN AND MEXICO
AS TREATIES ENTERED INTO BY THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS
(AS IS THE TREATY OF GUADALUPE-HIDALGO)
are considered Supreme law
by the Constitution of the United States of America
Bert Lucero, Trustee, LTLGA, 2 March 2007
After three centuries as Sovereign, the Government of Spain relinquished all Spanish claim in the Americas to a new Sovereign, “Mexico” via the Treaty of Cordova, 28 September 1821. Property rights were honored IAW (in accordance with) Las Siete Partidas and the International Law of Conquest. Land Grant ownership, management and operations were allowed to continue in the same manner as under Spanish Rule (Land Title Study, Koch, et al). The following year, on 24 February 1822, all of Mexico’s inhabitants, within its borders, were declared “Free and Equal Citizens” via the Plana de Iguala.
“…that all the inhabitants of New Spain, without distinction, whether Europeans, Africans or Indians are citizens of this monarchy, with the right to be employed in any post, according to their merits and virtues”.
“… the equality of civil rights to all the free inhabitants of the empire, whatsoever may be their origin in the four quarters of the earth”.
The United States of America (created in 1776), enacted Indian Intercourse Act of 1834 (Manifest Destiny), wherein it formalized it’s goal to claim all land, unto the Pacific Ocean: the means to clear the land of savages was authorized (and financed), immigration was encouraged. But this government did not expect its citizens to encounter “civilized” indigent inhabitants: indigents that were not savages, indigents that looked “Indian” but never the less” civilized according to English standards. Therefore, the United States Congress had to find another way to take the land.
Note: United States of America Vs Jose Juan Lucero, 423 USC 1869 Spanish land grants were issued to Indians on same basis as other citizens; USA does not have authority to act on behalf of owners of land grant — (Also summarizes New Mexico history including: Plan of Iguala, 24 Feb 1821 and Treaty of Cordova, 24 Feb 1822).
By virtue of this Treaty, former indigent natives (“Indians”), Spanish settlers and other “citizens of a new country named Mexico”, became citizens of the United States of America, with all rights and privileges of US Citizens (see articles VIII and IX of the United States Constitution). Along with that, they were entitled “… to the enjoyment of all the rights of the citizens of the United States”… rights to be maintained, and the people “…protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property” (USA vs. Lucero).
The US Supreme Court even acknowledged that “…the law of nations of justice, and of right, that by conquest and annexation the allegiance of the people is transferred from one sovereign to another, but the rights of the people to their property remain undisturbed, and their relation to each other” (US vs. Perch man, 7 Pet. 51.).
With the withdrawal of Spain from the territory, the U.S. Government assumed that they could simply appoint a Territorial Governor and send in a standing army and claim the unprotected territory. But, the local people defended their homes, lands, families and other rights (People such as Geronimo and Cuerno Verde). After four battles, near present day Embudo, New Mexico, wherein the foreign governor appointee, was assassinated in 1846; the United States government declared “WAR” on Mexico, but did not warn Mexico. They sent a large army to the Mexican Capital and without resistance captured Mexico City.
As a compromise, Mexico gave up its northern territory, all lands north of the 38th parallel via the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo: a Treaty of Peace between the United States and Mexico, 2 February 1948. This Treaty was enacted by the United States Congress. According to that Treaty, all Mexican citizens, who chose to remain (after one year), were granted all rights as “Citizens” of the United States of America. Defendant asserts that property ownership and rights were to be respected and honored IAW common practice of International Law of Conquest… this was reiterated in the Gadsden Treaty on 30 June 1854.
According to Article IV and- paragraph 2 of Article VI of the United States Constitution, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was to be considered “Supreme Law”. All treaties entered into by the United States Congress, become “Supreme Law” and no other law, by any lesser governing body, may be enacted to circumvent that treaty. For this reason, application of Adverse Possession Laws, in my opinion, are not applicable to not only the Las Trampas Land Grant, but also all Land Grants.
All “Mexican” citizens (that chose to remain), became United States citizens with all rights and privileges as all other Unites States citizens; including the right to protection of property and that of “due process”. Only the sovereign changed, all personal property was to remain unchanged and respected as if the sovereign had not changed. The Territory of New Mexico later enacted the Organic Act, which reaffirmed property protection rights of citizens – reaffirming that no law would be enacted that could/would interfere with the established system of land ownership IAW the International Law. All rights would be honored and allowed to continue… as before the change of sovereign governing nations. No law, could be enacted to violate the property rights of land grants, that had been granted by former sovereigns of Spain or Mexico (see Land Title Study, White, Koch, Kelly & McCarthy, State Planning Office, 1971 and Robert J. Torres, State Historian, The Enduring Legacy of Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in New Mexico, 12 pages, Statement to US House of Representatives, 26 March 1998
However, beginning with the Court of Private Claims Act of 1854, owners of land grants struggled to keep their lands that had been granted to them by the sovereign governments of Spain and Mexico. Even the Homestead Act of 1862 was a means of displacing indigents by encouraging colonization by the people of Europe (most of whom were fleeing religious persecution).
And in 1884, the Territory of New Mexico adopted the Partitioning Laws and Adverse Possession (laws of English design). These were the primary laws that lawyers and greedy speculators used to segregate the common lands from the newest indigents, now citizens of the United States of America, Heirs of the Las Trampas Land Grant and other Land Grants (see also David Benavidez, Lawyer-Induced Partitioning of New Mexico Land Grants, An Ethical Travesty, Thesis paper by David Benavidez, Rio Grande Valley Library System, Special Collections). These citizens, owners of land grants, were at a great disadvantage for many reasons:
- American Laws were written in English
- These laws were “foreign” concepts to the indigent Spanish & Indian populations
- Most could not read, write, speak nor understand the English language
- Indigent citizens did not have access to legal council
- Rural self-sustaining barter lifestyles could not easily convert to a cash economy.
- Indigent peoples placed their trust in “American lawyers’ to defend their rights.
The Legal System of the United States of America, did not have adequate “checks & balances” to prevent abuses by it’s own lawyers and judges. Lawmakers and law enforcers and even those appointed to oversee justice in the “law” seemed to allow their greed and hunger for power, land & gold to dictate their every move; and it appears to have been sanctioned by the United States (see writings of Malcolm Ebright & William deBuys). We therefore assert that the most evident tactic was to simply ignore the International Law of Conquest, Kearny Code, the Territorial Organic Law and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and also Gadsden Treaty; all of which were supposed to have been “Supreme Law”… and thus, many people lost their “common lands” and their means of survival.
Additionally, in 1935, New Mexico instituted a new Tax Law. I believe and assert that it does not apply to deeds granted by the United States of America. In the case of the Las Trampas Community Land Grant, “…the towns, settlements or segregations…” of the Las Trampas Land Grant were not partitioned legally; nor should/could they have been declared “fee simple”. Therefore the Taos County clerk erred, when she “sold” the property belonging to the heirs of the Las Trampas Land Grant to the state of New Mexico — due to unpaid taxes going back to 8 December 1935. Taxes had been paid since 1914, and now they were being assessed against individuals, rather than against one entity.
Chapter 27, Section 24 of the 1934 Tax Laws of the State of New Mexico reads as follows:
“… no person shall be permitted to question the title acquired by deed of the treasurer, without first showing that he, or the person under whom he claims title to the property, had title thereto at the time of sale, or that title was obtained from the United States…”
“…, in all cases where the owner of the land sold for taxes shall resist the validity of such tax title, such owner may prove fraud committed by the officer selling the said lands, or in the purchaser, to defeat the same, and, if fraud is established, such title shall be void.”
I thank you for your time and consideration. I have listed a few cases that help me to form the above opinion. If you ask your legal department to confirm my understanding of them, they should confirm the same.
Bert M. Lucero, Trustee
LTLGA (Trampas Community Land Grant)
cell phone: [hidden]