“Good faith color of title”

“Good faith color of title”

“…, is not really a question of clarity in the document.   It is an issue concerning whether the deed was created by persons operating at arm’s length, with no intent to obfuscate.”   (OBFUSCATE: darken, to darken, to make obscure or unclear, to be evasive, to confuse, confuse or confusing, muddle, perplex, cloud, bewilder, or stupefy).

“Issues such as whether one had a good reason to believe that the grantor had good title…,” (GOOD TITLE: n. ownership of real property which is totally free of claims against it and therefore can be sold, transferred, or put up as security (placing a mortgage or deed of trust on the property) 

“…, to the land when executing the deed and whether good and valuable consideration…,” (GOOD AND VALUABLE CONSIDERATION: In early Common Law nominal consideration was sufficient to establish a contract. The consideration could be as small as a peppercorn or a cent as long as it demonstrated that the parties intended to enter into an agreement. Eventually, the courts developed the requirement of valuable consideration, but what constitutes it has varied over time. Valuable consideration does not necessarily have to be equal in value to what is received, and it need not be translatable into dollars and cents. It is sufficient for the consideration to consist of a performance or a promise to perform that the promisor (the person making the promise) regards as having value. It is not essential that the person to whom the consideration moves should be benefited, provided the person from whom it moves is, in a legal sense, injured. The injury can consist of refusing to sue on a disputed claim or to exercise a legal right. The alteration in position is regarded as a detriment that forms consideration independent of the actual value of the right relinquished.)

“…,was given for the deed arise in this context.   All the circumstances surrounding the execution and delivery of the deed may be called into question.”

This definition of “good faith color of title” is directly applicable to the issue at hand regarding two deeds created by Juan Bautista Lucero, June 1973 (Juan B Lucero and Maria Lucero to Judy E. Lucero Book A-129, page 155 and Juan B Lucero and Maria Lucero Cathy L Lucero Book A-129. page 156).  But, before we discuss these two deeds, let’s consider the Issue, such as whether one had a good reason to believe that the grantor, Juan Bautista Lucero, had good title by looking at the only recorded deed in the name of Juan Bautista Lucero (for the subject property in question) prior to June 1973: Jose Arturo Lucero to Juan B. Lucero, Dec 1958, Book A-57, page 90 (A conveyance of property for which Jose Arturo Lucero denied in CV 98-355 and for in reply, in that quiet title suit, his attorneys created a deed from Jose Arturo Lucero to Bert Lucero, Book A-251, pages 847-851, recorded 3 February 1999, by my attorney, Mr. Andres Vargas):

Un Thecha de terra de cinco y medio acres de norte a sice y con lealo como sigue:

North                       Camino Publico

South                       Floresta National

East                          Lucas Lucero

West                        Arturo Lucero

(Jose Arturo Lucero to Juan B Lucero – 5 Feb 1958, Book A-57, page 90)

(OBFUSCATE: darken, to darken, to make obscure or unclear, to be evasive, to confuse, confuse or confusing, muddle, perplex, cloud, bewilder, or stupefy).

 Is this a clear title?  To which of the three roads indicated in the 1945 Reassessment Survey 15, Maps 29 or 30 did the North boundary imply?  Unless you know the North boundary and where the land owned by Lucas Lucero on the East and Arturo Lucero on the West; how is one to know where the boundaries of these 5.5 acres are actually located?  What are the length & width dimensions?  In which tract or tracts did this land reside?   Did Juan Bautista Lucero have “good title”?

(GOOD TITLE: n. ownership of real property which is totally free of claims against it and therefore can be sold, transferred, or put up as security (placing a mortgage or deed of trust on the property) 

What if…, this deed to Juan Bautista Lucero was indeed created against the knowledge of Jose Arturo Lucero; would it be void or a voidable deed?   In my research of the Taos Archives, I found a copy of the hand written “Spanish Warranty Deed” conveyance, wherein there are a few suspicious variations of Jose Arturo Lucero’s name: “Ariuro” “Arturo”, “Aitioro” and finally signed by Jose “Arttro Lucero”.

(Specifically, if the deed is void, it does not pass title and cannot be enforced even if recorded and even if title is later acquired by a bona fide purchaser. (Gibson v. Westoby (1953) 115 Cal.App.2d 273.) For example, a forged deed is considered void. (Handy v. Shiells (1987) 190 Cal.App.3d 512.) A deed executed in blank, without designation of a grantee, is also void. (Bryce v. O’Brien (1936) 5 Cal. 2d 615.) In either of these situations, subject to certain exceptions, if the person who recorded the void deed subsequently transfers the property to a bona fide purchaser, the rightful property owner can still quiet title against the bona fide purchaser.   In contrast, if the title is voidable, the grantor can choose to rescind the deed against the grantee, but title may be enforced by a bona fide purchaser. For example, a deed is voidable if it was obtained by fraud in the inducement. (Fallon v. Triangle Management Services (1985) 169 Cal.App.3d 1104.) In that situation, the deed is voidable but valid with respect to a bona fide purchaser or encumbrancer for value.)   http://www.schorr-law.com/voidabledeeds/

This was a conveyance of property that Jose Arturo Lucero denied in 1998 (See CV 98-355).  In reply to that quiet title suit, Jose Arturo Lucero’s attorneys prepared the deed from Jose Arturo Lucero to Bert Lucero and which was recorded 3 February 1999, by my attorney, Mr. Andres Vargas in Book A-251, pages 847-851.

Stone v. French (1887)

Facts: Although recorded, French’s deed was void for lack of delivery. Stone, who was unaware that the deed was void, bought the land from French.

Issue: Does the recording of a void deed validate a transfer of an interest in land represented by the void deed?

Rule: A void deed, though recorded, is still void and a purchaser of realty from a person holding under a void recorded deed, though in fact a bona fide purchaser cannot obtain a good or valid title.

Now, proceeding to the deeds that Juan Bautista Lucero created in June 1973; and knowing that his only deed of record in 1973 was for 5.5 acres (Juan B Lucero and Maria Lucero to Judy E. Lucero Book A-129, page 155 and Juan B Lucero and Maria Lucero Cathy L Lucero Book A-129. page 156), many entries are duplicated almost verbatim in both deeds.  Would not the assumption be…, that whatever was deeded…, the total acreage allotted…, would be 5.5 acres?   Does this not show intent to obfuscate “good faith” and “color of title”?  Can anyone…, identify…, where the 5.5 acres are located?  How about the boundaries?

(OBFUSCATE: darken, to darken, to make obscure or unclear, to be evasive, to confuse, confuse or confusing, muddle, perplex, cloud, bewilder, or stupefy).

                                 Book A-129, page 155                                     Book A-129. page 156

First Entry              Deed to Judy 25 varas                                         Deed to Cathy 25 varas

North       Public Road                                              North       Public Road

                                South       US Forrest                                                 South       US Road

                                East          Cthy Lucero                                              East          Juan B Lucero

                                West         Cathy Lucero                                            West         Juan B Lucero

Second Entry        Deed to Judy 21 yards                                        Deed to Cathy 21 yards

North       Public Road                                              North       Public Road             

                                South       US Forrest                                                 South       US Forest

                                East          Cathy Lucero                                            East          Juan D. Lucero

                                West         Estevan Q Quintana                                  West        Estevan Quintana

 Third Entry            Deed to Judy 37.5’                                               Deed to Cathy 37.5’

                                North       Public Road                                              North       Public Road

                                South       US Forrest                                                 South       US Forrest

                                East          Cathy Lucero                                            East          Juan B. Lucero

                                West         Jose A. Lucero                                           West        Jose A Lucero

 Forth Entry:           Deed to Judy 12 – ½ varas                                  Deed to Cathy 37.5 feet

North       Public Road                                              North       Public Road

                                South       US Forest                                                  South       US Forrest

                                East          Cathy Lucero                                            East          Pilar Fresquez

                                West        Juan B Lucero                                           West         Juan B. Lucero

Fifth Entry:            Deed to Judy   Two acres & three quarters             Deed to Cathy   2.5 acres

North       Public Road                                              North       Public Road

                                South       US Forest                                                  South       US Forrest

                                East          Cathy Lucero                                            East          Lucas Lucero

                                West        Arturo Lucero                                           West         Arturo Lucero

 Sixth Entry:            Deed to Judy   One two Room House                     Deed to Cathy   Two Boot House

North       J.D. Lucero                                                North       J. D. Lucero

                                South       Mr. Woods                                                South       Property of Mr. Woods

                                East          Cathy Lucero                                            East          Jose Arturo Lucero

                                West        Juan B Lucero                                           West        Juan Amadeo Lucero

 Regarding adverse possession laws in general,  the idea of “adverse possession” is apparently a fairly old legal doctrine that was designed to encourage landowners to make beneficial use of their land.   Although Judy and Cathy Lucero acquired deeds purporting to give them title to 60 plus acres; I question if they even tried to make beneficial use of their land and/or if they met the requirements for adverse possession?  I personally…, think not.  But, perhaps the judicial court system has a better understanding of the law, than I do.   Any, and all, existing structures were removed by 1976.

  • Under most adverse possession laws, a trespasser must openly inhabit and improve a property, or even a small part, for a determined amount of time to gain legal title to the property.
  • New Mexico law requires an individual to occupy property for at least 10 years before ownership could change hands.
  • If a piece of property has been used by someone other than the owner for a number of years, the doctrine of adverse possession may apply.
  • State laws vary with respect to time requirements; however, typically, the possession by the non-owner needs to be open, notorious, and under a claim of right.

I also, do not really understand, why my documents are under scrutiny.   I was the one who initiated CV 98-355 in 1998 — to clear this entire clouded situation once and for all.  When Judge Peggy Nelson mandated that we settle this via mediation; Judy and Cathy agreed to get their abstracts and to commission surveys for each of their deeds (Juan B Lucero and Maria Lucero to Judy E. Lucero Book A-129, page 155 and Juan B Lucero and Maria Lucero Cathy L Lucero Book A-129. page 156) and we would sort out the issue.   They tried to get me to pay for ½ of the expense.   I refused, but I did agree to pay for ½ of any fences constructed.  They have yet to do so; and thus far, I have been the only one to pay for any fences, constructed.

When I obtained title in 1988, My experience with the legal system was limited.   As a result of my research and attempted Quiet Title Suit (CV 98-355, 1988), I have learned a few pieces of this particular situation.   Observing that the attorneys for my uncle, Jose Arturo Lucero, prepared the deed to me, which was recorded on 3 February 1999, by my attorney, Mr. Andres Vargas in Book A-251, pages 847-851; I chose to duplicate the tactic, transferring only whatever “…, title, claim, rights and interest…” my father had in the subject property and also for the purpose of listing supporting chain of title documents (deeds), in-so-much, that future generations would have some guidance (Book A-3510, pages 916-917, 3 July 2000).   This document did not transfer any land nor was it intended to obfuscate!

Bert Lucero 4 December 2016

Author: Bert Lucero

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