We’ve noted that in many states judges play a key role in determining whether foreclosure cases fly through on the word of the banks or whether they’ll be subjected to fresh scrutiny in light of the foreclosure scandal.

Invited to testify before a House judiciary panel this week, one judge—a justice on New York’s supreme court—said he’s seeing problems in foreclosure cases “on a recurrent basis.”

“Standing has become such a pervasive issue,” wrote Judge H. Dana Winslow in a submitted testimony, “that I frequently use the term ‘presumptive mortgagee in foreclosure’ to describe the Plaintiff Mortgagee” claiming to have the right to enforce the foreclosure.

He noted that in addition to the questionable signatures and notarizations on key documents, parties trying to enforce foreclosures often fail to produce the promissory note (which shows a borrower's obligation to repay the lender), produce the wrong note, or use lost-note affidavits ($), which are documents that claim that the original note is lost and cannot be recovered, though this isn't always true.

The information in the foreclosure documents doesn’t always match title records kept by the County Clerk, he noted. And notes are sometimes assigned to the party trying to foreclose after the foreclosure process has been initiated, which according to some state courts does not confer legal standing.

His proposed solution to untangling the foreclosure mess? “A paradigm change” that focuses on the homeowners’ ability to pay, Winslow testified, and not on “artificial financial requirements” by banks.

Read the testimony for more details.

Inform our investigations: Do you have information or expertise relevant to this story? Help us and journalists around the country by sharing your stories and experiences.