For a very long time now, myself and other attorneys and advocates have been sounding alarms about the long term damage short cuts taken in the the foreclosure process are having not just on those who are in foreclosure, but on court systems across this country.
Although our courts are overwhelmed and our judges and staff have not been provided anywhere near the resources they need to deal with this crisis, there are many good judges across this state who have recently become aware that these problems are very real and these judges are now taking very hard looks at files that pass through their courtrooms. It’s no secret that the judges in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida in particular are closely scrutinizing their files and that the standards of practice in these courts are among the toughest in the state.
Last month I first published the latest and most clear example of the emerging phenomena of judges really recognizing that disturbing trends are emerging in foreclosure courtrooms. I again include that transcript below, but I also enclose two motions that are the follow up to that hearing. Regular readers will recall that in a Motion to Reconsider a Summary Judgment hearing, Pinellas Judge Rondolino became concerned that not only was something not right in the case before him, but in a great many of other cases that were pending before his court. His response was as follows:
” You know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see in one of these cases where a defense attorney cross-examines, takes the deposition of these people and we can see whether they should be charged with perjury for all these affidavits.”
Well my friend and fellow Foreclosure Fraud Fighter Michael Wasylik immeidately attempted to fulfill his obligations to the court and schedule the deposition as the judge had suggested…what was the response from the attorneys from The Law Offices of David Stern (or more accurately David J. Stern Enterprises, Inc.)..the short layman’s version of their response is, “We don’t agree with the good judge, we don’t think Mr. Wasylik should be permitted to take the deposition as suggested by the judge.” (Given the judge’s explicit direction, the response is in practical terms is in fact not nearly that polite or respectful.) But you judge for yourself. The competing motions are attached below, as is the original hearing transcript (which is far more interesting reading):
The Motion for Protective Order is frankly absurd. The bottom line is if you’re going to provide testimony to a court. If you’re going to stand before a judge and swear to facts or evidence that you’re asking the court to consider (that’s what an affidavit is), you’d damn sure better be willing to sit for questioning about that testimony under oath. The foreclosure mills seem not to understand this because the standard practice if forced to testify under oath is to move to withdraw the questionable evidence and shield the affiant from testifying. (Search also “Cullaro” for another example of a mill fighting bloody hell to prevent a witness from being submitted to questioning under oath.)
Anyway, back to the much larger issues confronting courts all across this state. The pressure to “push foreclosure judgments through” is contributing to a fundamental breakdown in the rule of law and a degradation of the judiciary in general. This breakdown will be dramatically accelerated as more and more courts move to establish “rocket dockets” or when judges operating normal dockets fail to hold foreclosure cases to the same standards of law and rules that all other areas of the law are held to. The short term outcome of such practices may indeed be pushing cases through, but the long-term consequences are profoundly dramatic and potentially catastrophic. Those who recognized this early on will be looked to provide leadership to help find our way out of the incredible mess that was allowed to be created.
And finally, the one document that I insist every person who subscribes to this blog must read….