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Foreclosure Defense Florida

Florida’s Chief Justice On The Foreclosure/Court Funding Showdown…

First, read the Florida Bar Journal article which features the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court discussing the severe funding shortfall our third branch of government is facing RIGHT NOW.   The most critical thing to understand is that Florida’s court’s receive less than 1% of the entire state government budget.   Worse, the legislature set up an unworkable funding mechanism which is frankly utterly dependent upon filing fees to keep the lights of the people’s courtrooms on.

It’s so important that we all understand just how all of this is perceived by normal everyday citizens.   To that end, I wanted to share commentary I received from a friend and reader of this blog, David Acosta from Case Clarity….please take a read and let me know what you think….

I just read the Florida Bar News article Courts could still run short of funds by Gary Blankenship, which starts:   ” Florida courts still face the prospect of running out of money because foreclosure filings are lagging behind predictions, according to Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady”.

Utterly astonishing.   Chief Justice Canady and other in the judiciary appear to be feening for the money flowing into the Florida court system from foreclosure filings as a key source of funding.   Let’s put that into perspective.   Florida courts planned on, expected, then received and now long for the mass amounts of money from filing fees when foreclosure lawsuits are started against homeowners.   The good justice now indicates that without these filing fees the court system is running without enough cash.

Think about that for a moment.   Florida courts are not funded because not enough people are being sued for foreclosure and displaced from their homes.   How in the world does anyone read this and believe that Florida courts can be fair and impartial in lawsuits intended to take away people’s homes?   A third-grader can see the bias here.   What is even more astonishing is that the courts and the lawmakers actually banked on this form of revenue in advance of the massive filings as part of their budgeting process.  Judges and legislators knew that their fellow Floridians would be suffering through this crisis.   But that did not matter because the filing fees were needed to fund the courts.   And, appropriations that would have otherwise gone into the court system was channeled elsewhere.

It’s no small wonder that the judges are reluctant to bite the hand that feeds the budget of the judiciary.   Why would a circuit court judge risk rocking the boat when the entire judiciary is counting on the continued flow of money from foreclosure filing fees?   A ruling against the banks here and there, ok, par for the course.   But real justice requires independence, impartiality and fairness that comes from being detached from the outcome of the controversies brought for resolution before Florida courts.   Well, where is the detachment?   There is no detachment.   A glaring conflict of interest is being overlooked, and indeed encouraged, by the very leadership of all three branches of government.   This all works very nicely for foreclosing plaintiffs.   After all, no judge wants to be the bad guy/gal that causes the flow of money to stop.   Right?

Think about the effect this recent self-imposed moratorium has had on the judiciary.   It’s been a wakeup call.   I can almost hear the banks saying ” now do you see how much you need our money?”.   How can anyone doubt that the courts and legislators will welcome back foreclosing plaintiffs when foreclosure filings begin again.   Reliance the filing fees, lack of detachment and reluctance to rule in ways that could compromise the flow of money coming into the judiciary coffers, which is well beyond an appearance of conflict of interest, is a recipe for disastrous results for homeowners looking to get a fair hearing or trial in Florida circuit courts.   Have the banks and mortgage servicing companies actually found a way to influence the formerly independent judiciary.   Adding legislators and the entire executive branch.   No wonder everyone is having trouble believing what is happening in this state.   I have a hard time believing that a majority of Florida circuit court judges are not troubled over of this situation.

To make matters even worse, notwithstanding the fact that most foreclosure defendants stopped paying their mortgage at some point, thousands of judgments have given the right to the property, or the proceeds from the sale of the property, to entities that had no right of action in the first place.   It’s not enough that our families, friends and neighbors are suffering a financial crisis, but to grant speedy foreclosure judgments to thieves while displacing real people from their communities is mind boggling.   The view from the bench directed at homeowners:   ” well, you didn’t pay so the ruling is for the plaintiff ““ regardless of whether they are entitled to judgment or not”.   In other words, ” it’s not my fault – I don’t see a problem here”.

Bottom line is that Florida legislators have deliberately created a situation that has compromised the integrity of our courts by the appropriations and budgeting process.   But it did not have to be this way.   Judges should not have to be worrying about their retirement fund, appropriations for the proper functioning of the courts or about the drop in foreclosure filings and related fees.   That is not their role.   We elect judges and entrust them to dispense justice fairly and with the cold neutrality required to even-handedly decide controversies.   They are human and have a right to be concerned about the state of the judiciary.   Push enough concern their way; burden them with anxieties over the prospects and impact of improper rulings against foreclosing plaintiffs; sell them on the idea that faster foreclosures will lead to a quicker economic recovery and the neutrality goes away.   Impartiality gone.   Hello bias and fast foreclosures.

Thank you legislators.   You have fallen, willingly or foolishly, for this scheme and outcome which was concocted by the same people who crafted the greatest swindle in world history. And, aided by members of the judiciary and executive branch, you did this in a way that has destroyed confidence in Florida leadership and our system of justice.   How can any part of this be good for Florida?   It’s only good if this situation leads Floridians to take notice, get mad, positively channel that energy to change the way things are done here.   Are you ready to move to action?