The very bad things happening in Florida foreclosures courtrooms represent a very real and very dangerous decline in the standards of dignity and thoughtfulness that citizens have an absolute right to expect from the whole of our judicial system. But in the context of foreclosures, courts have just decided that it’s more important to sign foreclosure judgments than it is to carefully execute the judicial process. Here’s just one (most recent) example from Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals:
Although not raised by the parties, we are greatly concerned over the final judgment issued in this case. The trial transcript reflects that the proceedings were heard before the Honorable Sandra Taylor. At the conclusion of the foreclosure trial, she made no findings of fact or rulings of law. However, the final judgment purports to have been rendered by the Honorable Donald C. Evans, Senior Judge. Nothing in our record establishes or even hints at why a judge, other than the trial judge, entered this final judgment. The entry of a final judgment by a judge who did not preside over the trial, without more, is improper. “[A] successor judge may not enter an order or judgment based upon evidence heard by the predecessor judge.” Hartney v. Piedmont Tech., Inc., 814 So. 2d 1217, 1218 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002) (quoting Carr v. Byers, 578 So. 2d 347, 348 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991)); see also Acker v. State, 823 So. 2d 875, 876 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002) (reversing probation order where judge who signed the order did not hear the testimony of the witnesses nor could she evaluate their credibility).