The debate over foreclosures in Florida makes its way all the way to California:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) “” With tens of thousands of foreclosure cases clogged in the state’s courts, the Florida Supreme Court is signing off on a plan to use lawyers “” and not judges “” to handle them.
The court on Thursday issued an order that will allow chief judges across the state to use “general magistrates” to process foreclosure cases.
The order, which was approved by all seven justices, called the move a “vehicle to provide additional judicial resources to efficiently process those cases.”
But it was quickly criticized by lawyers who represent homeowners battling foreclosures.
Matt Weidner, a St. Petersburg attorney, called it an “attack on consumers.” He said people dealing with the possible loss of their homes deserve to have their cases heard by judges who are responsible to voters.
“Florida consumers need more judges and a properly funded court system, not band aids, stop gap measures and magistrates,” Weidner said in an email.
Florida “” which has had one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates since the start of the Great Recession “” has strained to deal with the number of foreclosures filed across the state. A recent report by a workgroup put together by the state court system estimated that nearly 400,000 cases are now pending in the state and 700,000 more could arise over the next three years.