We live in a time of open corporate warfare on consumers. And in Florida, that warfare is an especially aggressive form. In Florida, consumers are hit from every single direction, with a legislature that hands out sweetheart deals to favored political supporters. They don’t call them bribes anymore, because the amount of money that changes hand for these deals far transcends what we comfortably call bribes. Bribes are for small time politicos, campaign contributions signal that you’ve hit the big time:
Did Heritage Property and Casualty Corp. get a corporate care package because it had donated more than $140,000 to Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida?
Did lawmakers decide it was a good idea to rubber stamp these private schools because K12 donated nearly $50,000 to legislators and the Republican Party of Florida?
A mere coincidence.
HCA, which once paid the largest Medicare fraud settlement in history, benefited more than any other for-profit. HCA’s windfall was nearly double the total of all the state’s nonprofits combined.Now if you believe in cause-and-effect, you might assume HCA’s $1.6 million in campaign donations had something to do with this.
But I digress, this is a blog about foreclosure abuses. And while the corruption in the legislative branch is blatant, direct and unrelenting, fueled directly by cash, there’s some more subtle occurring in courtrooms all across the state, from rocket docket side rooms to wide open free for all assembly line “courtrooms” and all the way up to appellate courts, formerly bastions of protected judicial thought and careful consideration.
Florida’s foreclosure courts, and in fact, Florida’s entire judicial character is under a different sort of attack. The attack is not (directly at least) a frontal attack from business interests, paying their way to play and to purchase a pattern outcomes that are inconsistent with hundreds of years and long-established principals of law. No, this attack…this combined series of attacks, comes in the form of direct pressure from the legislative branch and the other nodes of power which demand that courts:
CLEAR THIS FORECLOSURE DOCKET!
And in the context of long acknowledged and industry-wide admissions of crimes and wrongdoing, screaming
CLEAR THIS FORECLOSURE DOCKET!
Its the direct equivalent of screaming
In a crowded theater. We all know that fraud and lies and forgery are the central elements in many of the foreclosure cases now pending in Florida’s courts. They admitted these exact facts in the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement and in the Lorrain Brown Guilty Plea and in so many other direct and specific ways.
But our state’s courts, rather than recognizing these facts and protecting the integrity of our nation’s legal system has decided, explicitly, that we must ignore the law. The laws must change to accommodate the lies, the fraud, the crimes committed by the banks. And so what we are treated to is appellate decision after appellate decision that chips away and destroys the collected body of law that existed, and which provided certainty and predictability, for hundreds of years.
There is apparently no consideration for blowback or for the long term consequences of destroying the bodies of law that took hundreds of years to build. Substantive law like the Uniform Commercial Code….GONE…..endorsements do not matter. Procedural Rules like Readiness For Trial….GONE. Rules of evidence like perjury and hearsay and authentication….GONE. And whatever we thought we knew about Real Property Law and title…..ELIMINATED COMPLETELY.
All of this had to give way because, after all,
YOUR CLIENT DIDN’T PAY HIS MORTGAGE….DID HE?
Individual judges are responding, directly, to very specific Orders they are being issued….
CLEAR THAT FORECLOSURE DOCKET!
And now the threat is even more direct:
IF YOU DON’T CLEAR THIS FORECLOSURE DOCKET, WE’LL BRING IN MAGISTRATES WHO WILL CLEAR THIS DOCKET!
Has anyone stopped to consider the short term implications of these policies….much less what happens in the longer term?
Is our judicial branch not intended to be more stable and impervious to the shifting sands of political and economic winds that blow in alternating and inconsistent directions? Do we not elect judges who are supposed to be guided by individual thought, by law and procedure and facts and not excel spreadsheets and Orders From Above?
And if the entirety of a judicial branch is so easily manipulated and degraded in the space of foreclosure could it withstand any real sort of challenge.