In my practice, I defend homeowners facing foreclosure in the Tampa, St. Petersburg area. Currently, and over the years, I have had the great pleasure of representing thousands of homeowners across the State of Florida who face a David v. Goliath battle that pits them, often families of limited means, against the most powerful and well-funded, corrupt corporate entities that ravage the world today.
The banks are corrupt corporate cabals who have been permitted to ravage this nation’s economy. They have stolen trillions from this generation, and worse, they have stolen trillions from our children and from our grandchildren. Not only have they been permitted to do so, they have been given help, encouragement and received direct assistance, they have received material aid and support from the state and federal governments that had a duty to protect and defend the citizens and communities who have been ravaged by the reckless and criminal conduct of these institutions.
And while the state and federal governments may have settled with them. And while the state and federal governments may have accepted bribes, payoffs, settlements. And while the state and federal governments may have signed treaties, waived white flags of surrender, abdicated their offices and surrendered, I have not.
I took an oath to protect and defend my clients, my constituents, my community and I have not forsaken that oath. I will continue to defend my clients. I will continue to respect and honor the trust my clients have given to me. Even though the governments, state and federal, have forsaken them.
The settlements reached between the federal government and the banking cabals should not be the end of the inquiries, the end of enforcement, the end of investigation and advocacy that state governments and state legislators should be engaging in. Quite the contrary. The direct and explicit admissions of serious and systematic wrongdoing on the part of these institutions should be the beginning of new enforcement and additional regulations passed not just in the State of Florida, but in every state of this frayed and fractured union. The State of California passed its Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, and Florida should do the same. In fact, the California bill should be the model for states all across this country.
Currently, Florida’s underfunded court system is responding to demands and explicit directions, handed down to them from Tallahassee that they must:
CLEAR THE FORECLOSURE DOCKET!
In the recent past, the infamous era of the Foreclosure Rocket Docket, this meant that Judgments of Foreclosure were handed down in seconds, with scarce attention to detail and little consideration of the much larger issues that were presented in many of those cases. The Rocket Docket era ended when the Robo Signing era was finally admitted. Both periods represent the darkest and most shameful periods in our state’s civil justice system, modern day equivalents of the Civil Rights or Equal Rights era. Today’s homeowners are yesterday’s people of color, yesterday’s women….our grandmothers and mothers. People who faced a legal system, an entire government that was aligned against them.
It has been absolutely, undeniably clear that at many times during the ebb and flow of this current battle that pits the American people, and the citizens of the State of Florida on one side against The Banks and The Governments on another, that later have in fact been working against the former. The Governments have in fact conspired with The Banks to make the work of abusing The People easier. The evidence of this is spelled out quite clearly in the various settlements, friendly indictments and consent judgments.
The function of state government, and elected state officials in this delusion of a federalist system is not to protect the national, the multinational cabals that have run roughshod over this sovereign state. The function of elected state legislators, elected local sheriffs, elected local judges is not to protect, reward and defend these foreign entities who have not even bothered to register or make formal, legal appearance in this state. The function of our state and local governments is to protect those people who they claim to represent.
And if in fact this is true, if in fact the fundamental and essential understanding of this federalist republic is still being recognized by these elected officials, then they must begin to understand that protecting their neighbors, their communities, their local courts and sheriffs must be their primary goal.
We must elevate the goal of keeping our neighbors in their homes over and above protecting the profit streams and income payments flowing to these criminal organizations, in the case of HSBC and LIBOR and Barclays, where the facts are just so clear. We must make it a priority to have our courts and our sheriffs and our schools properly funded. Faster foreclosures, as it is currently being executed, does not do this.
Even if you deny that this goal should be our priority, our courts and our sheriffs and our communities are not being properly compensated for this morally and practically improper exercise in acting as debt collectors and debt enforcers for the federal government and foreign entities.
Foreclosure today, in this complex world of fraudulent and fractional finance is not just about throwing our neighbor into the street. Foreclosure is collecting debts, debts of questionable lineage, for the federal government…in the case of Fannie and Freddie, or for foreign governments….in the case of the foreign trusts…so that these debts can be liquidated and sold, to foreign nations like China, in the case of Fannie Mae Bulk Sales or to hedge funds and Wall Street vultures, in the case of the institutional purchasers at “public” foreclosure auctions or in their opaque private sales.
Now I have a real problem with court system, being pressured by the legislative and executive branches to meet a direct and specific quota, a number tied directly to court funding, an explicit directive that has gone out statewide, handed down from above, from Tallahassee that:
FLORIDA’S COURTS MUST CLEAR X AMOUNT OF FORECLOSURE CASES…..OR ELSE!
Did you get that? Did you catch what I just said? I said that a specific directive has been issued that the courts of my state are directed and demanded to perform judicial functions at a specific rate and output…as a condition of funding. Chew on that one for a little while folks. Run that through your Rube Golberg of Constitutional function machine.
Now, taking a deep breather here, I will say that in my own sandbox, here in Florida’s Sixth Judicial Circuit, what will happen with this directive is what has always happened…in my personal experience. From the Chief Judge, to the Cirucuit Judges to the honorable Senior Judges…and all the court staff and Sheriffs of this county…..when consumers and citizens of this county meet their judicial system, their judges, their sheriffs, they see a system which functions in balance. Courtrooms are open, both Plaintiff and Defendant, attorney and Pro Se Defendant are treated with equal fairness and respect. In this Circuit…and frankly, for what I see largely in the surrounding areas, I see a court and a process functioning exactly the way our nation’s founding forefather’s intended. Good judges, accountable to an elected citizenry, to those people they go to churches and synagogues and grocery stores and schools with, meting out blind and balanced justice, with care and concern both for the individual cases, for the individual person and with respect for the larger consequences and complex issues our nation faces.
Forgive me for that digression, but I am proud of how my court system, and the good judges, Plaintiff’s and Defense attorneys practice in this area. The rest of the nation would do well to adopt our practice as the model of proper function nationwide.
None of this of course can be captured or comprehended in the context of the misguided and completely misunderstood debate that will occur in Florida’s state capitol. But the consequences of all this cannot be avoided….