Anyone who has been in the space of consumer law for any period time knows that there are terribly unfortunate things happening both to our courts and to those that appear in our courts. The attorneys that dare to stand up and speak for consumers are subject to attacks and abuse, while the attorneys that represent banks are routinely helped along, coddled and supported by a court system that is far more interested in granting foreclosure judgments than in fulfilling the obligation to be fair and equal.
The truth of this statement can be seen by the way in which across the entire state courts devote the entirety of taxpayer resources in ways that will only result in judgments for plaintiffs. All day long, all across this state plaintiffs get all the hearing time they need for final judgments and summary judgments. But defendants can forget about getting hearing time for motions or hearings that will support defendant objectives. In some circuits, entire court procedures have been devoted to denying homeowner motions, almost always denying them…so that they case can be teed up for an easy foreclosure trial or summary judgment.
In most parts of the state now, foreclosures are disposed of nearly entirely not by regular circuit court judges but by retired or senior judges. As I allege in the petition filed with the Florida Supreme Court, the perpetual assignment of senior judges deprives citizens of important Constitutional rights…read on…
There can be no dispute with the proposition that it is the highest duty and obligation of the Florida Supreme Court to protect the Constitutional rights of the citizens of this State. Clearly this obligation and duty exists no matter who the party is that is violating the Constitutional rights of citizens. But when it is the judicial system itself that is systematically violating the rights of citizens, it becomes all the more imperative that this Court takes seriously its duty both of self examination and its obligation to protect and enforce the Constitutional rights of citizens.
In this petition, Diane L. Bengivengo, individually and as trustee of the Augusta 2020 Land Trust, and Dominic Bengivengo (collectively “the Petitioners”) asks this high court to examine the clear and distinct Constitutional protections provided to the citizens of this state found in Art. V, § 8 of the Florida Constitution which provides explicit protections to the citizens of this state against the unfettered power of the judicial branch, specifying distinct qualifications on who may exercise the power of this state’s judiciary. With the heading title, “Eligibility,” this section of Florida’s Constitution makes clear that “No Person shall be eligible for office of justice or judge…” unless that person meets the specifically articulated provisions of this section. These clear restrictions are modified with only one exception, namely the very narrow provision found in Art. V § 2(b) that allows “consenting retired justices or judges, to temporary duty in any court for which the judge is qualified….”
But despite the clear restrictions found in Florida’s Constitution, for far too long the trial courts of this state have ignored the limitations placed on the judicial branch and are forcing the citizens to appear before retired judges who serve in a permanent capacity, in direct violation of the Art. V § 8, Fla. Const. This petition therefore asks this Court to carefully consider the eligibility requirements found in Art. V, § 8 and determine why this section exists. Why does Art. V, § 8 require judges to live in the “territorial jurisdiction of the court?” Why does the Florida Constitution prohibit judges from serving, “after attaining the age of seventy years?” Why are judges required to face electors in order to qualify for retention as articulated in Art. V, § 10(a)? And finally, why does the Florida Constitution provide distinct subject matter restrictions on the offices held by circuit and county court judges as found in Art. V, § 20?