The press and many elected and appointed leaders in Tallahassee and across the country in fact continue to rattle on about a foreclosure “crisis” that they assert exists in this state. It is well documented but still infuriating that the Florida Legislature continues to repeat a totally incorrect statement that,
It Takes 853 Days to Foreclose in Florida!
No it doesn’t. No it doesn’t. No it doesn’t! Yet no matter how many times informed people repeat this response, the industry and ill informed policy makers continue to toss that statement out there as part of their campaign to attack and malign our state’s judicial system. The fact of the matter is, Florida’s court system is dramatically underfunded, receiving less than 1% of the state’s budget…but that’s not enough….legislative leaders continue to attack.
Now in the middle of a foreclosure slog that is bogging down courts and sapping scare resources, Tallahassee is handing down demands and edicts that Florida’s courts
CLEAR THIS FORECLOSURE DOCKET!
And while other parts of the state are dealing with these improper pressures in a variety of improper ways, I can say with great confidence that Pinellas County’s Sixth Judicial Circuit is moving right along, processing foreclosures but above all else, respecting due process, the rights of homeowners and showing great care and attention to the most critical aspects of the rights of consumers.
Consumers, activists, reporters, who walk into Pinellas County courtrooms will find lots of wide open spaces, fair treatment and clear and distinct rules that apply to attorneys and parties alike. No favoritism to any party, no preference….even for attorneys. Bank attorneys don’t camp out at the court tables, taking up all the space and monopolizing the courtroom. Everyone sits together and waits their turn. This is terribly important because consumers see that there is no favoritism, there are no double standards and not even a whiff of preference for banks or for any other party for that matter.
And in this environment, attorneys and parties work together….just like our Rules of Professional Conduct require. We negotiate, we argue, we twist and cajole one another…knowing full well that the judge is going to interrogate both of us to make sure we have tried to resolve the dispute prior to using precious court time. And lo and behold, we often resolve things….often entire cases…without using tax resources.
Things are not perfect. Oftentimes attorneys argue bitterly and disagree passionately about many, many issues within the cases…but the system in place forces us to exhaust our efforts to work those things out.
Now this isn’t anything new in Pinellas County…throughout the “crisis” things have largely been carried out this way…..this all stands as a real testament to the judges and elected leaders that govern this circuit.
It’s most encouraging to note that it’s not just Pinellas County anymore where this occurs…the same general procedures and attitudes are clearly evident throughout the west coast, with Hillsborough County and Sarasota County being clear examples of fair and open courtrooms where rights and procedures are respected.
Because things are working, I’d prefer that our court systems and judges be allowed to continue working things out….rather than be forced to contend with mandates handed down from Tallahassee…..