On March 1, 2010 a warrant for my arrest was signed by a Pinellas County Judge. The warrant was signed based on an affidavit of probable cause that was signed by an officer of the private company that the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office has contracted to process all their probable cause affidavits and arrest warrants. For hundreds of years, only actual deputized officers of the Sheriff’s office signed these affidavits and they were kept within the Pinellas County courts, but that process was recently contracted out to a private company.
When I appeared before the judge, I reviewed the affidavit and it was clear that whomever signed the affidavit got the facts all wrong. I’m 175 pounds, not 204. I’ve got brown hair, not white hair. I’ve got blue eyes, not brown eyes. And most importantly, I couldn’t have committed the serious felony crime the affidavit accused me of because I wasn’t even born yet on the date the affidavit said I committed the crime. When I appeared before the judge and pointed all this out her response was astonishing…while she admitted that the affidavit was totally wrong and that it was clear from its face that I could not have committed the crime, she told me, “The prosecutor admits that the affidavit is wrong and while you may not have committed this specific crime, the affidavit says you committed a crime. The prosecutor assures me that they believe you’ve committed a crime even if it’s not the crime that I’m going to sign this arrest warrant for and that’s enough information for me.”
The judge signed the arrest warrant even though she knew and the prosecutors admitted that the facts in the affidavit did not support my arrest.
There were hundreds of attorneys in the courtroom who had clients that were being arrested on precisely the same obviously wrong set of facts, but they could do nothing. The facts were all wrong, the files were all wrong, but the warrants were signed. If this weren’t bad enough, I thought about the thousands of files on the judge’s bench where no attorney were present. She was so busy and those accused had no attorney to challenge the facts in the affidavit, so the judge just signed thousands of those cases every single day.
Sorry lenders, sorry plaintiff’s attorneys, I was not arrested. The story above did not happen. Not exactly that way anyway. But every single day in courtrooms all across this country, acts no less severe than the ones I described above are happening. While an arrest is the most serious exercise of judicial power, close behind it is the judicial act of throwing a person or family out of their home. Unfortunately, this dire judicial act is being done hundreds of thousands of times across the country every day based on fraudulent information and based on facts that are in direct contradiction to taking that most severe judicial act–throwing a person out of their home.
We truly are living in a Kafaka-esque world where this scenario above plays out in courtrooms across the country every day. Lenders and their attorneys are committing gross fraud on the courts. The practice is shockingly widespread and pervasive. The lies and tactics employed by the banks and officers of the court to fulfill their ultimate goals of taking back property (to what end? who will buy them? how will the banks recover $$ even after they have taken the property back?) are becoming very well documented in depositions, SEC filings, class action lawsuits and other definitive places.
There are bright spots though….the Sixth Circuit of Pinellas County, Florida and the Second District Court of Appeals in Florida is one such place. The recent opinions released by judges from these two courts make it clear that the judges take their jobs and their solemn responsibility to their citizens seriously. The opinions that force lenders to prove their right to foreclose and challenge the improper tactics of the banks and lenders, make it clear that in their courtrooms and neighborhoods at least, the law and the rights of consumers and citizens are more important than the arrogance, bullying and abuses of nameless, faceless, shifting entities that are attempting to steal our country!
We can only hope that courts in the rest of the country will turn their gaze to Pinellas County, Florida….
The Flames of Justice Are Burning Bright!