News outlets from across the State of Florida recently reported on a lawsuit I filed in the Florida Supreme Court which challenges the perpetual use of senior judges across the state.
This lawsuit raises critical questions about just how far even the highest court’s powers extend. There is no question in my mind that Florida’s courts are acting far in excess of what the Constitution provides when they ignore the limitations placed on every other judge with the installation of hundreds of judges across the state who sit in perpetual service. The Constitution in clear…NO JUDGE MAY SERVE….which is modified only one place with a sentence that allows judges to serve in a “temporary” capacity.
The Supreme Court has not substantively addressed this issue in over a decade, but now is the time. There is far more at stake here than simply the use of retired judges….the real issue is the fact that Florida’s judicial system is funded with less than 1% of the state budget and this number decreases every year.
Plain and simple, if the court system cannot properly advocate for its own self…citizens cannot have any faith that individual rights will be protected.
Here’s the story:
A petition filed with Florida’s top court this week seeks a major shake-up in the way judges are assigned to hear cases in at least two counties and perhaps throughout the state.
Although retired “senior” judges helped reduce a significant backlog of foreclosure litigation caused by the mortgage meltdown of the Great Recession, that crisis is over and it is time to go back to the system anticipated by the Florida constitution, says a petition for a writ of prohibition filed by two Pinellas County lawyers for clients Diane and Dominic Bengivengo.
A Tampa Bay Business Journal story reporting on the filing doesn’t expressly state what interest the Bengivengos have in the matter, but the writ challenges an administrative order by the chief judge of the state’s 6th Judicial Circuit, covering Pinellas and Pasco Counties. It authorizes the assignment of senior judges in mortgage foreclosure cases.