Foreclosure Fraud, Rocket Dockets, Senior Judges and Judicial Bonuses
Where is the OUTRAGE???
If what I am about to present below, that was released by the Florida Bar News last week, does not infuriate you more than any other post that I have published, then I do not know what will…
If everyone who reads this takes a stand and says no more, the entire landscape will change.
Please do your part however you can, and if this makes you as angry, as it has made me, forward this to everyone you know.
The more people that know what is going on the better. I am beside myself…
And again, I quote from an attorney of over 25 years…
“We have a great battle to fight. Right now our whole Constitutional System has broken down in Florida. Judges are no longer adjudicating cases but are disposing cases. Laws, Due Process and the Constitutional protections guaranteed Honest Citizens are being thrown out the window. Judges don’t read the pleadings or the motions because they have already determined the outcome. Homeowners in foreclosure are treated less than the worst of all criminals. Access to the Courts is being denied. Defense Attorneys cannot get special set hearings so that our motions are read and a fair and just hearing is conducted. Judges are no longer independent.
In Florida, We have a constitutional crisis. This is our battle.”
Chief judges use one-time allocations to move cases
By Jan Pudlow
(My comments and replies in bold italics…)
Okay, didnt mean to start out commenting before the article started, but really? Rainy Day Dollars to move cases?
Sets the stage for what is to come I guess…
Oh, and btw, it wasn’t Rainy Day Dollars that were allocated, the funds were specifically allocated by the Supreme Court and the Legislator after the Non-Judicial Foreclosure bills failed in the house and the senate…
Sorry, to the article…
A one-time boost of $6 million to trial courts and $3.6 million to court clerks is buying desperately needed resources to dig courts out of Florida’s foreclosure backlog crisis.
Beginning July 1, that total $9.6 million in nonrecurring dollars from the Legislature has been put to work in each of Florida’s 20 circuits.
Amounts range from $862,053 for the 11th Circuit, grappling with the hugest 87,955 backlog in Miami-Dade County, to $64, 261 for the Third Circuit in rural North Florida, annoyed by a relatively paltry 1,325 foreclosure pile-up.
Nice way to start it out, ANNOYED…Now lets see, I wonder who they are annoyed at? Is it those scumbag deadbeat homeowners that took down the entire global economy, or was it the well respected foreclosing “lenders” that did nothing wrong, are completely undamaged by the transaction and can not prove up the simplest of evidence that they even have standing to be before the court? (without it being fabricated by the law firm that was hired to foreclose).
Chief judges made decisions tailored to their circuits to hire more case managers, general magistrates, and/or additional senior judge days to tackle the backlog crisis, while new cases continue to come.
As was mandated by the Florida Supreme Court, mediation must be attempted first, before setting the matter for a final hearing before a judge.
Unless you are instructed by a Senior Judge at the summary judgment hearing that you do not need mediation “if you are already talking to your lender”.
Say what? Who wasn’t talking to their lender prior to going into the court system to find some type of resolution?
Instead, the judge instructs the homeowners to go to conciliation (no cost to the “lender” and no mediator) in the hallways of the courts and accept that as mediation so the summary judgment can be granted…
Or, if not, the judge gives 60 days to mediation and 120 days to sale. How hard do you think the plaintiff’s law firm / “lender” is going to mediate after they were awarded the home?
Or, even better yet, how many times is the plaintiff’s law firm / “lender” going to reschedule the mediation to AFTER THE SALE DATE???
(Not an isolated indecent, I meant incident…)
“We’re very optimistic. Whether we can meet all the time lines remains to be seen. We will give it a shot and we just hope the shot is on target and not going off the deep end somewhere. We senior judges looking for retirement all need to be Baker Acted,” joked Senior Judge A.C. Soud, put in charge of the challenging mission to move the foreclosure backlog with renewed efficiency in the Fourth Circuit.
What the f*%$ did he just say? Baker Acted??? I think he might be on to something,
The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971 (commonly known as the “Baker Act“) is a Florida statute allowing for involuntary examination of an individual.
The Baker Act allows for involuntary examination (what some call emergency or involuntary commitment). It can be initiated by judges, law enforcement officials, physicians or mental health professionals. There must be evidence that the person
- has a mental illness (as defined in the Baker Act) and
- is a harm to self, harm to others, or self neglectful (as defined in the Baker Act).
Any Law Enforcement Officials, Physicians or Mental Health Professionals out there facing an illegal foreclosure looking to do their part?
The Fourth Circuit received $212,729 to whittle down a backlog of 21,523 cases. The goal is to clear 62 percent of the backlog, or 13,344 cases.
Most of those dollars have been spent on a full-time judicial assistant case manager and six senior judges working on foreclosures in Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties.
“It is true a good bit of resources is put into senior judge work, simply because nothing is going to be done without a judge’s signature. We are trying to use our senior judges as efficiently as possible on a rotating basis,” Judge Soud said.
“It may be that we judges have to be more aggressive. I have to do that with case management. There’s just so much you can order lawyers and litigants to do. The court cannot become oppressive.
“We want to meet the Supreme Court’s goal, but we want to make sure everyone’s due process rights are done. We don’t want to just look at the numbers. We are a court system, not a CPA firm.”
See now this is where I get confused. The courts have numerous ways to get rid of the cases and collect more money than they were allocated to begin with…
For starters, how about dismissing all the cases for lack of prosecution that have not had any movement in the past 12 months and have the banks pay new filing fees?
We ran a report in Palm Beach County and found over 8,000 that fall into this category…
Or how about dismissing the cases that are not verified by order of the Supreme Court of Florida… Thousands more there…
Or how about all of the complaints that do not state a cause of action???
Or the cases where the evidence out rules the allegations???
Or maybe the ones with the inadmissible hearsay affidavits???
I can go on and on…
Looking at the numbers is the job of Kristine Slayden, who works in research and data at the Office of the State Courts Administrator. Her chart estimates the property/mortgage foreclosure backlog from FY 2006-07 through FY 2010-11 to be 559,945 cases statewide.
Because the Legislature only allocated 62 percent of what was requested for the courts to target foreclosures, the adjusted goal is to whittle down 62 percent of the foreclosure backlog cases statewide: 347,165 cases by June 30, 2011.
Got that? 350,000 more properties to hit the Florida market by mid next year, if the courts get their way… I bet you would never guess who gets first dibs on all of these properties…
It is the same entities that are allowing the foreclosures to proceed!
Palm Beach Post
Cash investors hunting for abandoned and foreclosed properties will take a back seat to buyers using federal housing money under an “unprecedented” agreement with the nation’s largest private lenders.
The “First Look” program, announced Wednesday, gives local governments and community groups using Neighborhood Stabilization money the first crack at buying bank-owned homes in areas hit hard by the real estate crash.
Palm Beach County has received about $77.7 million in stabilization money over two rounds of funding. The City of West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, and Lake Worth’s Community Redevelopment Agency have also received funding.
Participating banks include Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Deutsche Bank, GMAC, Nationstar Mortgage, Wells Fargo and the West Palm Beach-based Ocwen Financial.
“This is a way for us to assist in the larger housing crisis by providing options for state and local governments to find solutions for homeowners,” said Ocwen Senior Vice President Steven Nesmith.
Some institutions, including Bank of America and FHA, had already started programs similar to “first look,” but not always on a nationwide scale.
Another $1 billion in neighborhood stabilization money is expected to be announced soon.
So in other words, this is a new “unprecedented” agreement between buyers of foreclosed homes using federal money, as in local governments, community groups, and the nation’s largest private lenders . Those same very entities that created and than purchased, packaged and sold with a AAA rating . A/K/A ( safe investment ) , to the world , while insuring their defective products against loss ..
This “unprecedented agreement will give these local governments first choice in purchasing foreclosed properties . The intent is to purchase , refurbish and sell or rent the homes to low to middle income families presumably at the fair market price .
The same families that they are foreclosing on now . The same families that want to stay in their homes , and have the ability and desire to pay for a mortgage if it was adjusted to fair market value .
This is another futile attempt to fix this housing crises with out addressing the fundamental problem…
“The Legislature said we’ll never get out of the housing slump if houses are sitting out there vacant. This is going hand-in-hand with managed mediation that has a time frame goal of 120 days in resolving cases,” Slayden said. “Hopefully, this is providing an opportunity for homeowners to have a voice in what is important: to stay in their homes.”
Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute here… This makes no sense, or does it make cents…
We will never get out of the housing slump if these houses are vacant but hopefully managed mediation is providing an opportunity for homeowners to stay in their homes???
Either the homes are vacant or there are families living in them…
And now I understand the “60 days to mediation, 120 day to sale” orders coming from the senior judges…
“This is going hand-in-hand with managed mediation that has a time frame goal of 120 days in resolving cases.”
C’mon people, who are we trying to kid here…
I hope you don’t have anything breakable near you on this next excerpt…
On August 6, Slayden sent a memo to all chief judges and trial court administrators outlining OSCA’s plan to provide monthly progress reports on how circuits are doing toward achieving the 62 percent backlog goal. OSCA’s first report was August 30, after this News went to press.
Chief judges say it’s too early to tell what effect the extra resources are having in hard numbers, and a clearer picture will emerge in another 90 days. But they are hopeful the infusion of extra positions will move the backlog clogging the civil courts faster than new cases coming in.
Asked how he spent $425,457 given to the Ninth Circuit, Chief Judge Belvin Perry replied:
“We took our money and went to Disney World!”
Yea, I know that was suppose to be a joke, but you went to fucking Disney World???
DOES ANYONE READING THIS FIND THAT FUNNY??? (Minus the judges involved)
Oh, I guess some do…
After a big laugh, Perry outlined his strategy for dealing with a 50,600 foreclosure backlog.
Disney World… It’s a big fantasy land where you can forget about your cares, constitutional rights, and belief in the foundations of America.
After a daylong training session, one senior judge and two staff members were dispatched to Osceola County, and in Orange County, two senior judges alternate working five days a week with the help of four staff. The additional resources were not sufficient, Judge Perry said, so existing staff has had to take on additional work.
An added challenge in Orange County is the only spare courtroom is in the family law area, and the courtroom and hallways, Judge Perry said, “are just deluged with foreclosures.”
Perry shared the first numbers he has gathered:
From July 6 to August 1, in Orange County, approximately 600 cases were closed by the two senior judges.
For the same time period in Osceola County, 719 cases were closed.
“The numbers, I think, will go up, and we are hopeful that they will continue to go up as the process begins,” Perry said. “It’s very tedious and very intense.”
But, Perry warned, “People in the banking community seem to think there will be an increase in filings.
“It’s just too early to tell if we will wipe out the backlog. You may find smaller rural areas wipe out backlogs,” Perry said.
“But the metropolitan areas that have been hard hit, I don’t see them wiping it out. It’s trading one basket of widgets for another basket of widgets.”
Judge Jennifer Bailey;
“We don’t make widgets, we don’t build clocks, we don’t build cars. We have nothing but the pleadings we file and sign our name to evidence the quality and integrity of who we are.”
And if I may add, “how we as judges rule on the law to evidence the quality and integrity of who we are.”
One hard-hit area is Palm Beach County, where the foreclosure backlog is 63,402, and 15th Circuit Chief Judge Peter Blanc received $646,540.
“We are bringing in senior judges and we’ve hired case managers to be of assistance to senior judges to plow through the cases,” Chief Judge Blanc said.
Even before the new money arrived, Blanc said, “I tried to be very stingy with senior judges” on call for sick judges and emergencies.
Because of that, he was able to start chipping away at the foreclosure backlog in April, in more than 5,000 cases where motions for summary judgments had been filed but the cases had not yet had hearings.
Now that the foreclosure dollars arrived in July, Blanc received an additional $250,604 for “senior judge days” and $272,103 for case managers, who go through files and make sure pleadings are ready to be set for hearings.
“We are able to have two senior judges most days based on foreclosures. It’s a great resource we didn’t have before. We weren’t even treading water. The numbers are overwhelming, and it’s a blessing to have the extra resources,” Chief Judge Blanc said.
“We’re in new territory. There are so many variables. We want to make sure we don’t rush the cases through the system. We want to properly adjudicate,” Blanc said.
Didn’t you just say “We are bringing in senior judges and we’ve hired case managers to be of assistance to senior judges to plow through the cases?”
Or how about…
Palm Beach Post: Palm Beach County Chief Judge Peter Blanc says the new employees will increase the number of summary judgments processed from 1,000 per week to 2,000.
Palm Beach Post: Blanc said it is important to clear the foreclosure cases so that vacant and dilapidated homes can go back on the market…
“I’ve read about some claims of fraud on the part of lenders. And, of course, it only becomes an issue if it’s pled in the case. I like to hope if there’s any fraud, that it wouldn’t be widespread. . . . I mention that because it’s a variable, and I don’t know if it will be a factor.” Blanc Said.
Umm. Let’s see, it has been reported in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Huffington Post, though letters to your office and your states top cop, the Attorney Generals Office alleging WIDESPREAD fraud across the board…
So, you are saying you allow known massive fraud to infect your court but it only becomes an issue if it is pled?
Does anyone find this absolutely mind blowing other than me?
“It only becomes an issue if it’s pled in the case?”
Are you drinking the same kool aid as judge Sasser?
“I haven’t seen any widespread problem,” Sasser said.
Well, I tell you what, I guarantee that the variable of widespread fraud will definitely be a factor to shut these rocket dockets down, and that is a promise…
Another delaying factor is that lenders are asking to postpone sales dates on foreclosed properties.
“What we’ve been hearing is that the banks are causing a lot of the slowdown. Now that the resources are out there, we have tons of ability to schedule hearings, but the banks aren’t taking advantage of it,” Slayden said.
“We want to make sure if we don’t hit our 62 percent, we can say why, and it may not be in our control.”
It’s the opinion of Fourth Circuit Chief Judge Donald Moran that a business strategy for banks and lenders is to keep extending the sales dates on foreclosed properties, because it helps their bottom lines if they are carrying assets on the books, rather than mounting liabilities of maintaining foreclosed properties, paying property taxes, insurance, and sometimes condo fees.
“We haven’t implemented it yet, but we are not going to extend the sales date without the debtor and creditor both agreeing,” Chief Judge Moran said.
“Right now, the homeowner doesn’t agree; the banks are doing it on their own. There will need to be a good cause to extend the sales date. Either they are in negotiation or there is a short sale in progress. We are trying to tighten it up. It will result in more closed cases.”
His senior judge in charge of foreclosures, Judge Soud, said the volume of paperwork is enormous, and the main motion they see is to reschedule foreclosure sales.
“When a judge has signed a summary judgment, he was setting the sale at 30 or 40 or 45 days away. By the time it gets in the mail and notices are published in the local paper, a lot of law firms were not getting things in order to go through with the foreclosure sale,” Judge Soud said.
“We were getting many motions to cancel foreclosures sales or a motion to reschedule. What we have started doing is instead of 30 to 35 days or 40 or 45 days, we are scheduling up to 60 days as a way to see if the additional time will work. Whether it’s good or bad, I can’t tell you. We have extended the sales date 15 days.”
Judge Soud said he will scrutinize requests to reschedule foreclosure sales to see which law firms ask for extensions most often.
Managed mediation through the Jacksonville Bar Association, he said, is working well. And rather than tying up the one full-time judicial assistant case manager on the phone all day, Judge Soud said, “One thing we learned is we set all hearings by e-mail attachments. This has turned out to be great.
“We have a great clerk of court. There are no turf wars and territory-protecting. As a result, we have a full-time assistant clerk assigned to us.”
That clerk goes through the files to see if there are any homesteads that should have been mediated, and if so, if the reports from the homeowners are in order.
As 12th Circuit Chief Judge Lee Haworth, in Sarasota County, recently told The Florida Bar Board of Governors: “We got a one-year gift from the Legislature of $212,729 to reduce mortgage foreclosures. We hired four case managers and got extra senior judges. We’re going to be moving quickly to reduce that backlog. We owe it to the people in those cases to move those cases quickly.”
What people? The banksters???
And are you ready for the kicker???
And there’s an incentive bonus for circuits that successfully clear the backlog early. The chief judge may request in writing to use these “foreclosure and economic recovery” funds to handle contracts and indebtedness cases, and county civil cases valued from $5,001 to $15,000.
Just like the Foreclosure Mills, the faster you dispose of the homeowners, the more you get paid…
God help us all…….
Again, please do your part however you can, and if this makes you as angry as it has made me, forward this to everyone you know.