Action Alert – ACLU Needs YOUR Help RE: Constitutional Deficiencies in Florida’s Rocket Docket Foreclosure Courts

Special Request from the ACLU American Civil Liberties Union.

Dear Floridians,

As part of our investigation into reported constitutional deficiencies in Florida’s rocket docket foreclosure courts, the ACLU today filed open records requests with all twenty of Florida’s circuit courts, as well as with the Office of State Courts Administration.  Our press release is available here.  While we are hopeful that the requests will generate some concrete information, we are certain that those of you who have been in these courtrooms, experiencing these proceedings, are an even more important resource for us to draw upon as we think through our strategy for responding.

To that end, we urge you to reach out to us and let us know which specific procedural deficiencies you see, whether those are about judges failing to abide by the Florida rules of civil procedure (for example, failing to require that complaints be verified or that supporting documents be attached to affidavits), difficulties with docketing and notice, court reporters prevented from transcribing proceedings, courtrooms closed to the public, or other violations.  We are particularly interested in Duval, Hillsborough, Lee, Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade Counties and eager to see transcripts or other court papers documenting the deficiencies you report.

Please forward any relevant information to, or give me a call: 212.549.2588.  And thank you for all the work that you do.


Rachel Goodman

ACLU Racial Justice Program


ACLU Seeks Public Records to Determine Constitutionality of Foreclosure Proceedings in Florida

Lack Of Due Process Protections Would Disproportionately Impact Homeowners Of Color

October 19, 2010

CONTACTS: Will Matthews, ACLU, (212) 549-2582 or 2666;; or Brandon Hensler, ACLU of Florida, (786) 363-2722 or

NEW YORK and MIAMI – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Florida today filed public records requests with judicial officials in Florida to determine whether homeowners are having their constitutional rights violated during foreclosure proceedings and being unlawfully removed from their homes.

In Florida, where almost half a million foreclosure cases are pending, the state legislature recently spent over $9 million to create special foreclosure courts, staffed by retired judges, with the intent of speeding through the state’s backlog of such cases. But recent media reports in Florida and around the country, which reveal rampant error and fraud in the foreclosure process, have shown that courts should take particular care with foreclosure cases. Instead, in the rush to push foreclosure cases through the courts, Florida may be taking shortcuts and, in the process, forsaking constitutionally-required due process protections.

“It is disturbing that Florida may be implementing less exacting due process protections at a time when widespread flaws in the foreclosure system illustrate the need for increased vigilance and strict procedural safeguards,” said Larry Schwartztol, staff attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. “These records requests aim to shed light on whether recent changes to Florida’s handling of foreclosure proceedings are violating the due process rights of homeowners.”

Filed with the Office of the State Court Administrator and the chief judges of all 20 of Florida’s circuit courts, the requests seek access to, among other things, all documents related to special court systems created to dispose of foreclosure cases and the rules and procedures in place that govern those systems.

Government data show that the foreclosure crisis across the country has disproportionately impacted communities of color. According to a recent report by the Center for Responsible Lending, nearly 8 percent of both African Americans and Latinos have lost their homes to foreclosures, as compared to 4.5 percent of whites. Additionally, the indirect losses in wealth that result from foreclosures as a result of depreciation to nearby properties will also disproportionately impact communities of color. The Center for Responsible Lending report estimates that between 2009 and 2012, the African American and Latino communities will be drained of $194 and $177 billion, respectively, in these indirect “spillover” losses alone.

“Communities of color in Florida and across the country are hit hardest if courts disregard the kinds of protections that are meant to uphold people’s basic constitutional rights,” said Muslima Lewis, Senior Staff Attorney and Director of the Racial Justice Project of the ACLU of Florida. “Getting the documents we are requesting will be an important first step toward exposing and addressing any systemic injustices that may exist in the Florida foreclosure court systems.”



Open Records Requests for All Twenty Florida Circuit Courts

Open Records Requests for the Office of State Courts Administration

9 Responses to “Action Alert – ACLU Needs YOUR Help RE: Constitutional Deficiencies in Florida’s Rocket Docket Foreclosure Courts”
  1. Whippy FLoggman says:

    IN FLORIDA, the 13th Judicial is like a FRAT HO– USE. If your PRO SE, you ain’t got a chance in hell before this group A-Holes. It seems all the judges & reactivated retired Judges ALL SING OFF THE SAME SONG SHEET! Gross Incompetence RULES!

    Aside from Hillsborough Co’s 13th’s Judges being completely incompetent to the Foreclosure Process, and the Standing of Plaintiff’s to Foreclose, NO JUDGE IN THE LAST 5 YEARS EVER BOTHERED TO LOOK AT ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE ( like the note, Mtg, Deed of Trust ) in the file Verified Plaintiff’s Standing! The FL Civil Rules of Procedure????? WHO CARES!

    The NOTE-MTG-DEED could have been in the Name of SANTA CLAUS, and the Judge’s Barked ” motion for Summery Judgment APPROVED “!

    Did matter if there were No Assignments, or Assignments were fraud ( knowing damn well this issue was already before them ), or the notes were lost, or the affidavits were fraud. The Judges gave the Banks a free Pass, and required they PROVE NOTHING while looking the other way.

    I must say that the most arrogant Judges are BERGMAN & BARTON!

    Here’s a list of the judicial Infidels. They are:

    PENDINO, Sam D. 525 Edgecomb

    Susan Sedita
    FOSTER, Robert A., Jr. 522 Edgecomb

    Caryn Puig
    *BARTON, James M., II 512 Edgecomb

    Linda Greno
    SISCO, Michelle 524 Edgecomb

    Sandi Hecksher
    BERGMANN, Charles E. 526 Edgecomb

    Nita (Sue) Gutierrez
    COOK, Martha J. 511 Edgecomb

    Mary A. Fish
    SILVER, Bernard C. 519 Edgecomb

    Sasha Openchowski
    BAUMANN, Herbert, Jr. 521 Edgecomb

    Robyn R. D’Agresta
    ARNOLD, James D. 514 Edgecomb

    Judy Williams
    LEVENS, William P. 520 Edgecomb

    Linda Williamson

    I hope the ACLU exposes these Jerks! No need look at any other county EXCEPT HILLSBOROUGH!

  2. incognito123 says:

    I must say, I know my good ole state of Florida is horribly corrupt (and I am in the most corrupt 20th Judicial Circuit), but at least it is a judicial state giving me the right to due process and I WILL STAND ON THAT RIGHT! We need to see ALL 50 states have the same RIGHT afforded to ALL Americans!!

  3. jamesForeclosure says:

    While my fullest and deepest feelings go out to Floridians, us Californians are even worse off, because we cannot even get paste a non-judicial process without filing a lawsuit!

    Everyone thinks it’s bad in Florida, but honestly we have the same foreclosure mills, trustee fraud and oppression!

    I had Heather Carrico and John Kennerty on my foreclosure!

    Apparently Mrs. Goodman is not interested in anything other than the media spotlight!

    This is Mrs. Goodman’s Response:

    I appreciate very much your passion on the issue, and I urge you to be in touch with your local ACLU affiliate on these issues. For now, the national organization is focusing on Florida, but we hope any successes there will have a ripple effect across the nation.


  4. jamesForeclosure says:

    Here is a letter I wrote Mrs. Goodman:

    Dear Mrs. Goodman,

    I am responding to a recent press release to Floridians.

    I am very familiar with the Massive Fraud occurring in Florida at this time.
    I am writing to you because many Americans today are facing one of the most Prolific Civil Rights Violations ever seen here in this country, post the apocalyptic travesty of slavery!
    These same American Citizens(Citizens!) whom have fought the oppression of slavery, for several generations are now having their most Basic Fundamental Civil Rights Violated by our own Court Systems!

    I am writing to you because these Civil Rights Violations are not just occurring in Florida.
    We are seeing the same massive widespread Violations across our country!

    For instance, in California Homeowners of all ethnicities are being fraudulently foreclosed on!
    This issue in itself is a travesty to the very fabric of our society!

    Mrs. Goodman, I want you to realize that this is only part of the problem.
    The largest problem we face today is that our Courts are not protecting “Due Process” of law for our Citizens, once these Civil Liberties have been Breached!

    The most Basic Fundamental Civil Right of Due Process which includes the right to a “Jury Trial by their Peers” is being blatantly disregarded and forbidden, thousands of times a day in California Court rooms!
    This is unacceptable by anyone’s standard!

    Further, not only are American Homeowner’s Civil Rights Violated by Banks in Fraudulent Foreclosure cases.
    The same Homeowners are Prohibited from requesting a “Jury Trial by their Peers” in order to fight against the very same Banks who Foreclosed Fraudulently on the homeowner in the first place!

    “ Due Process” is the very “fabric”, the very basic fundamental United States Constitutional Right we have which is supposed to protect every person in this Country!
    It is owed to every person and forces the government to respect all legal rights owed to a person according to the law.
    “Due process” holds the government subservient to the law of the land individual persons from the state and when a government harms a person, without following the exact letter of the law, then that is a “Due Process” violation of every offense to the rule of law.

    Mrs. Goodman, I am not a Government Employee nor do I purport to be a Legal Representative.
    I am simply a man who has witnessed forty years of life!
    In that time I have NEVER witnessed such GROSS Injustices caused upon Americans!

    Mrs. Goodman, I implore you to please NOT exclude the thousands upon thousands of stories related to Civil Rights Violations here in California!
    California “is” the eighth largest economy in the world!
    Please extend your Special Request from the ACLU to Californians as well!

    With Sincerest intentions,

  5. jose says:


  6. jose says:

    Can We get the ACLU activated in the Non Judicial Foreclosure Estates, Our right to due process and the amount of theft, forgeries, corruption is huge.

    there are 27 states where the US Constitution is not being up held in the foreclosure processes being carried out by a myriad of corrupt foreclosure lawyers and the thieves that belong to the servicing industry

    WATCH OUT FOR KONDOUR CAPITAL, a predatory servicer

  7. chichi says:

    That’s right sit back & watch the show…from judges telling every defendant what he’s gonna do before the docket get’s started…n..then never even looking at anyone’s file…granting summary judgement to all files on docket that morning…yes finally ACLU has arrived…welcome to the TWILIGHT ZONE!!!!!

  8. 2 Pirates Over 40 says:

    Can’t get past the Sherriff “Gatekeeper” here in Pasco Co.,FL

  9. Michael says:

    Welcome to the party; better late, than never.

    Easiest way to see abuses in rocket docket is to just show up and watch for a minute or two … if they don’t block access to the courtroom.

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