May 9, 2011
Lisa Epstein
607 Gazetta Way
West Palm Beach, FL 33413

Chief Judge Peter Blanc
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit
201 N. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33431.

RE: The Courts Belong to the People of Florida

Dear Judge Blanc,

On May 6th 2011, many Floridians, including myself, were barred from entry into courtroom 9D in Florida 15th Judicial Circuit Civil Court in West Palm Beach, Florida. These Floridians were pro se defendants in foreclosure proceedings, foreclosure defense attorneys, and court observers. A pleasant court staffer politely informed us that the courtroom was “too crowded”, and directed us to another courtroom if we wished to observe foreclosure proceedings.

The proceedings were court arranged, court scheduled, and court planned case management conferences for the imploded foreclosure mill, The “Law Offices” of David J. Stern. As you are well aware, Mr. Stern wrote to the Chief Judges across Florida informing of his intent to abandon 9,000 pending foreclosure cases. This letter started a volley of very public letters between you and Mr. Stern. The end result; a court devised solution to aid and smooth the transition of Mr. Stern’s cases to new counsel by devoting four days in May to Stern case management eulogy conferences, 250 cases per session, two sessions per scheduled day.

As a citizen activist in the foreclosure fraud crisis, I was deeply interested in attending, observing, and documenting these proceedings. I contacted you last April, warning of the current and looming negative impact on the judiciary of foreclosure fraud, land record fraud, and judicial refusal to acknowledge and sanction foreclosure mill violations of many rules of procedure. You responded by correctly informing me that “the courts must remain independent and impartial.” The Court’s catering to Mr. Stern’s professional and financial dilemma, brought about by his firm’s well documented, pervasive, professional misconduct diverged from your stated inability to intervene in tens of thousands of pending cases to initiate a court review and/or investigation of the now fully acknowledged widespread fraud upon the courts, foreclosure fraud, and land record fraud. The pampering of live and fallen foreclosure mills is alarming when one learns of the recent disturbing disclosure of court dependence on foreclosure plaintiffs to fund 64% of the Florida court operating budget. Are justice and special concessions meted out in proportion to the amount of the operating budget a litigant is slated to fund, “you get what you pay for”?

Florida’s courts, at ground zero of the foreclosure crisis, are squandering the opportunity to be a shining light of American justice. Refusing to allow a single Floridian family to be dispossessed by misleading statements, outright falsehoods, and/or fraudulent, unauthentic, often photo-shopped documents would have protected the integrity of Florida’s judiciary. Simply enforcing Florida’s laws, rules of civil procedure, attorney professional conduct rules, rules of evidence, intent of the foreclosure verification rule, service requirements, ex-parte hearing criteria, etc., and sanctioning repeated plaintiff willful disregard for all of these hallmarks of fair litigation might force the foreclosing entities to weigh the consequences of foreclosure fraud against other more reasoned approaches are beneficial, as opposed to harmful, to Florida’s families, communities, and economy.

Barring that, may we at least not be barred from observing in Florida courts as the crisis continues to unfold? As Justice Canady stated in his November 17, 2010 on point letter and administrative order to all Chief Judges, “The courts of Florida belong to the people of Florida. The people of Florida are entitled to know what takes place in the courts of this state. No crisis justified the administrative suspension of the strong legal presumption that the state court proceedings are open to the public.” Justice Canady continued, “the chief judges shall ensure that the judges they supervise and the staff who report to these judges….are not violating the rights of Floridians by improperly closing judicial proceedings to the public.”


Lisa Epstein

cc: Chief Justice Charles T. Canady, Florida Supreme Court



Letter to PBC Chief Judge Peter Blanc RE The Courts Belong to the People of Florida