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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where is the "JUST" in Justice?

The Wall Street Journal published a story titled, A Florida Court's 'Rocket Docket' Blasts Through Foreclosure Cases: 2 Questions, 15 Seconds, 45 Days.

I find this not only disturbing but disgraceful. It shows how an entire court system totally disregards the legal rights of citizens in favor of expediency and cost.

See photos and hear audio clips from the Lee County Courthouse and Ms. Hill Scott's home.

Hoping to save her house, Saundra Hill Scott arrived at the county courthouse clutching dog-eared mortgage bills and letters from her lender.She need not have bothered. The foreclosure hearing lasted less than seconds,(emphasis mine, not in article) with Judge John Carlin asking her two questions: Are you current on your mortgage and are you living in the home?

She answered no and yes and then offered to show him her paperwork."I don't need to see that. That's between you and the bank," he said as he gave Ms. Hill Scott, her husband and three grandchildren 60 days to work out a deal with their lender or vacate their three-bedroom house.
Specifically, Florida statutes allow for a defendant to post a defense up to the day of the hearing. More specifically, everyone has a right to due process
Charlie Green, Lee County's clerk of the circuit courts, says the county is still on pace in February to exceed new filings in January and there's a hearing on Thursday with 800 foreclosure cases. "All these plans that the government has come up with are great," says Mr. Green. "But it doesn't help us get these cases off our books."
He continues by saying;

Two years ago, the Lee County court system had about 1,900 foreclosure cases on the books. That number swelled to 24,000 by the beginning of this year. "We have to move these cases out of here,'' says Mr. Green. "That's how we get these houses back on the market and get to the bottom faster."
"We have to move these cases out of here"? Does this mean, Mr. Green, that you can just arbitrarily take away any rights we have in a court of law? Does a judge have the power to change law and make new law? I believe this action is unconstitutional and borders on criminal.

This attitude indicates, to me at least, that there are two sets of laws and rules in this country. One for the privileged and one for the common citizen who the laws are meant to protect.

Also, Mr. Green, you believe this is the way to "get to the bottom faster"? Who gave you the authority to make this decision and how do you qualify to do so when the best econ0mic minds in the country advising our administration, legislature and judicial system cannot. In addition, if they could - they would have to enact legislation to create a law.

"The judge didn't want to hear from me," said a frustrated Reed Morgan, a self-employed business consultant, wearing loafers and a blue oxford shirt, after Judge Carlin gave him 60 days to work out a modification plan with his lender or vacate his three-bedroom house.
Is this not a hearing? If it is a hearing then all parties should be heard. Judge Carlin, your job is to hear all the evidence then rule based on the evidence heard and presented by all parties. Your job, "your Honor" is to uphold the laws not to violate them.

One lawyer, wearing a dark suit and untucked white shirt ran between the judge's bench and the dozens of open boxes on the floor. His colleagues sat cross-legged on the courtroom floor, sorting through files.

The judge signed dozens of them without discussion and passed them to a row of court employees to process the paperwork.
If a judge is simply going to sign orders without every looking at them or hearing valid arguments, the why even have hearings? Why notice all parties giving them the right to attend a "kangaroo court"?

"Case No. 136," the clerk intoned. "Wells Fargo versus Edward Callahan."

Judge Carlin asked whether the man was living in the house and was current on his mortgage. He answered no to both questions.

"Your house will be sold in 45 days,'' said the judge”. That’s all for today.
"Case time: 15 seconds."
Case time 15 seconds -this is unlawful, un-American, and unconstitutional and a true travesty of so called justice -I REST MY CASE!


"The judges say they sympathize with the homeowners' hardships, but often the cases can be decided after a brief hearing because there are no legal issues in dispute which would warrant a lengthy trial."
There are defenses. Judges around the country are dismissing many foreclosure cases primarily on the basis of - NO STANDING - where the Plaintiff (the so called lender) does not have the legal standing or right to take the action. Lawyers know this and most certainly judges know this. Some judges around the country have even sanctioned the law firms representing the plaintiff's and called it "fraud upon the courts".

....Chief Judge G. Keith Cary opposes making such a requirement. "A guy hasn't paid his mortgage in over a year,'' says Judge Cary."What's there to talk about?"
Your Honor, there is a lot to talk about. Let's start with talking about the law.

To have standing the plaintiff must produce the original note and prove that they have a whole interest in the note. If they do and can prove - then they do have standing. If they cannot - and many of them cannot - then there is no standing, therefore cannot take the action.


The court itself hasn't been immune to the pain. The county clerk's budget is shrinking even as overtime has added about $60,000 in costs since October.
Yes - absolutely - the court must be immune to the pain but NOT IMMUNE to the law. Budgets should have no factor whatsoever in determining or eliminating due process and the law.

I admit that all those in foreclosure are delinquent on their payments. In case you have not noticed, this country is in severe economic crisis and many of these homeowners are not in this position voluntarily.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

While these people are in default and clearly have violated their contracts this does not mean that they don't have the right to due process and the right to have the proper, legal, party take the action against them. The law of the land is the law for everyone.

This issue needs to be pursued. I for one will do so. Action must be taken to preserve our court system which in turn preserves the rights and freedoms of every American.

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