September 18, 2014

One of our readers sent us an article from the Tampa (Florida) Tribune newspaper about the “goal” of the Florida government to “rid the courts of 256,000 foreclosure cases per year”. The article highlights the undisputed fact that Judges are railroading foreclosure cases through the system (Judges issue Pretrial Orders stating that the time set aside for the trial is “5 minutes”); ignoring evidence; subjecting those in foreclosure to rules and procedures which are not forced on other civil litigants; refusing to continue (reschedule) foreclosure trials even when the attorneys for the bank and the homeowner agree to it (as they are attempting to work out a loan modification); and generally trampling on homeowners’ constitutional rights.

The article highlighted a certain Judge who refused to hear a motion to vacate a judgment which JPMorgan Chase obtained on a loan which it did not even own. The disclosure that the loan had been previously sold to another entity was not made until after the judgment had been obtained. Despite this undisputed fact, the Judge refused to act.

In one case I have, I recently filed a Motion to amend my client’s affirmative defenses due to new matter which arose and gave rise to adding this to the client’s defenses. Such motions are routinely granted, and do have the effect of rendering a case not “at issue” and thus incapable of being set for trial. The bank attorney’s sole argument was the effect of granting the motion; no objection to the substance of the motion or the proposed defenses was made. When the Judge asked if granting the Motion would bump the November trial date, I responded that the law so provided. The Judge then said “Well, then, I am denying the Motion.” When I asked him the reason why (so that a record of error could be made for appeal), his response was: “Mr Barnes, I do not have time to do that now. I have a whole room of people here waiting.”

So, here is proof positive that the interests of real justice bow to the not-real interests of the State in continuing with the “rocket dockets”, which ONLY benefit the banksters. Remember, any servicer who forecloses on a Fannie or Freddie loan gets a 27 point “kicker” from the government.

The alleged “excuse” for the actions of the courts and Judges is that they are under “pressure” from the state Government to “clear out all of these foreclosure cases.” This is beyond reprehensible, and is bad karma that will eventually come back to haunt those who spew it.

Judges are sworn to uphold the law, not to become robotic slaves to some Government which is apparently beholden to the banksters. Judges are not to ignore the law and the Constitution so that the banks can be rewarded with essentially stolen homes arising out of a fiasco which they themselves created in the first place. It is surprising that no Judge has come forward and refused to engage in what amounts to violations of civil rights.

All of the elements of a civil rights violation case are there: you have a “state actor” (Judge) who is engaging in “disparate treatment” (subjecting “foreclosure” litigants to “special” rules which do not apply to civil litigants in non-foreclosure cases and which “rules” fly in the face of due process and the enacted rules); thereby creating a “suspect class” (“foreclosure people”) who are being deprived of their civil rights with no rational relation to any legitimate state interest. Eliminating due process protections to homeowners so that foreclosure cases can be ramrodded through the system and thus line the pockets of the banksters who created the morass from the beginning is not action “rationally related to a legitimate state interest.”

Florida is not the only state where this is occurring or where it has occurred. Several years ago, one of our readers, who was a police detective, could not figure out why homeowners in Phoenix were being essentially lined up for the slaughter, and why the Judges just ignored the law. The detective did some digging, and found out that the Circuit Judges’ Pension Fund had invested heavily in mortgage-backed securities, so with every foreclosure, their pension fund (allegedly) took a hit.

The short-sightedness of the “rocket docket” procedure, which apparently no one thought through, is that with millions of homeowners being removed from their homes, the property goes into decay; local markets, etc. no longer have their customers and go out of business; neighborhoods become blighted and ransacked by poachers; and the economic base of the neighborhood goes to zero.

So, in the end, the unconstitutional rewarding of property to the banks through unconstitutional court processes will give the states who engage in these actions exactly what they deserve: more bankruptcies; more dilapidated real estate; more crime; and more economic blight. Of course, the Government will blame it all on “those damned homeowners who didn’t pay their mortgage” instead of rightfully blaming the banksters for failing to be reasonable and work with a homeowner to keep them in their home and thus maintain the neighborhood. But then again, we all know what bank lobbyists are capable of.

Jeff Barnes, Esq.,