Last week, we discussed how the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU-Fla) had joined a pending lawsuit here in South Florida, arguing that the state courts of Florida were doing illegal things via their “rocket dockets” in foreclosure proceedings.
Some may have scoffed at the ACLU — their claims were over the top. They were just trying to grab media attention. They were off on another losing, do-gooder road.
This week, the ACLU won one. The appellate court did not disregard their arguments — instead, the Florida appeals court has commanded the Florida state courts to explain why the ACLU isn’t right on the money.
The Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland is Grading Papers – This is a Big Deal for Those With Florida Foreclosures
Legally, what has happened is this: a petition has been filed with a reviewing court, asking that it use its powers of oversight to check the actions of a lower court for legality.
In other words, the ACLU went over the heads of the Rocket Docket judges in Lee County and elsewhere, and asked their supervisors to check out what they’ve been doing. This doesn’t happen every day.
It’s a big deal for the appellate court to take this step, publicly asking the trial courts to explain themselves — and some may say that even taking this step gives the ACLU a big hint that they’re going to win their fight unless the trial courts can come up with some very good reasons why the Rocket Dockets for Foreclosures aren’t violating due process.
What Does This Mean to You and Your Florida Foreclosure Situation?
If you have faced a “rocket docket” foreclosure – or if you are about to be involved in a foreclosure proceeding in any Florida county that has instituted a separate “speedy” procedure down at the courthouse just for foreclosure cases – then watch this case.
Because the ACLU-Fla is arguing that the special “speedy” treatment being given in places like Lee County are illegal. The ACLU-Fla argues that they violate due process and are therefore unconstitiutional.
If you’ve already gone through a Rocket Docket, aka “mass foreclosure docket,” then your constitutional right to due process may have been violated. If you’re in the middle of one, then you may be victimized right now by an unconstitutional proceeding.
Unconstitutional actions cannot be legally recognized. Ask your lawyer for details.
When will we all know the final answer here? The Florida state courts must come, hat in hand, to the Florida appeals court with their written explanations on or before May 8, 2011.
After that, oral arguments may be scheduled before the reviewing court. Stay tuned — we’ll let you know what happens.