Sign of the Times: Foreclosures-Only Courts

Florida streamlines legal process to cut backlog
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2010 5:28 PM CDT
It's a common sight these days.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)

(Newser) – Pretty much all you need to know about how bad Florida's housing mess is: The state has set up a system of foreclosures-only courts to deal with its backlog of cases. Otherwise, they'd clog up the normal court system. The goal is to cut the backlog by 62% in a year, explains the New York Times in a lengthy look at the system. That requires ruthless efficiency on the part of the retired judges brought in to run things. "It's a factory," complains one Legal Aid lawyer.

One judge disputes that and insists that cases are "fully, fully heard." But as another attorney who questions the constitutionality of the system puts it: “If you are an individual whose house is being foreclosed and you hear these judges are being paid to clean out the backlog, under a realistic appraisal of human tendencies, do you think that the average judge would be biased in favor of prematurely terminating your case to clean out the backlog?”

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