Is there any greater example of the nearly complete abdication by white collar crime prosecutors of their responsibilities in the foreclosure fraud crisis than the fact that the ACLU has felt the need to step in and fill the vacuum left by them?

Housing Wire has an article up about ACLU challenging the famous Lee County, Florida “rocket docket” on constitutional, due process, grounds. You may recall that a while back I referred to this as a system of “robo judges” to go along with the robo signers.  The petition alleges that the rocket docket was set up in a way that treats foreclosure cases differently from all other cases and in those cases strips defendants of many procedural rights that all other cases have under Florida Civil Procedure Law.

I had no idea how right I was when I called them robo judges. Just like the law firm of David J. Stern set up its own company to forge robo signed documents, it appears that that law firm and other bankster law firms colluded to set up their own robo court system.

The petition alleges that the Lee County mass foreclosure special court was set up in consultation with the Stern law firm and other foreclosure plaintiff’s firms;  and that after the special court was up and running, it continued to take it’s instructions from those firms. The petition cites to all sorts of emails where the court sets up ex parte meetings with the plaintiff’s firms to discuss how to tweak the procedures of that special court to make it faster and easier to foreclose.

The petition also lays out a wholesale deviation from normal procedural practices in the special court and describes a system where if a bank defaulted on a court appearance, the judge would temporarily appoint a lawyer who did not have an attorney client relationship with that case to “cover” for the absent plaintiff firm, so the banks could never be found in default if they didn’t show up. But if a homeowner failed to show up, default judgment would be entered against them. Oh, and these covering lawyers were not required to file a Notice of Appearance which is evidently required by Florida law (and the law of every other state that I’m aware of).

These, and other procedural violations too numerous for a single blog post, were all in direct violation of an order issued by Florida’s chief judge which requires that foreclosure cases be decided on their individual merits.

The petition is chock a block with specific examples taken from court transcripts and really crazy sounding orders actually issued by these judges. Any lawyer, and most lay people, reading these will clearly see that something is VERY VERY wrong here. I don’t mean just morally wrong, I mean legally and logically wrong. Nobody is going to do something that deviates this significantly from the norm without there being an underlying bad reason.

Maybe I’m just suspicious because a County Executive here on Long Island just entered into a plea deal with the DA over raising campaign cash in a way that looks like there were a bunch of payoffs, but the official actions he took were MUCH less eyebrow-raising than the seemingly impossible actions taken in Lee County. So, I’m thinking that somebody somewhere would be interested in seeing if maybe there were some payoffs of some kind? People don’t do such patently illegal things without a motivating factor, do they?

So what is the Department of Justice doing? US Attorneys Offices have public corruption units for a reason, you know. Yet, it’s the ACLU that has conducted a “months-long investigation,” not DOJ. Hello! How topsy-turvey has the law enforcement world become?

All is not lost; the ACLU has conveniently packaged up a whole busload of evidence into one big juicy appendix, so any ambitious prosecutor out there could still make himself a hero without actually having to do the legwork.

What a world have we come to where the ACLU has to step in to do white collar crime investigations so the DOJ can waste its time doing more pornography cases. Gah!

Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril is a former Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York under several different U.S. Attorneys, former counsel to the Inspector General for the N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection where she investigated threats to the New York City water supply and other environmental crimes, as well as public corruption and fraud against the government, former Examining Attorney at the N.Y.C. Department of Investigation and former Capital Construction Counsel at New York City Parks and Recreation.
She is now in private practice with a colleague whom she met while at the USA Attorney's Office. Ms. Kouril is a member of the Steering Committee, National Committeewoman and Regional Coordinator for the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, a member of the Program Committee of the Federal Bar Council and a member of the Election Law Committee at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She is active in several other Bar Associations.
Most important of all, she is a soccer mom.