In a recent memorandum sent to chief judges of Florida’s twenty judicial circuits, Chief Justice Charles Canady addressed the important issue of public access to Florida’s foreclosure proceedings. The memorandum set forth that the chief judges ensure that the judges they supervise and the staff who report to those judges, as well as bailiffs and employees of the clerks of court, are not violating the rights of Floridians by improperly closing judicial proceedings to the public.
This comes after a letter was received from the Florida Press Association and other organizations. The letter alleged that in some instances, members of the public and/or press either were advised that they could not attend mortgage foreclosure proceedings or were prevented from attending such proceedings. Under Florida law, the public has a right to observe the workings of the judicial system. The reports, which have documented these incidents around the State of Florida, addressed the barriers, which have left members of the public and press subject to the discretion of individual foreclosure judges to admit or exclude them from attending the judicial proceedings.
The heavy volume of foreclosure cases has led to difficulties finding judges and courtrooms to hear the cases. As a result, some cases are being held in chambers for lack of an available traditional courtroom. Bottom line is- the proceedings must be open, even if they are held temporarily in a smaller and less formal physical setting than usual. While ordinary and uniform security procedures are still necessary, the unavailability of a traditional courtroom cannot justify a deprivation of the rights established under Florida law and the U.S. Constitution.
If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.