Today's Date: July 4, 2022
Eight Ameriprise Financial Advisors Named to the Barron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors List   •   Global Surrogacy Services Announces Outreach to Potential Gestational Surrogates in Three Southwestern States   •   RNR Tire Express Surprises Tampa-Area Woman with New Car in Mother's Day Giveaway   •   Tractor Supply Company Celebrates Service Members With Nationwide Discount on the Fourth of July and Announces Grant Donation fo   •   Wan Bridge Launches Georgetown Heights, its First Build-To-Rent Community in Central Texas   •   New Survey Reveals Lack of Knowledge among U.S. Women about Uterine Health, Including Fibroid Symptoms and Treatment Options   •   NCCI Golf Event Generates $25,000 for Kids' Chance of America Scholarships   •   VNA Health Care Discusses the Importance of Mammography and Cervical Cancer Screenings   •   Cinemark Brings the Ultimate Cinematic Experience to Riverton with Mountain View Village Theatre Now Open   •   EA SPORTS™ F1® 22 Launches Worldwide Today   •   Closing the Health Disparity Gap for Black Women   •   Two United States Army Veterans Awarded New Mortgage-Free Homes in Houston Through PulteGroup’s Built to Honor® Prog   •   Checkmarx' Ana Lucia Amaral Honored as a CRN 2022 Woman of the Channel   •   Tracey Hayes from MicroAge Named on CRN's 2022 Women of the Channel Power 70 Solution Providers List   •   Five Bluum Standouts Honored on CRN 2022 Women of the Channel List   •   Four recipients of the 2022 Awards of Excellence in Nursing announced from Indigenous Services Canada   •   Equitable Bank Releases Inaugural ESG Performance Report   •   Xfinity Stream app Launches on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD   •   Mrs. Flowers Takes the Helm at Comfort Home Care, Rockville, MD   •   Mia Becar to Launch Equity Crowdfunding Campaign
Bookmark and Share

ACLU Urges Transparency In FL Foreclosures

 TALLAHASSEE, FL – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Florida and a coalition of journalistic and First Amendment organizations has delivered letters to two top judicial officials in Florida urging them to ensure that foreclosure court proceedings in the state are open to the public.

The letters, sent to Chief Justice Charles P. Canady of the Florida Supreme Court and Chief Judge Donald R. Moran of Florida's Fourth Judicial Circuit, highlight a number of reports from around that state that, taken together, point to a troubling pattern of foreclosure courts operating behind closed doors rather than openly as mandated by Florida law.

"Our organizations have received numerous reports that extraordinary barriers to access are preventing members of the general public, as well as representatives of the news media, from observing foreclosure proceedings in judicial circuits around the state," the letter to Chief Justice Canady reads. "We believe these barriers undercut the transparency of the judicial process; they also violate the strong presumption of open access to judicial proceedings under Florida law."

The letter, co-signed by the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the Florida Society of News Editors, the Florida Press Association, the Florida Times-Union newspaper and the First Amendment Foundation, urges Chief Justice Canady and Chief Judge Moran to promptly ensure access by the public to foreclosure court proceedings in order to avoid the need to initiate litigation. 

Recent media reports in Florida and around the country have revealed rampant error and fraud in the foreclosure process. Concerned that Florida homeowners are having their constitutional rights violated during foreclosure proceedings and being unlawfully removed from their homes, the ACLU last month filed public records requests with the Office of the State Court Administrator and the chief judges of Florida's 20 circuit courts. The ACLU is seeking documents related to special court systems created to dispose of foreclosure cases and the rules governing those courts. 

The filing of the records request was motivated, in part, by concerns over how the foreclosure crisis gripping the nation is disproportionately impacting communities of color. According to a recent report by the Center for Responsible Lending, the percentage of African-Americans and Latinos who have lost their homes to foreclosures is nearly twice that of whites. 

Among the incidents cited in the letters delivered today to the Florida judges is one in which a Jacksonville legal aid attorney was castigated by a judge for attending a foreclosure proceeding with a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine. While "attorneys are welcome in Chambers at their leisure," the judge wrote to the attorney in an e-mail, members of the media are "permitted" entry only upon "proper request to the security officer." The judge further stated that the attorney's "apparent authorization that the reporter could pursue a property owner immediately out of Chambers into the hallway for an interview" is grounds "for possible contempt charges in the future."

Other incidents cited in the letter to Chief Justice Canady involve court observers in Hillsborough and Orange counties calling courts to ask about the rules governing foreclosure proceedings and being told they are closed to the public, and a homeowner defending herself in a foreclosure case in Duval County being told by a member of a court's security she could not access foreclosure proceedings because only attorneys are allowed.  

"The protection of public access to judicial proceedings serves fundamental constitutional values," the letters delivered today say. Quoting a 2005 Florida appellate court decision, the letters state that, in particular, "the 'value of openness lies in the fact that people not actually attending trials can have confidence that standards of fairness are being observed; the sure knowledge that anyone is free to attend gives assurances that established procedures are being followed and that deviations will become known.'"


STORY TAGS: GENERAL, BLACKS, AFRICAN AMERICAN, LATINO, HISPANIC, MINORITIES, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, DIVERSITY, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY

Video

White House Live Stream
LIVE VIDEO EVERY SATURDAY
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Video

LIVE BROADCASTS
Sounds Make the News ®
WAOK-Urban
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
KPFA-Progressive
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
WVON-Urban
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WADO-Spanish
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
WOL-Urban
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News