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The so-called rocket docket bill, HB 87, resurfaced this week by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, offering sped-up modifications and foreclosures.
Currently, the foreclosure process takes more than 600 days to run its course in judicial Florida. The bill is making its way back at a time when banks are looking to begin the foreclosure process again after a two-year break as a result of the "robo-signing" scandal.
Last year, foreclosure filings jumped 20% in Florida, which currenlty has the nation's highest foreclosure rate, but processing times remain slow.
For example, Miami-Dade, Fla. remains an epicenter for foreclosures with one in every 201 homes receiving some type of foreclosure filing, comparing with one in every 728 homes nationally, according to a report by RealtyTrac.
As a result, Florida’s busiest circuit court is conducting hundreds of foreclosure trials a week.
With about $626,000 in special funds for the fiscal year, the court added two senior judge slots and a staff of case managers to help clear the backlog of more than 53,000 foreclosure cases.
To solve a backlog of 40,000 civil and foreclosure cases, the Florida Supreme Court ordered the lower court to establish a system to work through the growing backlog of foreclosure cases in July 2010.
According to the high court order, foreclosures could only spend 12 months in the system from "filing to final disposition."
However, in July 2011, a Florida appellate court denied a request from the American Civil Liberties Union to keep a property seizure case out of an accelerated foreclosure system, known as the "rocket docket."
The program was scheduled to close at the end of June as funding was running out.
With the attemped ressurection of the rocket docket, only time will tell if the bill will successfully pass this time or if distressed homeowners are back to square one.
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