Update from the front lines of Foreclosure CrisisSubmitted by bobbyw24 on Mon, 11/15/2010 - 09:47
By the end of June, a towering backlog of foreclosure filings piled up on the court system in Orange and Osceola counties — the legal paperwork equivalent of a tidal wave.
Only three of Florida's 20 judicial circuits had larger backlogs than Orange-Osceola's 9th Judicial Circuit, according to state court data. Nearly 40,000 foreclosure filings log-jammed the system in those two Central Florida counties. The situation didn't make anyone happy — from mortgage lenders to distressed and uncertain homeowners to the few judges assigned to hear the cases.
But then an infusion of state funding created the so-called "rocket docket," a mechanism for retired, senior judges to get paid to chip away at the backlog. The mission was clear: Move the cases through the system quickly so the residential properties could be resold to borrowers capable of making their mortgage payments.
The program appeared to work here. The 9th Judicial Circuit reduced its backlog by 15 percent during the first quarter the special funding was made available, the numbers show. That reduction is in line with the decrease seen statewide between early July and Sept. 30. And it put this circuit on pace to meet the state court system's "aspirational goal" of reducing the foreclosure backlog across Florida by 62 percent within a year.