The Real Deal Miami

Judges use “rocket dockets” to get through foreclosure cases

February 18, 2009 02:06PM

In Lee County, one of the areas of Florida hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, judges have instituted “rocket dockets,” hearing close to 1,000 cases every day and calling some judges out of retirement to lessen the caseload. The courts are overloaded because Florida’s legal system, unlike those in many other states, requires judges to sign off on foreclosures. The county’s court system had about 1,900 foreclosure cases on its books as of two years ago. By the beginning of this year, that number had jumped to 24,000. As the judges try to fit all the cases in, some homeowners are frustrated that they are given only a few seconds to state their cases to judges. But the judges say most cases do not warrant more than a brief hearing.