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Robosigners and ‘rocket dockets’

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Monday, November 22, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

Now that "robosigners" have flooded state courts with rubber-stamped foreclosures, is it any wonder that the courts have responded with their own version of an express lane?

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, investigative reporter Matt Taibbi profiles the workings of one such "rocket docket" here in Florida, where newspaper exposés of demented foreclosure practices have become as commonplace as "Peanuts" and "Family Circus."

According to Taibbi's account, the Jacksonville rocket docket is presided over by retired judges who are clueless about the complex financial instruments, such as securitized mortgages and derivatives that pass under their review en masse every day. Their mandate, like the robosigners', is to push paper, not question the fairness of what Taibbi calls "the great American mortgage bubble of the 2000s, perhaps the most complex Ponzi scheme in human history.

"The rocket docket wasn't created to investigate any of that. It exists to launder the crime and bury the evidence by speeding thousands of fraudulent and predatory loans to the ends of their life cycles, so that the houses attached to them can be sold again with clean paperwork. The judges, in fact, openly admit that their primary mission is not justice but speed. One Jacksonville judge, the Honorable A.C. Soud, even told a local newspaper that his goal is to resolve 25 cases per hour. Given the way the system is rigged, that means His Honor could well be throwing one ass on the street every 2.4 minutes."

However shocked we might have been about robosigners, many of us sympathized, both with their employment predicament -- meet quota, collect paycheck -- and their ultimate goal to rid our communities of foreclosures. The fairness or unfairness of each foreclosure would surely be dealt with on a case-by-case basis in court.

Or so we thought.

If, as Taibbi suggests, the courts have opted for expediency over judicial process where foreclosures are concerned, what's the next step -- drive-thru appeals?

Who is going to pause long enough to consider the legality, much less the fairness, of what all of this important paper-pushing is doing to living, hurting Americans?

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