JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Look around, there's probably a foreclosure in your neighborhood, and those homes can sit empty for years due to a huge backlog in Florida courts. Since 2008, when the average foreclosure took five months, the process has been known to last as long as 814 days.
This week, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill to speed up the process, and let attorneys handle the paperwork, but Chip Parker, Managing Partner of Parker and Dufresne Law Firm calls the move unconstitutional.
"This turns the whole idea of due process on its head."
Instead of requiring banks to prove why they should take a home, Parker says the law requires homeowners, who have little legal background, to keep their house out of the bank's hands, and they only have a few days to do it.
"A homeowner has to get really sophisticated really fast, come to court probably before they've had a chance to talk to a lawyer to defend their case."
Even then, Parker says the bill says judges only "may" consider what the homeowners say.
"My personal experience in dealing with the foreclosure court here in Duval county is that they will use that term 'may' as a reason not to consider evidence in favor of a homeowner."
Parker says he's seen many clients devastated by the foreclosure process, and this new law is just another slap in the face.
"It has a lot of consequences far beyond the taking of one's home...and the fact that the only redress for a homeowner is to try to prove what the value of that was in terms of dollars is un-American.
Parker is part of a group of Florida attorneys who plan to challenge the bill in the coming weeks.