Even though this example involves only three judges in Ohio, don’t underestimate its significance. The fact that judges of their own initiative have started insisting that all attorneys provide certifications of foreclosure-related documents, a standard now in effect in New York state, shows how much their credibility has fallen.
From the Columbus Dispatch (hat tip reader Lisa Epstein):
In response to a national outcry over fraudulent foreclosure filings, three Franklin County judges are requiring lawyers to verify that all of the documents in residential-foreclosure actions are valid.
Six of the lawyers affected by the order are fighting back. They have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to prohibit the judges from requiring them to sign “certifications” on behalf of their clients….Among the 17 judges in the Common Pleas general division, at least two others – Laurel Beatty and David W. Fais – had intended to mail the orders to lawyers but stopped after the complaint was filed with the Supreme Court….
[Judge Kimberly] Cocroft said the action was prompted by growing concerns about the foreclosure process.
“Before we sign off on foreclosures, we want to make sure we are diligent in confirming the accuracy of those filings,” she said. “It’s a life-changing event.”
[Judge Guy] Reece said there are alternatives for lawyers who don’t want to sign the certification.
“They have the option of showing up in court, having a hearing and producing the evidence,” he said….
In October, The Dispatch examined the files of more than 130 people whose houses were slated for auction and identified at least 55 whose foreclosure cases contained mistakes, omissions of crucial evidence or questionable affidavits….
Cocroft and Reece said most lawyers have complied with the requirement.
The lawyers fighting this order may lose even if they win. This will only encourage local media to keep the issue of local abuses in foreclosures on the front burner.