Some Maryland courts, including those in Howard and Prince George's counties, have begun reviewing cases and say that extra resources would help.
Leasure said she and a number of other judges only became aware of the corrective affidavits a few weeks ago, shortly before The Baltimore Sun reported that Bethesda-based attorney Jacob Geesing and Hunt Valley-based lawyer Thomas P. Dore had filed them across the state. Both lawyers asserted in the corrective documents that the original information was accurate — except for the signatures.
Staffers in the Howard County courthouse are pulling cases with corrective affidavits — they've found about 150 — as judges hammer out a plan for handling them.
Howard County judges are also taking a closer look at documents filed in any foreclosure case that comes before them for action, such as ratification of a sale. Problems they will be on the lookout for include affidavits filed in a case that are purportedly signed by the same person but have varying signatures, Leasure said.
In Prince George's County, Judge Thomas P. Smith said the Circuit Court would require that attorneys file new, "factually accurate" documents in cases with corrective affidavits if a foreclosure sale had not been ratified. He is scheduling hearings for corrective affidavit cases in which sales have been ratified and the lenders are seeking permission to repossess homes.
Hearings on foreclosure cases in Maryland are rare because it is usually up to homeowners to request them.
The Maryland Bankers Association told the Court of Appeals that it supports the rules approved Tuesday. But a Montgomery County woman fighting the years-old foreclosure of her home told the judges that she objects.
Tangerine Levy of Germantown said the courts are supposed to dismiss cases in which fraudulent documents were filed and that calling foreclosure firms in to defend themselves would in effect give them a "do over." Struggling borrowers do not have the money for attorneys to argue on their behalf, she said.
"Judges must not participate in this fraud," she said.