Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A rise in Executions

One document type that is reflective of tough economic times is the execution. Issued by the court after judgment has been recovered and the appeal period has passed, the execution commands the sheriff or any constable to “from out of the value of any real or personal property of such judgment debtor found within your jurisdiction to cause payment to be made to the judgment creditor.” When a judgment debtor owns real estate, the sheriff records the execution at the registry of deeds with a description of the debtor’s property attached. The next step would be for the sheriff to auction off the property and pay the creditor out of the proceeds. In almost all cases, however, the process stops short of the auction and the execution is “suspended” to await the eventual sale or refinancing of the property at which time the owner would have to settle up with the creditor.

Since 2003, the number of executions recorded annually has risen steadily and substantially:

251 in 2003
298 in 2004
318 in 2005
557 in 2006
602 in 2007
724 in 2008
985 in 2009
1234 in 2010 (estimate based on projection of Jan-July recordings.

Most of these executions are in favor of credit card companies and banks (that presumably issued credit cards) and range from $1200 to $18,000 - further evidence that the bill for a decade of living on consumer credit is still outstanding.

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