House approves Runestad bill cracking down on corrupt process servers

first_img27Feb House approves Runestad bill cracking down on corrupt process servers State Rep. Jim Runestad’s legislation creating more accountability for officials tasked with serving legal notices was approved today by the Michigan House.Runestad, of White Lake, said ensuring people are given proper notice of court proceedings is fundamental to their due process rights.“Our judicial system relies on process servers to do their jobs honestly and effectively,” Runestad said. “Falsely claiming to serve a legal notice can have serious consequences. We need to make sure process servers understand the magnitude of their responsibilities.”Under current law, unethical process servers are almost never held accountable in court.“In rare situations they may be held in contempt of court, which usually results in a fine or, at most, 90 days in jail,” Runestad said.House Bills 4666, sponsored by Runestad, and 4670, sponsored by Rep. Joe Bellino, of Monroe, classify the false certification of personal service as a felony.“Our legislation creates a declaration process servers must sign under penalty of perjury, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison,” Runestad said. “This sends a clear message that process servers must do their due diligence and ensures fraudulent service is prosecuted in Michigan.”Runestad said stories like those of Detroit resident Carnell Alexander inspired him to introduce the legislation.Alexander, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of the bill, said 29 years ago a process server claimed to serve him at his father’s house with paperwork related to a child support claim. He was incarcerated at the time, and never received notice of the court proceedings. As a result, Alexander said he was ordered to pay more than $130,000 in child support for a child who isn’t his.“I’m very happy to hear this legislation has passed,” Alexander said today. “I believe the process server should be held accountable on making sure papers are properly delivered, and that there are no discrepancies.”Jeff Kirkpatrick, vice president of the Michigan Court Officers, Deputy Sheriffs and Process Servers’ Association, praised Runestad for taking the lead on the legislation.“Michigan citizens have found their bank accounts frozen, their wages garnished or their property seized, all because a few unscrupulous process servers file false proofs of service with the court,” Kirkpatrick said. “Our association, like Rep. Runestad, wants to stop this practice in Michigan. House Bill 4666, making it a felony to sign a false proof of service, is a great first step.”The bills now move to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Runestad Newslast_img read more

See More