Notary Public & Legal Support Network Blog

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Convicted Felons acting as Process Servers

A NON-MEMBER OF THE NETWORK ASKS: You declined to accept me as a [Process Server] member of your network because I was convicted of a felony three years ago. Why can't I serve as a Process Server?

ANSWER: A Process Server is someone, authorized by law and court rules, who serves various types of legal process usually issued by a court of law, or an official authorized by court authority to issue process on behalf of the court (i.e.: justice of the peace, notary public).

In accordance with the law, a Process Server has to be a person of high standing and character. In fact, in Massachusetts, an experienced person can be appointed as a Special Process Server under a "4(c) Motion" {Mass.R.Civ.P. 4(c) }. A "4(c) Motion" is a litigants written request (motion) to appoint a special process server for service of process in a specific case. The person asking (motioning) the court to appoint a special process server is swearing, under penalties of perjury, that the person he/she wants appointed to serve process is (1) credible, (2) honest, and (3) of high standing and character. Obviously if a person has been convicted of a felony less then 10 years ago, that person is presumed to be dishonest and non-credible in a court of law.

Can a covicted felon become a police officer or constable? The answer is no!

Hypothetically, lets say a convicted felon is going around pretending to be a credible process server. The "wannabe process server" hides the fact that he is a convict from lawyers and members of the public and serves court process. Then, in one case, the opposing party(ies) investigates the case against him/her. They decide to check every aspect, including the technicalities involved with service of process. (Attorneys for litigants check nearly 95% of the time)

They obtain the paperwork that was legally served and look up the process server's name. Next, they do a simple background check on the process server by looking through old court records. Shockingly, they learn that the process server is a convicted felon who has been incarcerated in the past. Additionally, they learn that the person who served them has an extensive criminal record. What do you think is going to happen?

The opposing party(ies) would motion the court and contest service of process. Who do you think will win? The convict who is impersonating a credible court process server? Or the opposing party?

There have been cases where judges have permanently banned a person from acting as a process server. In fact, go here to review one such case:

IN CONCLUSION, if you are a convict, don't go around pretending to be a credible process server. One day your credibility will be questioned and your convict status will be exposed! You'll find yourself in a lot of hot water civilly, as well as criminally!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cops v. Process Servers, Constables, Deputy Sheriffs

As a process server and provider of court services, I’ve encountered the police on several occasions. I’ve encountered "city cops", "state cops" and "little town cops". The demeanor of the police has taught me a lot, as I am about to explain in this blog.


I have been serving court paperwork in Massachusetts for nearly seven years [2002 – present]. Many times I had to serve process in a city with the assistance of "city cops". Each time the police officer who stands by to keep the peace is helpful, patient and more then willing to protect and serve. They never question my services and actually understand the role of a "process server".

"City cops" don’t seem intimidated or act ignorant towards other career fields that are closely related to law enforcement. I’m sure there are a few "city cops" out there who feel that they are the only ones who can ‘do what they do’; however, I’m sure they eventually learn throughout their law enforcement career that they’re not the only ones.

I believe that "city cops" have the proper legal education and know the role each legal professional plays in criminal law, as well as civil law.


Every State Trooper, hereinafter, "state cop", that I have encountered while engaging in court services [not just process serving] has been respectful. They’ve asked questions about my duties, but have accepted the answers given to them. "State cops" have always treated me, and other process servers that I know of, with respect.

"State cops", like "city cops", have a lot on their agenda and don’t concern themselves with petty bullshit. A "state cop" obviously has a legal education and/or the experience to comprehend the fact that there are others like them who work in the criminal justice/legal fields who aren’t necessarily "police officers".


The demeanor of "little town cops" is different then that of "city cops" and "state cops". When I encounter a "little town cop", he/she is usually uncooperative, rude and sarcastic – especially when the "little town cop" is accompanied by another "townie".

From what I experienced during my seven years of service to the judicial system, the "little town cop" acts like I am "stepping on his toes" and/or hindering his/her authority.

They never understand my duties as a process server and automatically assume I’m impersonating a police officer. The "little town cop" and his partner[s] make sarcastic comments to one another over the radio and in-person and literally harass the process server. [Been there, experienced that!]

"Little town cops" don’t accept the fact that there are other people out there who provide the same services as law enforcement officials. They believe that a person has to be a cop in order to (1) serve court process; (2) make arrests; and (3) enforce the law.

"Little town cops" lack the legal education necessary to comprehend the roles of other legal professionals who are only doing their jobs.

"Little town cops" assume that everyone wearing a badge is a police officer. And, if you’re wearing a badge and aren’t a police officer, you must be a "whacker" and must be trying to convince the public that you are a police officer even though your badge and credentials clearly state that you are a process server.

Even though every piece of credential I carry (picture ID & badge) reads "process server", and not "police officer", "little town cops" automatically assume that I am impersonating a police officer. I’m not kidding!

"Little town cops" act like they feel threatened by Sheriffs, Constables and Process Servers. In fact, "townies" refer to them as "whackers" or "police wannabes".

In reality, however, most deputy sheriffs, constables and/or process servers are happy doing the job that they do. Nearly every deputy sheriff, constable or process server I’ve dealt with NEVER acts rude and childish when dealing with "little town cops". We don't poke fun at them and make sarcastic comments about their wannabe Robo Cop attitude. We don't minimize their roles in the criminal justice/legal fields. >>>>> So, why should they be rude and sarcastic to us?

They should do a case study on this topic. It would be interesting to read! I would like to know if "little town cops" have:

(1): Jurisdictional issues;
(2): Ego issues;
(3): Are insecure about their career outlook in small towns;
(4): Have frequent "power trips", etc.

I’m seriously thinking about writing a field guide for all the process servers of my network that will explain to them what they should do if they encounter a "little town cop".


I seriously believe that we should all work together and hold no animosity towards other legal professionals who do the same job. By working together, we can all easily perform our jobs. Furthermore, we all play a vital part in the pursuit of justice. For example:

~ Process Servers [includes deputy sheriffs and constables] are needed by law. Why? Because no case can commence without service of process. Without process servers, no court would have proper jurisdiction.

~ Police Officers are needed to protect and serve. Why? Because without them, no one is safe.

We should all do our jobs and do them with sincerity and integrity.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

AG Obtains Judgment Against Process Server

March 10, 2009 - For Immediate Press Release

Attorney General Martha Coakley Obtains Judgment Against Process Server for Violating Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law

Company and its Sole Officer Permanently Prohibited From Acting as Process Servers; Ordered to Pay Civil Penalties and Legal Fees

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office has obtained a judgment in Suffolk Superior Court against Boston-based process server Stokes & Levin, Inc. and its sole officer and director, Darren Stokes, both of whom engaged in a pattern of falsifying service of legal papers and filing those documents with state and federal courts. Judge Bruce Henry of the Suffolk Superior Court has issued a court order permanently prohibiting both Stokes & Levin and Mr. Stokes from acting as process servers or otherwise serving legal papers. Additionally, the court ordered the payment of $10,000 in civil penalties for violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law and $9,542.40 for the costs of investigation and attorneys’ fees.

“Our office has sought to put an end to Stokes & Levin’s practice of falsifying court filings to reflect service of legal documents that never occurred,” said Attorney General Coakley. “Massachusetts businesses and individuals must be able to rely on the integrity of the judicial system. Legal process servers play an integral role in that system, and the fraudulent actions of Stokes & Levin not only undermines it, but also poses a risk of harm to individuals and entities that is unacceptable.”

The court found that Stokes & Levin and Mr. Stokes engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct in connection with their legal process service activities, all in violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law. The court further found that Stokes & Levin and Mr. Stokes knowingly falsified service of legal process and made affirmative misrepresentations to the courts. In addition to being prohibited as acting as process servers, Stokes & Levin and Mr. Stokes are barred from advertising legal process services, accepting money for serving legal papers, and forming another legal process business.

The Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit in October 2008 alleging that Stokes & Levin, Inc. represented to courts that it had served legal documents on the intended recipients, when in fact; Stokes & Levin had not served the documents at all. These actions left individuals exposed to potential liability in cases of which they may not even have been aware.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Scott Schafer, Division Chief, and Elizabeth Koenig, both of Attorney General Coakley’s Consumer Protection Division, with assistance from Kristen Metzger of the Investigations Division.