The service of process is such an intricate part of the justice systems due process that it must be accomplished before any case can be heard by a judge. If fact, proper execution of service gives the courts and judges the authority to preside-over and adjudicate its outcome. However the violence that accompanies this process is the reason for this article.
The civil process in a court preceding can sometimes turn violent, especially when emotions are high and points-of-views are passionate. This is not the expected norm, nor is it regular practice for violence to be the end result of a civil matter. Violence in a civil matter defeats the point of calling it civil. I understand firsthand what it is like to look down the barrel of a shotgun for serving a civil summons. Quit a few years back, a women put a rifle to my head for serving a civil summons to her husband. The Attorney that I was serving the summons for is now a Circuit Court Judge in Annapolis, Maryland.
Every life matters, especially mines… I called the County Police who took all the precautions; arriving with SWAT Personal and hostage negotiators resulting an effective non-violent arrested. After that day, I would never serve another paper without having my ballistic vest on. In this particular issue, my vest would have done very little to protect my head.
Make no doubt about it, violence is a very real part of this job. Even though lawmakers have taken steps to ensure the process servers safety. We need law enforcement to get on-board with this process. However, when placed in a situation like mine, the less you say the better. People are looking for a reason to hurt you. Don't be afraid to yell out "Don’t Shoot!" The more yell the more agitated the assailant will become. Do it several times to bring attention to the matter and try backing away slowly. Don’t run, that will bring you negative attention. Seek to place cover between you and the person. There is a difference between cover and concealment. Concealment only hides you from that person’s sight and will not repel or deflect a bullet. Cover, such as a car or tree will stop and repel the bullet. Seek the immediate assistance of Law Enforcement or Police, and if given a chance to absconder from the scene, Take it… Live to litigate the matter another day.
This article is to share a fact that all process servers face the same issues around the world as the sign of the times grow near. Be respectful and courteous at all times, and it doesn't hurt to show a bit of compassion.
Stay aware in order to stay safe...