New York Bill to Make Assault on a Process Server a Felony Passes Senate
- April 29, 2014
- by Kimberly Faber
Updated June 16, 2014
The time to get this passed is now!Gail Kagan, NYSPPSA
As New York process servers work toward greater consequences for those who assault process servers in the state, the New York State Process Servers Association (NYSPPSA) is leading the charge in informing process servers and taking action. With new developments, Gail Kagan, an NYSPPSA board member, provides updates and next steps.
Senate Bill S2599, providing that physical assault of a process server is assault in the second degree, passed in the New York State Senate with a unanimous vote of 57 to 0 last Thursday. Its matching bill, A6077, is currently in the New York Assembly Codes Committee.
The bill must make it onto the Assembly floor before the session closes on Thursday, June 19th in order to be considered and go to a vote. If the bill does not make it onto the assembly floor before then, the NYSPPSA will be forced to start from scratch.
What Can You Do to Help?
Kagan, NYSPPSA, and those intimately involved with the bill are asking New York process servers to contact their assemblymen and push them to consider and pass this bill. Please call, email, and do whatever you can to contact your individual assemblymen and urge them to consider and pass this bill.
In a poll presented by New York Now asking if it should be a felony to assault a process server, 82% of participants were in favor of the idea. With only 18% opposed and a unanimous pass in the Senate, this final push in contacting your individual assemblymen can help get this bill passed.
In Kagan's words, "The time to get this passed is now!"
April 29, 2014
With much of the focus on process serving in New York centered in the Five Boroughs, a new bill focusing on process servers throughout the state aims to provide additional protection to process servers when doing their jobs.
New York Assembly Bill 6077 would make an assault on a process server a class D felony of assault in the second degree. The bill focuses specifically on when physical injury is caused to obstruct the process server from performing his or her duty or as a retaliation against the process server for serving process. This bill is also mirrored in Senate Bill S2599, which lists the justification, "Process servers play an important role in the legal system. Unfortunately, those who ensure a defendant's right to due process can become targets of assaults by those they are serving documents to. In recent years there has been an alarming increase in attacks on process servers in the state."
The full assembly bill can be viewed below:
STATE OF NEW YORK
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
I N A S S E M B L Y
March 14, 2013
Introduced by M. of A. LAVINE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to assaults upon process servers
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
- Section 1. Subdivisions 10, 11 and 12 of section 120.05 of the penal
- law, subdivision 10 as added by chapter 181 of the laws of 2000, subdi-
- vision 11 as amended by chapter 377 of the laws of 2012 and subdivision
- 12 as added by chapter 68 of the laws of 2008, are amended and a new
- subdivision 13 is added to read as follows:
- 10. Acting at a place the person knows, or reasonably should know, is
- on school grounds and with intent to cause physical injury, he or she:
- (a) causes such injury to an employee of a school or public school
- district; or
- (b) not being a student of such school or public school district,
- causes physical injury to another, and such other person is a student of
- such school who is attending or present for educational purposes. For
- purposes of this subdivision the term "school grounds" shall have the
- meaning set forth in subdivision fourteen of section 220.00 of this
- chapter[.]; OR
- 11. With intent to cause physical injury to a train operator, ticket
- inspector, conductor, signalperson, bus operator or station agent
- employed by any transit agency, authority or company, public or private,
- whose operation is authorized by New York state or any of its political
- subdivisions, a city marshal, a traffic enforcement officer, traffic
- enforcement agent, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanita-
- tion worker, registered nurse or licensed practical nurse he or she
- causes physical injury to such train operator, ticket inspector, conduc-
- tor, signalperson, bus operator or station agent, city marshal, traffic
- enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent, registered nurse or EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted.
A. 6077 2
- licensed practical nurse, sanitation enforcement agent or New York city
- sanitation worker, while such employee is performing an assigned duty
- on, or directly related to, the operation of a train or bus, or such
- city marshal, traffic enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent,
- registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, sanitation enforcement
- agent or New York city sanitation worker, is performing an assigned
- duty[.]; OR
- 12. With intent to cause physical injury to a person who is sixty-five
- years of age or older, he or she causes such injury to such person, and
- the actor is more than ten years younger than such person[.]; OR
- 13. WITH INTENT TO PREVENT OR OBSTRUCT A PROCESS SERVER, AS DEFINED IN
- SECTION EIGHTY-NINE-T OF THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW, FROM PERFORMING A
- LAWFUL DUTY PURSUANT TO ARTICLE THREE OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND
- RULES, OR INTENTIONALLY, AS RETALIATION AGAINST SUCH A PROCESS SERVER
- FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE PROCESS SERVER'S DUTIES PURSUANT TO SUCH
- ARTICLE, INCLUDING BY MEANS OF RELEASING OR FAILING TO CONTROL AN ANIMAL
- EVINCING THE ACTOR'S INTENT THAT THE ANIMAL PREVENT OR OBSTRUCT THE
- LAWFUL DUTY OF THE PROCESS SERVER OR AS RETALIATION AGAINST THE PROCESS
- SERVER, HE OR SHE CAUSES PHYSICAL INJURY TO SUCH PROCESS SERVER.
- S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.
The bill is being sponsored by Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, who served process during law school. “I had to deliver service of papers to respondents, especially in landlord and tenant cases,” Lavine said of his experience in an interview with New York Now. “I was once thrown off a porch and a local cop came and I was protesting about my rights and he said ‘Kid, do yourself a favor and go home.’”
In the same interview, Lavine had this to say about the bill:
“Our obligation and our interest as legislators in the state of New York is to make sure that the rights of each and every one of our citizens are fully protected, and the fact of the matter is as you know from reading in the local papers -- process servers are far too often the subject of some sort of physical violence and the concept underlying the bill that I have introduced here in the state assembly is that injury to a process server, because the process server is an arm of our judicial process, is an arm and representative of our court system, any injury to a process server ought to be punished not simply as a misdemeanor but as a felony to send a very strong message to all New Yorkers that we all have to engage in civility.”
Process server Kim Letus of Rondout Legal Services had this to say of assault on process servers:
“We’ve seen a sharp increase in aggressiveness toward process servers. I think that assaults on process servers aren’t taken seriously enough. There’s a perception that it’s almost asked for when you knock on someone’s door, when essentially we are just there to further a court case and serve the documents in accordance with the law, and we’re just the messenger. Our servers don’t deserve to be punched or have guns pulled on them, and it seems, as I said, to be an increasing problem.”
You can view the full interview at New York Now.
Assault on process servers in other states
It is currently a felony to assault a process server in the following three states, however, many other states are working toward gaining further protection.
California - Felony
According to Penal Code 241. (a) & (c), when a misdemeanor assault is committed against a process server and the individual knows or should reasonably know that the person is a process server, the assault is punishable by a fine up to $2,000 or imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year or a combination of both. Penal Code 243. (a) designates that a battery committed against a process server is punishable by the same fine and imprisonment terms as listed above.
Florida - Felony
According to Statute 843.01, if a person knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes a person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process by offering or doing violence then they are guilty of a felony in the third degree.
Illinois - Felony
According to Public Act 097-0313, it is considered aggravated assault and a felony for a person to assault an individual known to be a person authorized to serve process under Section 2-202 of the Code of Civil Procedure or a special process server appointed by the circuit court while that individual is in the performance of his or her duties as a process server.