Many people ask what Civil Process is and why the sheriff’s office does it. Basically Civil Process is the service of Court papers such as summons, subpoenas, garnishments, civil suits, small claims filings, ex-parte and protection orders, eviction notices, replevin orders, juvenile papers, or virtually any other document to be served for Court purposes. Missouri law requires the sheriff to perform civil process unless a private process server has been appointed or other option is permitted by the Court.
In Livingston County we typically serve between 1,500 and 2,200 Court papers per year. Missouri law requires certain fees on civil process being $30 per paper on Civil summons, Notices, Court Orders, Garnishments, Motions, and Eviction Notices. The fee is $20.00 for Subpoenas and there is no fee on Criminal Summons, Orders of Protection or notices of hearings on Order of Protections.
Being a small organization we incorporate our civil service into our investigations and patrol in Livingston County. We do so in order to be productive and maximize our time as quite often people are not home on the first, second, or even third attempts for service. Summons can be given to anyone at the residence above 13 years of age.
Several times each year we send notice to prospective jurors. Missouri law directs the Circuit Clerk to obtain the names in the county of the prospective jurors and requires the sheriff to notify those of prospective jury duty. You will often receive such notice in the mail from this office other times they may be hand delivered. Many times people have vacations, medical treatments, or have difficulty in being at the Courthouse for specific dates. If you have such a need, please call Livingston County Circuit Clerk Brenda Wrights Office at 660-646-8000 extension 305 and they will do their best to help you.
We serve a large number of eviction notices each year. In my opinion the laws lean toward the tenant and against the land lord. Occassionally we hear stories about tenants that refuse to vacate a property. In order for this office to serve an eviction notice the land lord must have either a printed or written notice they want us to serve. Once we make service that tenant has 30 days to vacate. If he/she refuses to leave the land lord may simply apply for a Court order which directs the sheriff to forcefully evict the tenant(s). Since 01-01-2001 we have had only a few Court orders to forecefully remove people from a residence. Each time we have explained to the tenant he/she is responsible for the total costs of the sheriff and deputy’s time and efforts and we are only obligated to set the property at the curb regardless of the weather. This is not our preferred way to spend the day and we have had much cooperation when it gets to this point. Our suggestion is not allow yourself to be placed in such a situation and be proactive in resolving any matter with your landlord.
If you have questions about a paper you have been served by our staff there will frequently be a listing on the paper of the attorney or party requesting service and it usually gives the Court date/time/place. Our staff usually knows very little about the paper we serve, it is not because we do not care, but simply we try to minimize our involvement in your business unless it is a criminal matter. Your best bet is to call an attorney if you have any questions or concerns. Our employees and the staff in the Courthouse are not permitted to give you legal advice.