As a professional law enforcement agency whose responsibility is the delivery of legal services and the enforcement of civil orders the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office offers a number of benefits for attorneys and Pro Se litigants seeking to serve civil process or collect on judgments. Appointed Deputy Sheriffs are trained to properly deliver important court and non-court documents and are held to the same high standards as any law enforcement official in the Commonwealth.
According to Massachusetts General Law c.37, sections 11&12, the High Sheriff of the County is mandated to serve civil process. MGL c.37, section 3 empowers the Sheriff to appoint Deputy Sheriffs to perform official acts of process. Rule 4 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure requires that “except as otherwise permitted by paragraph (h) of this rule, service of all process shall be made by a sheriff, by his deputy, or by a special sheriff; by any other person duly authorized by law; by some person specially appointed by the court for that purpose” or where allowed by registered mail.”
The Norfolk Sheriff’s Civil Process Office is dedicated to providing the highest quality service to our clients. Norfolk Civil Process Office employees are trained to be proficient and professional in all aspects of civil process. The Deputy Sheriffs are highly trained and have completed the Reserve/Intermittent Police Officer Training through the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council. They are also trained in information technology and most importantly, ‘Customer Service’. Deputy Sheriff’s can be reached at the office, by cell phone, and through email ensuring that attorney concerns can be addressed immediately. Norfolk County Deputy Sheriffs are trained to serve your important documents with accuracy and efficiency.
The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office also employs a highly skilled business office staff to assist with the service of process and respond to questions from attorneys and pro se litigants. Our staff ensures that all process is properly recorded in our system and that it is served promptly and returned. Unlike constables who may be a single individual the Sheriff’s Office maintains records of service and scans of all documents allowing us to generate new returns in the future should they be required.
The Norfolk Sheriff’s Civil Process Office can locate witnesses and defendants using databases and information not available to the public at large. This enables to quickly locate defendants who may have moved or are seeking to avoid service and also allows us to locate assets which may be subject to seizure in order to satisfy a judgment.
We also have a sophisticated software system that allows us to maintain all service records and track their progress. Our system allows attorneys who sign up for this program to receive ‘real time’ notification of our progress in serving legal process. Once process has been served, the plaintiff/attorney can notified by email notification.
Fees for both Deputy Sheriff’s and constables are set by statute (G.L. ch. 262 S. 8) and there is often little if any difference between the fees of the sheriff’s office and those of a constable. The Sheriff’s Office offers customer service staff to assist with questions, obtaining copies of returns, and keeping detailed records of service status and dates.
Unlike constables, our deputies are not restricted in the types and magnitude of papers they can serve. Under Massachusetts General Law (Chap.41, sec.05), constables must be properly bonded and are restricted from serving process over $7,000 absent special approval from the court in a specific case.
Constables must also be sworn in each and every city and town that they serve process. The majority of constables are only sworn in one city/town or in a handful of communities in Massachusetts. In contrast, Sheriff’s Deputies have unrestricted jurisdiction granting them enforcement authority in every city and town in the County. If a defendant cannot be found within Norfolk County the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office can facilitate service with the Sheriff’s Office in which the defendant is located. For a quicker and more efficient service, use the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Civil Process Division.
Let us help you avoid that fate. Massachusetts state law gives Deputy Sheriff's broader authority than local constables. Constables who serve in a city or town where they are not sworn or where the value of the case exceeds the ad damnum limitations imposed by law may result in a vacated judgment if you are challenged. Have you asked your constable what cities/ towns they are sworn in to serve process?
When it comes to enforcing Executions on Money Judgment & Executions for Possession, Uniformed Enforcement Deputies have professional training. They also have the tools necessary (police vehicles, training, software, and resources) to have a much greater impact on your defendant resulting in the satisfaction your judgment faster, more efficiently, and with far less liability than with the use of a constable.