News 4 Investigates: Subpoenas - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Subpoenas


You've probably never been served with a subpoena, but you've heard of them and chances are you've seen people in the movies or on television shows trying to avoid them. A subpoena is a legal document that orders someone to court, that usually includes a conditional threat of punishment if they don't comply. Subpoenas are delivered by sheriff's deputies and by licensed process servers. News 4 Investigates met special process server Ron D. White while working on a story about the dramatic rise in delinquent home and car loans.

Mr. White saw the economic downturn before it made headlines, because his workload delivering legal notices, which include subpoenas and other documents, started to skyrocket. There are different rules about how these legal notices can be delivered. Some can be left on the door, others can be delivered to anyone at the home and subpoenas have to be delivered to the person whose name is on the document. But unlike what you may have seen in the movies, they don't have to be placed directly in the hands of those receiving them. If the recipient sees and acknowledge you but won't open the door or receive it into their hands, the process server can leave it and the recipient is still legally served.

Mr. White told me that he has to get creative when he knows people are trying to avoid him. He says he's even hidden in a trash can to wait for the person to come by so they can be served. He also says that he tries to deliver subpoenas to a person's home to avoid embarrassing them. But if they play hard to get, he'll serve the subpoena to them on their job and he's even served someone while they were in church. Because he's often delivering bad new, the job comes with some risks. But White can protect himself, he's a 4-time world heavyweight kickboxing champ. For more on that, click here.

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