Often times in the business of law legal practitioners have to make choices. To follow the letter of the law or the spirit of the law.
Recently Florida lawmakers earned the Governor signature on SB 570. SB 570 is as follows:
ENROLLED 2015 Legislature SB 570 2015570er
Page 1 of 1 CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
An act relating to service of process of witness subpoenas; amending s. 48.031, F.S.; providing that service of a subpoena on a witness in a civil traffic case may be made by United States mail directed to the witness at the last known address and that such service must be mailed before a specified period; providing an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section 48.031, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
48.031 Service of process generally; service of witness subpoenas.—
(3)(a) The service of process of witness subpoenas, whether in criminal cases or civil actions, shall be made as provided in subsection (1). However, service of a subpoena on a witness in a civil traffic case, a criminal traffic case, a misdemeanor case, or a second degree or third degree felony may be made by United States mail directed to the witness at the last known address, and the service must be mailed at least 7 days prior to the date of the witness’s required appearance. Failure of a witness to appear in response to a subpoena served by United States mail that is not certified may not be grounds for finding the witness in contempt of court.
Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.
What is the intent of this law? In the full testimony contained with in the following videos it appears it will save Hillsborough county sheriff $100,000.00. How that savings is realized is unclear. Will the sheriff still process the statutorily service of subpoenas at the price of 40.00 and mail them? Will attorneys risk the delays associated with failure of contempt recourse should the person subpoenaed not show?
The fact is process servers know that the best element of a successful service is the first attempt. Once those to be served are on notice and if they have predisposition to flee they will. That will cost more time and money once the notice by mail is not responded to.
AFORPS deems this law in the category of lets just pass a law and wait until it is challenged and in the mean time expedite the efficiency in the litigation process even at the price of due process.
AFORPS believes some laws are worthy of not following and suggest attorneys always use personal service and let other firms cut corners even if the current law appears to support their efforts. Nothing wrong with doing the right thing within the current law and not the minimalist approach.
This video is a play list series of 7 videos from start to finish of the legislative activities and passage involving SB 570.