Can you serve legal papers to someone serving their sentence in jail?
The answer is yes. An incarcerated person may receive court papers, including motions and orders related to the case that put them behind bars. Or perhaps they are a defendant in another case. Either way, they can be served while in prison.
How does this method work?
Service on Incarcerated Person
Unlike regular process serving cases, serving a person in jail is relatively straightforward on the part of the court, proper official, process server, and defendant. In some cases, the process server has to sharpen their investigative skills to locate a defendant who may be avoiding them. But for service on incarcerated persons, there is only one place to hand-deliver the papers.
Article 1235.1 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure states: “Service is made on a person who is incarcerated in a jail or detention facility through personal service on the warden or his designee for the shift.”
The warden or the officer-in-charge during the shift will be the ones to personally serve the documents to the incarcerated defendant. Proof of service must still be accomplished—the person who delivers the papers must record the citation or pleadings served to the defendant in jail.
Other Types of Service
There are several ways to serve legal papers to a defendant—service on incarcerated persons is just one of them. In Louisiana, defendants can be served any time of the day and even at night, on Sundays, and holidays.
Here are the other types of services:
- Personal service – when the papers are personally hand-delivered to the defendant.
- Same; where made – when the process server has to track down the defendant and serve them with the papers.
- Domiciliary service – papers are left at the defendant’s home and are received by a person of suitable age and discretion who lives in the same residence.
- Service on representative – service is made on a person who is represented by another person appointed by the court. Moreover, service is done by domiciliary service through the representative.
- Service on clerical employees of physicians – a physician’s clerical employee may be served in their place of employment even if the physician or the clinic is not part of the case.
- Service on individual in multiple capacities – when a person is named in pleadings in multiple capacities, one personal service on the individual will suffice for all of them.
Why Proper Service Is Crucial
There are many different ways to serve a defendant. A proper officer—a sheriff or deputy primarily tasked with serving legal summons and notices—or a process server must know the proper way of serving legal documents.
One of the most important provisions of the U.S. Constitution is the right of every person to due process of law. And one of the most crucial parts of due process is the right to be informed of any civil or criminal actions.
Louisiana State Legislature. (23 August 2022). Art. 1235.1 Service on Incarcerated Person. Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure. https://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=111158
The foregoing podcast has simply been presented for informational purposes only. He or those at Lafayette Process Servers LLC, are not attorneys. Process serving laws and rules of civil procedure are different from state to state. If you seek further information about this topic, please make sure to contact an attorney in your local area
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