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After being in the legal field for a few years, I am sharing my successes for other process servers along with funny stories.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


A few notes about serving inmates -
You can find out if a person is incarcerated by visiting the website of the particular prison you think he is in, most prisons have an on-line database, BUT you will need their full name, date of birth and/or their prison ID number. Most of the time, a prison ID number is needed if you don't have a date of birth. This number can be found in the inmates criminal file at the courthouse where that person was convicted. Some prisons require all three criteria or just one, depends.
Also, each prison has different policies on their inmates being served. You should call them first BUT they are extremely hard to get though to on the phone, not so much the County jails but the State jails are rough. You might not have any choice but to drive there and talk to the guard at the gate.
Sometimes on the prisons website there are administrative/legal office email addresses, then I email them asking how I can go about serving one of their inmates. Sometimes I get a response and sometimes I don't. It's a crap shoot.
When you arrive at any jail or prison, remove all metal including staples from the legal papers. Nothing sharp is allowed on prison grounds, not even a staple.
You can also visit http://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov/ and find out what prison your subject is at.
Beware, you CANNOT wear any blue jeans or any blue jean material when visiting a prison. The tower guards will see you coming and over the loud speaker they will tell you to go back to your vehicle, also telling you blue jeans are not allowed on prison grounds.
Hint: If you are trying to find a defendant to serve them and you can't locate them, go ahead and check the inmate locator. I have found my share of defendants in prison and would not have known this if I didn't check for the heck of it.
Here's a quick story: A family was referred to me a year ago, seems their son was traveling by car with a friend to New York and the last they heard from him, he was in Ada, Oklahoma or some Midwestern state, I forget which one. He had not been in touch for 3 days. I found out from his parents he did have a little history of being a flake, so I checked the websites for Ada county jails, checking for recent arrests, and his name was listed. He was arrested for being in a vehicle with his buddy who was drunk. Originally, when he was allowed to make that one phone call, he didn't call his family, he called another friend in New York, but his family eventually got through to him at the jail. He was eventually released.
Checking resources like this is valuable so use it.