When Photo Enforcement Process Servers Lie, Take Action -- And That's From the Process Serving Company

In December, we told you about a New Times employee who received a photo enforcement citation from Scottsdale with rather suspicious phrasing choices. We took the court to task for implying our colleague would certainly have his license suspended if he ignored the ticket.

This patriot chose not to waive his right of personal service, knowing the mailed ticket had no legal teeth. He waited to see what would happen.

Alas, it turns out the phrasing on the ticket was accurate. But only because the city cheated.

Or rather, the process server apparently cheated, claiming our colleague had been served properly. The New Times employee found out about the alleged hand-delivery of his ticket only after his driver's license had been suspended.

Watch out for this trick -- we doubt it's a fluke. 

We take the employees word for it that he was never personally served. But we also saw some documented evidence of a mistake, at best -- or at worst, a con.

After the employee, (who wishes to remain anonymous), found out his license had been suspended, he paid the fine immediately. That turned out to be a mistake, but who knows about these things? Later, he asked to see the official Scottsdale City Court affidavit of service filled out by the process server. He showed us the form, saying the server had used the same physical description that's on his driver's license. As we saw, though, the server noted a weight that was way off -- it's been a while since he got his driver's license.

The clincher was the address: The server had listed the wrong apartment number.

Based on that fact alone, the employee probably could have -- and should have -- escaped punishment for the ticket, says Kyle Smith, a manger at Hawkins and E-Z Messenger Legal Support Providers, also known as HELP, LLC. The Phoenix company provides process servers for the photo enforcement systems run by Scottsdale and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Smith tells us the employee should have requested a hearing to petition the city judge to set aside the service, thus nullifying the ticket. The court might yet dismiss the ticket, he says.

Smith encourages us to give up the name of the process server in question, but we leave that decision to the employee. He says he'll discipline or even fire a process server who's caught cheating. 

Our colleague contacted the court this week and asked for a hearing to be held on the service of his ticket. He says he was told by a clerk there was no reason to do that now, because the fact that he paid the ticket counted as service.

Sounds like they're trying to pull another fast one. We'll update this post to let you know how this ends.

In the meantime, take it from the process serving company -- fight for your rights.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.