Friday, February 06, 2009

Avoiding Service Only Goes So Far.

State v. Sullivan, no. 08-0541 (Iowa Ct. App. February 4, 2009)

The Dubuque county sheriff attempted to serve civil process on the defendant 29 times in the summer of 2007. The department called him and asked him to come to the office to pick up papers, which he agreed to do, but never showed.

After a request to locate the defendant was broadcast, a policeman stopped Sullivan in Asbury. He admitted he'd been trying to avoid service, and he was charged with interference with official acts.

Sullivan was tried before a magistrate, found guilty, and appealed to District Court, which affirmed the magistrate's findings. On this, Sullivan appealed, arguing that interference requires the use of actual or constructive physicalforce.

The court of appeals held otherwise, noting that if Sullivan merely did not answer his door they might have been inclined to reverse, but that his actions in misleading the department when they called him was an affirmative act that delayed service, constituting putting obstacles in the path of officers completing their duties.


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