Service in a courtroom is usually only condoned in certain circumstances, and, of course, the rules of service of process vary by state.
In this opinion piece shared by Mark Shapiro, we see that service while court is in session is frowned upon. And this is understandable for common sense reasons, such as disruption. However, Mark also mentions that people can usually be served as they are walking in and out of court.
At Professional Process Servers & Investigators, Inc., we have had to serve individuals at the courthouse a number of times because this was one of the only, if not the only, ways service would have been successful. If someone is in deep water and knows documents are going to be on the way at some point, he or she may try and avoid service, although, all this does is prolong the overall process; it doesn’t grant the person immunity from facing consequences just because service was not completed.
However, if an attorney knows the defendant is going to be at a specific courthouse at a specific time, he or she may request that we send out a process server to catch the person entering or leaving the courtroom. A description is ideally provided so the server knows who to look for. This approach serves as a surefire way to obtain service because when someone has a court date, that person will usually show up to avoid future consequences. Therefore, although Bob tells us service in a courtroom is not allowed, in some instances, as process servers, we are able to bend the rules. ♦
…serving in a courtroom…
You can’t serve in a courtroom unless the judge gives you permission to do so. I had an instance where that happened. I don’t know if all you remember the case where the gentleman was allegedly, well, I guess he was convicted, so it wasn’t allegedly anymore, killed a bunch of boaters out on the intercoastal because he was drunk, speeding in his powerboat. Okay?
We had, our company had the pleasure of serving this man for the families of the deceased. And, he was being held in a, hidden, in a Sunrise rehab center, where you can’t serve anybody in a rehab center. They were hiding there. So, I went to the judge. I knew he was gonna have a hearing. Went to the judge, spoke with him personally, told him what I had, told him what was going on, he said, “You, be in my chambers tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.” I was there. They brought the individual in for the hearing, and the judge allowed me to serve him right there in front of him, because of the circumstances.
So, that’s another case. You cannot serve inside the courtroom.