The primary function of the Sheriff's Civil Process Section and Business Office is to administer and execute writs which emanate from the Superior Court. These writs are commonly referred to as "process". Having Sheriff's Officers serve process is an old and honorable custom which dates back more than 700 years! This practice evolved from the original principles of law wherein the execution of process determined the finalization of legal problems. These very same principles are still in effect today with the same excellent results. Some of the writs executed by the Sheriff's Office include:
• Summons and Complaint: This writ directs the Sheriff to notify a specific person that a legal action has been started against him/her and that he/she must answer the complaint.
• Wage Execution: This writ commands the Sheriff to satisfy a judgemant out of the wages or earnings of a defendant while waiting for the final determination of his/her lawsuit.
• Foreclosure Execution: This writ commands the Sheriff to sell the mortgaged premises of a defendant and use the proceeds from that sale to satisfy the mortgage.
In addition to serving these writs (" serving process"), the Sheriff must collect fees regarding each process, keep an accurate account of all funds and turn over the money to the County Treasurer. The Sheriff must make an official "return" to the Courts in which the execution of each writ is explained. In a typical year, there are an estimated 22,000 summonses and complaints served, 1,700 writs levied on and 400 foreclosures completed.
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