It is a job that puts a person in potentially tense, emotional situations, but it’s a duty needed for justice.
Process servers never plan on a document delivery to become dangerous, but a Port St. Lucie process server found that can be the case.
Daryl Bank pulled a gun on a woman serving him papers in July of 2015.
She told Port St. Lucie Police she felt in fear for her life. She called 911.
Bank said he was the one who felt his family was threatened by her when she crossed over their threshold.
A jury in February said Bank was acting within his rights under Stand Your Ground laws.
It is a reminder for other process servers to be careful, cautious and compassionate when delivering documents.
Leroy Masters has been a process server in District 19 for 9 years.
He has come to accept when he shows up at someone’s home or business, he likely will not get a warm welcome.
“It’s hard, but it goes with the territory,” Masters said.
On any given day, he can serve more than twenty documents, ranging from various lawsuits, divorce papers, foreclosures and subpoenas.
He never knows how a recipient will react. “There are those [situations] that the person being served just doesn’t want to be served. They’re going to do whatever it is that they can do to avoid [it]” Masters said.
He prepares mentally.
“I practice different scenarios in my mind. If this happens, what should I do, if that happens what should I do,” he says.
He approaches cautiously.
He says he has been in potentially dangerous situations in the past.
“A gentleman came to the door with a gun, his wife was behind him screaming,” Masters described. He was able to deescalate the situation. “The next thing I said to him was sir, I did not come here this morning to be killed. I'm just here to deliver a document.”
Process servers have the right to come onto a property to deliver the documents, unarmed.
They do not have a right to enter your home.
That is why Masters is always careful to keep his distance.
Masters respects Stand Your Ground laws and the right for someone to protect their property.
But since someone may not know his rights, he says he never works after dark.
He says he never sticks around when emotions run high.
"The more compassionate we are with the things that must be done, the better it is for the person," he says.