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Sen. Runestad’s bill to curb fraud, corruption in the judicial system signed into law

LANSING, Mich. —  Sen. Jim Runestad’s legislation to curb fraudulent process servers and restore integrity in the judicial system was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Gretchen Witmer.

“I’m very pleased — after seven years of working on this endeavor — to finally fix a huge hole in our legal system,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Fraudulent process servers have negatively impacted thousands of citizens in Michigan, costing them millions of dollars and irreputable harm to their constitutional rights. This bill has been long needed, and I appreciate the work of the Legislature and the governor for putting this vital protection for the integrity of our judicial system into effect.”

Senate Bill 244, now Public Act 36 of 2022, requires process servers to sign a declaration that the proof of service has been examined and that its contents are true under penalty of perjury. This signed statement will replace current the notary requirement, which only verifies the identity of the process server and provides no real deterrent to falsification of service.

“I’ve been tracking cases of verified corruption by process servers since first introducing legislation in 2017; it’s very hard for their victims to prove they weren’t served unless they have a solid alibi for an unremarkable day, months — or sometimes years — earlier,” Runestad said. “The judicial system, above any other branch of government, has direct power over your life, and falsification of documents by corrupt process servers has the potential to utterly ruin the lives of vulnerable victims forever. Now that process servers must sign under penalty that they made service legitimately, they will think twice before falsifying a report.”

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