The Civil Division is a state mandated service of the Sheriff's Office. Its purpose and function is to serve and execute the various legal processes issued not only by and for the several non-criminal courts of the state and its subdivisions, but also for the legal community and the general public. Departmental and divisional policies and procedures are consistent with Minnesota State and court case law. These policies are designed and developed to insure the accurate, expeditious, and judicious service and execution of all matters relating to civil process.
Deputy Sheriffs are public officers entrusted to perform specific duties that contribute to the administration of justice. The purpose of service of civil process is to give notice to a defendant of the commencement of a legal action or a proceeding. Although any private citizen over 18 years of age can serve process if they are not party to the action, Sheriff's Offices are asked to serve process because of their traditionally good record keeping practices and professional service.
Except as provided for In the Family Court Act, a civil arrest can only occur with a warrant or other written direction from a court. The court of record has the power to punish for civil contempt. A Warrant of Arrest may be Issued where a judgment debtor possesses or controls property and is concealing himself or about to leave the state. A warrant may also be issued where a party has disobeyed a subpoena.
A two-part process:
- Notice of Petition - Service of the "Notice of Petition" commences the proceeding upon filing of the proof of service (affidavit),
- Warrant of Eviction - The Warrant of Eviction is a court order, signed by a judge, after judgment and issued to an enforcement officer. It directs the enforcement officer to put a landlord-petitioner in full possession of a particular premises, and to remove all persons and personal property that are blocking his right to his real property.
An income execution is an enforcement instrument issued by the judgment creditor's attorney acting as an officer of the court, or the court clerk, directing the Sheriff to satisfy a money judgment out of the judgment debtor's income. The earnings of the debtor and application of the State and Federal rules for payment, calculation and regulation determine the amount of each payment. Payments may be paid to the Sheriff either voluntarily or involuntarily through payroll deductions. Income executions, which are not paid voluntarily, are served second stage on the debtor's employer. The purpose of the second stage service, is to seize the proper amount of money from the debtor's pay. The employer is required to forward this specific amount to the Sheriff for application to the account.
Order of Attachment
The purpose or function of an attachment is to seize and encumber property which may be used to satisfy a judgment. Property attached can be liquidated to satisfy the money judgment. Personal and real property can be attached.
Order of Seizure
An order of seizure is used to seize specified items of personal property whose ownership and possession is disputed. A final judgment will usually direct the disposition of the property to a specified party.
Both of the above referenced processes are "provisional remedies" which means that although they are court orders, they are pre-final judgment. Any property seized is taken into the Sheriff's custody and held by him until the disposition is ordered by the court.
The purpose or function of the property execution is to satisfy a judgment by the seizing of property. In most cases the judgment will be for the payment of money, The Sheriff will either seize cash, personal property or real property or conduct a public auction to convert the property to cash. Although we are essentially acting as agents for the judgment creditor in the action, our activities will be performed in a neutral, unbiased manner.
The Sheriff seizes only property in which the debtor has an interest in, and seizes only that interest.