Indiana is Conflicted in Raising Sheriffs Fees

The Sheriffs in Indiana have been challenged for some time with low fees for service of process.  It took nine years for them to increase their rates from $13 to $25.  Tuesday, Republican Senator Boots proposed Senate Bill 532, reducing the fees back to $13 and allowing them to charge for every service made in the case.  It continues to allow $25 for any post judgment service.

On Wednesday Republican Senator Mayfield introduced House Bill 1452.  This bill raises the fees collected by the sheriff to $38 in state and $73 for service coming from outside Indiana.  Under this bill the sheriff  would be allowed to collect these fees for service filed within the state for initiating service only.  All services within those cases would be covered under this fee.  Post judgment service would still be charged at $25.

While I agree that the sheriff should be charging for EVERY service, not just initiating and post judgment, reducing their fees is a step in the wrong direction.  The two bills should be merged to raise the fees for every service the sheriff makes.

The general public should not be paying for litigation through their taxes. The fees collected by the sheriff are transferred to the auditor and placed in the pension trust or the county general fund, if no trust is established.  This means the salaries, vehicles and benefits given to the civil sheriff are paid for with tax dollars, from the sheriffs budget. This should be a burden carried by those litigating. A complete audit of the true cost of process service should be done and the fees should be appropriate to those expenses.

I urge the Indiana Legislators to evaluate all information prior to making changes.

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