The following story by Joel Stashenko, appeared in the August 31, 2016 edition of the New York Law Journal (courtesy, New York Law Journal):
The state of New York has made inflicting injury on process servers to prevent them from doing their jobs is a crime.
A bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo adds to second-degree assault provisions of state Penal Law 120.05 section (14), the crime of inflicting injury on process servers “with intent to prevent or obstruct” the performance of their duties.
The measure (A6672/S2991) also stipulates that it should be considered assault by a person who seeks to prevent a process server from doing his job by “Releasing or failing to control an animal” such as a dog.
Second-degree assault is a Class D felony in New York punishable by up to seven years in prison.
In a letter to Cuomo in June, the head of the state Professional Process Association, Larry Yellon, said the level of “hostility and aggression” toward process servers has increased in recent years and sometimes escalated past verbal abuse to physical violence.
Yellon said process servers are an integral part of the judicial system by providing a direct link between parties and the courts.
“They don’t deserve to be brutalized for simply doing their jobs,” he wrote Cuomo.
Yellon said previously to the enactment of the new statute, those injuring process servers could only be charged with misdemeanors.
The bill was sponsored by state Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon and Sen. Catherine Young, R-Olean. Cuomo signed the bill Aug. 19