Twice, while serving Judge Lester N. Pearce’s court, I was tasked with serving eviction orders that were incongruent with all my past experiences. This story is about my being able to discern the truth. In both cases the defendants were women, one was deaf.

First story

In the case of the deaf woman, she lived in a mobile home park, managed then by a husband and wife team. This woman was estranged from her husband and had moved her new boyfriend in. The boyfriend had not been approved by management to live there, as there was some suspicion about his background. After finally meeting him, there were no indications he was abusing her, just “sponging” off her.

On the day I served the eviction order she was alone. We could only communicate with each other through writing. She had a notebook to write in, so we passed it back and forth. Through her writing, she told me her husband was angry with her because she now had a boyfriend. He had the management team serve him at his new residence, where he fully cooperated with the process of service. The only problem was that she needed to be served at the subject property so she could represent herself in court.

Judge Pearce swiftly nullified the judgment based on the information I’d brought to his attention. It was pretty straight forward. The affidavit of service showed the process of service being served at the wrong address. I think she was eventually evicted but with proper service this time!

Second story

The second instance of fraud was more involved and only the tip of the iceberg. I went to serve an eviction order with the owner standing by. He was VERY anxious to get into the property, more so than most landlords. His anxiousness made me anxious! When I served the eviction order on this woman she looked at me with total and utter disbelief! Luckily this was an upstairs unit so the landlord didn’t hear our conversation. Almost immediately, she told me her rent was paid in full and that she’d never received any papers.

She was so earnest in her speech, and manner that I believed her. None of the circumstances seemed right! I asked the court to print out the affidavit of service. I wanted to talk to the process server who had served the original summons and complaint, but I didn’t recognize the name of the process service company. This company’s address appeared to be the same location for a resort on Camelback Road. I decided to drive by the next day to see for myself.

The affidavit of service was a complete fraud! Judge Pearce was hopping mad and had me contact MCSO about prosecuting this gentleman. It turned out this plaintiff was a meth head, involved in a whole host of nefarious activities. Every now and then I ran into the detective handling the case, and he’d tell me about the latest criminal enterprise he’d uncovered on this guy. Last I heard he was looking at some hard time!

Conclusion

Fraud is something that happens to courts from time to time. More often than not, it’s simply people lying to us. I’m pretty good at ferreting out fact from fiction because I pay attention to all the details. That’s an important attribute for a JP to have, as you’re ALWAYS looking for the truth.

— Ed Malles