In 1984 Seattle process server Bob Hoyden, armed with legal documents to serve on a defendant who was consciously avoiding service, effected service but in doing so passed by several No Trespassing signs. Although the defendant filed a complaint with the local police and prosecutor, they declined charges.
The district court judge, though, filed charges from the bench. Ironically, Bob was convicted on second degree trespassing charges by the same court that had issued the documents he was serving when he “trespassed”.
Bob, with a friend and fellow process server Geoff Gese, met at the state capitol in Olympia on March 26th, 1985. Largely through their efforts, the present “trespass defense statute” we enjoy today was passed into law in 1986. The statute provides for an exemption from prosecution for persons serving legal process who go onto another persons property. The statute is found in RCW 9A.52.090(4): In any prosecution under RCW 9A.52.070 and 9A.52.080, it is a defense that:
The actor was attempting to serve legal process which includes any document required or allowed to be served upon persons or property, by any statute, rule, ordinance, regulation or court order, excluding delivery by the mails of the United States. This defense applies only if the actor did not enter into a private residence or other building not open to the public and entry onto the premises was reasonable and necessary for service of legal process.
Bob and Geoff decided that they should try to start an organization of process servers. After inviting friends and associates in the industry and culling names from telephone books throughout the state, the first meeting was held at what was then the Red Lion Inn at SeaTac. WSPSA was officially established on December 7th, 1985, with Bob Hoyden elected “founding” President.
Many original members of WSPSA are still in our Association and continue to work hard at improving our industry. Those WSPSA members are listed below:
Gary Turpen, Robert Hoyden, Robin Mullins, Greg Rustand, MaryLee Rustand.