Frequently Asked Questions
What is a state marshal and what are their duties?
• State marshals are sworn peace officers who are authorized to serve civil process and conduct executions pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 6-38a
• State marshal duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Service of civil process (complaints [including family matters, evictions, and small claims matters], subpoenas, restraining orders and civil protection orders)
- Perform evictions
- Service of and collection under wage executions, financial institution executions, property executions, and tax warrants.
- Execution of capias warrants (civil bench warrants issued for failure to appear) (Note: There is a Capias Unit that handles this type of work. Please see this link for a complete list of state marshals, which indicates whether they are on the Capias Unit).
• Additional information about service of process:
- Generally, civil process may be served in-hand or at the recipient’s usual place of abode; however, other modes of service may be permitted under statute depending on the circumstances (i.e. certified mail, publication in the newspaper, etc.)
- Generally, abode service is made by leaving the process in the door jamb or between a storm door and a main door. Note that the state marshal may not place the process in a mailbox or in an envelope.
- A state marshal may not enter the threshold of a home/abode without permission or pursuant to a court order (For example, a marshal may cross the threshold to execute an eviction).
- Service of process is often done during regular business hours; however, marshals are not prohibited from serving documents in the early morning or late evening hours, or on weekends and holidays.
- Out-of-State Service of Process. A Connecticut state marshal may be able to serve certain types of process out-of-state by certified mail or publication. Please contact a state marshal directly to find out if he or she is able to provide this type of service. If a Connecticut state marshal is unable to serve your process out-of-state, you may contact the State Marshal Commission to obtain the contact information for an out-of-state sheriff in the county of service.
- Service of Restraining Orders Out-of-State. Connecticut state marshals cannot serve Connecticut-issued restraining orders out-of-state. If you require service of a Connecticut restraining order out-of-state, please contact the State Marshal Commission to obtain the contact information for an out-of-state sheriff in the county of service.
How do I hire a state marshal?
• SERVICE OF COURT DOCUMENTS IS TIME SENSITIVE AND THERE IS A DEADLINE FOR SERVICE. THEREFORE, YOU SHOULD CONTACT A STATE MARSHAL IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT OF PAPERWORK FROM THE COURT TO ARRANGE FOR SERVICE.
• State marshals are appointed by county. Generally, you must select a state marshal in the county where service is being made. Except in limited circumstances (for example, service on inmates or on state agencies), state marshals must stay in their counties. Please see Connecticut General Statutes § 52-56, which sets forth the limited instances in which a state marshal may work outside of his or her county.
• If the Court provided you with the list of state marshals to contact for service, we ask that you please contact the state marshal you would like to hire directly. You may access the list of state marshals in each county by using the links below:
New Haven County
New London County
Note: While you may hire any marshal in a given county, mileage charges will vary based on the marshal’s location relative to the location of the service. Therefore, you may wish to secure a marshal closest to the city in which the defendant will be served to avoid increased mileage charges.
• PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE STATE MARSHAL COMMISSION CANNOT RECOMMEND A SPECIFIC MARSHAL AND CANNOT CONTACT A MARSHAL FOR YOU. You must independently contact and hire a marshal in the appropriate county.
• If possible, you should attempt to contact a state marshal by telephone prior to mailing any paperwork to him or her. There are instances when a marshal may be inactive, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable to provide service. YOU SHOULD CALL FIRST TO ENSURE THAT THE STATE MARSHAL IS AVAILABLE.
What are the fees for state marshal services?
• State marshal fees are set by Connecticut General Statutes § 52-261. Please see this link to Connecticut General Statutes § 52-261 for a description of basic state marshal fees. You should discuss fee details and payment with the state marshal prior to service. The marshal should provide you with an itemized breakdown of his or her fees with his or her return of service.
• Restraining Orders. If you have a restraining order to be served, there is no fee assessed to you and you do not have to pay the marshal for service. The marshal’s fees are paid by the Judicial Branch, and you should never be asked to pay an upfront fee for service of a restraining order.
• Fee Waivers. In some cases where you have proven that you cannot afford the cost, the Court may order a fee waiver that includes the state marshal’s fees. You must apply to the Court for such a fee waiver. If you have a signed fee waiver from the Court, you should provide the state marshal with the waiver at the time that you provide the marshal with the paperwork to be served. After successful service, the state marshal will submit an invoice to the Judicial Department, who will pay the marshal. You should never be asked to pay an upfront fee when you have presented a signed fee waiver order to a marshal. Note that certain fees, such as postage, may not be covered by the Court order.
How do I file a complaint against a state marshal and what is the process?
If you feel that a state marshal has done something improper or unethical in the course of his or her duties, you should contact the State Marshal Commission at (860) 713-5372 to obtain a complaint form. You must use the State Marshal Commission’s complaint form. Complaints sent without the form will be returned.
• Please note the following complaint guidelines:
- THE STATE MARSHAL COMMISSION STAFF CANNOT PROVIDE YOU WITH LEGAL ADVICE. If you have legal questions about your complaint or need assistance with drafting your complaint, you should consult an independent attorney. The Commission staff can only advise you of the complaint process and mail or fax you a complaint form.
- The State Marshal Commission is only empowered to impose discipline against a marshal if his or her actions are ultimately found, after a hearing, to violate the standards of conduct outlined in State Marshal Commission Regulations § 6-38b-6. Disciplinary action may include the following and is imposed after a noticed hearing conducted pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act:
- Written reprimand
- Revocation of badge
- The State Marshal Commission is not empowered to award money damages. If you are seeking monetary damages, you must bring such a claim in civil court.
- The State Marshal Commission cannot enforce criminal law. If you believe a state marshal has engaged in criminal activity (i.e. theft, property damage), in addition to filing your complaint with the Commission, you should immediately contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.
• The State Marshal Commission investigates all complaints received, and the complaint process is as follows:
1. Once a Complainant submits his or her complaint to the State Marshal Commission, the Commission office will forward a copy of the same to the state marshal (called the Respondent). The marshal is then required to file a written response to the complaint.
2. When the Respondent submits a written response to a complaint, the Complainant will receive a copy and may file a supplemental submission. ONCE THE COMPLAINANT FILES HIS OR HER SUPPLEMENTAL SUBMISSION, THE COMMISSION GENERALLY DOES NOT ACCEPT ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE COMPLAINANT AND ANYTHING SUBMITTED WILL BE RETURNED WITHOUT REVIEW.
3. If the Complainant files a supplemental submission, the Respondent will have the opportunity to submit a supplemental response.
4. The Commission reviews complaint files in due course, generally in the order in which they are received. The Commission will first consider whether to dismiss the matter or find probable cause for a hearing before an Oversight Committee. Both Complainant and Respondent will receive notice of the meeting at which the Commission is considering the matter.
5. If the Commission dismisses the matter, the Complainant and Respondent will receive a letter stating the same. This decision is final. The Commission does not reconsider its decision to dismiss a complaint.
6. If the Commission finds probable cause for a hearing, the Complainant and Respondent will receive a copy of the Commission’s probable cause findings and will receive notice of the hearing once it has been scheduled.
7. Oversight Committee hearings are held throughout the year. Generally the Complainant is not required to appear at the hearing; however, it is strongly encouraged that he or she be present. The Respondent is required to appear. The Respondent and the Complainant, if present, will be asked to present testimony to the Oversight Committee under oath.
8. After the hearing, the Oversight Committee will draft a proposed decision, which will be circulated to the Complainant and Respondent prior to being considered by the Commission at one of its monthly meetings. If the Respondent is adversely affected by the decision, he or she is afforded the opportunity to file exceptions and present briefs and oral argument to the Commission. Note that, at this juncture, no new facts may be presented to the Commission.
9. At the Commission meeting where the proposed decision is considered, the Commission may vote to adopt the proposed decision as its final decision or may vote to amend the proposed decision. Once the Commission adopts its final decision, it will be mailed to both the Complainant and the Respondent. If the decision is adverse to the Respondent, he or she has the opportunity to request that the Commission reconsider its final decision and/or to appeal the matter to the Connecticut Superior Court.