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Process server fired over unserved tickets; 1,000 photo enforcement cases reviewed

Unserved tickets spur review of 1,000 photo enforcement cases

The photo enforcement van at right keeps an eye on traffic at 22nd Street just east of Pantano Road in this 2007 file photo.

The photo enforcement van at right keeps an eye on traffic at 22nd Street just east of Pantano Road in this 2007 file photo.

About 1,000 photo traffic enforcement cases are under review by Tucson City Court after a process server allegedly filed false affidavits of service.

At least 14 people received letters informing them a City Court judge found them responsible for citations they were never served, said Christopher Hale, deputy court administrator.

Angry calls to the court led to the firing of the accused process server and a painstaking review of the 1,000 or so cases for which Michael Dimenstein supposedly served the paperwork, Hale said.

Dimenstein’s actions are under investigation by Tucson police, who will weigh whether to press for criminal charges, spokesman Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said Thursday.

The court will dismiss charges against anyone whose affidavit of service proves to be falsified, Hale said.

No policy changes or contract cancellations are expected from Tucson City Court; the city’s photo enforcement contractor, American Traffic Solutions; or process server Hawkins and E-Z Messenger Legal Support Providers.

“Clearly, this appears to be the work of one rogue employee,” Hale said.

“I’m not aware of this happening before. As a company, they have a strong reputation.”

Ronald Ezell, president and chief executive of the process server company, said the incident is a first in his 35 years in the business.

“Never in my lifetime would I imagine that this would happen,” he said. “I’m extremely upset. . . . The guy was immediately terminated.”

Dimenstein’s case was forwarded to the state board that licenses process servers, Ezell said.

“These affidavits are signed under penalty of perjury,” he said.

“The policy is ATS will only pay us with a successful serve, and, therefore, the process servers only get paid for a successful serve.

“You can imagine with so many citations out there, these process servers don’t have to lie. I make that very clear.”

Hawkins and E-Z Messenger Legal Support Providers also provides process service for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and several municipal governments.

It also provides the service for Redflex Traffic Systems, which operates Arizona’s highway photo-radar speed-enforcement program.

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