July 11, 1996
Subject: Service of process by constables
Written by: Ross T. Carter
Requested by: Zack N. Womack
Syllabus: A constable may not serve process outside his county
OAGs cited: OAG 70-614 (followed); OAG 78-207 (followed)
Statutes construed: KRS 70.350
Opinion of the Attorney General
The question is whether a constable may serve process outside his county. The answer is no.
Section 101 of the Constitution of Kentucky states that the jurisdiction of constables is coextensive with the counties in which they reside. That constitutional directive is implemented in KRS 70.350(2), which states that a constable may exercise the duties of his office in any part of the county.
We said in OAG 78-207 that because a constable's jursidiction is coextensive with the county, he may perform his duties in any part of the county. We said in OAG 70-614 that a constable may serve process in any part of the county.
The powers of a public officer are limited to those expressly conferred or necessarily implied. Blue Boar Cafeteria Co. v Hackett, 312 Ky 288, 227 SW2d 199, 201 (1950). There is no express authority for a constable to serve process in another county. We can find no such necessary implication deriving from a constable's duties. If the need arises to serve process on a party residing in another county, then an officer from that county may serve the process. It is therefore the opinion of the Attorney General that constables have no authority to serve process outside their own counties.
A. B. Chandler III
Ross T. Carter
Assistant Attorney General