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Mistaken identity: Wrong man served court docs

1:55 PM, Mar 11, 2012   |    comments
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He recently had a case of mistaken identity at his home in Aurora.

So what are the chances that there was another Dominic Smith living at the same address earlier?

Apparently very good, because prior to Dominic Jerome Smith living in the 11000 block of E. 1st Place, Dominic Ezra Smith called the same house his home. So that's where the Child Support Enforcement Unit from Delta County came looking for Dominic Ezra Smith several days ago.

An Arapahoe County deputy sheriff recently served some papers to the new home of Dominic Jerome Smith.

"He don't ask for my ID, he just said what's your name?" Dominic Jerome Smith said, "And me not thinking, 'my name is Dominic Smith.' That's what I shouted out to him. He gave me some papers and walked away. I didn't open it till I got in my house and shut my door, to notice that that was not me as the person that he was looking for. It's for Dominic Ezra Smith."

The papers are a big deal, because if Dominic Ezra Smith doesn't show up in court on March 23, he's gonna be legally named the father of a little boy and will owe child support.

"It's every important for him to come forward and take responsibility for what he had done in the past," Dominic Jerome Smith said.

The Arapahoe County deputy sheriff didn't ask for an ID when serving the documents and served them to Dominic Jerome Smith.

"If I would've shown him my identification if he asked, he would've realized Dominic Jerome is different than Dominic Ezra Smith," he said.

"It is not in our policy that we ask for identification," Dave Walcher, the undersheriff for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's office, said.

"We thought we had the right guy and he never questioned the name on the paper," Walcher said. "We attempt to serve almost 16,000 pieces of civil process in 2011, not only will that slow us up but additionally a lot of people don't carry identification, and ultimately I don't know how much paper we'd get served quite honestly if every time we'd have to stop."

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's office isn't the only agency that does not automatically ask for ID when serving civil documents.

Sources tell 9NEWS the servers legally don't have to do so. They're supposed to ask for the first and last name. If the person gives the right answer, they can be served.

In Denver, the sheriff's deputies ask for all the names listed on the paperwork.

The server will ask for an ID if the person refuses to sign for the papers or says they're not the right person, when the deputy believes they are.

Douglas County sheriff's office has a similar process.

In Weld County, deputies ask for folks by name.

"This will cause us to question what our policy is about asking for identification," Walcher said, "and we'll have to have that discussion - we've started to have that discussion already."

The Arapahoe County sheriff's office says it notified Delta County about the paperwork mishap.

Walcher says it's not up to the sheriff's office to find this individual - the deputy was acting on the information sent by Delta County.

"It's their obligation to see if they can't attempt to find this individual so he can be properly served," he said.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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