Posted 12/29/2014

 In State v. Williams, 2014 WL 7237297 (Minn.App. December 22, 2014) the defendants failed to appear and their bonds were forfeited.  The surety promptly recovered the defendants, at its own expense, and sought to have the bonds reinstated and discharged.  The trial court granted relief only as to 90% of the bond amount thus forfeiting 10%.  On the surety’s appeal, the Court held that the trial court acted within its discretion and affirmed the judgments.  Although the surety acted promptly to recover the defendants, the fact remained that they willfully failed to appear.  Although the surety’s petition was filed within 90 days of the ordered forfeiture and so Rule 702(f) did not require a 10% forfeiture, the trial court did not base its decision on the Rule but instead considered the relevant factors and exercised its discretion.

State v. Porter, 2014 WL 7190248 (Ha.App. December 17, 2014) affirmed denial of the surety’s motion to set aside forfeiture of the bond.  The surety did not return the defendant within the 30 day search period following forfeiture of the bond and did not show good cause for its failure.  The State had no obligation to help the surety by extraditing the defendant from another state.

In Apple Bail Bonds, Inc. v. City of Paterson, 2014 WL 6991965 (D.N.J. December 10, 2014) a bail bond company sued the City, a City employee involved in booking incoming prisoners, a competing bail bond company run by a former City policeman, and others based on allegations that the City employee recommended to incoming prisoners that the use the competing bail bond company.  The causes of action included antitrust violations and claims under the federal civil rights statute as well as state law violations.  The court concluded that the allegations related to federal statutes failed to state claims upon which relief could be granted and dismissed them with prejudice.  The court then dismissed the state law claims without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.

In Barlow v. Safety National Casualty Corp., Case No. 14-30407 (5th Cir. December 9, 2014) the Court affirmed the district court’s summary judgment dismissing the indemnitor’s federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims as barred by the three year statute of limitations, see 2014 WL 1327922 (M.D.La. March 31, 2014).  The Court also affirmed remand of the indemnitor’s state law claims to the Louisiana courts for lack of federal jurisdiction once the federal claims were dismissed.

In Commonwealth v. Karl, Case No. 669 EDA 2014 (Pa.Sup. December 9, 2014) the defendant failed to appear for sentencing on December 1, 2005.  A bench warrant was issued.  On March 21, 2013 the trial court forfeited the bond.  In April, 2013, the surety learned of the forfeiture, located the defendant in Florida, and had him returned.  The trial court nevertheless refused to remit any of the bond amount, and the surety appealed.  The Superior Court affirmed.  The Court thought that the trial court considered the factors set out in Commonwealth v. Hann, 81 A.3d 57 (Pa. 2013) and properly exercised its discretion.

In City of Lafayette v. Tyler, 2014 WL 6915383 (La.App. December 10, 2014) the surety argued that it was entitled to have the bond forfeiture set aside pursuant to La. Crim. Code Art. 345(D) because, during the 180 day surrender period, the defendant was arrested and held overnight in another Parish. The surety informed the court of the defendant’s incarceration 26 days after he had been released but did not tender the cost of returning the defendant since he was no longer incarcerated in the other Parish. The Court held that the surety had not complied with Art. 345(D) and was not entitled to exoneration.  The Court stated, “The obvious purpose of compliance with La.Code Crim. P. art. 345(d) by the surety is to place the officer who was originally charged with the defendant’s detention in a position to take immediate action to assure the defendant’s return from the parish of his incarceration.  That never happened in this case as the defendant had been released from the St, Landry Parish jail for twenty-six days before Zerangue notified the trial court of his incarceration.”

In State v. Burgins, 2014 WL 6792690 (Tenn.Crim.App. December 3, 2014) the defendant was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and released on bond.  While released, she was charged with several serious, violent felonies including attempted first degree murder.  The trial court revoked her bail and ordered her held without bond pursuant to Tenn. Code §40-11-141(b) which provided that if a defendant released on bond is charged with an offense committed while released, “the court may revoke and terminate the defendant’s bond and order the defendant held without bail pending trial or without release pending trial.”  The Court held that §40-11-141(b) and denial of bond to the defendant violated the Constitutional right to bail pursuant to Article I, Section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution.  The Court remanded the case and ordered a hearing for the trial court to set conditions of release or bail “to reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant while at the same time protecting the safety of the public.”