Posted 5/4/2015

 In re Forfeiture of Bail Bond (People v. Covington), Case No. 320108 (Mich.App. April 28, 2015) held that because the defendant was not apprehended, and the surety did not pay the forfeiture, within 56 days of the order of forfeiture as required by MCL 765.28, the surety was not entitled to relief under MCL 765.26 and 765.28.  However, the trial court erred in not considering remission of all or part of the forfeiture on equitable grounds pursuant to MCL 600.4835, and the Court remanded the case for the trial court to consider the surety’s motion under that statute.

State v. Doucet, Case No. 2014 CA 1542 (La.App. April 24, 2015) addressed the merits of the surety’s claim to relief from a judgment forfeiting its bond.  The surety argued that it was not given notice when the defendant first failed to appear for trial on March 26, 2003.  However, the bond was not forfeited for that failure to appear.  The surety was given notice to produce the defendant on April 17, 2003, and the bond was forfeited only after it failed to do so.  The surety also argued that the defendant was incarcerated in Texas when she failed to appear on March 26 and so the judgment should be deemed satisfied.  However, the surety did not meet each of the three requirements of La. Code of Crim. Proc. Art. 345(D) in force at that time.  The surety filed a motion and produced evidence the defendant was incarcerated in Texas, but the surety did not offer to pay the reasonable cost of returning the defendant to the custody of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff.  Therefore, the Court affirmed denial of the surety’s motion to set aside the judgment of bond forfeiture.

In American Bonding Co., Inc. v. American Contractors Indemnity Corp., 2015 WL 1623821 (S.D. Ohio April 10, 2015) the court, following remand from the Sixth Circuit reported at 551 Fed.Appx. 821, 2014 WL 43936 (6th Cir. January 6, 2014), denied the surety’s renewed motions for summary judgment in a dispute with an agent over use of money held by the surety in a Build Up Fund account.  The surety argued that the Ohio four year statute of limitations barred the suit; that prior litigation between the agent and an intermediary party was res judicata; and that the surety reasonably relied on the agency agreement in debiting the BUF account.  The court found issues of fact as to when the trust terminated and whether the surety reasonably relied on the agency agreement, and a lack of identity of the causes of action for application of res judicata.

In United States v. Fletcher, 2015 WL 1729779 (W.D.Ark. April 15, 2015) the defendant absconded in 2006 and was arrested in another state and returned in 2009.  The defendant pled guilty and was sentenced in 2010.  The sureties, the defendant’s parents, paid the $250,000 penal sum of the bond, but in 2015 the defendant and the sureties moved for remission of the forfeiture.  The court adopted the Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendations and denied relief.  The defendant’s breach was willful, the delay and expense to the Government were substantial, and there were no mitigating circumstances requiring remission.

In County of Los Angeles v. Financial Casualty & Surety, Inc., 2015 WL 1861214 (Cal.App. April 22, 2015) the defendant failed to appear for a preliminary hearing but his counsel represented that he had filed a motion for a continuance because the defendant’s father had been killed.  The court granted a continuance, but the defendant failed to appear on the new date.  The court then declared a forfeiture and eventually summary judgment was entered.  The surety appealed denial of its motion to set aside the forfeiture on two grounds.  First, the surety argued that the court lost jurisdiction to declare a forfeiture when it failed to do so on the defendant’s initial failure to appear and, second, that the defendant had not been ordered to appear on the continued date.  The Court rejected both arguments.  The trial court could rely on representations of counsel to grant a continuance and did not abuse its discretion in doing so under the facts of this case.  Second, the defendant had been ordered to appear for the preliminary hearing and that carried over to the continued date for the hearing.  It was not necessary for the trial court state that the non-present defendant was ordered to appear on the continued date.  [Not Published].