Posted 5/26/2015

In Barresi v. Barresi, 2015 WL 2448518 (Mich.App. May 21, 2015) a former husband was arrested on a bench warrant and posted bail in the amount of $3,500.  The trial court’s order setting bail stated that the bond “may be used for fines, costs and/or attorneys fees,” but the bond executed by the surety did not include such a condition and the attached power of attorney stated that it was for an appearance bond only.  The former husband appeared in court, but the former wife sought to compel the surety to make the $3,500 available for fines, costs and attorneys fees.  The trial court denied the former wife’s motion, and she appealed.  The Court affirmed because the surety’s liability was measured by the terms of the bond, and if the former wife thought those terms did not comply with the trial court’s order she had to make a timely objection to approval of the bond not try to impose liability on the surety beyond that which it had assumed in the bond.

In Surety Corporation of America v. Cannizzaro, Case No. 2:14-cv-2041 (E.D.La. May 22, 2015) the court adhered to its reasoning in an earlier suit involving the same parties reported at  2011 WL 1870096 (E.D.La. May 13, 2011) and again abstained from hearing the suit.  The plaintiff, a managing general agent obligated to indemnify the surety, sought review of numerous bond forfeitures.  The Louisiana Courts had held that the claims should be pursued in the criminal cases not as a separate civil matter, see Cannizzaro v. American Bankers Insurance Co., 120 So.3d 853 (La.App. 2013).  The plaintiff, however, did not file appeals in the criminal cases.  The U.S. District Court thought this constituted a failure to avail itself of available state court remedies and stated, “Plaintiff’s dual failures to assert its constitutional claims in the state forum and to avail itself of the state appellate process will not suffice to warrant federal intervention here.  Accordingly, the court abstains from deciding Plaintiff’s claims for the reasons asserted in the order dismissing the 2010 lawsuit.”  The court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

In State v. Sullivan, 2015 WL 2384077 (Vt. May 8, 2015) the defendant was released before trial on a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond.  After his conviction, the trial court set bond at $500,000 cash or surety.  The Court affirmed the amount of the bond but held that it was an abuse of discretion not to permit as an alternative the deposit of ten percent cash ($50,000) and execution of an appearance bond in the amount of $500,000.  The Court recognized the difference between a pretrial release bond and a bond after conviction but thought that the ability to earn the return of the $50,000 cash deposit would be incentive for the defendant to appear for sentencing.  The Court stated, “We acknowledge the State’s argument that the surety bond has the advantage of involving a surety who has a strong incentive to monitor defendant to ensure his appearance, and to find him if he absconds.  However, the court made no findings to that effect.  Its only stated rationale for rejecting the secured appearance bond was a concern for ensuring that if defendant absconded, the full $500,000 would be paid to the court.”  The Court reversed and remanded the case with instructions to allow the defendant to post bond secured by a $50,000 case deposit.

In re Hill’s Bonding Co., 2015 WL 2257079 (Tenn.Crim.App. May 13, 2015) reversed the trial court’s denial of the appellant’s petition for authority to issue bail bonds in the Ninth Judicial District.  The trial court did not question the petitioner’s qualifications and said it would be next in line but that “the Court is not considering the approval of any more bonding companies at this time.”  The Court reiterated its prior holding in In Re Cumberland County Bonding Co., 2013 WL 4734801 (Tenn.Crim.App. September 3, 2013) that the “trial court does not have the power to limit the number of bail bondsmen . . . .”