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My Life in Bail – Part Four: Profit and Loss

By Michael J. Whitlock, Executive Vice President The late eighties and early nineties would serve up good and bad, profit and loss.  During that time I was on the ground floor of a new startup, and I would get married, lose a brother and a father-in-law, see our first child born, and start a charity. It was a time of great change, both for better and for worse. One of the great things that happened is meeting and marrying the love of my life. My wife Marcia and I first met while working at Allied Fidelity. We married in 1988, and our first child came in 1992.  Marcia and I celebrated our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary earlier this year.  Anyone working in the bail profession can tell you, it can be…
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My Life in Bail – Part Three: Year of the Rooster

By Michael J. Whitlock I am not sure if a white hearse with a giant rooster’s head bolted to the roof is a good omen or bad but it pulled up in front of Allied Fidelity’s office at lunch time in late January 1986. It was my dad’s 50th birthday and someone thought this would be a fun idea. As it turns out the rooster’s head would prove to be both a good and bad omen in 1986. Two years earlier in 1984, I had arrived in Indianapolis and started my job at Allied Fidelity’s Home Office on north Meridian Street. I was one of three underwriters working in the Underwriting Department. My manager was Terry Waltrip, and the head of the bail division was my dad, Jack Whitlock. In…
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My Life in Bail – Part Two – Life Lessons

Michael J. Whitlock Earlier this week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled against the Southern Poverty Law Center in the case of Schultz v. Cullman, AL. In layman terms, the court ruled bail need not be affordable but be sufficient to ensure the defendant appears for trial. A huge victory for the rule of law and a blow to soft on crime initiatives. These legal issues were well beyond me when I first started working in bail in the winter of 1981. Having decided not to go to college, I needed to find a real job, so it was fortuitous I had received a call from my oldest brother Mark about some work. He was manning the third shift for Guarantee Bail Bonds in downtown Dallas.…
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Four Decades in Bail – Part One

Michael J. Whitlock Executive Vice President This year, I entered my fortieth year working in the bail profession. I have been a surety representative for most of that time, but I started out working in what would become a career in a bail bond office on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas in 1982. Just over two decades later I would inherit my father Jack Whitlock’s office and desk, when he hung up his spurs in 2004. I would become one of three owners of American Surety Company just six years later. Fast forward to 2022, I am still sitting at the same desk, in a different office, contracting bail agents, traveling the country meeting with ASC agents, attending conferences, and working with the American Bail Coalition to preserve the right…
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Trendy Bail Reforms Losing Appeal

Riding up the elevator this morning in our Indianapolis office, a nice lady commented she had not seen anyone in a coat and tie for a sometime, even pre-pandemic. I replied, I was among the holdouts not willing to give way to latest trends quite yet. There is one trend I gave up on before it really got going; criminal justice reforms, specifically bail reforms. Reforms that attempted to do away with personal accountability, go lightly on criminal offenders and disregard victims of crime. This trend is nearing its predictable demise as the general law-abiding public has been awoken to the adverse impact these problematic reforms have had on their everyday lives. They do not feel safe in their own communities due to the lawlessness and soft on crime policies.…
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Indiana’s Bail Legislation Misses the Mark

By Michael J. Whitlock Let me set the stage in Indianapolis.  In the last 24 months there have been more than 500 homicides.  Judges are setting low bails and handing out get out of jail free cards on repeat offenders, many of whom were charged with violent offenses, and handing out electronic monitors in lieu of bail like candy. Charitable bail organizations continue to post bail without legal authority to do so and with no authority to compel a bailee to appear in court or arrest and return them if they do not. The Indiana Senate Republican Caucus announced a series of bills aimed at addressing these issues. Within this crime package is Senate Bill 6.  The aim of SB6, in part, is to raise the bar on those accused…
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A Bail Agent’s Case for Ending Cash Bail

By Michael J. Whitlock For the last several years we have been inundated with calls to end “cash bail”. We hear on the radio, national news programs, Op-eds, and legislative hearings. Only the wealthy can afford to post cash bail while poor people languish in jail. I agree, it’s a problem. It has particularly been a problem in my home state of Indiana. We have counties in the Hoosier state that set cash only bail or provide an option to post a cash deposit equal to a mere 10% of the stated bail amount. We have judges in Marion County setting cash bail as low as $500 for illegal possession of a firearm, sex offenses against children and stabbing. This is a problem. Every state in the country provides that someone charged with crime has the…
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County Bail Association with Texas Size Impact

County Bail Association with Texas Size Impact

By Michael J. Whitlock Typically, at the end of each calendar year I’m a bit worn out from travel.  After being grounded in 2020, I was back on the road at my standard clip in 2021.  Yet even after 120 flights and 125,000 air miles, I feel rather refreshed.  Part of the reason may be, getting out to see the great people in the bail industry that I have come to know over the years.  Perhaps it’s the fact everyday people are starting to be heard on how the sharp increase in crime is negatively impacting public safety.  Or it could be witnessing the good work of associations like the Hidalgo County Bail Bond Association (HCBBA) is doing in South Texas. I’ve recognized the HCBAA, their president Rene Anzaldua and…
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Fall Bail Conferences Recap

By Michael J. Whitlock mwhitlock@asc-usi.com [caption id="attachment_13852" align="alignright" width="255"] Mike Whitlock speaks at the ABC Conference[/caption] It’s been a busy few weeks as fall bail conferences have been held in abundance.  I managed to attend three of those conferences. In an era of unprecedented attacks on the bail industry, a vital and effective component of the criminal justice system, the level of optimism among the conference attendees was palpable and refreshing. The 2021 American Bail Coalition Agent Conference held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN September 28-30, was a breath of fresh air.  If you were able to avoid getting lost in the maze of gardens at this giant hotel and make it to the meeting room, you would have received a wealth of information about the bail…
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Texas Bail Legislation Awaits Governor’s Signature – California SB 262 Pending

Texas Bail Legislation Awaits Governor’s Signature – California SB 262 Pending

By Michael J. Whitlock mwhitlock@asc-usi.com The Damon Allen Act, after failing to pass in 2019, was easily passed out of both chambers of the Texas State Legislature and is now awaiting Governor Greg Abbot's signature. There were a lot of people and organizations involved in the passing of The Damon Allen Act, appropriately named after a Texas Highway Patrol Officer who lost his life in the line of duty. Both the American Bail Coalition and the Professional Bondsmen of Texas played pivotal roles in educating legislators on the efficacy of secured bail and bail bonds in particularly. One must read the 40 page Act in order to fully digest its contents. The measure addresses everything from due process to prohibiting PR bonds for those charged with violent offenses to required…
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