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Bail Bonds in Ohio – Looking Ahead

The Ohio Bail Agents Association held their third quarter meeting in Columbus this past Saturday.  The discussion centered on the upcoming legislative season and the needs of the commercial bail bond industry in Ohio. Similar to Indiana, Ohio courts are moving more and more toward the, revenue inspired, 10% bond option with many courts accepting to accept only 10% deposits; no bail bonds.  This short sighted strategy by some Ohio courts has placed a strain on the criminal justice system through increased failure to appear warrants, reduced conviction rates and the disenfranchisement of victims of crime. The State of Ohio is staring at an ugly $8 billion dollar budget shortfall in 2011 and must find ways to administer huge cuts in overhead.  One of the areas being looked at is…
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Bail Bond Business Never Dull

It was one of those three week stretches that had me in five states, thirteen airplanes, four hotels and four rental cars covering 10,000 nautical miles.  During this period was a combination of meetings with new bail bond agents, visiting with existing American Surety Company (ASC) bail agents and participating in meetings involving the expansion of commercial bail. California and Nevada My first stop was Las Vegas where it was 105 degrees in the shade.  I met with a new bail bonds agent for ASC before making a three hour drive to Riverside, California where I met with ASC agents in that market.  I made it back to Las Vegas that evening.   Fortunately, Nevada’s legislature is in the off season making it one less state to worry about, for…
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It’s about the Kids

Imagine being eight years old, in second grade, and you’re battling some form of cancer.  You didn’t ask for this, you have no control, you’re just a kid.  Multiple doctor visits ensue, shots, scans, tests and more tests.  At some point it gets to be too much and all you want to do is get away from it all.  For kids who find themselves in this situation Camp Esperanza is the place to be.  It’s a summer camp created specifically for kids battling cancer who need an escape, an oasis devoid of people with charts and test results.  For many of these kids this is the one week of the year they can truly let go and enjoy life.  They can revitalize themselves in the Texas sun fishing, climbing and…
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Hilton Head Site of GAPB Meeting

Hilton Head, SC - GAPB usually holds its spring meeting on St.SimonsIsland in Southeastern Georgia.  This year they opted to go across state lines to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and the Westin Hotel.  The turnout was respectable though I expected more bondsmen to be present in light of the recent enactment of House Bill 889.   Speaking of HB 889, Scott Hall, GAPB Legislative Chair, gave an extensive overview of the efforts which led to the successful passing of this pivotal piece of legislation.  Scott went into detail on how HB 889 will benefit all bondsmen operating in Georgia.   The language of HB 889 leaves nothing to the imagination, if an offender is arrested for a felony offense of anything from DUI to trafficking in cocaine they will be…
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Indiana Bail Agents Meet in Indy

The Indiana Surety Bail Agents Association held its Spring General Membership meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Indianapolis on Tuesday.   Elections were held in accordance with the By-Laws and Tony Widgery was reelected as President of ISBAA.  Gary Logue replaced Linda Stamper as Treasurer while David Akers and Gary Good were elected to replace outgoing Area Directors, Kelly Bertholet and Dale Lanning.   Aaron Weese, a Virginia bondsmen and a representative of Virginians for the Preservation of Bail (now Americans for the Preservation of Bail) was the featured speaker.  Mr. Weese informed attendees on recent efforts to limit Pretrial Services of Virginia to only providing free bail to those offenders qualified as being of indigent status.  While their legislative effort did not succeed, this organization was successful in reducing…
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GAPB on a Legislative Roll

Over the last several years the Commercial Bail Industry has applied a forward press against unsecured release options, pretrial release, deposit bail and excessive OR releases by legislatively establishing that offenders charged with certain felony offenses would be ineligible for release on an unsecured bond without direct authorization by an elected judge. The Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen (GAPB) followed a productive 2009 legislative effort with the passing of ground breaking legislation that requires GPS monitor providers to act as surety and the granting of bond exonerations for defendants who have been deported by passing bail restrictions legislation.   HB 889 received a favorable vote in the House yesterday and will now be sent to the governor to be signed into law.  Once signed, HB 889 will severely restrict the ability of offenders charged with a broad range of felony charges from being…
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Ballot Initiative in Colorado to Limit Free Release

I was in Denver last Friday to attend a brief, though not insignificant, hearing in the basement of the Colorado State Capitol.  The hearing, which lasted no more than 15 minutes was a procedural step in moving forward a ballot initiative that would require the posting of a secured bail bond for all crimes other than a first offense, non violent felonies or misdemeanors. The ballot initiative is being put forth by an organization called Safe Streets Colorado.   In order to get an initiative on the ballot for the upcoming November election, Safe Streets Colorado must obtain 5% of the voter turnout in the most recent election held for the Secretary of State.  In this case, 5% equals 76,000. There are significant costs involved with a ballot initiative.  They will need a website and…
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ASC-USI Launches New Website

Indianapolis, Indiana - Through the years American Surety Company and Underwriters Surety, Inc. (ASC-USI) has been vigilant in our efforts to keep not only our retail partners informed, but the bail industry at large.    Our efforts began more than a decade ago when we launched the first version of www.ASC-USI.com in 1998.  Through the years www.asc-usi.com has been a proven resource to the commercial bail industry.  Our site has continued to provide the information and resource material to fight pretrial release, deposit bail and excessive OR releases, legislative updates, bail related case summaries and commentary on issues impacting bail agents. It’s been more than ten years since we first took the bail industry by storm with our 26 page full color magazine that provided fair and balanced coverage of…
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It’s Simple Math – Deposit Bonds Don’t Add Up

Indianapolis, IN - An article appeared recently on NewsandTribune.com entitled Released on Bond: A flawed system?  The article was written by Matt Thacker.  The article takes aim at the deposit bond program employed by the Clark County courts in Jeffersonville, IN.  Jeffersonville is located just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.  Bail is outlawed in Kentucky but that’s a story for another day. The Released article cites two studies, an unnamed study from 2008 where 31 percent (30) of Indiana counties responded to a survey.  The study concluded that 47% of $5.3 million collected by the courts on cash bond deposits in 2008 went to the county.  The article also cites the 2007 Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) study that said 30% of those defendants released on an unsecured…
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Round One Goes to VA Bail Agents, Taxpayers

We have been keeping you informed, through our American Surety Company Legislative Update, about the ongoing efforts of Virginians for the Preservation of Bail (VPOB) to bring about reform of taxpayer funded Pretrial Services in the Commonwealth.   VPOB introduced H.B. 728 which would require an offender to be brought before a judge and determined to be indigent before they can be released through a pretrial service agency. I traveled to Richmond, Virginia this past Tuesday to attend the first hearing on H.B. 728.  A number of bail agents, both surety and property writers, met outside the General Assembly Building adjacent to the Capitol Building to show their support for H.B. 728. Supporters waited several hours before H.B. 728 was finally brought before the House of Delegates Subcommittee for Courts of Justice.  …
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