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Commercial Bail The Answer to Philly’s Broken Bail System

Philadelphia, PA – Yesterday, Senator Arlen Specter held a hearing at the National Constitution Center entitled "Exploring Federal Solutions to the State and Local Fugitive Crises." Philadelphia, the Nation’s sixth largest city with a population of more than 1.6 million and more than 40,000 outstanding warrants for failure to appear, is the logical site for a hearing on fugitives.  I was present for the hearing along with Cheryl Burns of Bail USA and Terry Allen of the Federal Strategy Group.  ABC has been working with Terry Allen on matters related to commercial bail at the federal level. Philadelphia has been in a state of flux after a recent series of articles appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer addressing, in part, that city’s broken bail bond system and the failure to collect…
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Bail Industry Proactive in 2010

Multiple States Have Efforts Underway to Preserve Bail Profession  The last year of the decade may prove to be a memorable one for commercial bail as bail agents and surety companies alike will be working together to protect and expand this honorable profession.  As a bail bonds agent, if you're not aware of what's happening in  your state then you're just not paying attention.  If you're currently not participating in protecting the bail industry in your state then you're doing yourself and your profession a disservice.  Make 2010 the year you make a difference. Here is just a sample of what's happening across the country. California Credit card kiosks have made their way into several California jails causing much concern to bail agents.  As a result, the legality of placing credit cards kiosks…
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Missouri Holds 4th Meeting on Bail Reform

      Jefferson City - The Missouri State Legislature passed legislation earlier this year, a 62 page bill (H.B. 577) which, in part required the Missouri Department of Insurance to "conduct a study regarding its licensing rules and other policies and procedures governing the bail bond industry".    H.B. 577 suggested the Department of Insurance hold hearings and permit testimony from representatives of law enforcement, judiciary, bail agents and surety bail bond companies.  Four hearings were held with the last hearing held at the state capital on Tuesday, November 10.  I attended that hearing.    Approximately 15 people sat on the panel hearing testimony, of which several were bail agents.  Testimony was largely given by bail agents writing on personal assets identified in Section 374.700 of the Missouri Revised Statutes as a Property Bail Bondsmen.    The testimony from some of the property agents keyed on the low barrier…
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Texas Bondsmen Show Up in Droves

      For once, it would be nice to attend a meeting where we do not have to address recurring problems with abuse by pretrial release, attorneys writing bonds and credit card kiosks.  Alas, that was not to be the case at the year end membership meeting of the Professional Bondsmen of Texas held at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio.    PBT, as always, is ever vigilante in its overview of the commercial bail bond industry in Texas.  There will always be one threat or another to public safety by those who would try to eliminate the 100% guarantee that bail bond insurance provides to ensure a defendant appears in court to answer to the crime for which they have been charged.    In addition to PBT's association with charitable causes, it also…
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2009 Conference Much Ado About Something

Where does one begin in a year that brings so many issues to the table?  CBAA celebrated its 30th annual convention at Harrah's Casino Resort in South Lake Tahoe October 11 - 13.  The turnout was good and everyone seemed to have something on their mind with respect to one issue or another impacting California bail bond agents.      Depending on where you operate in California, you could be dealing with any number of problems.  In northern California they're dealing with pretrial release, credit card kiosks and cities limiting the number of bonding companies around the jail.  In the southern part of the state they're dealing with excessive OR releases, large bond schedules and uncontrolled marketeers on the steps of the courthouse and jails. CBAA and Golden State Combine Forces to Protect Industry    Perhaps…
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CBAA 2009 Annual Convention – Why You Sould Attend

   There may not have been a time in the last thirty years where there has been so much focus on what the government has done and continues to do to impact the lives of everyday citizens and business owners.  Between health care and stimulus bills they have captured our complete attention and in some cases, our ire.    The commercial bail industry has been impacted by this economy as much or more than any other profession.  Even though crime is up, people don't have the money for bail and more and more offenders are either being released OR or site released.    Assemblyman Curt Hagman, of the 60th District and license bail agent, has been working very hard to make a post conviction bond a condition of any legislative remedy to reduce prison crowding.  Assemblymen Hagman…
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To Fax or Not to Fax (Bail Bonds)

We text, we Tweet, we email, we bank online, so why not fax bonds to the jail?  The ability to fax a bail bond to a jail can be convenient for both the bail agent and the jail staff.  Doing so could save hundreds of hours avoiding long lines and a lot of money on gas and parking fees from making fewer trips to the jail.  There is also the added benefit of expediting offenders through the system, which has had some impact on jail crowding.  However, faxing bonds without proper controls in place against fraud can be a nightmare for consumers, courts and surety companies. Who’s Faxing Who? The bail industry has seen little progress with the acceptance of faxed bonds by the jails.  I’m sure it does occur…
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Making the Case for a Post Conviction Bond

California is giving serious consideration to approving the use of a post conviction bond in those cases of prisoners being released early as an effort to ease prison overcrowding.  California is experiencing historic budget short falls and reducing the costs of running their prison system is just one area being targeted for funding cuts.  Governor Swartzennegger has already spoke of the need to release as many as 55,000 convicted felons prison early which has sent shivers through the spines of the that state's citizenry.  What is a post conviction bond and how can it use effectively reduce prison crowding? A Concept Originating From Bail Bonds According to a 2007 study released by the U.S. Department of Justice - Bureau of Justice Statistics title Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants in State Courts, the commercial bail bond…
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Tax Day, Tea Parties and Capitol Invasion

   The lawn out front of the Texas State Capitol building in Austin, this past Wednesday, was packed with people exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.  Throughout the crowd were signs and banners decrying high taxes and big government.  It was a Texas size tea party on a day symbolizing one of life's certainties, taxes have to be paid.    The following day, Texas bondsmen were exercising their right to meet with their elected officials.  The sizable contingency from the Professional Bondsmen of Texas were negotiating the maze of hollowed halls within the state capitol building meeting with the Representatives and Senators from their respective districts.      This initiative was the brain child of PBT President John McClusky who, as part of his acceptance speech after being elected to his position, promised to build a grass roots effort within the bail bond community…
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