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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With Zero Bail Gone Cali’s SB 262 Still Dangerous

Michael J. Whitlock August 30, 2021 Another bill targeting the bail industry in California passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee last Thursday. SB 262 was passed without the “zero bail” language and next moves to the Assembly floor for a vote. A vote could take place as early as this week. Unfortunately, the remaining language in SB 262 should not only concern California’s bail agents but those seeking to purchase a bail bond in lieu of posting full cash with the court. If enacted, SB 262 will turn the bail system on its head. SB 262, if enacted, would require bail agents to refund 95% of the amount collected from the depositor if, 1) An action or proceeding against an arrestee is dismissed, 2) No charges are filed within 60 days of…
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Defunding the Police – A Return to the Wild Wild West

By Michael J. Whitlock June 5, 2020 Even prior to the tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody a was a movement to end the use of cash bail, probation, parole and close jails and prisons. In fact, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms moth-balled the Atlanta City jail in 2019. “We have taken another critical step forward in the march for criminal justice reform…”. There is a movement now to defund the police. It was reported June 3, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Officials were cutting as much as $150 Million from the LAPD budget. Members of the Minneapolis City Council are seeking to disband that city’s police department. Councilmember Steve Fletcher tweeted, “Several of us on the council are working on finding out what it would take to disband…
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ABAC Conference Worth Your Time to Attend

By Michael J. Whitlock June 23, 2020 The American Bail Agent Coalition (ABAC) is an extension of the American Bail Coalition (ABC). It brings agents and surety company representatives together for a common cause. ABAC will be holdings its 5th conference this week which will be held virtually (online) due to COVID-19. I get calls and texts almost everyday from bail agents across the country, many do not even write for American Surety Company, asking about the fate of the bail industry in the United States. Do we have a future? Should we look for other work? What’s going to happen with California and No on Prop 25? So, we when I see the registration numbers for the upcoming ABAC Virtual Conference, I’m shocked at how anemic are the numbers. Rarely does a day go by…
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Victory! Prop 25 prevails as Californians vote to preserve the right to bail

By Michael J. Whitlock November 5, 2020 It’s been a long hard slog these past two years as the bail industry worked to overturn SB10, enacted legislation that if put into effect, would have eliminated the use of bail in California. That effort was rewarded on Election Day when more than 6 million Californians voted no on Prop 25, the referendum to overturn SB10. Californians for Safer Communities was the engine behind Prop 25. All in, more than 10 million dollars was spent by the bail industry to preserve the right to bail in California. That seems like and is a lot of money but well short of the war chest held by those in favor of Prop 25. Ultimately, it was the people who were the real currency in this fight. They rejected the…
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Efforts to Pass Bail Reform Legislation Persists

Michael J. Whitlock May 26, 2021 Another year and another slate of legislative measures attempting to reduce or eliminate the constitutional right to bail in lieu of either releasing offenders with no conditions for appearance or detaining them without bail. California, Delaware, Nevada and now Ohio have pending bills aimed at making it easier on criminal offenders. SB 182 was heard in the Ohio State Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday (click here to watch). The arguments made by the bill sponsors left me agog. SB 182 is a whopping 268 pages long. The sections pertaining to bail include the right to affordable bail, denies judicial discretion in setting bail and pushes for issuing a citation in lieu of arrest for most misdemeanor and several felony offenses. There seems to be little consideration or recognition of…
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Common Sense is Making a Comeback

Michael J. Whitlock June 15, 2021 Early on in my upbringing, I would do something stupid, and my dad would give me a sideways look and sometimes a slap to the back of the head and ask “where is your #%$*ing common sense?” From that point on, I tried to limit making similar errors in judgment as I rolled through life to reasonable success. Criminal Justice reform efforts over the last several years have been less than nuanced, to say the least. Reformers have taken an all or nothing approach and where this has been successful, has caused a steady increase in crime across the nation; the dreaded “unintended consequences.” Alaska, New York, and Utah are three states who recently rolled back enacted bail reform after a meaningful increase in crime and…
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Remembering Texas Bondsman Jim Lane

By Michael J. Whitlock August 3, 2020 I heard the sad news earlier this week Jim Lane had died. I've known Jim for about 15 years. My interaction with Jim over that time was largely through PBT. Jim also provided some assistant to our company with cleaning up an agency we had in Parker County. I didn't ask, Jim reached out to me to offer some assistance. That's the kind of man he was. In more recent years Jim and I connected over BBQ. You shouldn't judge a man by the size of his smoker but Jim's was much larger than mine. During the last several years, Jim and Mike Byrd would smoke up a bunch of brisket, chicken and sausage at PBT-Austin meetings following the Steven G. Whitlock Memorial…
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CJR Pendulum Reaching Apex

By: Michael J. Whitlock I dropped down to Atlanta on Monday to attend a golf outing for Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat.  The event was held at the Country Club of the South.  A beautiful and challenging golf course. But I digress.  Sheriff Labat and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, both newly elected, recently gave the what-for to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners over insufficient funding for staffing and equipment needed in their efforts to fight the surge in crime and to prosecute a mountain of pending cases.  Law  enforcement is bringing sexy back. People are getting fed up with the ever-increasing rate of crime across all offenses.  When I say people, I mean law enforcement, prosecutors, law-abiding citizens, business owners and most importantly, crime victims.  How many…
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Where in the World is Mike Whitlock

[caption id="attachment_13124" align="alignleft" width="164"] Michael J. Whitlock[/caption] My wife Marcia and I carpooled to work today.  I said nothing when my bride continued talking about work while Martina McBride sang Independence Day on the radio.  Today’s her birthday so she gets a pass.  Marcia raised our four kids and tolerated my intense travel schedule over the last 32 years.  It was the least I could do. Speaking of travel, I was in Tallahassee earlier this week to attend the Florida Surety Agents Association meeting.  FSAA legislative advocate Shawn Foster put together an amazing lineup of legislators to speak to the group.  It was refreshing to hear from lawmakers who have not succumb to the pressure of passing overreaching criminal justice reforms.  So far there have been no reform measures introduced…
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