In late August I was the invited speaker at the Rotary Club in Griffith, Indiana. The engagement was arranged by Luis Rojas, a licensed recovery agent northeastern Indiana. There were local law enforcement officials, namely the Griffith Police Chief, who were interested in learning more about bail bond insurance impacting the County Extradition Fund.
As I’ve written many times, deposit bail is used by a number of Indiana Courts to the detriment of Indiana residents. The extensive use of deposit bail also directly impacts, adversely so, the County Extradition Fund.
In most states, revenue generated through the payment of bail bond forfeitures is deposited to the state or county general fund. In Indiana a bail bond forfeiture is comprised of two segments, the first 80% is considered a Late Surrender Fee while the last 20% is entered as a judgment should the forfeiture go to term. Upon payment to the court, 50% of the 80% Late Surrender Fee is deposited to the Police Pension Fund (IC 27-10-2-12(i) with the remaining 50% of the late surrender fee being deposited to the County Extradition Fund (IC 27-10-2-12(i). The 20% percent judgment is earmarked for Indiana’s Common School Fund (IC 35-33-8-7(e). Unlike the Police Pension Fund, the County Extradition Fund is only funded by bail bond forfeitures.
This brings us back to deposit bail. The Police Chief of Griffith unfortunately resides in Lake County, a county whose courts use deposit bail extensively. Because the court only obtains a 10% deposit of the full bond and rarely, if ever, properly forfeits the bond in the event of a failure to appear, the Lake County
Extradition Fund receives little, if no, money from bail bond forfeitures. For that matter neither does the Police Pension or the Common School Fund.
The members of The Griffith Rotary Club, largely comprised of local business owners and officials, were somewhat astonished to learn their local courts were releasing defendants charged with everything from felony DUI to domestic violence on the cheap, deposit bail. No one was held accountable to recover fugitives and no effort made to collect the remaining 90% of forfeited deposit bonds.
Ironically, any court’s use of deposit bail not only forsakes the County Extradition Fund, Police Pension Fund and Common School Fund, it also increases the number of failure to appear warrants placing a greater strain on law enforcement, adding insult to injury.
Employing the use of commercial bail would positively impact the County Extradition Fund with an increase in revenue allowing law enforcement to return fugitives from out of state at little or no cost to the taxpayer.
The principal goal of the commercial bail bond industry is to ensure defendants awaiting trial appear in court at all times required, to avoid a financial loss. Should a bail agent fail to perform, the forfeiture may have to be paid. The payment of a bail bond forfeiture would then benefit the Country Extradition Fund, Police Pension Fund and the Common School Fund. Administrators of these funds should take note and contact those county officials continuing to accept deposit bail to the detriment of, not only these funds, but the general public safety of Hoosiers.