Sunday, August 21, 2016

Douglas County Court and the Personal Recognizance Bail Bonds Paper Tiger

Douglas County Court and the Personal Recognizance Bail Bonds Paper Tiger

For the past year, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of personal recognizance bail bonds being issued by Judge Lawrence Bolling in Douglas County Court.  From what we have witnessed, even high risk felony cases; such as sexual assault on a child, are granted personal recognizance bail bonds.

During a recent conversation with one of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Task Force Deputies, it was disclosed that the number of fugitives wanted for failure to appear has skyrocketed.  According to them, they are completely buried in fugitive cases and get more every day.  When it was brought to their attention that the Court has been issuing personal recognizance bail bonds on nearly every case, the deputy was shocked.  Then, after giving the matter some thought; the deputy remarked that it did seem like their fugitive cases were almost always personal recognizance bail bonds and not surety bail bonds or bondsman bail bonds.

That is because with a surety bail bond or a bondsman bail bond, if the defendant fails to appear; the bondsman and/or his fugitive recovery agents go after the defendant and return them to the custody of the Sheriff's Office.  This practice effectively ensures that those facing Court proceedings actually appear in Court; thus giving the victims and the people of the state the ability to see Justice rendered.

With a personal recognizance bail bond, the defendant is released from the custody of the Sheriff's Office on their own promise that they will appear for every Court appearance.  In the cases where Douglas County Court Judge Lawrence Bolling issues a defendant a personal recognizance bail bond, there is often some monetary amount affixed to the bond; for example: a $5000 personal recognizance bail bond.  So, the defendant agrees that if they fail to appear, they will owe $5000.

The fallacy of this practice is that the defendant is not going to Court and is on the run, so how does the Court expect to collect the $5000?  Furthermore; if the defendant is arrested after failing to appear, the Court does not require the payment of the $5000.  This practice of personal recognizance bail bonds is a Paper Tiger; it has no enforcement and no teeth.

If a defendant fails to appear on a surety bail bond or a bondsman bail bond, the court holds the bondsman and their surety company liable for the money or the return of the defendant to the custody of the Sheriff's Office.  As such, the surety and/or the bondsman are very motivated to ensure the defendant appears for Court or that they bring the defendant in after they have failed to appear.

So the surety bail bond company and/or the bondsman bail bond company is held to a different enforcement standard than the personal recognizance; i.e. defendant bail bond.  Whatever happened to Equal Protection Under The Law?

Even worse, by issuing these Paper Tiger personal recognizance bail bonds, the Court is giving defendants no motivation to appear for Court; thus robbing the victims of these cases of their right to see Justice served.

These issues are not isolated to Douglas County; they are proliferating the Court system throughout the country and are leading to the ballooning number of wanted fugitives.  Voice your concerns to your local Courts and Judges.  They need to know the ramifications of their actions.


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