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NCJ Number: 66679 Find in a Library
Title: SHADOWY WORLD OF RALPH THORSON, BOUNTY HUNTER
Journal: POLICE MAGAZINE  Volume:3  Issue:3  Dated:(MAY 1980)  Pages:51-56
Author(s): S GETTINGER
Corporate Author: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
New York, NY 10017
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A WELL-RESPECTED BOUNTY HUNTER (OR BAIL INVESTIGATOR) IN CALIFORNIA, RALPH THORSON, IS PROFILED, AND THE LEGAL CONTRAINTS ON THE PROFESSION ARE DESCRIBED. FUTURE PROSPECTS FOR BOUNTY HUNTERS ARE ALSO NOTED.
Abstract: THORSON HAS MADE HIS LIVING PURSUING BAIL JUMPERS SINCE 1948. HE WORKS FOR BAIL BONDSMEN WHO PAY HIM A PERCENTAGE OF THE BOND THEY FORFEIT IF THE SUSPECT IS NOT CAUGHT. THORSON BOASTS OF 10,000 CASES IN WHICH HE HAS CAPTURED BAIL JUMPERS. ALTHOUGH THORSON IS ARMED WHEN PURSUING FUGITIVES, HE PREFERS EMPLOYING HIS CONNECTIONS WITH STREET PEOPLE AND THE POLICE TO CATCH BAIL JUMPERS, AS WELL AS USING SIMPLE PERSUASION OR RUSES. THE PRINCIPAL BASIS FOR BOUNTY HUNTERS' WORK IS THE 1873 U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION IN TAYLOR V. TAINTOR WHICH SPELLED OUT THEIR RIGHTS UNDER LAW. TODAY, MOST STATES GIVE THEM THE POWER TO ARREST AND TO USE NECESSARY FORCE IN MAKING THAT ARREST; CALIFORNIA PERMITS BOUNTY HUNTERS TO CARRY LOADED WEAPONS WHEN MAKING AN ARREST. HOWEVER, BOUNTY HUNTERS ARE RESTRICTED IN OTHER STATES BY LAWS WHICH FORBID THEM FROM OPERATING OR BY RURAL POLICE WHO ARE IGNORANT OF THEIR LEGAL STATUS. THORSON TELLS A FEW STORIES ABOUT SOME OF HIS MORE EXOTIC CASES, AND DESCRIBES THE DAY'S BUSINESS AS A STEADY STREAM OF STREET CHARACTERS, BONDSMEN, POLICE OFFICERS, AND PETTY CRIMINALS FILTER INTO HIS HOME. THORSON DISLIKES THE BOUNTY HUNTER PROFESSION BECAUSE IT ATTRACTS NONPROFESSIONALS WHO OFTEN USE BRUTAL TACTICS, AND LAW REFORMERS OPPOSE THE ENTIRE BAIL BOND SYSTEM AS 'CHECKBOOK JUSTICE,' IN WHICH FREEDOM DEPENDS ON A PERSON'S ABILITY TO RAISE A BONDSMAN'S FEE. MORE THAN 400 COURT SYSTEMS NATIONWIDE HAVE ESTABLISHED PRETRIAL SERVICE AGENCIES WHICH SHOULD ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR BAIL BONDSMEN. (WJR)
Index Term(s): Arrest and apprehension; Bail bondsmen; Bail jumping; Bail reform; California; Citizen arrests; Federal bail system
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66679

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