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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 94407 Find in a Library
Title: Bail Bond Forfeiture Enforcement - The Mechanism and the Mirage
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Law  Volume:11  Issue:3  Dated:(November 1983)  Pages:233-292
Author(s): R A Gambitta; B P Hitchings
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 60
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explains Texas law governing bail bond forfeiture enforcements, one large county's administrative operations concerning bail bond forfeitures, and the reasons contributing to administrative and legal neglect in this area. It is based on research on bail bond law in Texas since 1980.
Abstract: Bail allows accused persons to remain free while preparing for trial in return from some insurance that they will appear when required. Texas recognizes personal recognizance, cash, and surety bonds, and some court sanction percent deposit bond procedures. In 1981, Texas passed a bill that minimized the risk involved in acting as surety. It created a monopoly for bondsmen and attorneys, prohibiting all others from making surety bonds in the State. Courtroom practices also contribute to minimizing the risk associated with bail bond forfeitures. The experiences of one Texas county illustrate a pattern of nonenforcement and noncollection of bail bond forfeitures for which both public officials and bondsmen share blame. In the assistance rendered to public officials in managing the jail population, in the diffusion of responsibility, in retrievals, in political favors and kickbacks, bondsmen assist public officals in the administration and conduct of the criminal justice system. Texas law should be reformed to prohibit attorneys from acting as bail bondsmen, to reduce the maximum remittitur amount to 95 percent of the bond value (the higher the remittitur, the less incentive for the defendant to appear in court), and to reduce the time period within which a maximum remittitur will be granted to 1 year following the signing of a judgment nisi or a judgment becoming final. Other specific statutory changes are recommended. The article also suggests that the State establish Bond Forfeiture Enforcement Units, independent of courthouse politics. A total of 198 footnotes and data illustrating bond collections and dispositions are provided.
Index Term(s): Bail bonds; Bail bondsmen; Bail collateral forfeiture; Bail reform; Texas
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