AFFORDABLE BAIL BONDS, INC. APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
APPEAL FROM THE BAXTER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. CR-13-82] HONORABLE JOHN R. PUTMAN, JUDGE
Matt Stone, for appellant.
Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Eileen Harrison, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge
This appeal arises from an order of the Baxter County Circuit Court forfeiting a $75, 000 bond posted by appellant Affordable Bail Bonds, Inc. On appeal, Affordable Bail Bonds argues that the forfeiture judgment should be reversed because Affordable Bail Bonds was not immediately served with the summons requiring it to appear and show cause why the judgment should not be rendered. We affirm.
Due to the nature of the issue herein, a chronological review of the events is helpful:
• On April 2, 2013, Affordable Bail Bonds posted a $75, 000 bail bond for the release of Monique Blanc to assure her attendance on pending felony drug charges on April 25, 2013.
• On April 25, 2013, Ms. Blanc failed to appear at her hearing. As a result, on the same day the trial court entered an "Order for issuance of arrest warrant and summons/order for surety to appear." This order was file marked on April 29, 2013. That order directed the circuit clerk to notify Affordable Bail Bonds to appear on August 22, 2013, and show cause why the full amount of the bond should not be forfeited.
• On April 29, 2013, the circuit clerk issued a summons to the defendant/appellant Affordable Bail Bonds.
• On May 4, 2013, the sheriff served Affordable Bail Bonds with summons by delivering the summons and order to the owner's mother at her residence. This service was invalid.
• On June 3, 2013, the sheriff served Affordable Bail Bonds by delivering a copy of the summons and order to the registered agent, Angela Gardner. Affordable Bail Bonds was ordered to appear at a show-cause hearing set for August 22, 2013. This service was thirty-nine days after Ms. Blanc failed to appear.
• On August 22, 2013, Affordable Bail Bonds attended the show-cause hearing and the attorney for Affordable Bail Bonds requested an additional sixty days to produce Monique Blanc. The trial court denied the request for sixty days, but granted Affordable Bail Bonds additional time until October 3, 2013, to produce Ms. Blanc.
At the show-cause hearing held on October 3, 2013, Brett Vaughn, president of Affordable Bail Bonds, testified that they still could not produce Ms. Blanc but that they had been making progress toward locating her and thought they could apprehend her if given more time. At that hearing Affordable Bail Bonds also argued, for the first time, that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the summons was not immediately served on its registered agent, and that effective service was not accomplished until thirty-nine days after Ms. Blanc's failure to appear. The State countered that, because Affordable Bail Bonds had appeared at the August 22, 2013, show-cause hearing and requested and was granted affirmative relief in the form of an extension of time, the issue of personal jurisdiction had been waived. The trial court rejected the surety's request for additional time and also denied its jurisdictional challenge. On October 8, 2013, the trial court entered a judgment ordering the $75, 000 bond forfeited.
In this appeal from the bond forfeiture, Affordable Bail Bonds argues that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to forfeit the bond because Affordable Bail Bonds was not immediately served with the summons issued upon the criminal defendant's failure to appear. Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-84-207 (Supp. 2013) prescribes ...