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Inc. v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

March 30, 2016

BETH'S BAIL BONDS, INC., APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION. NOS. 60CR-13-2394, 60CV-15-912. HONORABLE LEON JOHNSON, JUDGE.

         CHARLES DANIEL HANCOCK.

         ATTORNEY GENERAL.

         SHIRLEY REBECCA BAILEY KANE.

         DAVID M. GLOVER, Judge. KINARD and HOOFMAN, JJ., agree.

          OPINION

Page 823

          DAVID M. GLOVER, Judge

         Beth's Bail Bonds, Inc. (Bail Bonds), appeals from the March 2, 2015 bond-forfeiture judgment and the March 9, 2015 order denying its motion to set aside the bond-forfeiture judgment. Bail Bonds raises four points of appeal: 1) the bond-forfeiture judgment should not have been entered because the defendant, Robert Lewis Ford, was in the Pulaski County Detention Center on the day of the hearing; 2) the trial court abused its discretion by not granting Bail Bonds a continuance to have counsel present; 3) the provisions of Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-84-207(Repl. 2005) were not followed in that the trial court did not issue a warrant when Ford missed his court date; and 4) the trial court abused its discretion by not setting aside the bond-forfeiture judgment pursuant to Rule 60 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure. We affirm.

         Bail Bonds wrote a $20,000 bail bond for Robert Lewis Ford in Case No. CR13-2394. On November 17, 2014, Ford failed to appear for court, and a summons and order to show cause were sent to Bail Bonds on that day, ordering it to appear in court on February 23, 2015, and show cause why Ford's bond should not be forfeited due to his failure to appear. It is undisputed the February 23 hearing was cancelled due to inclement weather and rescheduled for February 25, 2015.

         David Viele, who is not an attorney, appeared on behalf of Bail Bonds at the February 25, 2015 hearing. He informed the court that Bail Bonds's counsel was not available to come on that day, further explained that no warrant had been issued on Ford, and asked the court to reset the show-cause hearing for March 9, when another

Page 824

bail matter involving Ford and a different bail-bond company was to be addressed. The judge responded by saying, " All right. Judgment for the county for $20,000."

         Ford was not present at the February 25 hearing, but Bail Bonds discovered that afternoon that he had been in the Pulaski County Jail since February 24, 2015. Thinking the bond-forfeiture judgment had already been entered, Bail Bonds filed a motion to set aside the forfeiture judgment on that same date, February 25, 2015. In it, Bail Bonds's basic arguments for setting aside the forfeiture were that Ford had been in custody since February 24; that he was still in custody at the time of the bond-forfeiture hearing on February 25; and that there was no evidence a warrant had ever been entered in the ACIC/NCIC system based on Ford's failure to appear on November 17, 2014.

         On March 2, 2015, the trial court actually entered the bond-forfeiture judgment against Bail Bonds in the amount of $20,000. A hearing on the motion to set aside was held March 9, 2015. Bail Bonds's counsel was present at that hearing and argued the motion. The trial ...


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