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Inc. v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

December 7, 2016

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

         APPEAL FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 63CR-14-745] HONORABLE GARY ARNOLD, JUDGE

         AFFIRMED

          The Cannon Law Firm, P.L.C., by: David R. Cannon, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Amanda Jegley, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge

         Kathy's Bail Bonds, Inc. (Bail Bonds) appeals from the February 9, 2016 bond-forfeiture judgment. On appeal, Bail Bonds argues that the circuit court abused its discretion when it ordered the bail bond forfeited because the State failed to flag the defendant's passport, thereby allowing the defendant to flee the country. We affirm.

         On October 20, 2014, the Saline County District Court set David Anson Alandt's bond at $100, 000 cash or professional bond. On November 21, 2014, a bond-reduction hearing was held, and the district court reduced Alandt's bond to $75, 000 and ordered that his passport be surrendered to the Benton Police Department. That day, Bail Bonds wrote a $75, 000 bail bond in favor of Alandt with the conditions that he was to call in every Monday and that he must live with his parents, who resided in Houston, Texas.

         On September 24, 2015, Alandt failed to appear at his scheduled jury trial in the Saline County Circuit Court where he was charged with felony possession of more than 100 pounds of marijuana with intent to deliver. His representative from Bail Bonds, Kathy Chism, was present and testified that her last contact with Alandt had been the day before- on September 23 after Alandt's father had dropped him off at the airport under the pretense that he had a one-way ticket to Little Rock to come to trial.

         The circuit court then entered an order for the issuance of an arrest warrant and summons/order for surety to appear. In it, the court ordered that Alandt be surrendered to the sheriff as required by the terms of the bail bond and also ordered Chism to appear before the court on February 8, 2016, for a show-cause hearing on a bond-forfeiture petition.

         At the hearing, the circuit court heard testimony that Alandt had surrendered his passport to the Benton Police Department but that he had also obtained a new passport and fled the country. Bail Bonds requested more time and also moved to dismiss the bond forfeiture on the basis that the State had not complied with the orders of the court when Alandt was bonded. Bail Bonds argued that the State was required to seize Alandt's passport and put a hold on it, and because the State failed do so, the bond should not be forfeited. The circuit court did not agree, and on February 9, 2016, a judgment was entered ordering the forfeiture of Alandt's bond due to his failure to appear.

         Bail Bonds timely filed its notice of appeal on March 2, 2016, and the matter is now properly before this court. Bail Bonds's sole argument on appeal is that the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered the bail bond forfeited because the State failed to flag Alandt's passport after it had been ordered surrendered as a condition of the bond and thereby failed to prevent Alandt from fleeing the country. While the State concedes that it did not flag the passport, it contends the Saline County District Court's order did not require it to notify the State Department of the United States of the seizure of Alandt's passport. We agree.

         Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-84-207 (Supp. 2013) prescribes the rules for actions on bail bonds in circuit courts and provides, in pertinent, part as follows:

(a) If a bail bond is granted by a judicial officer, it shall be conditioned on the defendant's appearing for trial, surrendering in execution of the judgment, or appearing at any other time when his or her presence in circuit court may be lawfully required under Rule 9.5 or Rule 9.6 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure, or any other rule.
(b)(1) If the defendant fails to appear at any time when the defendant's presence is required under subsection (a) of the section, the circuit court shall enter this fact by written order or docket entry, thereof to be forfeited, and issue a warrant ...

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