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Toland v. Robinson

Supreme Court of Arkansas

December 12, 2019

James TOLAND and First Arkansas Bail Bonds, Inc., Appellants
v.
Mike ROBINSON, in his Official Capacity as District Judge of Saline County, Benton [Department]; and Stephanie Casady, in her Official Capacity as District Judge of Saline County, Bryant [Department], Appellees

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          APPEAL FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 63CV-14-631], HONORABLE TED CAPEHEART, JUDGE

         Worsham Law Firm, P.A., Little Rock, by: Richard E. Worsham, for appellants.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Daniel L. McFadden, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellees.

         OPINION

         JOHN DAN KEMP, Chief Justice

          Appellants James Toland (Toland) and First Arkansas Bail Bonds, Inc. (First Arkansas) (collectively, appellants), appeal an order of the Saline County Circuit Court granting a motion to dismiss filed by appellees Mike Robinson (Robinson), in his official capacity as District Judge of Saline County, Benton [Department]; [1] and Stephanie Casady (Casady), in her official capacity as District Judge of Saline County, Bryant [Department] (collectively, appellees). For reversal, appellants argue that the circuit court erred in granting appellees’ motion to dismiss for lack of standing and for failure to state a cause of action. We dismiss the appeal as moot.

          I. Facts

         Toland was arrested on a felony charge. On September 2, 2014, Toland appeared before Robinson for his pretrial-release decision. Robinson set a "sheriff’s bond" under Rule 9.2(b)(ii) of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure and ordered that Toland post bond in the amount of $25,000. Someone on Toland’s behalf paid 10 percent of the bond to the Saline County Sheriff, and Toland was released from the Saline County Detention Center. At no point did Toland object to the bond prior to posting it and being released. Ninety percent of his bond amount was refunded when he appeared at his next court date. Toland pleaded guilty to his criminal charge and was taken into the custody of the Arkansas Department of Correction.

         On October 14, 2014, appellants filed a complaint against appellees and separate defendant Saline County (dismissed below), alleging that the circuit court should have issued (1) a writ of mandamus to compel appellees to allow defendants to obtain a surety bond pursuant to article 2, section 8 of the Arkansas Constitution, (2) a writ of prohibition preventing appellees from violating the rights of individuals incarcerated in the Saline County Detention Center by refusing to allow them to use a bail-bond company to obtain their release, and (3) a writ of certiorari finding that appellees had exceeded their judicial authority by requiring Rule 9.2(b)(ii) bonds. Appellants sought a declaratory judgment finding that appellees had violated article 2, section 8 of the Arkansas Constitution by failing to allow the defendants to use a licensed bail-bond company. Appellants also alleged two civil-rights violations: (1) that appellees violated Toland’s constitutional right to use a bail-bond company pursuant to article 2, section 2 of the Arkansas Constitution; and (2) that appellees violated First Arkansas’s constitutional rights under article 2, sections 2, 22, and 29 of the Arkansas Constitution. Appellants also requested damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.

         Appellees responded by filing a motion to dismiss and argued that appellants’ claims were barred by judicial immunity and sovereign immunity,[2] that Toland had

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waived his right to challenge the bail decision by accepting the bond, that First Arkansas lacked standing to challenge the bond, and that the extraordinary writs did not apply in this case.

         Appellants filed a motion for voluntary dismissal of their civil-rights claims pursuant to Rule 41(a) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, and the circuit court entered an order dismissing those claims without prejudice. Appellants also filed a motion for voluntary dismissal of Saline County in accordance with Rule 41(a), and the circuit court dismissed Saline County from the action without prejudice.[3]

         The circuit court held a hearing on appellees’ motion to dismiss. On October 15, 2015, the circuit court entered an order finding that (1) appellants did not have standing to seek a declaratory judgment pursuant to article 2, section 8 of the Arkansas Constitution; (2) appellants’ declaratory-judgment claim was moot because Toland had paid his sheriff’s bond; 90 percent of that payment was refunded when he appeared for his court date; and Toland had pleaded guilty and remained in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Correction; (3) First Arkansas lacked standing because it had not been denied the opportunity to pay Toland’s bond, and its status as a bail-bonding company had not conferred standing; (4) Casady had not ordered Toland’s bond, Toland had not appeared in Casady’s court, and no causal relationship existed between Casady and any injury alleged by Toland; (5) neither Toland nor First Arkansas had stated a claim for which the extraordinary writs could be granted; (6) mandamus was inappropriate because Robinson had the discretion to order a sheriff’s bond; (7) prohibition was inappropriate because Robinson had jurisdiction to order the sheriff’s bond; and (8) certiorari was inappropriate because Robinson had not abused his discretion in ordering the sheriff’s bond pursuant to Rule 9.2(b). The circuit court granted appellees’ motion to dismiss and dismissed without prejudice all claims against appellees. Appellants timely filed their notice of appeal.

         In Toland v. Robinson, 2017 Ark. 41, 2017 WL 635490, we concluded that the circuit court had not provided a Rule 54(b) certification that the civil-rights claims had been nonsuited. We held that the circuit court’s order was not final and that we did not have jurisdiction to address the merits on appeal. Accordingly, we dismissed the appeal without prejudice. Id.

          On October 8, 2018, the circuit court entered a final order, finding,

1. This Court entered a judgment dismissing the case with prejudice on October 15, 2015.
2. [Toland and First Arkansas] filed a timely notice of appeal and sought review by the appellate courts.
3. On February 16, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a mandate dismissing the appeal without prejudice since there was not a final order. James Toland, et al. v. Mike Robinson, et al., CV- 16-119, 2017 WL 635490. The Supreme Court determined that there was not a final order since the Civil Rights claims ...

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