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Bail Bondsmen Praised on Forfeiture Compliance

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

See the article that was published by the Daily Tribune yesterday. A failure to appear court docket was held in Titus County, TX which requires bondsmen to pay all fines and fees or appeal in 30 days. Bondsmen felt the judge’s ruling in forfeiture compliance was fair.

County Judge Brian Lee presided over a court docket for bond forfeiture hearings Friday – the first time that’s been done that anyone at the courthouse can recall. Bail bondsmen can be fined and required to forfeit part of any bond they write on a suspect who doesn’t show up in court – but no one in Titus County can recall the last time that was done.

Judge Lee briefed members of the commissioners’ court Monday morning at the end of its regular meeting. He said he couldn’t recall a failure to appear court docket ever being held before in Titus County.

County Attorney John Mark Cobern, who readies dockets for the county court, agreed, saying it was the “first one since I have been county attorney. It was one of the things Judge Lee ran on.”

Cobern, who was elected to his post in 2008, said a member of his staff saw former County Attorney Tim Taylor Monday and asked him. Taylor, who served in the post 20 years, reportedly replied he couldn’t recall it ever being done.

According to figures supplied by County Investigator Paul Lindsey, there were a total of 45 cases called on Friday; eleven cases were exonerated and 34 judgments were filed. The total court cost and bonds forfeited is $12,365.

The cases dealt with Friday represent failures to appear cases from January, February, and part of March, said Lee. The bondsmen now have 30 days to pay their fines and fees or appeal, he said.

“It all really worked out well,” said Cobern. “It turned great.” He said the only issue was how to deal with defendants who had been deported. Lee said other exonerations involved defendants who were already in jail.

Cobern agreed the docket went smoothly. “Everyone seemed to accept the judge's rulings.  I even got a call from one of them after the hearing thanking me for treating them fairly.”

“I am proud of him and also need to give the bondsmen credit,” said Cobern. “They all told me it was part of doing business. Considering it was that much money, I have to give them credit.”

Original Article:
The Daily Tribune
County Court holds bond forfeiture docket