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Bail Laws for State District Of Columbia

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Bail Laws
I. Applicable Statutes

A. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE 1981 PART IV. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE AND PRISONERS. TITLE 23. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE.CHAPTER 11. Professional Bondsmen.

B. MICHIE'S DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT RULES ANNOTATED SUPERIOR COURT RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE XI. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS.Rule 116. Bonds and sureties.

II. Licensing Requirements for Agents

*** The District of Columbia’s statutes do not appear to clearly outline the powers of professional bondsmen in regard to recovering bail. The statutes define a "bondsman" as anyone engaged in the bonding business, including agents. Therefore, some of the more pertinent qualifications – in regard to individuals and for licensing purposes – for sureities are given below, since both sureties and bondsmen appear to be able to carry out activities associated with the bonding business.

A. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE 1981 PART IV. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE AND PRISONERS. TITLE 23. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. CHAPTER 11. Professional Bondsmen.§ 23-1101 Definitions.

1. The term "bondsman" means any person or corporation engaged in the bonding business either as a principal or as an agent, clerk, or representative of another engaged in such business.

2. § 23-1108 Qualifications of bondsmen; rules to be prescribed by courts; list of agents to be furnished; renewal of authority to act; detailed records to be kept; penalties and disqualifications.

3. Duty of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to provide, the qualifications of persons and corporations applying for authority to engage in the bonding business in criminal cases in the District of Columbia, and the terms and conditions upon which the business shall be carried on, and no person or corporation shall, either as principal, or as agent, or representative of another, engage in the bonding business in either court until he shall, by order of the court, be authorized to do so.

4. The courts shall take into consideration both the financial responsibility and the moral qualities of the person so applying, and no person shall be permitted to engage, either as principal or agent, in the bonding business, who has ever been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, or who is not known to be a person of good moral character.

5. Every person qualifying to engage in the bonding business as principal is required to file with the court a list showing the name, age, and residence of each person employed by the bondsman as agent, clerk, or representative in the bonding business, and an affidavit from each of these persons stating that he will abide by the terms and provisions of this chapter.

6. Each of the courts shall require the authority of each of those persons to be renewed from time to time at such periods as the court may by rule provide, and before the authority shall be renewed the court shall require from each of those persons an affidavit that since his previous qualification to engage in the bonding business he has abided by the provisions of this chapter, and any person swearing falsely in any of the affidavits shall be guilty of perjury.

7. Whoever violates any rule or regulation prescribed under this subsection shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both, and if he is a bondsman shall be disqualified from thereafter engaging in any manner in the bonding business for such period of time as the trial judge shall order.

B. MICHIE'S DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT RULES ANNOTATED SUPERIOR COURT RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE XI. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS. Rule 116. Bonds and sureties.

1. Except by Court order no person shall be authorized to engage in the bonding business in criminal cases in this Court. No order of authorization shall be entered until such application and such supporting documents as are hereinafter required shall have been filed and the approval by this Court shall have been noted thereon.

2. Contents of application. Every individual proposing to engage in the bonding business in criminal cases in this Court shall file with the Court a written application which shall set forth the following information and statements under oath:

a. A detailed listing of real estate owned by the applicant in the District of Columbia, including: the address, lot, value, date of title, purchase price, the liber and folio of the land records; that the property is not encumbered; improvements; the nature and extent of a spouse's title or interest;

b. The amount of the applicant's unsecured indebtedness and obligations;

c. Whether the applicant is, or has been, in default in the payment of forfeited bail bond or recognizance in any court in the District of Columbia, the amount of bail bond or recognizance on any default recited, the date of forfeiture, the court, title and number of the cause in which such forfeiture was declared;

d. Whether the applicant has ever been arrested, charged or convicted of any offense;

e. Proof of applicant's good moral character, attested by the statements of at least 2 residents of the District of Columbia not related to the applicant, and who shall so certify;

f. A declaration by the applicant that the applicant will in all respects abide by the terms and provisions of these Rules and Chapter 11 of Title 23 of the D.C. Code;

g. A listing of the name, age and residence of each and every person authorized to represent the applicant as agent, clerk or representative in the bonding business, accompanied by an affidavit from each person listed, declaring that the person will in all respects abide by the terms and provisions of these Rules and Chapter 11 of said Title 23;

h. Each person holding a power of attorney from an authorized individual surety shall file a duplicate original copy thereof with the Clerk of this Court;

i. The application shall also recite a declaration to which the applicant shall fully agree and subscribe in which he or she commits not to sell, convey, or mortgage any listed real estate without obtaining leave of the court.

3. Applications shall be filed on or before the 10th day of January of each 2nd year thereafter, or oftener if required by the Court, by each individual surety desiring to continue in said business, which application must receive the approval of the Court before the surety shall be entitled to continue to appear as surety on bonds or recognizances in this Court.

4. With each application for renewal there shall also be filed an affidavit to the effect that since the surety's previous qualifications the surety has in all respects abided by the terms and provisions of these Rules and Chapter 11 of said Title 23, together with a certificate of the Clerk of this Court wherein it is stated that the Clerk has examined the records of the applicant and found them to be in good order as to form.

5. The original application of every individual proposing to engage in the bonding business, and every application for renewal of authority to continue herein, shall state the aggregate amount of bonds or recognizance in any court of the District of Columbia upon which such person is surety.

6. Fingerprinting. The applicant shall submit to the taking of the applicant's fingerprints by the Clerk of this Court, as shall each person authorized to represent the applicant as agent, clerk or representative in the bonding business. On all renewals, the Clerk of the Court, with the approval of the Chief Judge, may waive the requirement for refingerprinting.

(For further information on authorization of sureites, see the entire section listed above).

III. Notice of Forfeiture

A. MICHIE'S DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT RULES ANNOTATED SUPERIOR COURT RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE XI. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS. Rule 116. Bonds and sureties.

1. Forfeiture of bail.
Declaration. If there is a breach of condition of a bond, the Court shall declare a forfeiture of the bail.

2. When a forfeiture has not been set aside, the Court shall on motion enter a judgment of default and execution may issue thereon. By entering into a bond the obligors submit to the jurisdiction of the Court and irrevocably appoint the Clerk of the Court as their agent upon whom any papers affecting their liability may be served. Their liability may be enforced on motion without the necessity of an independent action. The motion and such notice of the motion as the Court prescribes may be served on the Clerk of the Court, who shall forthwith mail copies to the obligors at their last known addresses.

B. Court decisions

American Bankers Ins. Co. v. United States, App. D.C., 596 A.2d 598 (1991). Bonding company that had constructive notice of defendant's failure to appear at status hearing or trial, was not denied due process where appearance bond was forfeited, and superior court delayed for nearly 13 months its notifying bonding company of forfeiture.

IV. Allotted Time between Forfeiture Declaration and Payment Due Date.

(No additional provisions appear to be given in the statutes in regard to timetables for payment of forfeitures other than those listed above).

V. Forfeiture Defenses

A. MICHIE'S DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT RULES ANNOTATED SUPERIOR COURT RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE XI. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS.

Rule 116. Bonds and sureties.

1. The Court may direct that a forfeiture be set aside, upon such conditions as the Court may impose, if it appears that justice does not require the enforcement of the forfeiture.

2. No forfeiture may be set aside in the case of a defendant who has failed to appear except upon the approval of the judge who originally imposed the forfeiture.

3. When the condition of the bond has been satisfied or the forfeiture thereof has been set aside or permitted the Court shall exonerate the obligors and release any bail. A surety may be exonerated by a deposit of cash in the amount of the bond or by a timely surrender of the defendant into custody.

B. Court decisions

Indiana Lumbermen's Mut. Ins. Co. v. United States, App. D.C., 640 A.2d 1036 (1994).

1. Analysis factors in weighing set aside. -- In exercising its discretion in deciding whether to set aside a bond forfeiture, the trial court is to weigh a number of factors, including, but not limited to: the willfulness of the defendant's breach of bond conditions, the participation of the bondsman in rearresting the defendant, and the prejudice suffered by the government by the breach of the bond conditions.

2. Effect of surety's failure to fulfill duties. -- A surety which has failed to carry out its responsibilities has little, if any, basis for requesting the exercise of the court's discretion in its favor.

VI. Remission

A. MICHIE'S DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT RULES ANNOTATED SUPERIOR COURT RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE XI. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS. Rule 116. Bonds and sureties.

After entry of such judgment, the Court may remit it in whole or in part under the conditions applying to the setting aside of forfeiture in subparagraph (2) of this section.

B.Court decisions

Allegheny Mut. Cas. Co. v. United States, App. D.C., 622 A.2d 1099 (1993).

Setting aside of bond forfeiture is within trial court's discretion. -- Whether the trial court should set aside a forfeiture of a surety bond is within the court's sound discretion, and the trial court's decision will be reversed only upon a showing of abuse of discretion.

Bail Agent’s Arrest Authority

(The statutes do not appear to provide any explicit arrest authority for bail agents. However, the power to arrest seems to be implied given the function of bail bonding business as described in the statutes. Common law tradition is also almost certain to provide this authority).

VIII. Other Noteworthy Provisions

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE 1981 PART IV. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE AND PRISONERS. TITLE 23. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. CHAPTER 11. Professional Bondsmen.§ 23-1103 Procuring business through official or attorney for a consideration prohibited.

A. It shall be unlawful for any bondsman, either directly or indirectly, to give, donate, lend, contribute, or to promise to give, donate, lend, or contribute any money, property, entertainment, or other thing of value whatsoever to any attorney at law, police officer, deputy United States marshal, jailer, probation officer, clerk, or other attache of a criminal court, or public official of any character, for procuring or assisting in procuring any person to employ the bondsman to execute as surety any bond for compensation in any criminal case in the District of Columbia.

B. It shall be unlawful for any attorney at law, police officer, deputy United States marshal, jailer, probation officer, clerk, bailiff, or other attache of a criminal court, or public official of any character, to accept or receive from a bondsman any money, property, entertainment, or other thing of value whatsoever for procuring or assisting in procuring a person to employ a bondsman to execute as surety any bond for compensation in a criminal case in the District of Columbia.

C. § 23-1104 Attorneys procuring employment through official or bondsman for a consideration prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any attorney at law, either directly or indirectly, to give, loan, donate, contribute, or to promise to give, loan, donate, or contribute any money, property, entertainment, or other thing of value whatsoever to, or to split or divide any fee or commission with, any bondsman, police officer, deputy United States marshal, probation officer, bailiff, clerk, or other attache of any criminal court for causing or procuring or assisting in causing or procuring a person to employ the attorney to represent him in a criminal case in the District of Columbia.

D. § 23-1105 Receiving other than regular fee for bonding prohibited; bondsmen prohibited from endeavoring to secure dismissal or settlement.

It shall be lawful to charge for executing a bond in a criminal case in the District of Columbia, but it shall be unlawful for a bondsman, either directly or indirectly, to charge, accept, or receive a sum of money, or other thing of value, other than the regular fee for bonding, from a person for whom he has executed bond, for any other service whatever performed in connection with any indictment, information, or charge upon which the person is bailed or held in the District of Columbia. It also shall be unlawful for any bondsman to settle, or attempt to settle, or to procure or attempt to procure the dismissal of any indictment, information, or charge against any person in custody or held upon bond in the District of Columbia, with a court, or with the prosecuting attorney in a court in the District of Columbia.

E. § 23-1107 Bondsmen prohibited from entering place of detention unless requested by prisoner; record of visit to be kept.

It shall be unlawful for a bondsman to enter a police precinct, jail, prisoner's dock, house of detention, or other place where persons in the custody of the law are detained in the District of Columbia for the purpose of obtaining employment as a bondsman, without having been previously called by a person detained or by some relative or other authorized person acting for or on behalf of the person detained. Whenever a bondsman enters a police precinct, jail, prisoner's dock, house of detention, or other place where persons in the custody of the law are detained in the District of Columbia, he shall forthwith give to the person in charge thereof his mission there and the name of the person calling him and requesting him to come to such place. That information shall be recorded by the person in charge of the place of detention and preserved as a public record, and the failure of the bondsman to give that information, or the failure of the person in charge of the place of detention to make and preserve a record of that information, shall constitute a violation of this chapter.

F. § 23-1109 Giving advance information of proposed raid.

It shall not be unlawful for any police or other peace officer, in conducting any raid or in executing any search warrant or warrant of arrest, to communicate to any person engaged in the bonding business, any fact necessary to enable the officer to obtain information necessary to carry out the raid or execute the process.

IX. Noteworthy State Appellate Decisions

A. Indiana Lumbermen’s Mut. Ins. Co. v. U.S. 640 A.2d 1036 D.C. Apr 25, 1994 1. Surety filed motion to set aside forfeiture of personal appearance bond. The Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Robert I. Richter, J., denied motion, and surety appealed. The Court of Appeals, Sullivan, J., held that:
(1) trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying surety's motion without an evidentiary hearing, and
(2) trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying motion to vacate forfeiture. Affirmed.

2. Trial court was not required to conduct hearing on motion to set aside forfeiture of personal appearance bond, where defendant's attorney made no attempt to explain or justify his client's absence, record did not show that surety ever appeared before trial court prior to defendant's apprehension with explanation of mitigating circumstances, and surety did not demonstrate that despite its most diligent efforts to locate defendant, it could not do so before date of scheduled status hearing. Criminal Rule 116(h).

B. Allegheny Mut. Cas. Co. v. U.S. 622 A.2d 1099 D.C. Jan 29, 1993

Bail bondsman appealed from order of the Superior Court, Colleen Kollar- Kotelly, Trial Judge, denying motion to set aside bond forfeiture after nonappearance of defendant at sentencing. The Court of Appeals, Sullivan, J., held that trial court erred in not granting evidentiary hearing on motion because it was not in possession of all facts necessary to make proper determination. Reversed and remanded.

C. American Bankers Ins. Co. v. U.S. 596 A.2d 598 D.C. Sep 13, 1991

Bonding company brought motion to set aside and vacate forfeiture of appearance bond. The Superior Court, Evelyn E.C. Queen, J., denied motion. Bonding company appealed. The Court of Appeals, Belson, Senior Judge, held that:
(1) bonding company had constructive notice that defendant did not appear at status hearing or at trial and that, consequently, appearance bond was forfeited, and therefore, court's delay in notifying company of forfeiture for nearly 13 months did not violate due process, and
(2) bonding company agent had apparent authority to execute appearance bond, and therefore bonding company was liable on forfeited bond. Affirmed.

D. United States v. Nell 515 F.2d 1351 D.C. Cir. 1975

Hearing on motion to set aside bond forfeiture. -- Given a proffer of data regarding asserted departures from the customary practice by the bail agency and the clerk's office, a bondsman's assistance in apprehending the defendant and the delay or prejudice suffered by the government by the breach, it was error for the trial judge not to have held an evidentiary hearing on motion of bondsman to set aside bond forfeiture.

E. Akins v. United States 679 A.2d 1017 App. D.C., (1996).

Bail bondsmen are not subject to the Fourth Amendment. -- Bail bondsmen are not subject to the Fourth Amendment as it regards the seizure of persons or personal effects.

X. Bounty Hunter Provisions

At this time, there appear to be no specific regulations for "Bounty Hunters" in the District of Columbia statutes.

XI. Online Case Checking

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    Tug boats tow the Costa Concordia ship as they arrive outside Genoa's port, in northern Italy, where the ship will be broken up for scrapBy Silvia Ognibene FLORENCE (Reuters) - An Italian prosecutor asked a court on Monday to sentence the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner to more than 26 years in jail for his role in the 2012 disaster that killed 32 people. Francesco Schettino was the commander of the vessel, a floating hotel as long as three football pitches, when it came too close to shore and hit rocks off the Tuscan holiday island of Giglio. In summing up arguments at the trial in the nearby of Grosseto, Prosecutor Maria Navarro said Schettino should serve 14 years for manslaughter and causing injuries, nine for causing a shipwreck, three for abandoning ship, and a further three months for giving false testimony. The prosecutor said that if he is convicted, Schettino should be jailed immediately because there was a risk he would try to leave the country.


    FILE - In this Tuesday Sept. 29, 2009 file photo, Greek pop singer Demis Roussos, the singer of former pop band Aphrodite’s Child in the 1970's, performs during his concert in the Papp Laszlo Arena in Budapest, Hungary. Athens hospital says Monday Jan. 26, 2015 that renowned Greek singer Demis Roussos has died aged 68. (AP Photo/MTI, Peter Kollanyi, File)ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek singer Demis Roussos, whose often high-pitched pop serenades won him household recognition in the 1970s and 1980s across Europe and beyond and who sold more than 60 million records, has died in Athens at the age of 68, a hospital confirmed Monday.


    Dominic Ongwen, a commander of the Ugandan LRA, waits for the judge to arrive, during his first appearance at the ICC in The HagueBy Thomas Escritt AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army commander accused of war crimes made his first appearance before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday, giving thanks to God as he took the stand after a decade on the run. Dominic Ongwen, a child soldier who rose through the ranks of the rebel group that abducted him, was among five senior LRA commanders indicted by the global court in 2005. "My name is Dominic Ongwen and I am a Ugandan citizen... I was abducted in 1988 and I was taken to the bush when I was 14 years old," he said through an interpreter. He faces seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enslavement, pillage and attacks on civilians committed during a 2004 attack on a camp for displaced persons in Uganda.


    By Emma Batha LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - An Egyptian doctor has been convicted of manslaughter after a 13-year-old girl died in a botched female genital mutilation procedure, campaigners said on Monday following the country's first FGM trial. Dr Raslan Fadl was originally cleared of charges relating to the death of Soheir al-Batea but prosecutors appealed the verdict which was overturned on Monday, Equality Now said. "The country has shown that it will implement its laws and we hope that this is the first step towards ending this extreme form of violence against women once and for all." Al-Batea died in June 2013 after undergoing FGM in a clinic north of Cairo, at her father's request. Over 90 percent of women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 in Egypt have undergone FGM, according to U.N. estimates.TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A security official says the deputy foreign minister of Libya's internationally-recognized government has been released after being kidnapped a day earlier.

    A woman waves a Greek flag during a speech by the leader of Syriza left-wing party Alexis Tsipras outside Athens University Headquarters, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. A triumphant Alexis Tsipras told Greeks that his radical left Syriza party's win in Sunday's early general election meant an end to austerity and humiliation and that the country's regular and often fraught debt inspections were a thing of the past. "Today the Greek people have made history. Hope has made history," Tsipras said in his victory speech at a conference hall in central Athens. (AP Photo/Fotis Plegas G.)ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Radical left leader Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece's new prime minister Monday after forming a surprise alliance with a small right-wing nationalist party Independent Greeks, signaling possible confrontation over the country's bailout.


    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has taken his firmest step yet toward running for president, launching an organization that allows him to raise money for a potential 2016 campaign.

    FILE - In this June 4, 2013 file photo, Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes sits in court in Centennial, Colo. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the suburban Denver movie theater in 2012, and faces a possible death penalty sentence if convicted. The process of finding “death qualified” jurors slowed down jury selection. In Holmes' case, an unprecedented 9,000 jury summonses were mailed, and as of Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, 210 prospective jurors had been excused over four days. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool, File)CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — One prospective juror said she had a panic attack. Another claimed to have a bad back. A third is in the military and worried he would be deployed during the trial of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes.


    A snow shoveler crosses a street during a winter snowstorm in CambridgeBy Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - The first flakes ahead of a potentially historic blizzard began swirling through New York City on Monday morning, with forecasters predicting up to 3 feet (90cm) of snow in the coming day and millions of people facing snarled transportation. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a blizzard warning for New York City and surrounding areas beginning 1 p.m. EST on Monday, and warned of two days of winter storms across the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Maine. "This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday. De Blasio told residents of America's financial capital and most populous city to stay off the roads and to "prepare for something worse than we have seen before." New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged people to work from home, saying the city's bus and subway systems could be closed ahead of Monday's evening commute, along with the Metro North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road as well as other commuter rail services.


    APR Energy Plc said it would move its power-producing assets from Libya to other places, as the government has failed to ratify its contract even two months after the company first switched off power generation. The stock has lost 50 percent of its value since APR suspended electricity generation in Libya in early November. The company did not quantify the financial impact of its decision to move the assets, but analysts told Reuters in December that the company could be missing out on $17 million of revenue for every month that power generation remained offline. Analysts at Liberum said they expected APR to take about 3 months to move its Libya assets.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a news conference after his talks with Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)MOSCOW (AP) — Russian officials struck a defiant note Monday after Western leaders threatened to further punish Moscow for escalated fighting in eastern Ukraine over the weekend.


    A health worker with disinfectant spray walks down a street outside the government hospital in KenemaSenegal reopened on Monday its land border with Guinea, the Interior Ministry said, five months after closing transport links in August to prevent the spread of the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus. Senegal had already lifted in November a ban on air and maritime traffic with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - the three countries worst-affected by the epidemic of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. In recent weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said the outbreak in West Africa appears to be ebbing as the rate of new infections has declined. In the week to Jan. 18 there were 20 new cases in Guinea, versus 45 the week before, WHO data showed.


    An Indian military marching band riding camels perform in India's Republic Day parade in New DelhiNEW DELHI (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday took in a grand display of Indian military hardware, marching bands and elaborately dressed camels, becoming the first American leader to be honored as chief guest at India's annual Republic Day festivities.