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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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    Russian Msta-S self-propelled howitzers roll across Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, 2014, during a Victory Day paradeRussia has remained stoic about the threat of tighter Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, but analysts are concerned that the uncertainty they generate could alone choke off growth. The downing of a Malaysian passenger airliner over eastern Ukraine on July 17, which was carrying mostly Dutch passengers, has hardened Western resolve to impose tighter sanctions against Russia. Western leaders have accused the Kremlin of supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, a charge Moscow denies, including supplying the missiles believed to have brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 with the loss of all 298 on board. The purpose of the sanctions is to force Moscow to use its influence with pro-Russian separatists to end fighting in eastern Ukraine.


    FILE - This July 19, 2014, file photo shows pro-Russian fighter guarding the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. Ukraine said the passenger plane was shot down as it flew over the country, killing all 298 people on board. A series of unanswered questions about the downing of the flight shows the limits of U.S. intelligence-gathering even when it is intensely focused, as it has been in Ukraine since Russia seized Crimea in March. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Dutch police on Sunday set off for the scene of the Malaysian plane disaster in eastern Ukraine to secure the site, which investigators complain has already been compromised.


    FILE - In this Friday, March 30, 2012, file photo, Arab Israeli protesters wave Palestinian flags as they gather to mark the annual Land Day event in the Arab Village of Dir Hana, northern Israel. With their loyalties divided and having a unique perspective of seeing both sides of the conflict, Israel’s Arab minority is caught in the middle of the Gaza war. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)TIRA, Israel (AP) — Facing the threat of rocket fire along with the rest of Israel, residents in this central Israeli Arab town have found themselves caught in the middle between Jewish neighbors and their fellow Palestinians who are dying in growing numbers in the Gaza Strip.


    As her brother-in-law Mazen Keferna, background left, weeps, Palestinian Manal Keferna, 30, right, cries upon her return to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014. Thousands of Gaza residents who had fled Israel-Hamas fighting streamed back to devastated border areas during a lull Saturday, and were met by large-scale destruction: scores of homes were pulverized, wreckage blocked roads and power cables dangled in the streets. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel resumed its Gaza offensive on Sunday, calling off a unilateral extension of a humanitarian cease-fire after Palestinian militants fired several rockets at southern Israel.


    Members of the ISOF conduct a patrol looking for militants of the Islamic State in a neighbourhood in RamadiBy Dominic Evans BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Salman Khaled has already lived through Baghdad's sectarian disintegration; "Things are really tense and it could get worse," said the 23-year-old Sunni Muslim student. "If the politicians continue as they are doing now, we are on the path to separation." When Khaled's father was shot dead by Shi'ite gunmen at the height of Baghdad's religious bloodshed seven years ago, his family took shelter in a Sunni neighborhood of the capital. Today the family lives in the Adhamiya district, close to the Abu Hanifa mosque where one of Sunni Islam's most influential theologians is buried.


    A trader watches his screen on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeBy John O'Donnell FRANKFURT (Reuters) - With the prospect of stiffer sanctions against Russia rattling confidence in Europe, investors will be looking to the United States and China to underpin the global economy. Wednesday's U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) reading and jobs data on Friday will help markets to judge the strength of the economy's rebound and the likely speed of the Federal Reserve's return to more conventional monetary policy. The Fed meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. "The U.S.-China story is looking more encouraging," said James Knightley, an economist with ING.


    A one Euro coin at the presentation of the first Lithuanian Euros in VilniusLithuania won the EU's final green light this week to join the eurozone in 2015, completing a Baltic embrace of Europe's checkered single currency as security concerns over Russia nudge other reluctant eastern candidates towards adoption. A special clock has started ticking at Lithuania's central bank in Vilnius, counting the days until the country of three million becomes the eurozone's 19th member on January 1. Concerns over Soviet-era master Russia drove the trio of small republics to bite the bullet and push through painful austerity programmes to secure membership. Larger economies like Poland and the Czech Republic have been more circumspect in their bids to join the bloc, but Russia's annexation of Crimea and sabre-rattling on Ukraine is beginning to change that.


    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban insurgents attacked the home of a well-known provincial police chief in restive southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing a civilian and a border policeman before being shot dead by police, officials said.

    North Korean war veterans express varying degrees of emotion as they watch a parade celebrating the anniversary of the Korean War, Sunday, July 27, 2014, in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Koreans gathered at Kim Il Sung Square as part of celebrations for the 61st anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, meaning the two Koreas remain technically at war. But in North Korea, the anniversary of the agreement ending the hostilities is commemorated as "Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War," a major national holiday.


    The refloated wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship is being dragged to the harbor of Pra di Voltri near Genoa early on July 27, 2014The wrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner made its final approach Sunday to the Italian port of Genoa, where the mammoth carcass is being towed for scrap after its fatal capsize two and a half years ago. The once-luxury liner, which set off from its shipwreck site off Giglio island on Wednesday, arrived off the coast of Genoa overnight and weighed anchor around two nautical miles (3.6 kilometres) off shore. Civil protection agency chief Franco Gabrielli, on the portside to oversee the final stage of an unprecedented salvage project, told journalists a high wind was slowing the operation. Crowds of curious locals began gathering near the port on the outskirts of Genoa at first light, eager to see the remains of the battered ship, which crashed into rocks off Giglio island in January 2012 with 4,229 people on board in a disaster that claimed 32 livers.


    File photo of German Chancellor Merkel and Economy Minister Gabriel arriving for the weekly cabinet meeting in BerlinBy Noah Barkin and Holger Hansen BERLIN (Reuters) - The German political landscape is strewn with men who tried to take on Angela Merkel and failed. Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), is working hard to avoid the same fate.     Since the SPD's crushing defeat at the hands of Merkel's conservatives in an election last September, no German politician has racked up as many political wins as the 54-year-old economy minister with keen political instincts and a knack for rousing speeches. Gabriel's importance lies in the fact that he is holding his party together in the face of Merkel's enduring popularity, a necessary first step towards giving the SPD another crack at power even though it still faces a long haul before voters will buy into that.     In the aftermath of September's loss, he went out on a limb to convince his fractious party to join forces with the chancellor in a right-left "grand coalition", ultimately winning over his colleagues and securing policy concessions from Merkel.     Since the coalition government took power seven months ago, the SPD has dominated the domestic policy agenda, with Gabriel as vice chancellor and minister for economic and energy issues.     He has overseen a reform of Germany's complex renewable energy law, a task that eluded Merkel's previous center-right government.


    PLYMOUTH, Calif. (AP) — Fire crews were battling two fast-moving wildfires in California that threatened many homes and forced hundreds of evacuations, officials said.JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A barrage of rockets fired by militants in the Gaza Strip struck Israel on Sunday, hours after Israel had agreed to extend a humanitarian ceasefire. Air raid sirens sounded throughout southern and central Israel during morning rush hour. At least five rockets landed in Israel and two others were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the military said. There were no immediate reports of injuries. ...A 33-year-old American doctor working for a relief organisation in Liberia's capital has tested positive for the tropical disease Ebola, according to a statement from Samaritan's Purse. Dr. Kent Brantly, medical director at one of the country's two treatment centres run by the organisation, recognised his own symptoms and confined himself to an isolation ward. It was not immediately clear how he caught Ebola. The relief group's Melissa Strickland said that he had followed strict safety protocols when treating patients.SAN DIEGO (AP) — Four DC comics brought to life for television took over the San Diego Convention Center's 6,500 seat Hall H at Comic-Con Saturday night.

    Medical staff take a blood sample from a suspected Ebola patient at the government hospital in KenemaBy Umaru Fofana FREETOWN (Reuters) - Police were guarding an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone on Saturday, the day after thousands marched on the clinic following allegations by a former nurse the deadly virus was invented to conceal "cannibalistic rituals" there, a regional police chief said. Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, at least 660 people have died from the illness, according to the World Health Organisation, placing great strain on the health systems of some of Africa's poorest countries.


    Four children were killed and five other people were injured when a rocket landed near their homes in Rafah, an Egyptian town in Sinai near the border with Gaza, security officials said on Saturday. Three security sources said the rocket was likely fired by Islamist militants operating in the Sinai peninsula, which borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The state news agency MENA said security officials were still investigating where the rocket had come from. The three security sources said the rocket fired on Saturday had been targeting an army compound or check point but had fallen instead by mistake near civilian homes.