a West Texas bail bond company [that] ended up in a financial bind.Ed Timms and Kevin Krause have been doing a great job on their bail series throughout 2011, and this end-of-the-year special is no exception. Terrific stuff, guys.
The company shut its doors. Dozens of its clients forfeited their bonds when they failed to show for court dates.
And when county officials tried to collect what was owed, they discovered that the bail bond company’s listed assets didn’t match with reality.
Dozens of Texas counties face similar prospects. At a time when, critics say, some larger counties don’t have enough authority to regulate bail bond companies, smaller counties have even less.
Bail bond boards are required in counties with at least 110,000 residents. The boards have significantly more power than the sheriffs responsible for regulating bail bondsmen in smaller counties.
For example, bail bond boards require security deposits of “not less than $50,000” from licensees. But sheriffs cannot impose the kind of licensing system found in bail bond board counties, according to a state attorney general’s opinion.
That means less oversight of such companies and potentially more trouble for counties trying to recover bond money.
The counties that lack bail bond boards “are just the wild, wild West,” said Bryan Clayton, first assistant district attorney for the 119th Judicial District, covering Tom Green County and two nearby counties.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Unregulated bail bonds can burn smaller counties
The Dallas Morning News offers up a cautionary tale ("Smaller Texas counties struggle with bail bond regulation," Dec. 29, behind paywall) regarding bail bond regulation, or the lack thereof, in smaller Texas counties (with populations below 110,000, which are not required to have a local bail bond board. They tell the story of