There was a long discussion on a standardized format for the formal document required for the Surrender of a Principal. In the end, the board decided not to use a form of its own, but agreed to let bondsmen use standard forms designed by their professional association.We don't know from the story what are the terms in either the industry form or the one prepared by the county; there's some likely-economic reason the bondsmen prefer their contract to the one produced by staff. Is the industry form full of loopholes or other favorable provisions? ¿Quien sabe? But it seems like an outrageous interpretation to say that a local bail bond board, which was expressly created to regulate the local bail industry, can't even create their own forms without being accused of "practicing law without a license." Bizarre - isn't the DA sitting in the room as counsel? I'm not a lawyer, but I've never heard of any such concern. Regulatory bodies everywhere, in all walks of life, create their own forms instead of letting the regulated industry write them, which strikes Grits as an essentially corrupt process.
Surrender of Principal is the legal term for canceling a bail bond. County Judge Brian Lee noted it is used most often when the subject may already in jail, prison, or dead.
[District] Attorney Charles Bailey expressed concerns over the forms as presented to the bail bond board members. If the board mandates county bondsmen use their forms, it could be construed “as practicing law without a license,” said Bailey.
Kellye Cooper with AAA Bail Bonds said bondsmen have been using a standard form for many years.
When Wall Street writes its own regulations, we've seen what happens. The same risk exists for the bail bond industry, which is why I"m skeptical of such self-regulation. In Dallas, for example, Morning News reporters figured out that bond companies were filing phony rearrest reports in which they falsely claimed to have recaptured defendants who'd skipped in order to avoid paying what they owed. And you're going to let them write their own forms, too?
When an industry controls the regulatory body that's supposed to govern it, that's a corrupt system, even if nobody was paid off (and Grits is alleging no such improprieties). And there's little greater form of control than an industry being empowered to literally put in place forms from their industry association instead of having the regulatory agency prepare them. The devil's in the details and I haven't seen the two forms for comparison, but from a distance the episode seems troublesome. Why even have local bail bond boards at all if the industry gets to write the rules themselves?