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Rights and Liabilities of Depositors of Bail

When an accused is allowed bail, the sureties have the full authority over the defendant and even have the right to prevent such accused from leaving the state.  Section 3142(c)(1)(B)(xii) permits a defendant to be released on a bail bond with solvent sureties.  In United States v. Thomas, 615 F. Supp. 2d 1083 (N.D. Cal. 2009), the court stated that it is entitled to have a moral as well as a financial assurance of the defendant’s appearance in court when required.  A court may, in assessing the sufficiency of any property posted to secure release, consider whether the person posting the property has sufficient “moral suasion” over the defendant to ensure his appearance.

In United States v. Blankenship, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94952 (W.D. Tenn. Mar. 27, 2009), the court opined that bail bonds, which do not always use the same language, are to be strictly construed in favor of the surety and there should be no recovery on such a bond unless there is a clear showing of liability under its express conditions.  Therefore, the terms of the bail contract are to be construed strictly in favor of the surety and the surety may not be held liable for any greater undertaking than he or she has agreed to.

The court in McDaniel v. Smith, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90574, 3-4 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 30, 2009), stated that when bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of the surety (bondsmen).  The dominion over the principal is a continuation of the original imprisonment.  The undersigned agrees that whenever the surety intends to do so, the surety, or his agent, may seize the principal and deliver him/her to the concerned authorities, and if this cannot be done soon, the surety may imprison him/her until such delivery may be effectuated.

The surety may exercise this right in person, or through an agent, may pursue the principal into another state or even another country, may arrest on the Sabbath, may break and enter his/her place of residence, or other similar action to effectuate such an arrest.  And no new process is required to make such a seizure.

In United States v. Parrett, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31450 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 26, 2009), the court stated that a bond surety’s obligations under a bail bond are only discharged by a modification of bail conditions if the government materially increases the surety’s risk without notification and consent of the surety.

Unlike sureties, depositors of bail money have no obligation and are not liable for the custody or appearance of the defendant.  Such depositors are not sureties and have no rights or liabilities of sureties.

Inside Rights and Liabilities of Depositors of Bail