Tuesday, April 21, 2009

County of Los Angeles v. Fairmont Specialty Group (Cal. Ct. App. - April 21, 2009)

Does statutory language matter? Sure it does. But so does the policy behind a statute, as well as its purpose.

So I could talk at length about the various complicated statutory provisions that govern when bail is forfeited. Or I can just tell you the facts and let you figure out what's fair. Since that's in fact the rule, and rightly so.

Defendant is arrested in Inglewood and Bondsman bails her out. Defendant then skips, and a bench warrant is issued. So Bondsman now has a certain period of time to catch Defendant or otherwise bring her to court.

During this period, Defendant is arrested on an unrelated charge in Culver City, the arresting officers notice the warrant, and the Culver City police call the Inglewood police about the warrant. But the Inglewood police tell Culver City to let her go, which Culver City does.

L.A. County subsequently wants to forfeit the bail. Bondsman objects, saying "You freaking had her in custody and let her go. Why should you make money off of your letting her out of jail once you had her?!"

To which, in my mind -- as well as Justice Manella's -- there's no good answer.