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Refund of bail bond fee?????????? Login/Join 
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I have a local bonding company which has approached the sheriff's department and demanded a refund of several bail bond fees per 41.258(f) of the Government Code. Of course, as the local DA, it's referred to me. Help! I remember reading that someone has requested an AG's opinion with respect to the requirements and the mechanics of such refunds but I haven't heard if the AG has "spoken." Meanwhile, I am in hopes that some of you could let me know how you and your county are handling such requests. What entity accepts the application for a refund? What proof are you requiring for the "declines to prosecute...(or) indict" requirement? Does "declines to indict" mean only an outright no-bill or does it include "hold" for additional investigation as well? Who is taking the responsibility to make the call on these requests? Who pays the money back? I realize these are questions posed to the AG but what are y'all doing with these requests until we get an AG opinion? I'm posting this on the civil and the criminal site so please excuse the repetition. Thanks a bunch.
 
Posts: 276 | Location: Liberty County, Texas | Registered: July 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mike: there is an opinion request, I think from Tarrant County, on this, that is pending. At the risk of not being very helpful at all, I can tell you that provision was a last-minute patch that was added to make a Senator comfortable that prosecutors wouldn't just ring up a bunch of charges, force someone to pay the $$, then dismiss a bad case, without the ability to get the $$ back.

The plan language seems to support your proposition that, just because we haven't indicted. But a no-bill does the trick. also, seems to me that if the charges filed by law enforcement are rejected, the guy gets his $$ back. The question on my mind is, does "decline to prosecute" equal "dismissal" at some later point in the history of the case?

Anyone have thoughts on that?
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In Johnson County we have a bail bond board. It is the Board that set up the framework for how this system works in our county. Basically, it is up to the surety to come to the district and county attorney for rejected pre-indictment cases and no bills, or to go to the district and county clerk for dismissed criminal cases. Obviously a no-billed indictment or order to dismiss should suffice for the 'decline to prosecute' language. The pre-indictment rejection of cases is a bit dicier because as a DA's office, we are not going to run 'dog' cases into the grand jury solely to get a piece of paperwork to benefit the bondsmen. Additionally, I do not want to comment on the evidence in the case (ie I don't want to say insufficient evidence, who knows what will crop up in the future). I have just drafted a letter to our Board secretary, at the request of the surety, that states the DA has declined to prosecute D for whatever charges. Simple as that. Should something happen in the future that we want to resurect the case, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. We are still working out the kinks in the system but so far this is what we have decided to do. If you have any questions, feel free to call me. 817-556-6815.
 
Posts: 13 | Registered: September 26, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Gee, guess I was wrong when I told one of my treasurers it was extremely unlikely the bondsman would keep track of which cases were prosecuted and be willing to go through very many hoops for $15, months later. I suppose it depends on how much you hate that little fee and how many bonds you write. Rob, I disagree that a no-bill is definitive proof of declination to prosecute. Very occasionally we have sought to present the same case to a later grand jury (e.g. where there was a death and vote was 8-4 to indict). Furthermore, who actually issues "no bills"? Moreover, I have always wondered whether a "no bill" actually requires 9 votes in favor of that disposition. Is there such a thing as a "hung" grand jury?
 
Posts: 2368 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I suppose you are right, Martin, about a no-bill not being definative, but I would think a bondsman would take a no-bill to a judge and ask for his $15 back. Seems like the prosecutor would have some explaining to do....
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Less than 9 votes to indict is a "no bill". There is no other requirement.

A "no bill", a motion to dismiss, and a decline to prosecute at any stage would all require the payment of the $15.00.
 
Posts: 1029 | Location: Fort Worth, TX | Registered: June 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Martin, I have also contemplated the issue of when a grand jury has "no-billed" a case. The problem is that this is not addressed by the code. I finally came to the conclusion that any vote with less than nine concurring was by implication a no bill. If you take the position that it requires a vote of nine to also no bill a case, then that would (as you suggest) leave the unworkable result of not having enough votes to do either. That position also makes it easier for a grand jury to vote not to return an indictment, since they could truthfully say in that situation that they did not no bill the case. I just found that it is more logical to take the position that a vote of less than nine members is by inference a no bill. I instruct my grand juries that this is the case at the beginning of each term.
 
Posts: 283 | Location: Montague, Texas, USA | Registered: January 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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