Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5588

February Session, 2014

 

LCO No. 2787

 

*02787_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on JUDICIARY

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING BAIL BONDS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 38a-660c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2014):

(a) A surety bail bond agent may enter into a premium financing arrangement with a principal or any indemnitor in which such agent extends credit to such principal or indemnitor.

(b) If a surety bail bond agent enters into a premium financing arrangement, such agent shall require (1) the principal on the bail bond or any indemnitor to make a minimum down payment of thirty-five per cent of the premium due, at the premium rate approved by the commissioner pursuant to chapter 701, and (2) the principal on the bail bond and any indemnitor to execute a promissory note for the balance of the premium due. Such promissory note shall provide that such balance shall be paid not later than [fifteen] twenty-four months after the date of the execution of the bail bond. If such balance has not been paid in full to the surety bail bond agent by the due date or a payment due under such arrangement is more than sixty days in arrears, such agent shall file a civil action seeking appropriate relief with the court not later than seventy-five days after such due date. The surety bail bond agent shall make a diligent effort to obtain judgment after filing such complaint on such promissory note unless good cause is shown for failure to obtain judgment, including, but not limited to, the filing for bankruptcy by the principal or the indemnitor or failure to serve process despite good faith efforts.

Sec. 2. Section 54-65 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2014):

(a) Any surety in a recognizance in criminal proceedings, who believes that [his] such surety's principal intends to abscond, shall apply to a judge of the Superior Court, produce [his] such surety's bail bond or evidence of [his] being a surety, and verify the reason of [his] such surety's application by oath or otherwise. Thereupon, the judge shall immediately grant a mittimus, directed to a proper officer or indifferent person, commanding [him] such officer or indifferent person immediately to arrest the principal and commit [him] the principal to a community correctional center. The Community Correctional Center Administrator shall receive the principal and retain [him] the principal in a community correctional center until discharged by due order of law. The surrender of the principal shall be a full discharge of the surety upon [his] such surety's bond or recognizance.

(b) If the principal of a surety in a recognizance in criminal proceedings absconds, such surety may apply, prior to six months after the date the bond is ordered forfeited, to a judge of the Superior Court to be released from such bond. The judge may release such surety from such bond for good cause shown.

Sec. 3. Section 54-65a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2014):

(a) (1) Whenever an arrested person is released upon the execution of a bond with surety in an amount of five hundred dollars or more and such bond is ordered forfeited because the principal failed to appear in court as conditioned in such bond, the court shall, at the time of ordering the bond forfeited: [(1)] (A) Issue a rearrest warrant or a capias directing a proper officer to take the defendant into custody, [(2)] (B) provide written notice to the surety on the bond that the principal has failed to appear in court as conditioned in such bond, except that if the surety on the bond is an insurer, as defined in section 38a-660, the court shall provide such notice to such insurer and not to the surety bail bond agent, as defined in section 38a-660, and [(3)] (C) order a stay of execution upon the forfeiture for six months. The court may, in its discretion and for good cause shown, extend such stay of execution. A stay of execution shall not prevent the issuance of a rearrest warrant or a capias.

(2) When the principal whose bond has been forfeited is returned to custody pursuant to the rearrest warrant or a capias within six months [of] after the date such bond was ordered forfeited or, if a stay of execution was extended, within the time period inclusive of such extension of the date such bond was ordered forfeited, the bond shall be automatically terminated and the surety released and the court shall order new conditions of release for the defendant in accordance with section 54-64a.

(3) When the principal whose bond has been forfeited returns to court voluntarily within five business days [of] after the date such bond was ordered forfeited, the court may, in its discretion, and after finding that the defendant's failure to appear was not wilful, vacate the forfeiture order and reinstate the bond. [Such stay of execution shall not prevent the issuance of a rearrest warrant or a capias.]

(4) When the principal whose bond has been forfeited returns to court voluntarily more than five business days and less than six months after the date such bond was ordered forfeited, the bond shall be automatically terminated and the surety released and the court shall order new conditions of release for the defendant in accordance with section 54-64a.

(b) Whenever an arrested person, whose bond has been forfeited, is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within one year [of] after the date such bond was ordered forfeited, the surety on such bond shall be entitled to a rebate of that portion of the forfeited amount as may be fixed by the court or as may be established by a schedule adopted by rule of the judges of the court.

Sec. 4. Section 54-66 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2014):

(a) (1) In any criminal case in which a bond is allowable or required and the amount [thereof] of such bond has been determined, the accused person, or any person [in] on the accused person's behalf, [(1)] (A) may deposit, with the clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the offense with which the accused person stands charged or any assistant clerk of such court who is bonded in the same manner as the clerk or any person or officer authorized to accept bail, a sum of money equal to the amount called for by such bond, or [(2)] (B) may pledge real property, the equity of which is equal to the amount called for by such bond, provided the person pledging such property is the owner of such real property, and such accused person shall thereupon be admitted to bail.

(2) When cash bail is offered, such bond shall be executed and the money shall be received in lieu of a surety or sureties upon such bond. Such cash bail shall be retained by the clerk of such court until a final order of the court disposing of the same is passed, [; provided,] except that if such bond is forfeited, the clerk of such court shall pay the money to the payee named therein, according to the terms and conditions of the bond. When cash bail in excess of ten thousand dollars is received for a person accused of a felony, where the underlying facts and circumstances of the felony involve the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person, the clerk of such court shall prepare a report that contains (A) the name, address and taxpayer identification number of the accused person, (B) the name, address and taxpayer identification number of each person offering the cash bail, other than a person licensed as a professional bondsman under chapter 533 or a surety bail bond agent under chapter 700f, (C) the amount of cash received, and (D) the date the cash was received. Not later than fifteen days after receipt of such cash bail, the clerk of such court shall file the report with the Department of Revenue Services and mail a copy of the report to the state's attorney for the judicial district in which the court is located and to each person offering the cash bail.

[(b)] (3) When real property is pledged, the pledge shall constitute a lien on the real property upon the filing of a notice of lien in the office of the town clerk of the town in which the real property is located. The lien shall be in an amount equal to the bond set by the court. The notice of lien shall be on a form prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator. Upon order of forfeiture of the underlying bond, the state's attorney for the judicial district in which the forfeiture is ordered shall refer the matter to the Attorney General and the Attorney General may, on behalf of the state, foreclose such lien in the same manner as a mortgage. The lien created by this subsection shall expire six years after the forfeiture is ordered unless the Attorney General commences an action to foreclose it within that period of time and records a notice of lis pendens in evidence thereof on the land records of the town in which the real property is located. If the bond has not been ordered forfeited, the clerk of the court shall authorize the recording of a release of such lien upon final disposition of the criminal matter or upon order of the court. The release shall be on a form prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator.

[(c)] (b) (1) Whenever an accused person is released upon the deposit by a person on behalf of the accused person of a sum of money equal to the amount called for by such bond or upon the pledge by a person on behalf of the accused person of real property, the equity of which is equal to the amount called for by such bond, and such bond is ordered forfeited because the accused person failed to appear in court as conditioned in such bond, the court shall, at the time of ordering the bond forfeited: [(1)] (A) Issue a rearrest warrant or a capias directing a proper officer to take the accused person into custody, [(2)] (B) provide written notice to the person who offered cash bail or pledged real property on behalf of the accused person that the accused person has failed to appear in court as conditioned in such bond, and [(3)] (C) order a stay of execution upon the forfeiture for six months. The court may, in its discretion and for good cause shown, extend such stay of execution. A stay of execution shall not prevent the issuance of a rearrest warrant or a capias.

(2) When the accused person whose bond has been forfeited is returned to custody pursuant to the rearrest warrant or a capias within six months of the date such bond was ordered forfeited or, if a stay of execution was extended, within the time period inclusive of such extension of the date such bond was ordered forfeited, the bond shall be automatically terminated and the person who offered cash bail or pledged real property on behalf of the accused person shall be released from such obligation and the court shall order new conditions of release for the accused person in accordance with section 54-64a.

(3) When the accused person whose bond has been forfeited returns to court voluntarily within five business days of the date such bond was ordered forfeited, the court may, in its discretion, and after finding that the accused person's failure to appear was not wilful, vacate the forfeiture order and reinstate the bond. [Such stay of execution shall not prevent the issuance of a rearrest warrant or a capias.]

Sec. 5. Section 54-65c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2014):

A court shall vacate an order forfeiting a bail bond and release the professional bondsman, as defined in section 29-144, or the surety bail bond agent and the insurer, as both terms are defined in section 38a-660, if (1) the principal on the bail bond (A) is detained or incarcerated (i) in another state, territory or country, or (ii) by a federal agency, or (B) has been removed by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and (2) the professional bondsman, the surety bail bond agent or the insurer provides satisfactory proof of such detention, [or] incarceration or removal to the court and the state's attorney prosecuting the case, and (3) the state's attorney prosecuting the case declines to seek extradition of the principal.

Sec. 6. Section 54-66a of the 2014 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2014):

Any bail bond posted in any criminal proceeding in this state shall be automatically terminated and released whenever the defendant: (1) Is granted accelerated rehabilitation pursuant to section 54-56e; (2) is granted admission to the pretrial alcohol education program pursuant to section 54-56g; (3) is granted admission to the pretrial family violence education program pursuant to section 46b-38c; (4) is granted admission to the community service labor program pursuant to section 53a-39c; (5) is granted admission to the pretrial drug education and community service program pursuant to section 54-56i; (6) has the complaint or information filed against such defendant dismissed; (7) is acquitted; (8) is sentenced by the court and such sentence commences; (9) is granted admission to the pretrial school violence prevention program pursuant to section 54-56j; (10) is charged with a violation of section 29-33 and prosecution has been suspended pursuant to subsection (h) of section 29-33; or (11) is granted admission to the supervised diversionary program for persons with psychiatric disabilities, or persons who are veterans, pursuant to section 54-56l.

Sec. 7. (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a task force to examine (1) methods for reducing the costs incurred to extradite an individual to the state with respect to criminal proceedings pending against such individual in this state, and (2) the feasibility of permitting a judge of the Superior Court to vacate an order forfeiting a bail bond when a professional bondsman, surety bail bond agent or insurer pays the costs of extraditing the principal on the forfeited bail bond.

(b) The task force shall consist of the following members:

(1) One appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be a surety bail bond agent or a professional bondsman in this state;

(2) One appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, who shall be a representative of an insurer, as defined in section 38a-660 of the general statutes;

(3) One appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives;

(4) One appointed by the majority leader of the Senate;

(5) One appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives;

(6) One appointed by the minority leader of the Senate;

(7) The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, or the commissioner's designee;

(8) A representative of the United States Marshals Service, who shall be appointed by the United States Marshal for the District of Connecticut; and

(9) The Chief State's Attorney.

(c) Any member of the task force appointed under subdivision (3), (4), (5) or (6) of subsection (b) of this section may be a member of the General Assembly.

(d) All appointments to the task force shall be made not later than thirty days after the effective date of this section. Any vacancy shall be filled by the appointing authority.

(e) The Chief State's Attorney shall serve as chairperson of the task force. Such chairperson shall schedule the first meeting of the task force, which shall be held not later than sixty days after the effective date of this section.

(f) The administrative staff of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary shall serve as administrative staff of the task force.

(g) Not later than January 15, 2015, the task force shall submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. The task force shall terminate on the date that it submits such report or January 15, 2015, whichever is later.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2014

38a-660c

Sec. 2

October 1, 2014

54-65

Sec. 3

October 1, 2014

54-65a

Sec. 4

October 1, 2014

54-66

Sec. 5

October 1, 2014

54-65c

Sec. 6

October 1, 2014

54-66a

Sec. 7

from passage

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To revise statutes concerning the execution, administration and forfeiture of bail bonds and the regulation of surety bail bond agents, and establish a task force to study issues regarding the extradition of fugitives to the state to face criminal proceedings in this state.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]