The bill is known as the 'Bond Surety Protection Act'.
The bill changes what happens with bonds posted for a defendant's appearance if a defendant is determined to be illegally present in the country and doesn't appear in court due to being removed from the country. Instead of forfeiture of the bond, a compensated surety who posted bond or a bail bonding agent who posted bond, or a noncompensated surety, such as a family member or friend, who executed a bail bond for a defendant, is exonerated from liability on the bond if the compensated surety or the noncompensated surety provides satisfactory evidence to the court that the defendant has been removed from the country. The bill requires the court to exonerate the bail bond if all of the following occur:
- The compensated or noncompensated surety files a motion requesting exoneration of the bail bond;
- The compensated or noncompensated surety files an affidavit along with the motion stating that the surety has received information from the United States department of homeland security, the United States immigration and customs enforcement, or a foreign consulate that the defendant has been detained or removed from the United States. If the surety is unable to obtain such information from the above sources, the surety must file an affidavit that is signed under penalty of perjury by a person with personal knowledge that the defendant has been detained or removed from the United States.
- The district attorney does not object.
If the court exonerates the liability on the bail bond and the bond premium has been paid, any collateral securing the bail bond is released.
The bill repeals current law that requires notification of people or sureties that their bond or fees will be forfeited if the defendant is removed from the country. On and after the effective date of the bill, a law enforcement agency holding a person charged with a criminal offense is prohibited from notifying the defendant's bail bonding agent or noncompensated surety before the bond is posted that his or her bond or fees will be forfeited if the defendant is removed from the country, and law enforcement officers are prohibited from asking a defendant or a person other than a bail bonding agent to execute a waiver that states that he or she understands that the bond or fees shall be forfeited if the defendant is removed from the country. A bail bonding agent shall not communicate to a defendant that his or her bond fees shall be forfeited if the defendant is removed from the country.
The bill repeals current law regarding the crediting of revenue from forfeited bonds into the county jail assistance fund. The bill directs the state treasurer to transfer the balance remaining in the county jail assistance fund to the general fund and then abolishes and repeals the county jail assistance fund.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)