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Case Management Order: Committee Wants Change
Published December 11, 2015 | By admin

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —A committee of bail bondsmen, judges and attorneys say new mandates from the state Supreme Court have resulted in violent suspects being arrested and then walking right back out on the streets.

The case management order calls for arraignment to happen within 10 days after the indictment, arrest or filing of the criminal information, whichever is later. It is designed to speed up trials and ease jail overcrowding. An apparent side effect of the rule is repeat offenders being released back onto the streets.

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Bail Bondsmen Fight to Protect their Turf
Published November 9, 2015 | By admin

By Thomas J. Cole / Journal Investigative Reporter
Sunday, November 8th, 2015 at 12:05am

Facing his second drunken driving charge in two years and a bench warrant for failing to comply with the sentence in his first DWI case, Jose Alberto Flores fled the state.

Flores didn’t have much to worry about when it came to law enforcement. It rarely tries to track down fugitives wanted on misdemeanor charges like DWI. Also, like other states, New Mexico doesn’t generally seek extradition of misdemeanor fugitives.

But Flores still had someone looking for him: his bail bondsman, Charles Archuleta, who runs the Santa Fe office of Gerald Madrid Bail Bonds.

For a $250 fee, Archuleta had posted a $2,500 bond to get Flores out of Santa Fe County jail in the second DWI case and faced the possibility of losing the $2,500 if Flores wasn’t apprehended.

“If I’m responsible for the guy, I take it seriously,” Archuleta says. “I’m going to go get him.”

He did – without incident – tracking Flores to a trailer home in Texline, Texas, handcuffing him, driving him back to Santa Fe and turning him over to law enforcement so he could be tossed in jail. And, Archuleta says, “It didn’t cost the state of New Mexico a dime.”

Flores, 43, pleaded guilty in September to DWI-second offense in state Magistrate Court and was ordered to serve 16 days in jail in lieu of paying fines and fees.

Bail bondsmen say their role in nabbing absconders – at no expense to taxpayers – is one of the benefits of requiring that defendants post commercial bail in order to be released from jail prior to trial.

“We provide hundreds of jobs, pay millions in taxes, provide community safety and get people to court so justice can be done,” says Albuquerque bail bondsman Gerald Madrid, president of the Bail Bond Association of New Mexico and a member of a family with three generations in the bail business across the state.

There are about 50 bail bond companies in the state, including more than a dozen in Albuquerque, and competition is intense, with some companies offering deals of little or no money down to get defendants out of jail. The companies, which make their money from fees, seldom have to forfeit bonds, but say that’s because they are good at getting clients to court.

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NM Lawmaker Eyes Amendment Regarding Repeat Offenders
Published August 28, 2015 | By admin

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —There is growing frustration over violent suspects getting locked up and being let right back out. One lawmaker has taken an interest in what to do with repeat offenders.

Selmonio Davis was indicted for first-degree murder earlier this year. Last month a judge released him on his own recognizance — meaning no bond.

Local judges said they have to do this, after the state Supreme Court reminded them suspected criminals shouldn’t be forced to pay high bonds they can’t afford. Additionally, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, even if they’re suspected of dangerous and violent crimes, according to the state’s constitution.

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Group Suggest Overhaul of State Bail Bond System
Published August 14, 2015 | By admin

By Mike Gallagher / Journal Investigative Reporter

A committee appointed by the New Mexico Supreme Court is recommending that the state Constitution be amended to allow judges to keep violent criminal defendants in jail without bail if they are a flight risk or pose a significant danger to an individual or the community.

The so-called preventive detention provision would be just one part of an overhaul of the pretrial release system that also would allow less dangerous offenders out of jail without having to pay bail bond companies to post their bail.

Bail bond industry representatives immediately assailed the recommendation, pledging to fight the proposal.

The issue has come to the forefront recently after a state Supreme Court decision reinforcing the state constitutional right to reasonable bail in all but capital murder cases, along with a number of high-profile crimes committed by defendants who have bonded out, been released on recognizance or had been released from jail under supervision.

Police and advocates for domestic violence victims also have been critical of what they call the “catch-and-release” system currently in place, in which defendants post bail and are back on the streets shortly after their arrest.

The committee on a vote of 7-2 approved a letter that recommends the Supreme Court pursue a constitutional amendment that would permit New Mexico judges to detain defendants pending trial in cases “in which there is no type of pretrial release and/or conditions of pretrial release that will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance in court or the safety of any other person and the community.”

The committee decided not to draft a specific amendment, leaving that job to the Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Court and the Legislature. A constitutional amendment would require approval first by the Legislature and then by the voters.

Leo Romero, a former University of New Mexico Law School dean who is chairman of the committee, told the Journal that “there is a long way to go” for an amendment to come before voters.

Two bail bondsmen on the committee voted against approval.

Gerald Madrid, a prominent Albuquerque bail bondsman and committee member, said that the state Supreme Court has put the entire bail bond industry “under assault” and that he doesn’t think a constitutional amendment would survive the legislative process.

“I really don’t think it has a chance,” Madrid said. “The defense attorneys will be opposed to it. Many legislators will oppose it because it does away with the right to bail.”

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When Bonds Fail
Published August 5, 2015 | By admin

Bail bonds failure can have dangerous consequences that often go unnoticed until it’s too late. I recently wrote an article about these consequences which was featured in The Albuquerque Journal .

When Bonds Fail
By Gerald Madrid / President, N.M. Bail Bond Association
PUBLISHED: Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 12:02 am

The story of Steven Trujillo, a career criminal being released to pretrial services is nothing new.

Every day in every court in New Mexico there are defendants being released to pretrial services all because of our Supreme Court.

The court is pressuring our judges to release defendants on what they call the least restrictive means, with absolutely no assurance that a defendant will appear in court.

Not even the ankle bracelet or the GPS tracking that the court speaks so highly of is doing the job.

Releasing a defendant on an unsecured bond or his own recognizance means exactly that, an unsecured bond.

So, why is this happening?

Much of it started November of last year with the Supreme Court opinion on Walter Brown v. the state of New Mexico.

The court was upset that Walter Brown, who was accused of a murder, had been in custody for over two years and had not had his day in court.

Since that ruling, the floodgates have been open in New Mexico courts, and everything from shoplifting to murder qualifies one for a release on an unsecured bond or a release to pretrial services.

The Journal’s editorial on July 19, “Ankle bracelet only works if defendant wants it to,” speaks of the dilemma our judges face because of our state Constitution that guarantees bail in all cases except first-degree murder.

Bail itself is not the problem.

It’s when a judge sets an unsecured bond or gives a release on own recognizance, thus requiring nothing from a defendant but his promise to appear in court.

Even knowing that a person has a very extensive criminal history, these type of bonds are still being issued.

Our courts and government think that giving out free and unsecured bonds is the answer. The unsecured bond takes away the incentive for a defendant to show up and actually promotes lawlessness.

Case in point, Andrew Romero, the accused cop killer, was out on his own recognizance when he did what he is alleged to have done.

Furthermore, just watch the evening news and you will see more and more violent crime being committed – and it’s oftentimes by those with lengthy criminal histories.

So back to the Steven Trujillo story.

He repeatedly begged the judge to release him until she finally did.

He promised to wear the GPS monitor.

He promised to stay sober.

He promised to obey a curfew.

And he promised to report to pretrial services.

In the end, he did none of that and now two people are dead.

Who should be held responsible for this mess? “And this man qualified for pretrial services?”

 

How Do I Clear Up An Outstanding Arrest Warrant
Published November 14, 2013 | By Gmadrid

Arrest warrants AKA bench warrants are issued daily by the Courts. A Judge can issue a warrant for a variety of reasons. Some reasons that trigger a warrant are for a failure to appear in court, failure to comply with conditions of release, failure to keep an appointment with Probation/Parole officer, failure to keep appointment with a pre-trial services officer, failure to complete a court ordered program (such as driver improvement school), failure to pay fines or any violation of a court order.

Most warrants being issued have a bond amount attached to it, which can normally be posted by a bail bond company. If a bond is posted, the warrant will be canceled and a new court date assigned. If the warrant is for a driving violation, the person with the warrant will also get clearances to take to the MVD to reinstate the driver’s license. If the warrant is for a felony matter, many times the accused person must go through the booking process and then post bond from the detention center.

 

A Customer’s Right When Dealing with a bail bond company
Published November 14, 2013 | By Gmadrid

The bail bond business in New Mexico is closely regulated by the Superintendent of Insurance of New Mexico. Bail is considered a form of insurance so it falls under the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance located in Santa Fe, NM. The following are some of the important rules bail bond companies must follow:

1. A bondsman cannot charge more than a 10 % premium for the bail bond. The 10 % fee is a one time non refundable fee which is earned once the defendant is release from custody.

2. A bail bond company may require collateral such as real property or cash to secure the bond. If collateral is taken, it must be returned to the owner with 10 days of conclusion of the criminal case.

3. The bail bond company must give a detailed receipt for any money paid or any collateral taken in.

If a consumer cannot resolve a complaint or dispute with a bail bondsman, the consumer may contact the Office of the Superintendent at 1-855-427-5674 or www.osi.state.nm.us

 

What kind of bond can i post to get out of jail?
Published November 8, 2013 | By Gmadrid

When someone is arrested, that person may post the “jail house bond” and be released or remain in jail over night and see a Judge the next day. At the first appearance, the Judge can either release the person without a bond or can set a bond. The are several options for the Judge when setting a bond but only a few options are normally used.

The first and most restrictive type bond is a full cash bond, where the defendant will deposit the full cash amount of his bond with the Court. Assuming the defendant makes all required court appearances, the cash bond will be refunded to whom ever paid it. The next type bond is a surety bond posted with a bail bond company. The company charges a 10 % fee for it’s services and sometimes asks for extra security. The 10 % fee is a one time fee and not refundable. There is then a 10% deposit bond which would allow the defendant to deposit 10 % of his bond with the Court. In theory, the other 90 % becomes due if the defendant fails to appear. Courts rarely if ever collect the 90 % because they are not equipped to do collection work. The final type of bond is known as a property bond. If done right, an owner of real property would pledge his or her real property to the court as collateral. The idea on this bond would be that the property will be forfeited (lost) to the Court if the defendant fails to appear.

Bonds are meant to guarantee to appearance of a defendant and have nothing to do with guilt or innocence.

 

What is a Bounty Hunter
Published November 8, 2013 | By Gmadrid

A Bounty Hunter Aka A Fugitive Recovery Agent, is an important part of a bail bond company. The practice of recovering a criminal defendant who has failed to appear or violated his conditions of release goes back to the U.S. Supreme Court case Taylor v. Taint or 83 U.S. 366(1872).

Bounty hunting is a very serious responsibility and task taken on by professional bail bond companies. Recovering or arresting a defendant may be done by the bail bond person or may be done by a person appointed by the bail bond company.

A bail bond company may enter a dwelling without a warrant and may cross state lines pursuing a defendant. Bounty hunting is regulated differently from state to state and sometimes not regulated at all. The states of Oregon, Kentucky and Illinois do not have bail bondsmen therefore, do not allow Bounty hunters to operate in their state.

 

What is bail, and How does it work?
Published November 5, 2013 | By Gmadrid

The right to bail comes from the 8th amendment of the U.S constitution and is included in the New Mexico constitution as well. Anyone accused of a crime in most cases is entitled to reasonable bail. A bail bond in simple terms is an insurance policy or a guarantee that a criminal defendant will appear in court as required. A bail bond can posted by a licensed professional bail bonds person or by a private citizen who in turn deposits the full amount of the bond in cash with the Court. Continue reading →