2003 Regular Session

To: Judiciary B

By: Representative Baker

House Bill 963



     SECTION 1.  Section 83-39-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     83-39-7.  (1)  Each applicant for professional bail agent who acts as personal surety shall be required to post a qualification bond in the amount of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) with the department. * * *  The qualification bond shall be made by depositing with the commissioner the aforesaid amount of bonds of the United States, State of Mississippi, or any agency or subdivision thereof, or shall be written by an insurer as defined in this chapter, shall meet the specifications as may be required and defined in this chapter, and shall meet such specifications as may be required and approved by the department.  The bond shall be conditioned upon the full and prompt payment of any bail bond issued by such professional bail agent into the court ordering the bond forfeited.  The bond shall be to the people of the State of Mississippi in favor of any court of this state, whether municipal, justice, county, circuit, Supreme or other court.  If any bond issued by a professional bail agent is declared forfeited and judgment entered thereon by a court of proper jurisdiction as authorized in Section 99-5-25, and the amount of the bond is not paid within ninety (90) days, that court shall order the department to declare the qualification bond of the professional bail agent to be forfeited and the license revoked.  If the bond was not forfeited correctly under Section 99-5-25, it shall be returned to the court as uncollectible.  The department shall then order the surety on the qualification bond to deposit with the court an amount equal to the amount of the bond issued by the professional bail agent and declared forfeited by the court, or the amount of the qualification bond, whichever is the smaller amount.  The department shall, after hearing held upon not less than ten (10) days' written notice, suspend the license of the professional bail agent until such time as another qualification bond in the required amount is posted with the department.  The revocation of the license of the professional bail agent shall also serve to revoke the license of each soliciting bail agent and bail enforcement agent employed or used by such professional bail agent.  In the event of a final judgment of forfeiture of any bail bond written under the provisions of this chapter, the amount of money so forfeited by the final judgment of the proper court, less all accrued court costs and excluding any interest charges or attorney's fees, shall be refunded to the bail agent or his insurance company upon proper showing to the court as to which is entitled to same, provided the defendant in such cases is returned to the sheriff of the county to which the original bail bond was returnable within twelve (12) months of the date of such final judgment, or proof made of incarceration of the defendant in another jurisdiction, and that a "Hold Order" has been placed upon the defendant for return of the defendant to the sheriff upon release from the other jurisdiction, the return to the sheriff to be the responsibility of the professional bail agent as provided in subsection (2) of this section, then the bond forfeiture shall be stayed and remission made upon petition to the court, in the amount found in the court's discretion to be just and proper.  A bail agent licensed under this chapter shall have a right to apply for and obtain from the proper court an extension of time delaying a final judgment of forfeiture if such bail agent can satisfactorily establish to the court wherein such forfeiture is pending that the defendant named in the bail bond is lawfully in custody outside of the State of Mississippi.

     (2)  The professional bail agent shall satisfy the responsibility to return the defendant who has been held by a "Hold Order" in another jurisdiction upon release from the other jurisdiction:

          (a)  By personally returning the defendant to the sheriff at no cost to the county; or

          (b)  Where the other jurisdiction will not release the defendant to any person other than a law enforcement officer, by reimbursing to the county the reasonable cost of the return of the defendant, not to exceed the cost that would be entailed if the option in paragraph (a) of this subsection were available.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2003.