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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Columbia Tribune Looks at Felon Provision in Bail Law

The Columbia Daily Tribune featured an article today analyzing Representative Bob Behnen’s (R) role in the passage of the Lee Clause in 2004. The reporter began investigating the 2004 legislation after Representative Wes Shoemyer (D) aired a campaign commercial criticizing the legislation. Behnen and Shoemyer are both running for the Missouri Senate seat vacated by John Cauthorn (R). In particular, the campaign ad criticized the 15 year provision allowing felons to have a bail bond/general bail bond license. The language in the 2004 legislation (SB1122) was written and promoted by the Missouri Professional Bail Bond Association and sponsored by Behnen. At the time, Lee Jackson was a director of the association and heavily involved in the passage of the bill. Immediately after the law went into effect, Jackson applied for a general bail bond license. The Department of Insurance (DIFP) did not grant the license, however. They cited different reasons for the denial of the license, including Jackson’s failure to disclose his recent misdemeanor convictions, he submitted documents to courts for the purpose of acting as a surety under the name of a surety company that did not hold a certificate of authority to do business in the state, (he was writing bail under Missouri National Surety, Inc. and American Guarantee Surety, Inc., neither of which had corporate licenses) he possessed a firearm as a convicted felon, and he conspired to murder competitor Jerry Cox. Of course the last two reasons are only accusations at this time as Jackson’s conspiracy case has yet to go to trial.

During the time frame that the general bail bond license was denied, Jackson was under investigation by the ATF. The ATF allegedly has taped phone calls of Jackson orchestrating the murder plot. The US attorney alleges that Jackson wanted to murder Cox because Jackson believed that Cox had told the authorities that Jackson’s corporations were unlicensed and fraudulent.

After Jackson’s arrest, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a series of articles outlining Jackson, Jack Allison, and bail association’s role in passage of SB1122. In an interview with the P-D, Behnen admitted that the 15 year provision was crafted to help an individual but denied that it was Lee Jackson he was helping. Since 2004, Behnen has annually sponsored legislation for the bail association. He has also accepted $2,950 in contributions from the association and its leaders, including Jackson. Recently, Shoemyer has also accepted contributions.

Behnen is quoted in the CDT article saying, ""How long are you going to hold somebody responsible? If it’s 15 years and they have kept their nose clean, … what does that do? All that does is make a whole bunch of people who aren’t able to be employed. And then what do we have? We’re forcing them to go back to crime." I totally disagree with Behnen's assessment that giving felons a bail bond license will deter them from returning to a life of crime. Lee Jackson demonstrates my position perfectly. Until his arrest, Jackson (who had convicted of numerous felonies) had a job writing bail bonds, but that did not deter him from allegedly plotting the most heinous crime of all, the murder another human being.

Note: Also read the Joplin City Court's position on another felon writing bail in our state.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bondsman Begins Federal Sentence After Judicial Probe

An interesting article appeared this week in the New Orleans Times-Picayune about the rise and fall of New Orleans’ most influential bondsman. Louis Marcotte, owner of Bail Bonds Unlimited, granted an interview before beginning his sentence in a federal penitentiary after pleading guilty to RICO charges. Also serving time are several judges, sheriff’s deputies, and bondsmen of Bail Bonds Unlimited. The charges came after Marcotte agreed to cooperate in an FBI operation called Wrinkled Robe. Defendants acknowledged heaping rewards on jailers and sheriff's deputies for unfettered access to the courthouse and on now-jailed former Judges Ronald Bodenheimer and Alan Green in exchange for manipulating his clients' bonds to boost Bail Bonds Unlimited's profits, limit liability and hinder competition. Bail Bonds Unlimited also gave $35,750 in campaign donations to at least 56 elected officials in 5 1/2 years. Marcotte will serve far less time than the judges who accepted his bribes. Green is serving 51 months at a low-security prison in Beaumont, Texas; Bodenheimer is serving 46 months at a federal prison camp in Montgomery, Ala. Green became the sole defendant to go to trial in the sprawling case, while nine others pleaded guilty. Lori Marcotte, Louis Marcotte’s sister, served as the government's star witness implicating Green, while her brother didn't utter a word to jurors. Marcotte said, "I think the government was very hard on me, as right they should have been. I've been doing this drill for six years and I've got 16 months to do in jail, six months in a halfway house and three years probation. It's over a decade of my life, plus I lost everything I worked for all my life. . . . I worked the hardest, I lost the most."

Jackson Trial Postponed Again

The federal trial against bail bond agent Virgil Lee Jackson has been postponed for the second time. The trial was scheduled to begin Monday, October 30th. In a joint motion filed last week, all parties asked for a continuance to “consider settlement options.” A new date has not been set. Co-defendant Glen Dotson has been severed from this case and his case will be heard separately. Jackson has been in federal custody since October 2005, after being charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and using interstate commerce with the intent to murder for pecuniary gain. Dotson, also a licensed bondsman, has been in custody since May 2006 after allegedly delivering the firearm to Jackson. The federal indictment alleges that competitor Jerry Cox was the intended victim of the plot. Both Dotson and Jackson have been denied bond while awaiting trial.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

AHC Issues Ruling on Bondsman's License

Ordered DIFP Has Cause to Discipline for Felony Conviction

The Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) ruled on September 22nd, that the Department of Insurance (DIFP) has cause to discipline James Cox’s bail bond license because he was convicted of a felony. The DIFP was represented by Doug Ommen, general counsel and deputy director of the department. Cox was represented by Steve Carroll, legal counsel and lobbyist for the bail bond association. According to the US Attorney’s press release, Cox (who was formerly a Florissant, MO police officer) was convicted on federal charges in December 2004, after conspiring with another to falsely plant drug evidence and filing a false report regarding illegal use of a credit card. The case was covered by the KC Star Crime Scene blog. Cox was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison and two years probation. The DIFP filed a complaint to discipline Cox’s license when DIFP Director Dale Finke ordered a crackdown on bail bond agents who had felony convictions. The department’s announcement came just a week after Virgil Lee Jackson was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm and later charged with conspiracy to commit murder for pecuniary gain. Jackson was arrested after federal authorities allegedly thwarted Jackson’s plot to murder Cox’s father, Gerald Cox. According to the AHC ruling, Cox argued mitigating circumstances to place his license under probation instead of revocation. The AHC responded that it did not have the authority to decide punishment and declined to make a non-binding recommendation. The DIFP will conduct a hearing to determine how Cox's license will be disciplined.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bail PAC Gives and Receives

Last month the bail association formed a Political Action Committee. The PAC filed its first quarterly report with the Missouri Ethics Commission. According to the committee’s proposed by-laws, the PAC operates independently of the association, although the PAC members must be association members and also give at least $500 to the PAC in order to have voting rights. The PAC chair is association president Jack Allison of Allison Bonding, Mexico, MO. The vice-chair is Ray Vunovich, agent of Allison Bonding. George Dodge, owner of Dodge Bonding of Columbia, MO, serves as second vice-chair. Association lobbyist Steve Carroll serves as the PAC committee treasurer. The following companies/individuals made contributions to the PAC.

1) All Out Investment Corp., (a licensed corporation owned by Charles Bonnott and Laura Feller of Camdenton) gave $1,500
2) Linda Poe and Linda Poe Bail Bonds of St. Joseph gave $1,000
3) Gerald Cox of Cox Bail Bonds, St. Charles, $1,000
4) A Advanced Bail Bonds, Inc. (a licensed corporation owned by Karen Trimble and Brenda Marshall of Ozark, MO) $500
5) Dodge Companies, George Dodge of Columbia $1,000
6) Queen City Bail Bonds, owned by Charles and Richard Arnall and Rex Shaffer of Springfield, $1,000
7) AAA Way Bail Bonds, owned by Linda Parker of Joplin, agent for Jack Allison of Mexico, $500
8) American Guarantee Surety, Inc., (an unlicensed corporation owned by Jack and Debbie Allison and Jeannie Millard of Mexico) $1,000
9) A-Aero Bail Bonds, LLC (an unlicensed LLC organized by Jack Allison and his agent Vladimir “Ray” Vunovich) $1,000
10) Callahan (sic) Bail Bonds, Inc., (licensed corporation owned by Ray and Virgie Callanan of Farmington) $1,000

Based on the committee’s proposed by-laws, all contributors gave enough money to earn voting-level membership on the committee. A voting level membership allows committee members to vote on who receives the contributions. Below are the disclosed contributions of the committee so far.

1) Tom Dempsey’s (R-St. Charles) campaign received $300. Dempsey is the Majority Floor Leader in the Missouri House
2) Tim Meadows (D-Imperial) received $200
3) Jeff Roorda (D-Imperial) received $200
4) Mo. House Democratic Campaign Committee received $250
5) House Republican Campaign Committee received $250
6) Rep. Bob Behnen (R-Kirksville) received $300. He is running for the 18th District Senate seat.
7) Rep. Wes Shoemyer (D-Clarence) also received $300 and is also running for the 18th District Senate seat.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bonding Company Appeals to MO Supreme Court

L&C Investments and Doug Cheatham have appealed a recent case decided by the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals. It was previously covered here. L&C has asked the Missouri Supreme Court to accept the case on appeal. The appellant court ruled that L&C was responsible for a bond after sentencing when a stay of execution on the sentence was granted. The defendant failed to surrender himself for commitment and the bond was ordered forfeited. The appeal court said that L&C should have kept itself informed of Wilson's case, and if it did not want to be obligated for Wilson's release upon the stay of execution of his sentence, L&C could have surrendered Wilson to the custody of law enforcement. L&C was not present when the sentence was ordered and the stay granted. L&C argues that the trial judge exceeded his authority in granting a stay under 546.610 RSMO, in that the statute states that a defendant sentenced to DOC shall “without delay” be delivered to DOC. L&C further argues that under rule 33.06, the court should have held a hearing, with all parties present, in order to modify the conditions of release. L&C also states that commitment to DOC should have taken place immediately where no appeal was filed and that the trial judge had no authority to grant a delay in executing the sentence.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bonding Company Files Federal Lawsuit Against Judges

Tom Peak, owner of Peak Bail Bonds of Jefferson City, and three of his agents have filed a civil suit in US District Court against two Missouri presiding circuit judges, the Honorable Mark Richardson of the 36th Judicial Circuit and the Honorable Fred Copeland of the 34th Judicial Circuit. Also named in the suit are state troopers Buddy Cooper and Jeff Heath of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Sheriff Mark Dobbs of Butler County, New Madrid County Prosecuting Attorney Lewis Recker, and Phillip Childress and Craig Meador of Childress Bail Bonds of Poplar Bluff, MO.

Plaintiffs Peak, Glenn Beazley of Jefferson City, Bobby Martin of Marston, and John Montgomery of Poplar Bluff, allege in a seven count complaint; two counts of conspiracy, denial of due process, tortiuous interference, slander, libel, and injurious falsehood.

The complaint alleges that Peak and its agents were unfairly denied the right to conduct bail bond business in the courts’ jurisdictions based upon a complaint received by competitor Childress. The complaint alleges that Judge Richardson issued a letter to Martin accusing him of:
(1) inappropriately using inmates to recruit business,
(2) allowing Montgomery to issue bonds under Martin’s authority, and
(3) soliciting and receiving sexual favors in exchange for fees.

The complaint alleges that the letter also revoked the authority of Martin to issue bonds in the circuit effective immediately. Montgomery also alleges that he was unable to write bonds in the circuit and Montgomery and Martin not given a hearing or appeal rights. The suit alleges that Richardson, Copeland, Dobbs, Recker, Cooper and Heath used the power and prestige of their positions to investigate and discredit plaintiffs without authority. The complaint also alleges that the injurious statements regarding Martin and Montgomery were false and harmful, and defendants intended the harm or should have recognized that harm was likely as a result of the false statements.

The plaintiffs are represented by Samuel Trapp of Hanrahan Trapp, PC of Jefferson City. Since the complaint was just filed on October 11th, the defendants attorneys have not entered at this time.

The entire complaint is posted here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

DIFP: Bulletins on Corporate Licensing, Fictitious Names

The Missouri Department of Insurance (DIFP) recently posted two bulletins regarding the bail bond industry on their website.

The first has to do with the use of fictitious names or names used to market the bail bond company that do not clearly indicate the name of the person licensed to conduct bail bond business. Under the advisory, the DIFP says that they and the courts have had problems collecting judgments because of the misuse of fictitious names or marketing names that do not identify the licensee. The advisory says, “It is the view of the Consumer Affairs Division that any use of a marketing name that does not clearly communicate the name of the properly licensed general bail bond agent would constitute misconduct or misrepresentation. Misconduct or misrepresentation in the performance of the functions of a bail bond agent may result in an action by the director to discipline the agent’s license. As such, bail bond agents are required to conduct business under the names by which they use to maintain licensure with the Department, or use a generally recognizable version of such name. This generally recognizable version of such name must be in a form that the Department, Missouri courts, and the general public recognize as a licensed agent. This will enable Missouri courts to easily monitor who is writing bonds in their courts, disable those bail bond agents that do not maintain current licensure with the Department and curtail those agents that have unsatisfied forfeitures with the courts from writing additional bonds.”

The second advisory has to do with the licensing of bail bond corporations. The DIFP explains, “Under previous administrations, the Department accepted applications for General Bail Bond Agents operating under a corporate form of business. However, Missouri Supreme Court Rule 33.20 states, ‘Any corporation, association, or company formed under the provisions of section §379.010, RSMo, for the purpose of making surety insurance shall be qualified to act as a surety upon any bail bond taken under the provisions of these rules upon presenting evidence satisfactory to the court of its solvency…’ Corporations that ‘make’ or write surety insurance must be structured as an insurance company and properly licensed as an insurance company under section §379.010, RSMo. As such, if this entity is a stock company, it must maintain a fully paid capital of at least eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000.00) and a surplus of at least eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000.00). Corporations that write surety, but are not admitted under section §379.010, RSMo, are in violation of section §375.310, RSMo and are subject to civil and criminal enforcement. Corporations that were previously admitted to write surety in Missouri now have two options: 1) they can apply for a general bail bond agent license under an individual’s name; or 2) they can continue to operate as a corporation, but they must do so as an agent of an insurance company that is registered under §379.010, RSMo. Under this second arrangement, the insurance company is writing the surety, as opposed to the corporate agent. The corporate agent must submit to the Department a copy of a general power of attorney appointing the corporation to represent the company in matters of bail. This power of attorney must be submitted to the Department at the time of initial application, as well as biennial renewal.”

The DIFP met with bail bond corporations last month to discuss the changes in licensing procedures.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

October Unsatisfied Judgment Listing

The bail bond unsatisfied judgment list is compiled by the DIFP and the Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator. The following companies/general agents appear on the list distributed 10/6/2006. The list is distributed to local courts via electronic means.

1) A Aarons Bonding Company, administratively dissolved corporation, president- Lewis David Duncan of Excelsior Springs, MO
2) A Way Out Investments, Inc., president-David Bush of Blue Springs, MO, license inactive
3) Jack Allison, general agent of Mexico, MO
4) C&M Bonding, Inc., president- Cody Ice of Houston, MO
5) L&C Investment Group, president-Douglas Cheatham of Blue Springs, MO***
6) Carol Sharp, general agent of Leawood, KS
7) David McKinney, inactive general agent of Independence, MO
8) Nobel Insurance Company, no current insurance certificate in MO.

***A supersedeas bond was posted by L&C on 8/3/2006 in Buchanan County staying execution of judgment pending appeal.

Note: The judgment list does not provide the address of the company or corporate officers. I added the address, corporate presidents, and corporate status using the Missouri Secretary of State business database as well as the DIFP licensing information.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Bail Association Forms PAC

The Missouri Professional Bail Bond Association has formed a political action committee (PAC). For those who are unfamiliar with political jargon, the American Heritage Dictionary defines a PAC as: A committee formed by business, labor, or other special-interest groups to raise money and make contributions to the campaigns of political candidates whom they support. The committee treasurer is association lobbyist Steve Carroll. The PAC chair is association president Jack Allison of Allison Bonding, Mexico, MO. The vice-chair is Ray Vunovich, agent of Allison Bonding. George Dodge, owner of Dodge Bonding of Columbia, MO, serves as second vice-chair.

According to the by-laws proposed in June, to be a non-voting member of the PAC you must be a member of the association and contribute a minimum of $100 annually. In order to be a voting member of the PAC, you must contribute $500 annually. If you want to be an officer of the PAC, that will cost you $1,000. After you have purchased a voting-level membership on the committee, you will be allowed to vote on proposed campaign contributions in support of candidates or members of the Missouri General Assembly. Although the bail association proposed the by-laws, the committee operates autonomously from the association and is not required to report back to the members of the bail association. Association members are only "eligible" to attend the PAC committee meetings after making the required "minimum contribution." The proposed by-laws state that business and affairs of the committee is vested in those who have purchased voting-level seats on the committee.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Dotson/Jackson Trial Scheduled for Oct. 30th

The federal case against Virgil Lee Jackson and Glen Dotson, both Missouri licensed bondsmen, is scheduled to go to trial on October 30th. Jackson has been in federal custody since October 2005, after being charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and using interstate commerce with the intent to murder for pecuniary gain. The federal indictment alleges that competitor Jerry Cox was the intended victim of the plot. Dotson has been in custody since June 2006, after allegedly delivering the firearm to Jackson. Dotson’s present attorney, Ronald Jenkins of St. Louis, was appointed last month after his previous attorney withdrew from the case. Jenkins said in a motion before the court, “Counsel has yet to determine if he can be ready for trial as of October 30, 2006, but will inform the Court shortly about his status.” In a previous ruling, the judge stated that the trial will commence on October 30th unless both defendants had signed a waiver of speedy trial. According to Jenkins, neither defendant has waived at this time.

Friday, October 6, 2006

DIFP Rules Regarding CD Assignment

Each general agent in Missouri must maintain a certificate of deposit in the amount of $10,000, assigned to the DIFP (Department of Insurance). I have had several inquiries asking under what circumstances the DIFP would have authority to increase the assignment to $25,000. RSMO 374.715 allows for this provision. Here are the rules:

20 CSR 700-6.250 Assignment of Additional Assets

(1) The director may require the assignment of additional assets if:

(A) The department receives notices from a court or courts that the general bail bond
agent has accumulated seven thousand dollars ($7,000) in unsatisfied bond forfeiture judgments;
(B) The department receives multiple notices of unsatisfied judgments within a thirty
(30)-day period;
(C) The department receives a complaint or complaints that the general bail bond agent
owes parties to the bail contract or any persons providing funds or collateral for bail in
excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000); or
(D) The department receives notice from a court or courts that the general bail bond
agent, acting as surety, has executed a bond or bonds exceeding the assets declared to the court or courts pursuant to the provisions of Supreme Court Rule 33.18.

(2) In the event that the general bail bond agent receives notice from the department
that the assignment of additional assets is required, the general bail bond agent shall
obtain a Certificate of Deposit in the name of the general bail bond agent for the amount
requested by the department. The original Certificate of Deposit, an Assignment, and a
completed Acknowledgement of Assignment from the financial institution issuing the Certificate of Deposit shall be submitted to the department within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the notice by the general bail bond agent. Acknowledgement of Assignment forms are available on the department website at and at the offices of the Department of Insurance.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Law and Sausage

Chronology of Crime, Power and Politics

You have heard the expression--there are two things you don't want to watch being made, law and sausage. Well, I have seen both, and fully understand the analogy. Over the last decade, I have been in Jefferson City watching and testifying about issues important to me. One of those issues is the bail bond industry. I was there in 1997, 1998, and 1999 when bail bond legislation was being considered. I was there when the notification to law enforcement bill was passed in 2001. I was there when SB1122 was passed, the bail bond language being hidden in a dentistry bill. I was there when new measures were deliberated in 2005 and 2006. Being present for a decade, I could see some of the hidden factions at work behind these bills. To see some of the factions, take a look at the development of these bills, and the antics that have taken place the last several years.

Players List

Jack Allison of Mexico, MO-Democrat, general bail bond agent, president of Missouri Professional Bail Bond(ing) Association (
MPBBA). Hired lobbyist Steve Carroll in 2001.

Virgil Lee Jackson of St. Charles, MO-Active in legislature since 2001. Bondsman. Worked for Allison Bonding until his arrest in 10/05. Hired lobbyist
Steve Carroll in 2001. Arrested for conspiring to murder competitor Gerald "Jerry" Cox. Member and director of MPBBA.

Glen Dotson of Silex, MO-Bounty hunter/bondsman. Long-time associate of Allison and Jackson. Co-conspirator in murder plot against Cox.

Gerald Cox of St. Charles, MO- General bail bond agent. Local competitor of Lee Jackson. Victim of murder plot. Member of MPBBA. Former State Representative 1978 and 1982, Democrat.

Steve Carroll of Hannibal, MO-Democrat. L
obbyist and attorney for MPBBA. Lobbyist for Allison and Jackson before the formation of MPBBA. Former State Representative 1984-1992.

Senator John Cauthorn of Mexico, MO-Republican-Senator, term-limited out of office 2006. Neighbor to Allison. Sponsored MPBBA legislation 2004-06.

Representative Bob Behnen of Kirksville, MO-Republican-House of Represenatives. Sponsored legislation for MPBBA 2004-06. Currently running for the Senate seat previously held by Cauthorn.


1) Jackson, Allison, Carroll, and others successfully defeated restrictive bail bond language in the legislature in the years of 2001 and 2003.
2) In 2002 Jackson and Allison created a bail bond corporation called
American Guarantee. The company president and agent positions were traded between Jackson and Allison for the first few years. The company never licensed as a bail bond corporation. In 2004, Jackson incorporated Missouri National Surety. It is never licensed as a bail bond corporation, either. Although the corporations were not licensed, both companies wrote bonds in Missouri.
3) In 2004, Jackson, Allison, and others in leadership for MPBBA wrote bail bond legislation. It was sponsored by Senator Cauthorn (
SB1027) and Representative Behnen (HB1197). In the final days of session, Behnen incorporated the bail bond language into an omnibus bill titled "dentistry." The bill passed. The new language promoted by the association allowed for the licensing of convicted felons, who have not been convicted in the last 15 years. It was nicknamed the "Lee Clause" and took effect 1/1/2005. (Jackson hadpreviously been unable to get a general bail bond license because of the long-standing DIFP practice of not allowing convicted felons to have general bail bond agent status. Jackson had been convicted of burglary in 1959, burglary in 1967, forcibly breaking into a post office in 1971, and first-degree robbery in 1984.)


12/31/2004-Jackson allegedly visits Cox and threatens to kill him because he believes Cox had reported to the authorities that Jackson's bail bond corporations are fraudulent. Cox allegedly promises Jackson that he will make things right. Note: This is one day before the highly-anticipated Lee Clause goes into effect.
1/1/2005-The Lee Clause becomes law.
1/2005-Jackson makes
application for a general bail bond license. It is denied stating that Jackson had "falsely claimed" he had not been convicted of misdemeanor charges involving gambling in 2002.
1/20/2005-Cauthorn, who is serving his last term, introduces legislation (
SB213) written by MPBBA requiring all agents in the state join a state-sanctioned bail bond association. Those not wanting to join the state-approved association will not be allowed to renew their licenses. Of course the MPBBA knows that their treasury will be greatly enriched if they can force every bail bond agent in the state to be a member. Jackson and Allison are both leaders of MPBBA.
1/31 to 2/9/2005-
Campaign contributions are reported by Behnen from Jackson, Allison, MPBBA, Cox and others.
3/1/2005-Behnen introduces legislation (
HB662) in the House that is identical to the Cauthorn bill.
4/12/2005-Behnen, Committee Chair, inserts the bail bond language into another licensing bill,
HB665. The bill passes the House but does not reach a vote of the full Senate.
DIFP denies Jackson's general bail bond agent license because he had acted as a general agent without a license. This is the same issue that allegedly had caused Jackson to threaten Cox to begin with.
9/15-10/24/2005-Lee Jackson is under investigation by the ATF for conspiring to murder Jerry Cox. The ATF allegedly has taped conversations with Jackson orchestrating the conspiracy. Jackson makes arrangements to have Cox shot after the televised football game on 10/24/2005.
10/24/2005-Jackson is arrested and held on federal charges. He is denied bail.
11/4/2005-The DIFP issues a
press release ordering a "crackdown" on convicted felons who are licensed as bail bond agents. Announces they are taking action against James Cox's license because he is a convicted felon. James is the son of Gerald Cox.
11/12/2005-Allison and Carroll are quoted in the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch denouncing Jackson's actions. Also quoted as going to clean-up the industry of dangerous felons and said that the association had revoked Jackson's membership. Allison denies knowledge of Jackson's extensive criminal history. The report states that Allison has other felons working for his company. Behnen is quoted in the same article admitting that the Lee Clause apparently was passed to help an individual, but could not recall Jackson's involvement in Behnen's bail bond bill.
12/22/2005-DIFP announces they are taking action against Jackson's bail bond license.
1/17/2006-Cauthorn introduces legislation (
SB885) for MPBBA. Allison still serves as president and Carroll as lobbyist. The bill prohibits some felons from writing bonds by carefully using the statutory definition of dangerous felony, which is a short list of heinous crimes like forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and child sexual abuse. However, the same bill would allow felons to write bonds if convicted of crimes including manufacture and distribution of drugs, fraud, theft, or other felonies not resulting in serious injury to another person.
3/9/2006-Behnen introduces legislation (
HB1997) for MPBBA. His legislation, although includes the dangerous felony clause, also includes language making the bail agent responsible for the payment of judgments (not the company) and requires an agent wishing to leave a company get a written release from his current company before going to work for a competitor. To Behnen's credit, he never gave this bill a hearing.
3/27/2006-Cauthorn's bill gets
stuck in committee.
4/11-4/12/2006-Cauthorn tries to get all the bail bond language wanted by the association into another insurance licensing bill (
SB895) that was written and promoted by the DIFP. The amendment is defeated. Cauthorn threatens to kill the DIFP's bill in his committee, the Fiscal Oversight Committee. The bill sponsor agrees to add the bail bond language when the bill reaches the House.
Wes Shoemyer-Democrat, who is running against Bob Behnen (for the Senate seat now vacant by Cauthorn) accepts campaign contribution from Allison household.
5/4/2006-The House committee puts Cauthorn's bail bond language in the bill as a
committee substitute.
5/12/2006-The bill dies without being passed.
6/1/2006-Dotson is arrested for allegedly furnishing the gun (to Jackson) to be used in the plot to murder Cox. He is held without bail.
6/4/2006-Allison is
interviewed by the Joplin Globe. The Globe featured two stories about Allison's agent in Joplin, who is a convicted felon. Allison denies knowing about his agent's felony convictions, but states that it is legal for felons to work in the bail bond business.
6/19/2006-James Cox's hearing regarding his felony convictions is held before the Administrative Hearing Commission. Cox is represented by Carroll, the lobbyist and attorney for MPBBA.
9/2006-DIFP announces that corporations can no longer be general agents. Require all general corporations to convert licenses under an individual general agent.

So where do we stand? My guess is that MPBBA, Allison, and Carroll will be back in the halls of the Capitol in January. Cauthorn is gone and Behnen seems to have lost interest in their shenanigans. They will shop for a new politician and the saga will continue. They will continue to sponsor legislation that allows felons, that represses small, independent companies and agents, and enriches their own pockets. Presumably, Jackson will eventually go to trial. Hopefully, no one will forget the role that Jackson, Allison, Carroll and MPBBA have in making sausage--I mean law.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Lee Jackson Hearing Postponed Again

The disciplinary complaint filed against licensed bondsman Virgil “Lee” Jackson has been postponed again. The Administrative Hearing Commission was originally scheduled to hear the complaint in July and it was then postponed to October 3rd. That date has now been rescheduled to January 9, 2007. The Missouri Department of Insurance (DIFP) filed the complaint last December after Jackson was arrested by federal authorities. According to an article appearing the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the DIFP alleges that Jackson is subject to discipline because of the following violations:

1) He illegally possessed a concealable gun after having been convicted of first-degree robbery in 1984.
2) He conspired to murder bail bondsman Gerald Cox.
3) When he applied for a license as a general bail bondsman in January, he falsely claimed he had not been convicted of a misdemeanor within the past 15 years, when in fact he had been convicted in 2002 of two illegal gambling misdemeanors. (Case number 45R010200414 on casenet.)
4) He had acted as a general bail bond agent when he did not have a license to do so.

According to the P-D article, Jackson’s attorney, Chet Pleban, described the DIFP’s complaint as "political pandering" due to the public attention given to Jackson’s criminal record.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Bail Bond License Growth in Missouri

There is an article in the Toledo Blade profiling the tremendous growth in the bail bond industry in recent years. I decided to take a look at the growth patterns for the bail bond industry in Missouri. The results were very surprising to me. For the purpose of camparison, I used data from 1996 to 2005.

In 1996 there were 656 bail bond license holders. By 2005, that number increased to 893, for a total increase 237,or a 37% increase.

During the same period, the number of general agents decreased by 1, from 79 to 78.

However, between the years of 1996 and 2005, the number of general agent corporations sky-rocketed. In 1996 there were only 13 bail bond corporations licensed. By 2005, that number increased to 54, or a 316% increase. (The DIFP recently announced that they would no longer license bail bond corporations, unless those corporations were licensed under the insurance laws of Missouri. It is presumed that most bail bond corporations will convert their bail bond licenses to general agent licenses.)

There is approximately one general agent or corporaton for every seven bail bond agents in the state.

Overall, between 1996 and 2005, the total bail bond license holders (for all license classes in Missouri) has increased by 37%.