Serving Missouri with timely information about issues of the bail bond industry.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Feds Say Jackson Plotted Another Murder

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline today reads: “Man plotted while in jail, says federal prosecutor.” The article states that while in federal custody, Virgil Lee Jackson plotted another murder attempt, this time against a government witness. The Post-Dispatch reports that Assistant Federal Prosecutor Hoag claimed Jackson told an inmate in July that he would pay $50,000 to "take out" one of the government's witnesses. Jackson appeared in federal court yesterday on a motion to set bond. After hearing from the attorneys, the judge ruled against bond for Jackson. According to the STL-PD article, "The judge allowed that Jackson's experience (as a bondsman) would impress him with the importance of meeting bond conditions, but also might help him to disappear.” Jackson has been in federal custody since October 2005, after being arrested for conspiring to murder competitor Jerry Cox. Jackson is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The article reports that Jackson has admitted his role in the murder conspiracy against Cox to at least three other jail inmates. He is set for trial in January 2007.

Previous Coverage of Dotson/Jackson Case:
Lee Jackson held on federal charges 4/1/2006
Dotson Arrested/New Charges for Jackson 6/2/2006
Dotson/Jackson trial postponed 6/8/2006
Arraignment 6/13/2006
Trial postponed again 10/28/2006
Dotson Freed on Bond 11/15/2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

MO Supreme Court Denies L&C Case

The Missouri Supreme Court has denied the motion to hear the case appealed by L&C Investments and Doug Cheatham. The appellant ruling stands which ruled that L&C was responsible for a bond, after sentencing, when a stay of execution was granted. The defendant, Mark Wilson, 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. This ruling becomes case law for Missouri bonding companies. If a stay of execution is granted, courts can now hold bonding companies on the bond until the defendant is committed to DOC. Last week L&C filed a motion with the local court asking for a judicial review to modify or set aside the judgment.

Previous Coverage:
L&C Investments Appeals to Supreme Court
Appellant Court Rules Against L&C

Friday, November 17, 2006

Continuing Education Providers

2007 is almost here and it’s time to start thinking about continuing education. Most licensed bail bond agents will have to renew their licenses in the up-coming year. There are several new continuing education providers serving our industry. Here is a link to the official list and below are direct email addresses for several commercial providers.

Dave Strassner-Instructional Bail Bond Courses of Mid-Missouri
Mike Thomas –Michael Thomas Training Institute
Kent Hunter-Missouri Western Bail Bond Academy
Bruce Temen-Ozark Professional Training Center
Tom Moser-Tactical Concepts, Inc.

Providers services vary. Some providers will come to your site with minimum enrollment. Other providers require access to specialized facilities and ranges. I have spoken to all the providers and they are very willing to serve your training needs. See my links for direct links to education provider's websites.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dotson Freed on Bond

Glen Dotson, a Missouri licensed bail bond agent, has been released from federal custody on a $50,000 bond. The bond was written by an agent working under the authority of Jack Allison. Dotson had been in federal custody since late May on federal charges for participating in the plot to murder competitor Jerry Cox. Dotson was charged for allegedly obtaining a weapon and delivering it to bail bondsman Virgil Lee Jackson. Dotson waived his rights to speedy trial just a week before the bond was executed in federal court. Dotson and Jackson are scheduled for trial on January 16, 2007. Coverage of the developments of the Dotson/Jackson case can be found in the archives in the right pane.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Update-Felon Bondsman Arrested

11/9/2006-Donald E. Christian, a Missouri licensed bail bond agent, was arrested yesterday on Lincoln County charges for a class D felony involving a controlled substance. According to the Lincoln County prosecutor’s office, Christian attempted to purchase a controlled substance from an undercover agent. Christian is another convicted felon with a bail bond license and has been licensed under Jack Allison since 2005. He was convicted of felony cocaine charges in Montgomery County in 1998 and sentenced to three years in the MO Department of Corrections. Execution of his sentence was suspended, and he ordered to serve five years probation and 60 days shock time.

Christian’s bond was set at $10,000 cash only yesterday. Today the bond was reduced to $10,000 surety and Christian posted bond with another agent working for Jack Allison.

Christian’s previous felony conviction was profiled last year in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, after the ST-PD investigated felons in the Missouri bail bond industry.

It is unknown how Christian obtained a bail bond license and how he kept it. According to the DIFP website, Christian was licensed after the 15-year clause (Lee Clause) for felony convictions went into effect on January 1, 2005. The DIFP records show that Christian was licensed on 3/17/2005 and his 1998 felony conviction was well within the 15-year window. Insurance Director Dale Finke ordered a review of all bail bond licenses after Virgil Lee Jackson was arrested in October 2005. It seems Christian's license should have been flagged in the review. There is no pending disciplinary action against Christian's license at this time.

Update: 11/13/2006 The Missouri Department of Insurance has filed a complaint with the Administrative Hearing Commission against Christian. The complaint seeks permission to discipline Christian’s license because he is a convicted felon.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Unsatisfied Judgment List 10/20/2006

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 current list last updated on 10/20/2006. 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) L&C Investment Group, president-Douglas Cheatham of Blue Springs, MO***
4) David McKinney, inactive general agent of Independence, MO

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

I have had several readers request a copy of the judgment listing. I have uploaded a copy here for your review.

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.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Utah Supreme Courts Rules in Bounty Hunter Case

The Utah Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the out-of-state bounty hunter case previously covered here. The court ruled reviewed whether licensed out-of state bounty hunters were allowed to capture fugitives in Utah and ruled that Langley, a Colorado licensed bounty hunter, could apprehend fugitives in Utah. The high court unanimously ruled that Lee, the criminal defendant, had expressly consented to out of state capture in the bail contract he signed. The court said in its ruling, “Not only does bail advance the societal interest in not depriving accused parties of their liberty while they still enjoy the presumption of innocence, but it also contributes to the practical need to spare our citizens the expense of confining all defendants while they await trial.” The court also said, “Utah has a strong interest in seeing that fugitives from its criminal justice system are apprehended, an interest that is at risk of being compromised if our state erects unnecessary barriers to the enforcement of bail contracts. The converse is also true. There is little to recommend the prospect of making Utah a safe haven for out-of-state fugitives by making it increasingly difficult for bail recovery agents from other states to track defendants into Utah.” In its conclusion the Utah Supreme Court upheld the appellant decision that Langley may have violated Utah law in the apprehension of Lee (by not having a Utah license-a misdemeanor offense) is irrelevant when evaluating the separate relationship that arose from the bail contracts. The enforcement of the bail contracts by a bail recovery agent, unlicensed but qualified for licensure in Utah, did not violate the public policy of Utah.

Appellant Court Rules on Indigency of Defendants

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District ruled on October 31st that the Audrain County Associate Circuit Court did not err when it denied Mark Lewis’s application for the public defender’s services. The court ruled that he did not meet the state’s indigency requirements. This case may be of interest to bondsmen as part of the denial of services was because Lewis made a $50,000 bond. The Missouri Code of State Regulations state that: “If the defendant has been released on bail on any case in the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more, a presumption is created that the defendant is not indigent and the ability of the defendant to meet the bail must be given consideration;” The record indicates that Lewis said that “money was never exchanged between him and the bondsman.” (Lewis’s bond was posted by All State Investment Corporation which is no longer licensed with the DIFP or registered with the Secretary of State.) Lewis, who represented himself at trial, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for 1st degree child molestation. Lewis appealed the conviction based on the fact he was given no public defender and was unable to afford private counsel. The appellant court upheld the court’s decision to deny the public defender, but transferred the case to the MO Supreme Court due to its great importance and interest.