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Thread: Bail Bond Agents

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    I don’t often like to discuss “what if” sorts of scenarios because of the myriad of permutations that any situation can create, but this has me wondering. If two people claiming to be bail bond agents draw on you, what the heck are you supposed to do? If you believe them and let them disarm you, it could be a deadly encounter for you if they are not who they claim to be. If it were just a case of mistaken identity, are there any criminal or civil remedies that you could pursue for their seizing you?

    Anyway, I heard the call for this yesterday on the scanner when I was driving home from work. It happened in Lakewood but even Tacoma PD put the call out. It’s too early to tell what really happened, but I sure hope they didn’t get the wrong person.


    Published: May 23rd, 2008 06:45 AM | Updated: May 23rd, 2008 06:47 AMBail bond agents shot and killed a man they were trying to apprehend Thursday in Lakewood, police said. Officers were working into the night to piece together exactly what happened. The scene of the afternoon shooting near the intersection of Pacific Highway Southwest near 47th Avenue was still cordoned off Thursday evening while officers took measurements and photographs.

    A wig the dead man had been wearing sat on top of his car.

    Lakewood police Lt. Dave Guttu said the dead man, who wasn’t identified, was shot while sitting in his car. It’s not clear what he was wanted for or whether he was armed.

    “We haven’t searched the car yet,” Guttu said. “We’re going to impound it.”

    The bond agents told police the man was wanted on several felony warrants, he said.

    Police took four bond agents, who were riding in two cars, in for questioning, along with two witnesses. The investigation hadn’t progressed far enough to know what charges, if any, might be filed, Guttu said.

    The man’s bonds were held by Liberty Bail Bonds, but the agents are believed to be independent contractors, not Liberty employees, Guttu said.

    A man who answered the phone Thursday night at Liberty’s office in Tacoma referred all calls to corporate offices. A message left at that number in Kelso, Cowlitz County, wasn’t immediately returned. A call to an “emergency” number on the corporate voice mail was answered by a woman who said she wasn’t authorized to talk and that no one would be available to talk Thursday night.

    Washington’s bail bond agents, sometimes called bounty hunters, can and do use firearms, handcuffs, batons and stun guns to apprehend and return to justice suspects out on bail who fail to show up in court.

    They can even enter a private home without a warrant if they have reason to believe a bail jumper is inside.

    In March, the amount of training they’re required to have was upped to a minimum of 32 hours. They must also report every time they enter a home by force to retrieve someone.

    Steve Mann, an auto detailer who works across the street from the shooting scene, said he heard several gunshots.

    “It was like pop-pop-pop,” he said. “My buddy said, ‘Those were not firecrackers.’ Forty-five seconds later we heard sirens.”

    None of the bond agents was injured and it didn’t appear their cars were hit by gunfire, Guttu said.

    Detectives have a clearer picture of what happened Thursday evening between four bail bond agents and a wanted man, who was fatally shot outside a Lakewood auto shop.

    The agents shot and killed the man near the intersection of Pacific Highway Southwest near 47th Avenue about 4:40 p.m. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has not positively identified the man, who had cash but no identification in his pockets.

    The bond agents, believed to be independent contractors working with Liberty Bail Bonds, had been looking for the man. He was suspected of fleeing on several felony warrants, Lakewood police Lt. Dave Guttu said.

    The agents, working in two teams, received information the man was going to be picking up his car at the auto shop.
    “The bounty hunters knew he was going to be there,” Guttu said.
    The agents tried to take the man into custody but the man, who was in his car, hit one of the bonding agent’s cars.

    “He backed up real quick, then went forward real quick,” Guttu said.
    The bonding agents were afraid that the man was going to hit them with their cars. Two of the agents fired their guns. The man was struck and died a short time later from his injuries. No one else was injured.

    Lakewood detectives interviewed and took statements from each agent. They also interviewed witnesses to the events. They were hoping to look at surveillance video from a neighboring business to see if the cameras captured the shooting, Guttu said. They also plan to execute a search warrant on the victim’s car.

    The agents, who were properly licensed with the state, were not arrested Thursday night.

    “Their claim was self-defense,” Guttu said. “They were afraid they were going to get struck by the car.”

    Lakewood detectives plan to forward their case to prosecutors to review and decide whether any charges should be filed.

    Bail bond agents licensed in Washington can and do use firearms, handcuffs, batons and stun guns to apprehend and return suspects to the court system. They can enter a private home without a warrant if they have reason to believe a bail jumper is inside.

    Guttu said Lakewood police have had little trouble with bail bond agents working in the city.

    “We’ve had short foot pursuits, we’ve had real minor car chases,” he said. “Most of the time, it’s usually without any violence.”

  2. #2
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    Good question. Or what is to keep them from seeing your piece and simply opening up, and then saying "oopsy"...

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    Regular Member Ajetpilot's Avatar
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    Any LEO want to comment about how these guys operate? Are they likely to be arrested for assault if they rough up the wrong person? Are they liable for either or both criminal and civil penalties in the event of a mistaken identity?

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    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=18.185.090

    A bail bond agent or bail bond recovery agent shall notify the local law enforcement agency whenever the bail bond recovery agent discharges his or her firearm while on duty, other than on a supervised firearms range. The notification must be made within ten business days of the date the firearm is discharged.
    Interesting that it has to be at a supervised range.


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    Bondsman are civilians, PERIOD. They have ZERO protection from lawsuits that the police have. If they pull a firearm out, it MUST be because they are in fear of their life.. They can NOT pull out their firearm 'just because' they're going to kick in someones door. They're private contractors who are hired to go get someone who has skipped bail. The bond company puts up the money, the customer usually puts down 10% as a guarantee, if the customer bails, then the company loses the ENTIRE amount, unless they can get him back in custody within a certain amount of time. The bounty hunters usually get 5% or more of the TOTAL bail amount...

    Example. Bail=$100,000 - Customer pays $10,000 - Bondsmen gets $5,000 when captured

    If they kick in the wrong door, or pull a firearm on an unarmed/non-threatening indivudual, not only can they be sued, they can be arrested, just like ANYONE ELSE.
    Evangelical lessons are provided upon request. Anyone wishing to meet Jesus can just kick in my door.

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    I used to think that but then I read this
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=18.185.300

    so at least in WA, they can forcefully enter someone's house... which I can not do legally.

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    bplv wrote:
    I used to think that but then I read this
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=18.185.300

    so at least in WA, they can forcefully enter someone's house... which I can not do legally.
    But they had better be able to show proof of why they had reason to believe the bail jumper was inside that residence, otherwise they will get arrested. They have slightly elevated powers from the average citizen only is they have "reason to believe" and can show it.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Campaign Veteran Right Wing Wacko's Avatar
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    More info on this case from KOMO News.

    Apparently this guy had burglarized he Bail Bond companies office and stole several thousand dollars. This is starting to sound a lot more like vigilante justice to me.

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    Boy it sure does sound like that.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Yeah, a contract hit. You guys have some real TV fantasies that have nothing to do with real life what so ever. Nobody whacks anybody over a couple grand.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Yeah, a contract hit. You guys have some real TV fantasies that have nothing to do with real life what so ever. Nobody whacks anybody over a couple grand.
    OH YEAH? tell that to the2 guys now spending time at Levenworth as a result of a case I cleared in 1979 in Montana.

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Yeah, a contract hit. You guys have some real TV fantasies that have nothing to do with real life what so ever. Nobody whacks anybody over a couple grand.
    You're right... people kill other people for a lot less.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
    KF7GEA

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Yeah, a contract hit. You guys have some real TV fantasies that have nothing to do with real life what so ever. Nobody whacks anybody over a couple grand.
    C'mon Bear. No one said anything about a contract hit in the forums. It was just mentioned that it looks like vigilante justice.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Trigger Dr wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Yeah, a contract hit. You guys have some real TV fantasies that have nothing to do with real life what so ever. Nobody whacks anybody over a couple grand.
    OH YEAH? tell that to the2 guys now spending time at Levenworth as a result of a case I cleared in 1979 in Montana.
    Yeah, a multi-million dollar business puts out a contract on a guy who steals a couple of thousand dollars, reality check please.

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    joeroket wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Yeah, a contract hit. You guys have some real TV fantasies that have nothing to do with real life what so ever. Nobody whacks anybody over a couple grand.
    C'mon Bear. No one said anything about a contract hit in the forums. It was just mentioned that it looks like vigilante justice.
    The bounty hunters are contract guys. They have their own seperatecompany and the bail company hires them to find the guy. So why would they give a damn if the guy stole from the company that hired them. They get paid the same whether the guy stole for the bail company or Wal Mart. This is a major leap from the BG trying to run over them and they shoot him to a revenge thing when the bondsman had no interest in who he stole from. Their interest isonly in catching him and getting paid.Anyone trys to run over me is gonna eat bullets too.

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    Isn't it strange? There are only one or two people in the UNIVERSE that know all there is to know about everything, and have experienced every possible encounter you could imagine.

    BUT, every time I log on to a forum, I find at least one of them.

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    Trigger Dr wrote:
    Isn't it strange? There are only one or two people in the UNIVERSE that know all there is to know about everything, and have experienced every possible encounter you could imagine.

    BUT, every time I log on to a forum, I find at least one of them.
    That's a ******** statement and you know it. The suggestion that this is a revenge killing thing is ludicrous at best and TV show material at the worse. And defending the idea is also BS. Yeah, revenge and contract killings happen but in this case the idea just doesn't fly in the face of any facts presented. Grow up! Then of course your statement work on you too.

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    Bear, you may very well be right on this. On the flip side you might be wrong about it. Only time and investigations will tell, at least what they find to be the truth, and then we can revisit the reason for the shooting and see who was right. Sound fair? I just don't see arguing over it because none of us know all the facts about it. There are only six people who do know all the facts, two of which probably only know partial facts, and I bet the other four all have discrepencies in thier stories.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Yeah, a contract hit. You guys have some real TV fantasies that have nothing to do with real life what so ever. Nobody whacks anybody over a couple grand.
    C'mon Bear. No one said anything about a contract hit in the forums. It was just mentioned that it looks like vigilante justice.
    The bounty hunters are contract guys. They have their own seperatecompany and the bail company hires them to find the guy. So why would they give a damn if the guy stole from the company that hired them. They get paid the same whether the guy stole for the bail company or Wal Mart. This is a major leap from the BG trying to run over them and they shoot him to a revenge thing when the bondsman had no interest in who he stole from. Their interest isonly in catching him and getting paid.Anyone trys to run over me is gonna eat bullets too.
    I know the majority of them are contractors to the bondsman but to call it a hit was at best a stretch I think. BTW, anyone that tries to run over me is gonna eat bullets as well.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    Bear, you may very well be right on this. On the flip side you might be wrong about it. Only time and investigations will tell, at least what they find to be the truth, and then we can revisit the reason for the shooting and see who was right. Sound fair? I just don't see arguing over it because none of us know all the facts about it. There are only six people who do know all the facts, two of which probably only know partial facts, and I bet the other four all have discrepencies in thier stories.
    You just said what I have been saying. There is no evidence that a crime has been committed at this point and to accuse anyone of murder is way out of line.

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    Don't get me wrong bear, I do agree that there, so far, has been no crime committed. It seems from the reports that they were trying to capture a fugitive who had outstanding bonds and things went bad. One news report indicates that they may have been targeting the felon hard because of the break-ins. I think that might play a little in the investigation but not to the extent that it warrants criminal charges against the bounty hunters.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    calling this unfortunate shooting 'vigilante justice' is nothing but gossip from an overactive imagination. There were 4 recovering agents at the scene. 3 who were independent contractors that have no links to the bail bond company, so have no reason to care that he stole thousands of dollars from the company, and the 4th was the owner of the company, who did not get out of the car until it was over and had no weapon on him.

    The man they were trying to apprehend was a known drug dealer and had prior weapon related charges against him, as well as assault on apolice officer. I would have brought an army with me to aprehend this guy. He had made direct threats to the recovery agents and tried to run them down with his car. They also found 2 guns in the car he was driving.

    Recovery agents don't consider themselves Dog the Bounty Hunter, they have families and cherish their lives.They were justified in protecting themselves from this scumbag.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Trigger Dr wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Yeah, a contract hit. You guys have some real TV fantasies that have nothing to do with real life what so ever. Nobody whacks anybody over a couple grand.
    OH YEAH? tell that to the2 guys now spending time at Levenworth as a result of a case I cleared in 1979 in Montana.
    Yeah, a multi-million dollar business puts out a contract on a guy who steals a couple of thousand dollars, reality check please.
    +1

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    I lived in the Denver area a few years ago when a "Bail Bond Agent" tried to apprehend a fugitive. There, these agents are not allowed to carry firearms. The agent was shot and killed. Big outcry over the fact they are forced, by law, to be unarmed. Seems like a Bail Agent can't win either way. If unarmed he can be killed. If armed he is questioned when he defends himself. Go figure.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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