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AB-1284 Probation bonds.(2011-2012)

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Assembly Bill
No. 1284

Introduced  by  Assembly Member Hagman

February 18, 2011

An act to add Section 1203.3a to the Penal Code, relating to prisoners.


AB 1284, as introduced, Hagman. Probation bonds.
Existing law authorizes the court to grant probation, as defined, to certain persons convicted of a crime. Persons placed on probation by a court are under the supervision of the county probation officer who determines both the level and type of supervision consistent with the court-ordered conditions of probation. Existing law also provides that if, at any time during the probationary period, the court has reason to believe that the probationer is violating any term or condition of his or her probation, the court may modify, revoke, or terminate the probation.
This bill would provide, in addition, that in lieu of revoking probation, the court, as a condition for continuing a defendant’s probation, may order the defendant to post a bond from a licensed surety not to exceed $10,000 if the defendant was convicted of a misdemeanor and not to exceed $25,000 if the defendant was convicted of a felony, to secure compliance with any or all of the terms and conditions of probation. The bill would require the court, within 10 days of noncompliance with the terms of probation after a bond has been posted, to notify the defendant, the surety, and the bail agent of the probation revocation hearing. The bill would require the court to declare the bond forfeited if the defendant does not appear at the hearing. The bill would provide that, in lieu of forfeiture, the bond may be reinstated, as provided. In the case of forfeiture, this bill would require that the surety be notified within 30 days of the forfeiture. If the defendant is returned to custody within 180 days, this bill would require that the bond be exonerated.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) According to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, over 150,000 people are in state prison, which is nearly double the system’s capacity. In addition, county jails are overcrowded.
(2) The overcrowding of prisons and the breakdown of the parole and probation systems have become serious problems. The recidivism rate among those released early from state prisons is extremely high, with 67.5 percent of criminals released from prison being rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within three years.
(3) Currently, 10 percent of those on parole or probation simply disappear, compared with only 3 percent of those released on private bail bonds. Furthermore, 15 murders a day are committed by people under government supervision and 53 percent of prison inmates were on probation, parole, or pretrial release at the time of their incarceration.
(4) Not only do criminals commit new crimes while under supervision, many choose to simply run away. Frequently, there is little effort made to track these runaways down.
(b) In order to properly protect California’s citizens, the Legislature enacts this measure relating to probation bonds.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1203.3a is added to the Penal Code, to read:

 (a) In lieu of revoking the probation of a defendant, the court may, in the court’s discretion and as a condition of continuing that defendant’s probation, permit the defendant to post a bond from a licensed surety to secure compliance with any or all of the terms and conditions of probation.
(b) Any bond to be posted pursuant to this section shall be a written undertaking in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) if the defendant was convicted of a misdemeanor or in an amount not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) if the defendant was convicted of a felony. The bond shall be delivered by the surety to the court and shall describe the terms and conditions of the surety’s obligations.
(c) The bond of a licensed surety shall be accepted by the court if executed by a licensed bail agent of the surety. The bond shall have a one-year term and may be renewed annually. At the time of renewal, application may be made to the court to reduce the amount of the bond. The application may be made by the surety or the defendant. The annual premium for the bond shall be fully earned on execution or renewal.
(d) Provided the defendant complies with all terms and conditions imposed by the court, the bond shall be exonerated at the earlier of:
(1) The conclusion of the term set by the court.
(2) Five years from the date of the posting of bond.
(e) Subject to the terms and conditions described in the bond, upon the defendant’s noncompliance with any of the terms and conditions of probation after a bond has been posted pursuant to this section, the court shall, within 10 days of noncompliance, mail notice of the probation revocation hearing to the defendant, surety, and bail agent. If the defendant fails to appear at the hearing, the court shall declare the bond forfeited and shall provide written notice of the forfeiture to the surety and the bail agent whose name appears on the bond. The notice of forfeiture shall be mailed to the surety and the bail agent at the address specified on the bond. The notice of forfeiture shall contain proof of mailing and shall be mailed to the surety and the bail agent within 30 calendar days of the bond being forfeited. If notice of forfeiture is not mailed within the 30-day period, the surety shall be relieved of all obligations under the bond and the bond shall be exonerated. In lieu of exonerating the bond, the court may make an order to reinstate the bond and release the defendant on the same bond if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The surety and bail agent are given prior notice of the reinstatement.
(2) The surety or bail agent has not surrendered the defendant to custody.
(f) If the defendant surrenders or is returned to custody, either voluntarily or after surrender or arrest, within 180 calendar days of the date of the mailing of the notice of forfeiture, the bond shall no longer be deemed forfeited and shall be exonerated.
(g) Except where expressly inconsistent with this section, the provisions of Article 6 (commencing with Section 1300) of Chapter 1 of Title 10 of Part 2, including, but not limited to, the provisions relating to the surrender of the defendant, surrender of the defendant before forfeiture of the bond, and the forfeiture or reinstatement of the bond, shall govern bonds provided for in this section.
(h) For purposes of this section, a licensed surety is a person holding a bail license issued pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 1800) of Part 2 of Division 1 of the Insurance Code.