How One Texas County’s Judges Go Easy on Bail Bondsmen


Some bond agents and the criminal defendants they bailed out catch a lucky break from judges in Tarrant County, Tx., says the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram in the second of a series. Say the bail bondsman loses track of a suspect but hears his family saw him at a buddy’s place. Instead of declaring the bond forfeited, the judge may declare it “insufficient” to give the bondsman more time to haul the suspect in. Then maybe the judge gets busy and loses track, or the court forgets to flag the case for the judge to reconsider.

Months go by, even years. With the bond in limbo, the bond agent might lose interest in tracking the suspect down, and the district attorney can’t try to collect. “I don’t even see those,” said a prosecutor who handles bond forfeitures. Since 2009, judges in Tarrant County have declared about $73 million in felony and misdemeanor bonds insufficient.

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