Local Bail Bond Agent Suspended Temporarily by Circuit JudgeJuly 14th, 2009 by Joe Burgess
Mike Stewart, a Monticello agent of Bob Cole Bail Bond Inc., stood before Drew County Circuit Judge Bynum Gibson earlier this week, and was reprimanded forÂ various actions,Â includingÂ lack of preparation in cases where Stewart’s clients came before the court, such as not knowing how much bond had actually been paid, by some clients.
StewartÂ was also told to make his “best efforts to insure that bonded persons appear in court, and are on time”, and to bring full, proper documentation of his bonding activity that are on that day’s court docket.Â Judge Gibson added, “I want it to be done professionally, with no mistakes made.”
One specific topic of discussion was when Judge Gibson asked ifÂ he had providedÂ ”bail bonds on credit” or if “partial payment” had been accepted.
Judge Gibson made note in the court’s record that the Circuit Judges were signing an order requiring “any commercial bail bond be paid in full, before any bond is issued.Â No credit shall be extended.”Â
RecentlyÂ Saline County judges signed a court order outlawing payment plans on bail premiums.Â According to Collateral Â (a bail bonding industry magazine) in a related Â June 23Â article, “the Arkansas constitution requires bail bondsmen collect a 10% premium.”Â
Examples:Â If a bond is set at $1,000, then $100 (10%) is theÂ bailÂ bond cost,Â plus $70 in required fees, for a total of $170.
If a bond is set at $10,000, then $1,000 (10%) is the bail bond cost, plus $70 in fees, for a total of $1,070.Â
Judge Gibson said inÂ courtÂ that the bonding process “has to be done on a level playing field.”
Judge Gibson suspended Stewart’s ability to serve a bail bond agent, until he provided the court with a list of all of his clients, as well as their status.Â Stewart provided Judge Gibson’s office with that information later that day, allowing his bonding privilege to be re-instated.