Fugitive Recovery Network (FRN)

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Author:  L.A.W. [ Sat 27 Aug 2005 15:40 ]

Palatka Daily News - August 2, 2005 -- Palatka bail bondsman, ( Danny Buchanan) was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm after he shot a bond jumper ( Kevin Brinson ) in the buttock, during a struggle in an attempt to apprehend the fugitive he had out on bond.

Under Florida's 10, 20, Life Law, the bondsman had to be sentenced to at least 25 years and up to life in prison for his conviction. The law says a person armed with a gun while committing a felony gets 10 years, if they fire a gun they get 20 years and if they hit someone with a bullet they get up to life.

Circuit Judge Ed Hedstrom said he didn't think the punishment was appropriate. He read from an opinion of an appellate judge, who said the Legislature has tied judges' hands in imposing minimum mandatory sentences with out giving judges discretion. Hedstrom also denied the defense's motion for a new trial.

Buchanan claimed self-defense. He said the 25 year old Brinson, a three time convicted drug felon, reached under the the driver's seat of friend L. Sessions' car, and he didn't know what he was grabbing for. Fearing for his life, he shot Brinson with his 40 cal. Glock.

Although the State offered several plea bargins to the bondsman he refused and opted for a jury trial. The jury DID NOT believe his actions were in self defense nor did they accept the SURETY'S right to surrender a fugitive even if force is necessary. Within 1 hour they returned a guilty as charged verdict.

A statement from the state attorney's office said " Under Florida law, Mr. Buchanan did not have a special right as a bondsman to use whatever force he deemed necessary to apprehend a bail jumper," in fact, Mr Buchanan was only allowed to use the force reasonable to protect himself just as any citizen would.

Author:  rex [ Sun 28 Aug 2005 07:47 ]
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Good Gracious:

Somethings seems a bit off about how things went during the judicial process as written above, and I'm interested in following this case as I'm sure it will be appealed.

The problem is that if it moves up the judicial appeal process and the lower court's ruling sticks, the model may negatively impact the trade as curious precedents may be set based on Florida law--or not.



Author:  Steve_Hedrick [ Sun 28 Aug 2005 12:53 ]
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The point here, which got this individual convicted, was the fact he shot an "un-armed" individual. Go back and read this article very closely.

The 1st news article dealing with this incident (I wish I would have saved it) stated the Bondsman (Defendant) had been trying to locate this individual, who had failed to appear. This individual also has a prior history of not only running from LE, but also escaping from custody. The article stated the Bondsman had been tracking this individual for a long time and was days before final judgement of the bonds. The Bondsman found the individual and instead of calling for LE to come and make the arrest, he grabs his Glock (which he was licensed to carry). The Bondsman confronts the Skip and tells him he is under arrest. The Skip turns and runs to a vehicle, where 1 of his friends is waiting. The Skip jumps in to the vehicle and starts yelling, "Drive! Drive!". The Bondsman runs up to the vehicle and then shoots the Skip in the backside. When LE arrives on the scene, the article stated the Bondsman stated to LE, "He'll never run again".

The bottom line is, "You can not shoot an un-armed person". And, this is also an excellent reason why Bondsmen should not chase their own Skips. It is my opinion that "money can cloud clear thinking".

Author:  EliteBailBoyz [ Sun 28 Aug 2005 14:28 ]
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In addition to what steve said, he shot the fugitive in the butt! Which means his back was to him! This is not a good story all the way around. It will be an interesting story to follow and see how it turns out in the end!

Author:  thebishopp [ Sun 28 Aug 2005 15:42 ]
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Even a Police Officer wouldn't get away with that one... not normally anyway.

Author:  rex [ Sun 28 Aug 2005 16:36 ]
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I was trying to look ahead by reading between available lines, Steve.

Irrepsective of the facts of the case, what caught my attention was the following: "The jury.......did not accept the SURETY'S right to surrender a fugitive even if force is necessary." [Emphasis Added]

The use of force to arrest a bail skip may be at issue here, and, at some point, construction of this aspect of arresting a bail skip may either be reinforced or changed. At this time, precedent on the books may serve to bring this case to appeal if the people who reported the facts in the news (and were not there) got something wrong. For the time being, if the news report is accurate, a precedent in Florida AGAINST THE RIGHT TO USE FORCE, has been set.

But, Steve, I will concede to your point about how stress over a damaging bond could alter one's judgment; hence, your point about standing back and allowing a third-party to cure the problem bond is well noted.


Author:  thebishopp [ Sun 28 Aug 2005 19:55 ]
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I agree Rex, I too was somewhat disturbed by that statement though I was not sure that was the actual ruling as the reported story seemed different to the explanation of what really happened.

As we spoke about before, it is going to come to a case which will either enforce Taylor vs. Taintor or do away with it. As it is a lot of states are disregarding that ruling and until it is enforced that ruling is becoming useless. The states are no doubt going to argue that it is in their power to regulate over and above Tailor vs. Taintor. I still say with the current ruling that Medical Marijuana is "interstate commerce" that sets up the arguement that Taylor vs. Taintor supercedes the states rights as an already ruled upon case.

Bail recovery and bonds are more "interstate commerce" than medical marijuana is and even though one would not have expected such a subject matter being beneficial to the bail recovery and bond industry, there it is. I say use it.

Author:  Steve_Hedrick [ Sun 28 Aug 2005 23:27 ]
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Rex; In my opinion, there is no reading between the lines. The Bondsman shot an un-armed individual in the butt. The individual was trying to get away and was no threat to the Bondsman.

The USE OF FORCE TO ARREST is not of issue here. I do not know of 1 state that allows ANYONE (civilian or law enforcement) to shoot a "fleeing un-armed felon". This is just another case of someone who was pissed off and took the law into their own hands.

Author:  thebishopp [ Mon 29 Aug 2005 02:39 ]
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I believe the concern is that if the judgement had that particular wording in it... not what actually happened. What actually happened takes second stage to what the case law in that state has just become. If the wording is what was reported then it won't matter what the situation was.

I quote:

"nor did they accept the SURETY'S right to surrender a fugitive even if force is necessary..."

that is the scary line of that statement. Tailor vs. Taintor is clearly against that in and I quote:

"When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their rights in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another State; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and, if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed. It is likened to the rearrest by the sheriff of an escaping prisoner. In 6 Modern it is said: 'The bail [83 U.S. 366, 372] have their principal on a string, and may pull the string whenever they please, and render him in their discharge.' The rights of the bail in civil and criminal cases are the same. They may doubtless permit him to go beyond the limits of the State within which he is to answer, but it is unwise and imprudent to do so; and if any evil ensue, they must bear the burden of the consequences, and cannot cast them upon the obligee. "

Now keep in mind that Tailor vs. Taintor pretty much was dealing with the exonoration of the bond but also had the effect of more clearly defining existing Constitutional Law regarding the arrest powers of a bails urety. Some people forget this and think that Tailor vs. Taintor is what gives us the authority under federal law... it does not, it merely reinforces the ALREADY EXISTING AUTHORITY. It does NOT create anything new.

Although dissenting on the ruling regarding the liability of the sureties Mr. Justice FIELD (with whom concurred Mr. Justice CLIFFORD and Mr. Justice MILLER), commented:

"The Constitution of the United States declares its own supremacy, and that of the laws made in pursuance of it, and of treaties contracted under the authority of the United States. As the supreme law of the land they are, of course, to be enforced and obeyed, however much they may interfere with the law or constitution of any State. "

Pretty strong words... and I think grounds to enforce Taylor vs. Taintor at the State levels.


Now I've made this point before and some would liken it to putting us under the authority of the federal governement and turning us into govenrment agents. Now this may be true in a sense, but it actually turns us more into agents similiar to the authority granted to the IRS. Who some may not realize are NOT government agents but more like a civilian contractors.

Now the point being is that the term ARREST is clearly defined in both federal and state courts and has been used in this statement to apply to what a bail agent or surety does to the individual who has broken the terms of the bail agreement. It even goes so far as to liken it "TO THE REARREST BY THE SHERRIFF OF AN ESCAPING PRISONER" Now there is no law or definition that says an ARREST has to be performed by a Law Enforcement Officer... in fact most states of clear statutes for Citizens Arrest... take Indiana's statute:

"IC 35-33-1-4 Any person
Sec. 4. (a) Any person may arrest any other person if:
(1) the other person committed a felony in his presence;
(2) a felony has been committed and he has probable cause to believe that the other person has committed that felony; or
(3) a misdemeanor involving a breach of peace is being committed in his presence and the arrest is necessary to prevent the continuance of the breach of peace.

(b) A person making an arrest under this section shall, as soon as practical, notify a law enforcement officer and deliver custody of the person arrested to a law enforcement officer.
(c) The law enforcement officer may process the arrested person as if the officer had arrested him. The officer who receives or processes a personarrestedbyanother under thissection is not liable for false arrest or false imprisonment. As added by Acts 1981, P.L.298, SEC.2. Amended by Acts 1982, P.L.204, SEC.7. "

In Indiana it doesn't even have to be a felony! a misdemeanor involving a BREACH OF PEACE commited in one's presence if neccesary to stop said breach of peace.

Now, as far as to use of force... it is the same as when a state or federal law enfocement officer performs one. Deadly force is only permissiable when you either fear for your life (or serious bodily injury) or the life (or seroius bodily injury) of another. Generally speaking. Different states different terminology but basically the same. The same as in effecting an arrest of a suspect. The fleeing felon law was done away with when those two kids got shot in the back fleeing the scene of a burglary (as I recall... it's been awhile since the academ days LOL).

Well I've rattled on enough about this and probably missed a few things but it's early and I'm tired LOL.

Author:  rex [ Mon 29 Aug 2005 09:28 ]
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Mr. Swain, well....let me see...how can put this succintly???? Uh?

You fully understood where I was coming from.

I wasn't there when the incident went down, and I have not reviewed the court docs, but, if the language conveyed carried any weight as to the basis of the guilty verdict then precedent has been set.

My point isn't intended to be taken as contentious or otherwise adversarative but rather to suggest a possible basis for why we might see an appeal, and why the basis for the lower court jury verdict may someday be a problem.

Looking at a situation and being able to delve deeper than what is on the surface comes from time and experience in not just one area but many.

For example, I filed moving papers and the People and County Counsel and the judge all agreed that granting the motion would "set a precedent." We're not talking a jury trial or elaborate civil case here. The aforementioned legal experts simply had a problem with a small portion of language contained in the motion, which was granted after stipulating to certain changes in the langauge.

Don, you and I share a like background and this may account for why it is that we can both look at the same thing as others and see things that may not be obvious or suspcious at first glance.

This whole thing could be nothing to worry about, like Steve suggested; however, if the news report is accurately reflective of the case concerning language purportedly used, it could be something at some point in the future.

I am not a legal expert, so the above is merely my opinion.


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