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Gotta luv NJ

njretcopnjretcop Member Posts: 7,975
edited January 2002 in General Discussion
Judge: Bounty hunters pose risk 01/31/02BY MARGARET MCHUGHSTAR-LEDGER STAFFThe 130-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling that empowers bounty hunters to capture fugitives "simply is not good law today," said a Morris County judge, who ruled yesterday that the practice creates a public hazard and was "terrible public policy." Superior Court Judge Reginald Stanton said "the risks are too great" for non-police officers to apprehend dangerous suspects. However, the judge said he had no problem with bail enforcement agents coaxing bail jumpers back to court. Stanton's opinion, prompted by a gun permit application, is the first bounty hunter case in the nation to address the public safety threat, he said. Though it isn't binding, the state Attorney General's Office is reviewing the ruling to decide whether to generate guidelines, said Emily Hornaday, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. But the decision already has sparked controversy. "That judge is 100 percent right," said Assemblyman Peter Barnes Jr. (D-Middlesex), who for several years has been pushing legislation that would require bail enforcement agents to be licensed. But Mel Barth, executive director of the National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents, said Stanton "should be ashamed." He is "removing the right and the opportunity" of bail bondsmen "to protect their money." New Jersey has no laws regulating bail enforcement agents -- more commonly known as bounty hunters -- who are hired by bail bond companies after a client fails to show up in court. "Anybody could say they're a bounty hunter," said Barnes, a retired FBI agent who also served as police director in Edison and East Brunswick. Hundreds of state and federal court cases brought by bail bond companies cite an 1872 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave them the right to capture fugitives -- even by breaking into their homes -- so they wouldn't have to forfeit the bail. But Stanton noted that the Supreme Court ruling was made when the nation lacked professional law enforcement agencies and there was a more permissive view toward self-help. The judge noted the Taylor vs. Taintor decision "is not binding on a New Jersey court . . . and I will not follow it." Evan Nappen, the attorney who argued that Charles Borinsky -- a former firearms instructor for the U.S. Marines -- should be allowed to carry a gun, said he will appeal. "He's rejected the case law from 1872 . . . The ramifications of this are so enormous," said Nappen. For one thing, Nappen said, "I see civil attorneys bringing litigation for false arrest" for cases in which a bounty hunter apprehends a fugitive. Leon Ewing, a bail bondsman and bounty hunter for 30 years in the Newark area, said that if Stanton's ruling were upheld, the streets would be full of bail jumpers. 'The (number of) bench warrants would be so high . . . the sheriff's department would not be able to keep up with the people," Ewing said. "Bail bondsmen make more re-arrests than police departments do." Elizabeth Police Capt. Mark Kurdyla said, "There are certainly tons of warrants out there, and in many cases, it's the bail bondsmen who send someone after them." At least six bail bond companies operate in Elizabeth and all employ bounty hunters, Kurdyla said. Generally, they check in with police patrol supervisors to let them know where they are operating. 'We can't say we have any horror stories," Kurdyla said. "Our experience with them is mostly positive." But bail enforcement agents, who are not required to undergo any law enforcement training, have gotten themselves into trouble. In 1999, a bounty hunter from Mercer County was arrested after firing eight shots on a Perth Amboy street to try to stop a fugitive who stole his car. In 1998, a Hillside bounty hunter was accused of sexually assaulting a 25-year-old bail jumper before turning her over to Georgia authorities. In 1997, one bail enforcement agent was charged with handcuffing a fugitive's father and driving him around New Brunswick while demanding to know his son's whereabouts. Another was accused of pointing a handgun at a 2-year-old's head in East Orange in an effort to get information on a bail jumper. Several bond company officials yesterday said that allowing only police to apprehend fugitives was impractical and expensive. 'It's going to cause the police a lot of work," said Sheldon Kamm, the proprietor of Kamm Bonding in Morristown. When bail enforcement agents capture a fugitive, "there's no expense to the public whatsoever," Kamm noted. Left to police, transportation costs would become a factor, Kamm noted. For example, if a fugitive wanted in Morristown is caught in South Jersey, Morris County officials would have to pick him up. "Who's going to pay for that?" Kamm said. Van Anastos, a Paterson bail bondsman in the business since 1968, said in dangerous situations, he prefers to call in police to make the arrest. But sometimes, they don't want to do it, Anastos said. A bail enforcement agent might have to sit surveillance for hours to capture a fugitive. "The police don't have that kind of time to be my personal body guard or apprehension specialist," Anastos said. Steven Gershenoff, who heads an organization called the Professional Bail Agents of New Jersey, has no problem with Stanton's ruling. When there is a potential for danger in apprehending a fugitive, Gershenoff, owner of A&B Bail Bonds in Freehold, asks the police to handle it. Stanton said police don't need to be involved in apprehensions if a bail enforcement agent can simply talk a fugitive into turning himself in. But as soon as there is the potential for danger, "they flatly should not be making apprehensions," the judge said. Whatever training a bounty hunter might get, "it is not the same thing as having the commitment to public safety and public service." Staff writers Paula Saha and Wayne Woolley contributed to this report. Margaret McHugh covers the Morris County courts. She can be reached at (973)539-7119 or at [email protected] Subscriptions & Contacts | Archives | Personals
It's the stuff dreams are made of AngelNRA Certified Firearms InstructorMember: GOA, RKBA, NJSPBA, NJ area rep for the 2ndAMPD. [email protected]

Comments

  • 22WRF22WRF Member Posts: 3,385
    edited November -1
    No Bounty Hunters in Flarda. Only the Bondsman may appehend his FTA's(Or LEO)
    I Refuse to be a VictimGrumpy old man[This message has been edited by 22WRF (edited 01-31-2002).]
  • TxsTxs Member Posts: 18,801
    edited November -1
    Sounds like the bail bond companies fell behind on campaign contributions to the Honorable Judge.
  • sandman2234sandman2234 Member Posts: 890 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    When did they change to no bounty hunters in Flarda? I spent about an hour one day talking to one that was chasing a felon out of Texas. And that was in Tallahasse. We had a good conversation. Can you imagine how many people will jump bond if they know nobody is going to come looking for them. Just move to the next state and walk a staight line. Have the spouse hit the grocery store and stay home.Get some kind of job selling firearms on the internet and your set.
    Have Gun, will travel
  • salzosalzo Member Posts: 6,837
    edited November -1
    I like the decision. I cant wait to see all fugitives decide to live in the wonderful state of New Jersey. With all of those fugitives running around, maybe the voters of the state of New Jersey will figure they should arm themselves, and vote pro-gun people into office-then again, we are talking about Jersey.
    Happiness is a warm gun
  • 22WRF22WRF Member Posts: 3,385
    edited November -1
    SandmanAs you said he was from Tx. Heres the lawThe State of Florida has addressed the problem of bounty hunters by providing that no person can representhimself/herself to be a bail enforcement agent, bounty hunter, or other similar title; and that no person, other than a certifiedlaw enforcement officer, is authorized to apprehend, retain, or arrest a principal on a bond, unless that person is qualified,licensed, and appointed by the Department of Insurance or is a licensed bail bond agent by the state where the bond iswritten.A violation of these provisions constitutes a felony of the third degree, and is punishable by fine, imprisonment for fiveyears, or both fine and imprisonment.
    I Refuse to be a VictimGrumpy old man
  • simonbssimonbs Member Posts: 1,051 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Salzo,I like your spin on it. Way think positive.
  • Josey1Josey1 Member Posts: 15,758
    edited November -1
    The Peoples Republic of New Jersey will never allow their citizens the ability to legally arm and protect themselves.But every judge,lawyer,politician,leo(retird and active) retain their right to self defense,I guess that shows how little NJ citizens mean to the state.NJ will allways be a policed state until the people wake up and vote their future,maybe they don't care or maybe the Democraps have brainwashed them all into believing that the police can protect them from violent criminals.
  • salzosalzo Member Posts: 6,837
    edited November -1
    Josey1- You are right, the state of new Jersey will never allow its citizens the right to carry. And because the people of NJ vote for people who will not allow them these rights, the people of NJ get what they deserve.
    Happiness is a warm gun
  • Matt45Matt45 Member Posts: 3,185
    edited November -1
    When I was doing this kind of work, it was up to me to hold myself to a professional standard, no one else. Professional Bail Enforcement Agents have been looking for some kind of national and/or statewide licensing and/or training standardization for years, reason being is that the "Bounty Hunters" give us bad names. Most of the reason it will never happen is that the business of bail bonds is controlled by the insurance companies who underwrite and insure the bonds. These companies pay their lobbists to squash this type of regulation in the industry because once in effect, only those who can obtain firearms permit, pass a backround check and attain certian minimum standards will do the work, this generally means PI's. The difference comes down to paying a PI $50.00 an hour or some schmuck 10% of the bond.PS IMHO Sheldon Kamm is, well, I've spoke and dealt with him on a professional level and he never impressed me.
    Reserving my Right to Arm Bears!!!![This message has been edited by Matt45 (edited 01-31-2002).]
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