STATE v. ANGEL AGRON, SC 19499
Judicial District of New Haven
Bail; Whether Bondsman Entitled to Release From Bond Obligation Under General Statutes § 54-65c Because it Located and “Detained” Fugitive Defendant in Puerto Rico. A bail bond company, 3-D Bail Bonds, brings this writ of error challenging the denial of its motion to be released from its obligation on a $20,000 bond it posted to secure the appearance of Angel Agron on criminal charges. The trial court ordered that the bond be forfeited when Agron failed to appear in court as scheduled. In its motion to be released from the bond, 3-D Bail Bonds argued that it had located and “detained” Agron in Puerto Rico but that it had no way of legally getting him back to Connecticut because the state declined to seek his extradition. The trial court denied the motion on the ground that 3-D Bail Bonds had not met the criteria of General Statutes § 54-65c for vacating a bond forfeiture and releasing a the bondsman from an obligation on a bond. Section 54-65c provides that a court shall vacate a bond forfeiture order and release the professional bondsman upon a showing that "the principal on the bail bond . . . is detained or incarcerated . . . in another state, territory or country . . . and . . . the bondsman . . . provides satisfactory proof of such detention [or] incarceration . . . to the court and the state's attorney prosecuting the case, and . . . the state's attorney . . . declines to seek extradition of the principal." The trial court found that because Agron was not in the custody of Puerto Rican authorities, 3-D Bail Bonds had not met the statutory requirement that the principal be detained or incarcerated in another state, territory or country. In this writ, 3-D Bail Bonds argues that the trial court improperly found that it failed to meet the criteria of § 54-65c because the legislature intended that the word "detained" in that statute be read to include detention by a bail enforcement agent. It further argues that § 54-65c was intended to afford bond companies relief in circumstances of impossibility and that, here, it is impossible for 3-D Bail Bonds to return Agron to Connecticut without breaking the law by kidnapping him and putting him on a plane. The state counters that § 54-65c plainly and unambiguously requires a showing that the principal is being detained or held in custody by the government of another state, territory or country. The state also argues that 3-D Bail Bonds' impossibility argument fails because the common-law right of bondsmen to seize fugitives applies such that 3-D Bail Bonds could have seized Agron and transported him, even against his will, to Connecticut to face trial.