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U.S. Supreme Court

Taylor v. Taintor, 83 U.S. 16 Wall. 366 366 (1872)

Taylor v. Taintor

83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 366


1. When the bail of a party arrested by order of a state court of one state on information for a crime, and released from custody under his own and his bail's recognizance that he will appear at a day fixed and abide the order and judgment of the court on process from which he has been arrested, have suffered him to go into another state, and while there he is, after the forfeiture of the recognizance, delivered up (under the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution and the Act of February 12, 1793, passed to give effect to it) on the requisition of the governor of a third state for a crime committed (without the knowledge of the bail) in it, and is tried, convicted, and imprisoned in such third state, the bail are not discharged from liability on their recognizance

Page 83 U. S. 367

on suit by the state where the person was first arrested. There has been no such "act of the law" in the case as will discharge bail. The law which renders the performance impossible, and therefore excuses failure, must be a law operative in the state where the obligation was assumed, and obligatory in its effect upon her authorities.

2. The fact that there bas been placed in the hands of the bail, by someone, not the person arrested nor anyone in his behalf, nor so far as the bail knew, with his knowledge, a sum of money equivalent to that for which the bail and himself were bound, has no effect, in a suit against the bail, on the rights of the parties.

In error to the Supreme Court of Errors of the State of Connecticut, in which court William Taylor, Barnabas Allen and one Edward McGuire were plaintiffs in error, and Taintor, Treasurer of the State of Connecticut, was defendant in error. The case arose under that clause of the federal Constitution which ordains that

"A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice and be found in another state, shall, on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime,"

and under the Act of Congress passed February 12, 1793, to carry into effect this provision, and which makes it the duty of the executive of the state or territory to which a person charged with one of the crimes mentioned has fled, upon proper demand, to cause the fugitive to be arrested and delivered up.


1. Applicable Statutes


Code of Alabama , Title 15: Criminal Procedure, Article 13: Bail.


Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 7.6


The regulatory body is the Department of Insurance.



2. Licensing Requirements


Professional bondsmen must comply with the following for licensure:

  • Be a resident of the State of Alabama .
  • Have a sufficient financial net worth to satisfy the financial obligations which to enter into as a surety, taking into consideration all other outstanding obligations and liabilities.
  • Not been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
  • Have no outstanding final forfeitures arising out of any surety undertaking.
  • Have not, within the period of two (2) years immediately preceding application date, violated any provisions of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, relating to the making of bonds or any Court order. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-22]


Professional bail companies must receive an annual authorization order from the presiding circuit judge of the county in which the company desires to execute bonds. To do so, they must comply with the following:

  • Bail companies must furnish a bond with corporate surety in the amount of $25,000.00 ($10,000.00 in Cullman County), to be approved by the probate judge of each county in which such person engages in such business, conditioned to guarantee the payment of all sums of money that may become due the state or any political subdivision thereof by virtue of any judgment absolute being rendered against such person on a forfeiture of bail.
  • File an original qualifying power of attorney, letter, or other document issued by the professional bail company specifying any applicable limitations and specifying the agents who are authorized to execute and bind the professional bail company to a bail undertaking or to appearance bonds. The qualifying power of attorney, letter, or other document may only name persons as agents.
  • File an original affidavit or certificate in writing, under oath, executed by an owner or officer of a professional bail company, to the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the professional bail company shall execute or become surety on appearance bonds which states that the above requirements have been met. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-22]



3. Notice of Forfeiture


If the defendant fails to appear, the court will enter a conditional judgment against the surety. Notice of this judgment will inform the surety that the judgment will become final unless the surety appears on a stated date to show cause for the defendant's failure to appear. Notice of the conditional judgment must be issued within 90 days to the defendant and the sureties.

[Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-81, 132]


4. Forfeiture to Judgment


If at any time it appears to the court that a defendant fails to appear, the court shall so notify the principal and any surety and shall require the principal and any surety to show cause by filing a written response with the clerk of the court within twenty-eight (28) days of the date of service of the notice why the bond should not be forfeited. [ARCrP Rule 7.6]


If a written response is filed within the time allowed, the court shall set a hearing to determine whether the bond should be forfeited. If at the hearing the violation is not excused for good cause, or if, after twenty-eight (28) days from the date of service of the notice, no written response has been filed, the court may enter an appropriate order or final judgment forfeiting all or part of the amount of the bond or cash deposit, which shall be enforceable as any civil judgment. [ARCrP Rule 7.6]



5. Defenses to Forfeiture


The defendant or sureties, or both, shall file a written response with the clerk of the court within 28 days of the date of service of the notice why the bond should not be forfeited. If a written response is filed within the time allowed and the court is of the opinion the written response is sufficient, the court shall set aside the conditional forfeiture. If the court is of the opinion the written response is not sufficient, the court shall set a hearing to determine whether the bond should be forfeited. The hearing shall not be set less than 90 days of the service of the conditional forfeiture order.


The court may take into consideration the circumstances provided to the court and continue any final forfeiture hearing to another day and time allowing the sureties more time to apprehend the defendant. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-131]



6. Remission


If the surety locates the defendant and causes the return of the defendant to custody after the forfeiture has been paid and the administration of justice has not been thwarted nor the successful prosecution of the defendant has been affected, then the court shall have full power and jurisdiction within a period of six (6) months from the date of issuance of any final forfeiture judgment to remit the amount of the bail or any part thereof minus costs to the state. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-139]



7. Bail Agent's Arrest Authority


In order for a surety to arrest a defendant, the surety must request from the court a “bondsman's process.” This is a document authorizing the defendant's arrest. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-124]


After the entry of conditional judgment against any surety on an undertaking of bail, he may arrest the defendant as provided in Section 15-13-62, but such arrest and delivery of the defendant to the sheriff shall not exonerate the surety unless, in the judgment of the court, a good and sufficient excuse is given for the failure of the defendant to appear at the time the conditional judgment was entered. [Ala.Code 1975 § 15-13-63]


8. Other Noteworthy Provisions


Section 15-13-159

That no agents of the professional surety company who have the authority to execute appearance bonds in its behalf or any person having a financial interest, direct or indirect, in the ownership or management of any agency, company, corporation, or other entity that represents the professional surety company in the execution of appearance bonds, is an attorney, a judicial official, a person authorized to accept an appearance bond, or an agent of an attorney, judicial official, or person authorized to accept an appearance bond.


9. Noteworthy Appellate Decisions


Briner v. City of Midfield , 831 So.2d 53 (Ala.Civ.App.,2002).

A municipality brought action against a bonding company in an attempt to enforce alleged conditional bond forfeitures, and the bonding company then claimed that city failed to give proper notice of the conditional forfeitures. The Jefferson Circuit Court entered summary judgment in favor of the city. The bonding company appealed. The Court of Civil Appeals held that city's method for service of process of conditional forfeiture of bond notices did not comply with state's Bail Reform Act. The city did not serve timely notice upon the bail bond company (within 90 days) nor did it receive the proper signature of the bonding agent acknowledging service.


State v. Blake , 642 So.2d 959 (Ala.1994).

The provisions of the Bail Reform Act of 1993 relating to the “bondsmen's process” requirements for the arrest of a defendant were found to be constitutional. The court found that as stated in the act, a surety has the power to arrest a defendant to ensure the defendant's appearance at trial.


Jones v. City of Opelika , 242 Ala. 24, 4 So.2d 509 (Ala.1941).

An appeal may be made from a final judgment in proceeding for forfeiture of a bail bond.



10. Bounty Hunter Provisions


There are currently no provisions relating to bounty hunters. 

To view the entire Alabama Code Section 15-13, Click Here.

Bail Laws


Right to Bail, Opportunity to Give Bail

·      In all cases other than those specified in subsection (a) of Section 15-13-3, a defendant is, before conviction, entitled to bail as a matter of right. (Al. Code 15-13-2; 15-13-108)


·      All judges or magistrates, when authorized by law to grant bail, shall take care that every prisoner in jail shall have an opportunity to give bail in cases in which a prisoner is entitled to bail. (Al. Code 15-13-04)


Restrictions to Release


·      A person who is charged with an offense that could result in a punishment of death cannot be released on bail. The only exception is when the State has continued the case twice, without the defendant’s consent, for purposes of testimony of absent witnesses. (Al. Code 15-13-3; AL Constitution. Art.1 Sec.16)

·      To Overcome these Restrictions:

1) If the court is of the opinion that he is not guilty of the offense in the degree punishable capitally,

2) If death does not arise from injury which would not constitute an offense punishable by death,

3) If proof is not evident or the presumption is not great.

·      Defendants May be Detained 

o   In cases where the defendant has been placed on, or granted, probation and is arrested on a probation violation warrant, it shall be discretionary with the court having jurisdiction as to whether bail is granted and in what amount. (Al. Code 15-13-109)

o   Domestic Violence/Orders of Protection: A person arrested for an offense involving domestic violence as defined in subdivisions (1) through (4) of subsection (b) of Section 15-10-3, strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches a person or subject him or her to physical contact, or charged with a violation of a protection order, may not be admitted to bail until after an appearance before a judge or magistrate within 12 hours of the arrest, and if the person is not taken before a judge or magistrate within 12 hours, he or she shall be released on bail. Prior to the release of the person, the judge or magistrate shall review the facts of the arrest to determine whether the person is a threat to the alleged victim, is a threat to public safety, and is reasonably likely to appear in court. …(b) The judge or magistrate shall make findings on the record concerning those determinations and may impose conditions of release or bail on the person to protect the alleged victim of domestic violence or the person protected by a protection order, and to ensure the appearance of the person at a subsequent court proceeding. (Al. Code 15-13-190)



Presumptions of Non-Financial Release:


·      Pertains to only misdemeanors.

o   Any judge or magistrate, when authorized by law to grant bail, may approve any bond presented to him at any time, which in his judgment is reasonably good, and may, in his discretion, release on his own recognizance any prisoner charged with a misdemeanor. (Al Code 15-13-4)

Order and Amount of Bail


·      Admission to bail is the order of a judicial officer of any court of the State of Alabama, or one of its subdivisions, that the defendant be discharged from actual custody on bail. Judicial officers of all courts in the State of Alabama shall see that every defendant arrested and in custody has an opportunity to give bail, in cases in which the defendant is entitled to bail and in cases pending before the court, and shall see that the amount of bail is established. The amount of bail shall be set in the amount that the judicial officer feels, in his or her discretion, is sufficient to guarantee the appearance of the defendant. Bail amounts shall not exceed the statutory limits otherwise set out in the laws of this state. The amounts of bail may be set by a judicial officer in a standard bail schedule as prescribed by the judge or pursuant to the bail schedule promulgated by Supreme Court rule. (al. Code 15-13-103)

·      Order of bail affixed to Warrants: Judicial officers shall see that the amount of bail is affixed to any warrants of arrests issued by the judicial officer at the time of their issuance for which the defendant is arrested and taken into custody. If arrested for a capital offense for which the defendant is not entitled to release on bail, the judicial officer shall take care to see that "no bail" is affixed on the warrant. Judicial officers may delegate the affixation to lawful employees of the court, but the amount shall be set by the judicial officer. (Al. Code 15-13-104)


·      Order of bail in Warrantless Arrests: In cases where a defendant is arrested without a warrant and taken into custody and there is no standard bail schedule prescribed by the presiding judge of the court of jurisdiction for the amounts of bail for such arrests without warrants, then the arresting officer shall, as soon as possible, contact a judicial officer for an order of bail. If the arresting officer is unable to contact the judicial officer having jurisdiction of the case, the arresting officer may contact any judicial officer having the authority to set bail in that judicial circuit to issue the order of bail. If no judicial officer has issued an order of bail within 24 hours of the arrest of defendant, then the bail shall be set by operation of law and the amount of bail shall be that amount prescribed as the minimum amount established by the bail schedule adopted by Supreme Court rule. Provided, however, in violation and misdemeanor cases the minimum amount of bail shall be $300 for each offense charged. The judicial officer may also fix the amount of bail on the indictment. (Al. Code 15-13-105).


Types of Bail


·      For persons arrested and taken into custody, there shall be four kinds of bail used in this state. No other form of bail may be approved and accepted by any judicial officer, court clerk, magistrate, or any other person designated to accept and approve bail as stipulated in Division 1, Sections 15-13-100 to 15-13-110, inclusive. The four kinds of bail shall be judicial public bail, cash bail, property bail, and professional surety bail. Their definitions are as follows:


(1) CASH BAIL. Cash bail is when the defendant or some person on behalf of the defendant deposits cash in an amount equal to a part or the total sum of the bail as set by the judicial officer to the clerk of the court having jurisdiction over the case. Acceptance of cash bail shall conform to Division 9.

(2) JUDICIAL PUBLIC BAIL. Judicial public bail is the release of any defendant without any condition of an undertaking relating to, or a deposit of, security. Such bail shall be granted to persons subjected to custodial arrest only by a judicial officer having jurisdiction over the defendant and in accordance with the procedures established in Division 7 of this article.

(3) PROFESSIONAL SURETY BAIL. Professional surety bail is when a defendant is released on bail by having a professional surety or professional bail company execute a bond on behalf of the defendant and becoming surety on the bail. Such companies shall meet the qualification requirements of Division 10.

(4) PROPERTY BAIL. Property bail is when a defendant is released on bail by having at least one or more property owners that own property in the State of Alabama, execute or become bail or surety for the defendant. Such property owners shall qualify and meet requirements applying to property bail as set out in Division 8. (Al. Code 15-13-111)


Factors in Determining Bail


·      Judicial Public Bail: 

o   Any person charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or violation shall be eligible for a judicial public bail, if: (1) The person is not charged with robbery, capital murder, forcible sex crimes, escape, trafficking in drugs, or the sale of drugs. (2) The person has not been convicted of a previous felony or committed a felony while being released on any form of bail. (3) The person is not presently under a suspended sentence or on probation or parole for a previous conviction on a misdemeanor or a felony. (4) There is no evidence, satisfactory to the judicial officer, that the person has violated a previous bail release, whether it be judicial public bail, property, cash, or professional surety bail. (AL Code 15-13-145)

o   Any person charged with an offense other than an offense exempted by Section 15-13-145, may be ordered released pending trial on judicial public bail upon the execution of an unsecured appearance bond in an amount specified by the judicial officer, unless the officer determines that a release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required or the safety of any other persons or the community. If that determination is made, a judicial officer may either in lieu of, or in addition to, the above method of release, impose restrictions on the travel, association, or place of abode of the person during the period of release or any other conditions specified in Rule 7 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure on the actions of the defendant while on bail. (Al. Code 15-13-146)

o   In determining the restrictions and conditions of release that will assure the appearance of a person as required, and safety of any other person or the community, the judicial officer shall, on the basis of available information, take into account such matters as the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the weight of the evidence against the person, family ties, employment, financial resources, character and mental condition, past conduct, length of residence in the community, record of convictions, and any record of appearance at court proceedings or failure to appear at court proceedings as well as any objection or recommendation of the district attorney or prosecutor. (Al. Code 15-13-147)


·      Property Bail: The qualifications for property bail are that each surety be a resident of the state, and an owner of real property therein, and that any property pledged shall be worth, exclusive of all encumbrances and homestead exemptions presently against the property, the amount expressed in the appearance bond. Any proper approving officer, in approving property bail, may allow more than one person to justify severally as bail in amounts less than that expressed in the appearance bond, provided the whole be equivalent to the amount in the appearance bond.  (Al. Code 15-13-152)


Illegal Commitment/Timeframe to set Bail


·      Except in capital cases where there is no right to release on bail, no person or defendant shall be committed to any jail in the State of Alabama on a warrant unless there is an amount of bail affixed to the warrant. No person or defendant shall remain in jail anywhere in this state for more than 24 hours for any felony or misdemeanor case without an order of bail, unless bail is not authorized by law. (Al. Code 15-13-106)