Oklahoma Supreme Court lets stand orders in bail bond case

Wednesday, September 29th 2004, 6:27 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Supreme Court has turned down a request to overturn portions of two administrative orders designed to help curtail bail bond abuses in Oklahoma County.

Presiding state District Judge Noma Gurich said Tuesday the decision means her administrative orders will remain in effect.

One of Gurich's orders requires the Oklahoma County court clerk to receive a written order from the judge assigned to a case before entering a minute forgiving a bail bondsman from having to pay a bond forfeiture.

A minute is a notation of an action taken in a court case.

Some bail bondsmen objected to the order. They said the clerk had the authority to write minutes forgiving repayment of forfeitures without judicial orders in cases where fugitives have been returned to custody within 90 days of bondsmen being notified that their clients failed to show up in court.

The request for Supreme Court review, filed by 2 Blondes Bail Bonds, cited a state statute that says ``the court clerk shall enter minutes vacating the forfeiture and exonerating the bond'' when a fugitive is returned within the 90 days.

Gurich's order was issued to curb abuses reported by The Oklahoman. The abuses included court clerk employees improperly forgiving bond forfeitures beyond the 90-day time limit.

Bondsmen also had objected to an administrative order they said altered the legal deadline for the court clerk to notify bondsmen when forfeitures occur.

The law says notice must be mailed to a bondsman within 30 days of the date a defendant fails to appear in court, said Jeffrey L. Hatfield, attorney for 2 Blondes Bail Bonds.

The administrative order says notice must be mailed within 30 days of the date that an order and judgment of forfeiture is filed in a case.