My wife is convinced that that Dos Equis beer should have me as the spokesman. I might not be the ‘most interesting man in the world’. But I know several people that most certainly qualify! One of those would be William ‘Cobra’ Staubs.
Cobra and I go back a ways. Our paths first crossed during the early days of the search for a missing child, Haliegh Cummings. My wife and I were covering the story for Blogger News, and Cobra was active, boots on the ground actively searching for the little girl. As I recall it was radio news man TJ Hart who introduced me to the Private Investigator and bail bondsman (fancy term for bounty hunter).
To say that Cobra is larger than life really is a gross understatement, he is a guy that leaves an impression wherever he goes. He makes Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman look like a cute Labrador puppy! While I as a journalist like to shake the trees to see what fruit might fall to the ground, Cobra just takes out his chain saw and fells the tree.
He has just published a new website CasedClosedInvestigation. It has some interesting videos on it.
Recently we talked. While I know Cobra fairly well, I have to admit a good deal of ignorance about the world of Bails Bonding and even less about the mechanics of how a ‘Bounty Hunter’ works.
My simplistic view was that a Judge made a determination about the severity of a crime and in order to ensure the person would turn up for the trial, give the person an option, cool your heels in the County Jail or demonstrate an act of good faith by depositing money. The idea being that the money would be in escrow and refundable.
Of course your average Joe doesn’t have the cash to fulfill the agreement. So here is where a Bail Bond company enters the picture. The usual deal is that the Bond company will take on the ‘risk’ for a 10% (mostly) non refundable fee. For example, if the judge sets bail at $10,000 the accused would need to pay $1,000.
For the most part this system works. It costs something like $100 a day to keep someone in jail and the jail system is creaking at the seams in many states.
But what happens when the accused does not turn up for his day in court? Well several things, the Judge is annoyed, he moves on to his next case, but a clock is ticking. There is a finite time for the accused to turn up or the Bail Bond company to pay the court the full amount owed. As the Bail Bond company only collected 10% of the original bond, this is a money losing proposition.
Enter the ‘Bounty Hunter’. If the miscreant can be located and returned to jail before the clock runs out the bail bond company are off the hook.
Generally this eco-system works. The police do not have to waste resources tracking down the ‘skip’. It is the bail company that has the vested interest and they are very good at it! This is great for the cops, hell they are way too busy handing out speeding tickets (money generator) than wasting time searching for bad guys.
The happy system is on the verge of breakdown. Pre Trial Release has created a nightmare. As with most legislation it was meant to be helpful. What if someone might not have the 10% to put down on a bond? Simple! The taxpayer can handle the burden.
Unfortunately no-one wants to hunt the missing down. If you read this article, yes, it is long. Not all are part of Pre Trial Release, but there is no motivation for any state police to pick them up!
Pre Trial Release has turned into a disaster!