Cases - Georgia

In Reliable Bonding Co. v. State, 2003 WL 21544201 (Ga. App. July 10, 2003) the surety received notice to appear and show cause why a judgment of forfeiture should not be entered but no notice of the actual judgment.  The court refused to set the judgment aside finding no statutory right to notice of entry of the judgment.

In Re Geeslin, 2003 WL 21756072 (Bankr. M.D. Ga. July 17, 2003) found that a professional bail bondsman's bond obligation was discharged in his bankruptcy proceeding.  The state attempted to collect on the forfeited bond, and the bankruptcy court held that it was in violation of the automatic stay, §362 of the Bankruptcy Code, and of the injunction against collecting discharged debts.  The court suggested that the result might be different if the bondsman was himself the criminal defendant or a friend or close relative of the defendant.

A.A. Professional Bail v. State, 592 S.E.2d 866 (Ga. App. 2004) held that the surety was discharged because the state failed to try the defendant within one year of the date the bond was posted as required by OCGA §17-6-31(e).  The statute contains an exception if the failure to prosecute is the defendant's fault.  The delay in the case was caused by the defendant's demand for a jury trial, but the court held that was exercise of a right not "fault."  Note that this case involved a misdemeanor and that the statutory period for trial of a felony is two years.

Skandalakis v. Geeslin, 2004 WL 43165 (M.D. Ga. January 5, 2004) held that the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution bars a purported contempt proceeding by an individual bail bond surety against the state district attorney for allegedly violating the automatic stay of the Bankruptcy Code by attempting to collect on a forfeited bail bond after the surety filed for bankruptcy.