Cases - Oaklahoma

State of Oklahoma v. Torres, 2004 WL 334978 (Okl. February 24, 2004) held that the appellate courts could not consider events happening during the appeal, in this case the apprehension and return of the defendant, in deciding whether the bond forfeiture should be set aside.  The majority also held that on the record presented the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to vacate the forfeiture on a showing that the bail agent located the defendant in Mexico and requested the Oklahoma district attorney's office to request a federal fugitive warrant from the U.S. Attorney's office but that the district attorney unreasonably delayed making the request.  In a dissenting opinion reported separately at 2004 WL 334981 (Okl. February 24, 2004), two judges agreed that the court could not consider the mid-appeal return of the defendant but argued that the trial court abused its discretion by denying the motion for relief from forfeiture.  Both the majority and the dissent were critical of the quality of the record made in the trial court, but the determining factor for the dissent seemed to be the trial judge's comment that the bail agent could have expedited the defendant's return by bribing the Mexican authorities.  The dissenting judges argued that if the bail agent took every legal step available, he established good cause to vacate the forfeiture, and that if the trial court required illegal steps he abused his discretion.