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County of Los Angeles v. Financial Casualty & Surety, Inc.

Filed 6/25/18 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, ) ) Plaintiff and Appellant, ) ) S230213 v. ) ) Ct.App. 2/4 B257660 FINANCIAL CASUALTY & ) SURETY, INC., ) ) Los Angeles County Defendant and Respondent. ) Super. Ct. Nos. BA404239, SJ3898 ____________________________________) Under Penal Code1 section 1269b, subdivision (a) (section 1269b(a)), authorized jail personnel have the authority to “set a time and place for the appearance of the arrested person before the appropriate court and give notice thereof.” Section 1269b further provides that “[i]f a defendant or arrested person so released fails to appear at the time and in the court so ordered upon his or her release from custody, Sections 1305 and 1306 apply.” (§ 1269b, subd. (h).) Section 1305, former subdivision (a)(4)2 in turn, explained that a court may declare the bail forfeited if a defendant fails to appear on “[a]ny other occasion 1 All further statutory references are to the Penal Code unless otherwise noted. 2 Effective January 1, 2017, the Legislature amended section 1305, and redesignated this subdivision as (a)(1)(D). (Stats. 2016, ch. 79, § 1.) This opinion refers to former subdivision (a)(4), which was effective from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2016, because it governed at the times relevant to this case. 1 prior to the pronouncement of judgment if the defendant’s presence in court is lawfully required.” (Italics added.) The issue here is, does the jailer’s authority “to set a time and place for the appearance of the arrested person” (§ 1269b(a)) make that appearance “lawfully required” for purposes of forfeiting bail under section 1305, former subdivision (a)(4)? For reasons that follow, we conclude that it does. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND On November 29, 2012, criminal defendant Sandra Chavezgarcia appeared in superior court for arraignment. She pleaded not guilty to four felony counts. After conferring with defense counsel on a possible date for pretrial conference, the court set the matter for January 3, 2013: “So that will be the order, then. We’ll see you all back here on January 3rd.” The November 29 minute order contained what the parties describe as the following “boilerplate language”: “Matter is continued to date and time indicated below for pretrial conference. [¶] The court orders the defendant to appear on the next court date. [¶] . . . Next scheduled event: 01/03/13 8:30 am pretrial conference.” Chavezgarcia was remanded to custody. On December 12, 2012, Financial Casualty & Surety, Inc. (Financial Casualty), acting through an agent, executed a $110,000 bond for Chavezgarcia’s release from custody. The preprinted bail bond form, which included the language, “ordered to appear in the above entitled court on,” was filled in with the date January 3, 2013; other blank spaces on the form were filled in with pertinent information. The bail bond form provided that Financial Casualty “undertakes” that Chavezgarcia “will appear in the above-named court on the date above,” and that if it fails to perform, the court will order forfeiture of the bond and entry …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court