Violent Crime Up, Says NY Times! NY Bondsmen Crucial, Says NYPBA; Bondsmen to Follow NYCPL & Contracts, Says NY DOI (OGC)

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The NYPBA Finds that Increased Indemnitor Failed Moral Suasion is Leading Cause For Bail Bond Revocations in Harsh Unforgiving Economy. -NYDOI (OGC) Office of General Counsel Nov. 23, 2010 Legal Opinion Finally Re-Clarifies the Much Awaited, but Expected Bail Bondsman Favored Earned Commission Decision That Previously Existed, But Was Ignored! Decision Also Reaffirms Non Department Purview Declaring That Bail Bondsmen’s Bail Bond Powers Are Not Governed in the New York State Insurance Law or Regulations, and Neither Are the Private Bail Contracts between the Insurer and the Insured That When In Existence Fully Dictate the Terms & Conditions of Private Party Conractual Bail Agreements. Growing Numbers of Taxpayer Funded Public Defenders Are Not Being Relieved By the Court When Defendant Is Able To Pay Large Bail Sums!

NY Times reports violent crimes in NYC up, as The NYPBA reports the need for bail bond assistance has tripled & the publics financial wherewithal for posting bail has greatly diminished! Private bail contract matters are not within NY regulatory purview.

George Zouvelos, president and founder of the New York Professional Bondsmen & Agents ( The NYPBA ) http://www.nypba.net (http://www.NYPBA.net NY Professional Bondsmen & Agents (The NYPBA ), a New York State Professional Bail Bondsman business owner and the representative from the State of New York for the “Counsel of Presidents” of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States, http://www.PBUS.com , notes the New York Times reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/nyregion/26crime.html), what the NYPBA has asserted these past 24 months, violent crimes in New York City are up, the need for bail assistance has doubled, financial wherewithal of the citizenry to post bail has greatly diminished and private contractual matters are not within the Departments purview.

“Violent crime categories are up, in addition to the unimproved economic condition of the public-at-large, and the lack of ‘liquid cash’ on hand by the consumer, the increase request for bail assistance services provided by the New York professional bail bondsmen has been on the rise steadily. Professional bail bondsmen in New York and elsewhere have noted that the individual wherewithal to afford same has dramatically decreased even when seeking the low cost bail bond services as provided by the professional surety bail bondsmen in any state,” said George Zouvelos.

The NYPBA reports that the need to maintain a defendant’s sacred ‘presumption of innocence’ is still in dire demand and on the rise, as newly arrested defendants go through the pretrial phases and accusations. The need for the unhampered ability for a professional bail agent to assist the consumer has never been more necessary in order to allow bail agents to assist the public at large and reduce taxpayer spending. In People vs. Peerless Ins. Co., 21 AD 2d 609 it states, “The professional surety does perform a valuable social function and its operation should not be rendered uneconomic or so difficult that its service may be denied absolutely, or effectively, to persons charged with crime.”

The NYPBA has found that because of a harsh economy, joblessness and limited financial resources many have turned outside the nuclear family unit seeking additional assistance from extended family and friends of friends to bail out loved ones from jail. The same are the ones that cannot afford a private attorney and depend on taxpayer funded overwhelmed public attorney resources assigned by the court to provide legal representations.

“These indemnitors and extremely inundated taxpayer funded attorneys sometimes prove not to have the ability or the necessary moral suasion that is needed to convince the defendant to be contractually compliant with the terms and conditions set by the court, and ones that have been promised prior in private bail contracts. When the professional bail agent is forced to act as to enforce the terms and conditions of court ordered and privately agreed upon agreements, these have recently raised unnecessary scrutiny and some negative attention from certain private attorneys with personal agendas and interests,” said Zouvelos.

The NYPBA has found that an increase of consumer attempts to circumvent private contracts are also on the rise as failed attempts to ‘back-out’ of a lawfully binding contracts that were previously agreed to are on the rise. Some seek unwarranted relief for their material breaches and broken contractual promises and wrongfully depend on purview less regulatory intervention instead of the appropriate and required civil forums. Private surety contracts traditionally secure certain necessary binding underwriting promises made by indemnitors that compel the liable bail bond agent to attempt to post bond and assume costly liability. These private contracts insurers have with their insured contain specific terms and conditions that mirror court requirements and further protect the liable bail agent taking on the personal financial liability. The laws make these private contracts enforceable under New York Civil Contract Law and provide immediate remedy in the New York State Criminal Procedure Laws; and not New York State Insurance Law or any of its regulations.

“Reporter journalists from two major New York newspapers asked me recently, “Since most crime is down in NYC is the need for bail bonds down as well?” The demand for commercial bail services are not down, the phones ring ‘off the hook’ requesting assistance for same and violent crimes are up as they mirror the bad economy. We see exactly what everyone is arrested for and we can easily confirm that the violent crime categories are up and going higher. What is down is the ability of regular working people to afford any bail in general. When working class parents of a defendant call bail agents, and cannot afford to bail out their daughter, that’s sad. It is clear that people gather sometimes that do not know the defendant and are not good indemnitors for bail contracts, but lie about it to us in order to get someone’s friend out of jail. Later when the defendant is noncompliant and now the indemnitor needs to pay for services rendered or for forfeited bonds they do not understand why this is the case,” said Zouvelos.

The NYPBA, criminal and civil contract attorneys report that private contracts rightly and intellectually mimic court conditions which include the bond revocation remedies available under case law, the New York Criminal Procedure and in Federal law. The professional surety enforces contractual terms in efforts to protect itself while being transparent and thorough in private contractual agreements with the insured. Ongoing contractual compliance programs initiated by the professional surety are a required and necessary to mitigate financial losses and costly forfeitures. These sound business practices assist the professional surety in maintaining the ‘in good standing’ with the county judges, district attorney’s offices and with the county clerk as required in order to be able to post bail bonds.

“When an indemnitor and a criminal defendant agree to be totally compliant to the court rules for pretrial release via bail bond he executes promises to the court via the bail bondsman that he/she will be in attendance when requested, stay out of trouble, lead a law abiding life, attend anger management, probation, parole or substance abuse meetings and follow the rules and conditions agreed to in the private bail contracts that garnered his release from jail. When a defendant refuses or fails to do so and for whatever reason, both the indemnitor and the defendant have effectively broken contractual promises with the surety and the court and can and is returned to jail. When contracts and or promises are broken the bondsmen maintain the exact same stance the courts have always maintained; that any previous promises and conditions of pretrial release made to the defendant regarding his pretrial freedom have been effectively deemed ‘null and void’ when he breaks the rules,” said Zouvelos.

The plethora of case law, the New York Criminal Procedure Law and Federal law provide the prescribed concrete remedies for both the private citizen and the professional bail bondsman surety who bail out defendants, who turn out to be noncompliant and or are found not to be worth the financial risk as initially thought and promised. Neither the contrary factional public opinion, nor pressures from regulators, special interests or the media can circumvent the protections as set in the law offered to the private citizen and the professional bail bondsman who assume the costly personal financial risks in full.

“Even though the consumer is duly informed and warned, it is increasingly evident that many indemnitors signing private contracts during these harsh economic times are much more desperate and hide the facts that they lack or may lack the necessary moral suasion promised in contractual bail undertakings with bail bondsmen. In addition to defendant contractual breeches, some indemnitors commit serious material breeches of private contracts themselves. When either occurs, all parties who previously made promises of total compliance shatter the very foundations of the compelling reasons costly liability was originally assumed by the liable bail bondsman or liability holder. These are the leading causes to blame for nearly all bond revocations statewide and nationally,” said George Zouvelos.

The NYPBA is glad to see reality television constantly bringing to light the risks, difficulties and the dangers the bail bondsmen and the commercial bail industry faces daily, not only in Hawaii and Colorado, but nationally. DOG the Bounty Hunter, starring Mr. Duane ‘DOG’ Chapman, ( on A&E Television Wednesdays 9:30/8:30c, http://www.aetv.com/dog-the-bounty-hunter/ and his family (cast includes Ms. Beth Smith, Leland Chapman, Duane Lee Chapman Jr., Tim Chapman, Lyssa Chapman) and other family, friends and colleagues. DOG the Bounty Hunter show rightfully depicts the constant day and night struggles of professional bail bondsmen family, bounty hunters and otherwise bail enforcement agents professionally and compassionately running their business while taking their work seriously, retrieving not only absconding and fugitive defendants, but contractually noncompliant ones that previously signed private bail contracts.

In New York and elsewhere criminal court judges use taxpayer funds to rightfully execute their court orders and will. New York judges sitting in the criminal court term ultimately and rightfully seek to administer justice and purposefully have not been given the rights by law to litigate the terms of private agreements between the insurer and the insured regarding private bail contracts. The New York State Legislature understood that criminal term judges and state regulators who license bail bondsman bear no financial or contractual burden or risks for any losses incurred by the citizen or professional bail bondsmen surety.

The combinations of longstanding and existing statutes, coupled with a private bail contract are essential elements that dictate client expectations and describe client responsibilities. Private bail contracts provide the roadmap of expectations and include the transparent terms and conditions which are enforceable solely under civil contract laws alone and not state insurance law or regulations. New York State Professional Bail Bondsman such as NYPBA president George Zouvelos operates his retail bail business across New York City. Zouvelos has offices in downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan New York City with offices closest to and directly behind the Manhattan Criminal Court, the Brooklyn Criminal Court and Across from and closest to the Brooklyn House of Detention Jail and the Manhattan House of Detention (MDC) Jail.

“We go seeking violators and bail jumpers in the day and night seven days a week 365 days a year and whenever we must. We search for and retrieving absconders and contractually noncompliant defendants and either bring them back to the court or place them directly in the jails as permitted by law in NY CPL § 530.80 (1) At any time before the forfeiture of a bail bond, an obligor may surrender the defendant in his exoneration..." For assistance we utilize the professional services of various different contractors acting as recovery and contractual compliance agents to enforce the terms and conditions of our private bail agreements. Not only me, but all bail bondsmen, even the private citizen who uses cash with the jail directly to bail out a defendant, are permitted to do so as the law permits in NY CPL § 530.80. That is why we operate within the law and under the additional protections of U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as Taylor v. Taintor 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36683 U.S. 16 Wall. 366 366 (1872). As a fully liable bail agent I have to 'hit the streets' and protect my interests in order to mitigate any financial loss that may be incurred that affect our indemnitors, the insurance company, myself and family. This is extremely dangerous, time-consuming and tiring work and not part of the posting of bond, but the enforcement of a private contractual agreement with its own terms and conditions governed under civil contract laws. Retrieving and finding defendants almost at all times is extremely dangerous and risky undertakings. You have to be extremely cautions, patient, at times lucky; and of course you must always pray to God for guidance, compassion and mercy,” said Zouvelos.

Regarding publicly funded criminal defense attorneys representing criminal defendants in New York City and across the state; publicly funded legal representation is a crucial element in providing sound legal representation while helping to maintain the presumption of innocence serving the indigent and the poorest of the poor. In most New York State County’s a defendant who has family who could pay for bail must retain a private attorney after being able to afford posting bail as the court then must consider relieving or dismissing the taxpayer funded Legal-Aid and or 18B assigned attorney counsel. However, in New York City Courts this crucial taxpayer saving public policy of relieving a publicly paid attorney is infrequently if ever enforced. Taxpayers are stuck paying the bill for defendants who can otherwise pay large cash and bond bail sums privately, but for reasons beyond our knowledge the courts choose not to relieve the taxpayer funded attorney. For these types of circumstances and cases it ends up costing the New York State taxpayers hundreds of Millions of dollars annually.

The NYPBA maintains that the relationship between public or private attorneys and the liable professional bail agents sometimes historically, ideologically and financially totally part company. Originally, professional bail bonding agents and criminal defense attorneys both have similar intentions and agendas when it comes to assisting clients get out of jail on pretrial release via bail bond. However, when it ultimately comes down to who will assume financial losses, the criminal defense attorney assumedly gets paid whether he wins a case or not, but as a matter of fact and in all instances, the professional liable bail bondsman gets stuck with financial losses secondary from defendant and indemnitor contractual material breaches and court forfeitures.

“This getting stuck is the 'nature of the beast' as we all know what business we got into and should be no surprise. The professional fully liable bail bondsman is contractually responsible and solely holds the ultimate burden for assuming costly liability incurring all costs whether the indemnitor can or cannot pay for compliance, enforcement and bond forfeitures etc. in the future as promised. In addition, an attorney cannot and will not assist the surety to find an absconding defendant because it’s against his attorney client confidentiality and his legal and ethical mandates. That is why the bail bondsman have many sleepless nights worrying how to singlehandedly search for absconding defendants, worrying how to mitigate and or pay for bail forfeitures, and to recover contractual compliance costs not covered under the New York State statutory premium that covers the mere posting of a bail bond,” said George Zouvelos.

New York state judges and the district attorney’s offices nationwide respectively have their own remedies as permitted by law for issues regarding keeping order in the court and for circumstances surrounding criminal defendant non-adherence to court terms, conditions and agreements. The professional surety finds remedy in the law as well and as similarly mirrored in his private bail contracts. These contracts the liable bondsman maintains with clients are lawfully binding and the terms and conditions are enforceable under New York civil contract law and not governed by any New York Insurance Law or Regulation. The court and district attorney seeks remedies rightfully utilizing taxpayer funds and public resources to impose order and its will. However, the commercial bail bondsman utilizes his own private funds to enforce the terms and conditions of private bail contracts and must seek reimbursement from contract signors which may never come.

Liable bail bondsmen insist on indemnitor and defendant contractual compliance to rules, terms and conditions that keeps a defendant free on pretrial release bail bond and helps them maintain their presumption of innocence at no cost to the taxpayer. The terms and condition of private bail contracts are governed in case and contract laws, and bond exoneration rights and powers are protected under New York Criminal Procedure Law 530.80; which also protects private persons who post cash bail directly with the courts and jails.

The NYPBA continues to maintain what is clearly stated in the law, that the person who is financially liable for a 'bailee' is the only person who has the right to choose who and for how long they wish to insure court appearances for a specific defendant. The legislature specifically enacted NYCPL 530.80, the right to return a defendant and alleviate the citizen and professional surety from costly liability for whatever reason, at any time and without question. The legislature purposefully did this because they clearly understood that the private and personal decision between the private citizens to keep the defendant out on bail is a private and personal decision alone. Respectively regarding the relationship between the professional bail bondsman and the defendant, this relationship is clearly a private contractual relationship between private professional sureties who assumes personal financial liability for a modest statutory premium. This relationship is also a private one and only governed strictly in their private contractual agreement and enforceable under civil contract law.

“When at any time a relationship sours and for whatever reason, the NY CPL 530.80 provides relief for both the private depositor of cash bail and for the professional bail bondsman equally. The New York Criminal Procedure Law affords equal protections under the law in order to assist posters of bail relieve themselves of costly liability for persons they no longer desire to insure court appearances for. That is why neither judges, attorneys, nor the Department of Insurance have the lawful authority to involve themselves in private financial undertakings and decisions made by either the private citizen or the professional liable bail bondsman. While enacting this law, the legislature was careful and precise. Lawmakers clearly understood that only the individual and or professional bondsman had standing in returning a defendant they posted bail for back to jail. The reasoning was that only either of them made the personal and or private contractual decisions initially that compelled either, for personal or financial reasons, to be obligors as to assume costly financial liability on behalf of a criminal defendant. Sometimes neither has a longstanding relationship with the defendant whether it is a private citizen or the professional bondsman. I have defendants out on bail for many years as they are contractually compliant and proved worthy of me taking the risk for some are a total wash and never had any intentions of following the rules even before they got out of jail. Sadly, some of these never last too long with us unless they can prove to be dependable and contractually compliant. If you think about it if the family who bailed them out and promised us that the defendant would be compliant, and they could not control them, how are we as strangers supposed to convince them when they don’t even listen to their momma who put up her money for bail. Many indemnitors request for us to return the defendant back to jail on their behalf because they cannot keep the promises they previously agreed to,” said Zouvelos.

Traditionally bail agents and insurance companies nationally rightfully maintain private bail and surety contracts that must be agreed to prior to bail posting attempts and the assumption of liability. In addition, contractual terms are imposed and in full effect until the successful exoneration and release of total liability that the surety maintains. In New York the statutory time frame for filing forfeiture whether legitimately or in error, is one hundred and twenty days. Indemnitors and defendants make and agree to these irrevocable promises found in private contracts which compelled the liable bail agent to initially take on enormous financial liability on their behalf.

Contractual promises made by indemnitors and criminal defendants not only guarantee and promise the financial wherewithal to back the underwritten bail bond policy; but further promise a continuous defendant relationship that applies the necessary effective moral suasion that will always encourage and convince the criminal defendant to be fully compliant to all the court and private surety agreements. When indemnitor and defendant promises are broken the liable bail agent has an obligation to itself, the court, insurance carrier, and consumer to enforce the terms and conditions of the bail contract and or to revoke the bond. In most cases regarding material breach of private contracts, the defendant actually violated the courts terms of bail release and not just the bail agreement. When this is so the reasons the bail agents initially agreed to assume costly liability no longer exist and no one can legitimately fault the bail agent for revoking said bond.

The backbone of the New York Commercial Bail Industry, as in every state, are the dedicated men, women, and small family owned businesses that are comprised of at least one licensed professional bail bondsman. They faithfully and actively assist in reducing taxpayer funded extremely costly incarcerations of criminal defendants awaiting trial and allowed to be out on bail. These defendants that are allowed bail are awaiting trial and are housed in jails operated by the New York City Department of Correction and other county jails statewide which cost the NY Taxpayer in the many Millions of dollars.

“Bail Bondsmen nationally assist consumers in some of the most socioeconomically challenged poor and working class neighborhoods whose citizens may include persons who are employed or not, have family members, friends, mom, dads and breadwinners accused, but not convicted of present criminal allegations. Bail agents assist these families releasing defendants on pretrial release privately funded bail, helping them maintain their sacred presumption of innocence, their employment and their families at no cost to the Taxpayer,” George Zouvelos.

“This traditional right to freedom before conviction permits the unhampered preparation of a defense, and serves to prevent the infliction of punishment prior to conviction.’. . . Unless this right to bail before trial is preserved, the presumption of innocence, secured only after centuries of struggle, would lose its meaning." Stack v. Boyle, 342 U.S. 1, 4 (1951.

The NYPBA is pleased to see that a recent New York Insurance Department Office of General Counsel (OGC) decision finally agrees with the New York Professional Bondsmen & Agents and with what many professionals have been stating to the Department for many years regarding Department purview, as found in 11/29/2004 NY DOI (OGC) Opinions, http://www.ins.state.ny.us/ogco2004/rg041122.htm . The newest November 23, 2010 decision (attached) reads, “Absent an agreement to the contrary, a licensed insurance producer, such as a bail agent, earns a commission when the insurance policy is placed... This Question is outside the purview of the Department…The Insurance Department only opines on insurance law issues. Because the ‘Power of Attorney’ form about which you inquired is not covered in the New York Insurance Law, the Department will not opine on this issue.”

The aforementioned coupled with others previously written by the NY DOI Office of General Counsel provide a concrete basis for alleviating the unwarranted stresses of dealing with unofficial or otherwise 'gray' policies and personal opinions of the few who chose and continue to choose to impose their personal opinions and agendas on licensed and lawfully operating New York bail agents for many years. Now those bail agents who wish to do so will be able to seek appropriate civil and legal remedy at their own discretion and have the case law and legal opinions in hand to clear the record.

For More Information & Media Contact For This Media Advisory:
Contact: George Zouvelos, The NY Bail Boss, a New York State Professional Bail Bondsman and
president & founder of the New York Professional Bondsmen & Agents, Inc. (The NYPBA)
Tel: (917) 613-3320 or NYBailBoss(at)aol(dot)com http://www.nypba.net

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