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State v. Bonds

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

March 6, 2014

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
COPPER CANYON BAIL BONDS; BANKER'S INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellants.

Not for Publication – Rule 111, Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Yavapai County Nos. P1300CR201200658, P1300CR201200931, V1300CR201280307, The Honorable Cele Hancock, Judge.

Yavapai County Attorney's Office, Prescott By Sheila Polk and Thomas M. Stoxen Counsel for Appellee.

Clifford Sherr, Attorney at Law, Phoenix By Clifford Sherr Counsel for Appellants.

Presiding Judge Donn Kessler delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge Patricia K. Norris and Judge Maurice Portley joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

KESSLER, Presiding Judge.

¶1 Appellants Copper Canyon Bail Bonds and Banker's Insurance Company (collectively "Copper Canyon") appeal from the superior court's judgment forfeiting an appearance bond and order denying a motion for a new trial. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand with instructions to enter an order exonerating the appearance bond.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 Defendant Samantha Egan was arrested and indicted on several drug-related charges. As a condition of release, the superior court required Egan to post a $50, 000 appearance bond. Copper Canyon posted bond on behalf of Egan on July 4, 2012. The bond included two standard conditions: first, that Egan "shall appear on July 30, 2012 . . . and shall submit to the said court to answer [the] charge[s] . . . [against her]" and, second, that she "shall submit to orders and process of [the] court and not depart same without leave." Egan's mother secured the bond with a lien on her home.

¶3 On August 15, 2012, the superior court modified Egan's release conditions to require her to attend a drug rehabilitation program at West Yavapai Guidance Clinic. The court ordered that Egan was required to go to the clinic and "if [Egan] leaves the program at WYGC or has a dirty UA, the court shall be notified. Mother is to provide status to [defense counsel]." When Egan failed to report for drug treatment two days after the superior court modified the release conditions, her mother contacted the court and defense counsel, and the court issued an order simultaneously revoking Egan's release conditions, issuing a bench warrant for her arrest and setting bail at $100, 000, and scheduling a bond forfeiture hearing. A week later, Egan was apprehended by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department. Prior to the forfeiture hearing, Egan accepted a plea agreement resolving her case.

¶4 At the forfeiture hearing, the superior court summarized that after it was informed that Egan did not check into the rehabilitation program on August 17, it ordered her arrest. The court further explained that Egan was aware that she was to be "in treatment or come back to this court. She did not. She went on the run." The State argued that the bond should be forfeited because Egan "had the opportunity to report and she failed to report." Although the court stated it was not happy to forfeit the bond because Egan had misled her mother, it found that Egan's conduct was willful in that she did not follow the orders of the court because "[s]he did not appear at rehab." The superior court ordered the entirety of the bond forfeited based on Egan's willful failure to attend rehabilitation.

¶5 Copper Canyon thereafter moved for a new trial and argued, among other matters, that the bond only applied to court appearances. The State opposed the motion and argued that forfeiture was appropriate because Egan failed to obey the order of the court by not checking into rehabilitation and that Copper Canyon should have apprehended her for failure to submit to the court's order. The court denied the motion without comment. Copper Canyon timely appealed. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 12-2101(A)(1) & (5)(a) (Supp. 2013).[1]

DISCUSSION

¶6 Copper Canyon makes several arguments in asking us to exonerate the bond or to remand the matter to the superior court for a new hearing. First, Copper Canyon argues that the court erred by relying on A.R.S. ยง 13-3858 (2010) rather than Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 7.6 to forfeit the bond, and by otherwise misapplying relevant case law by forfeiting the appearance bond based on Egan's failure to obey a release condition. Second, it contends the court abused its discretion by denying its motion for a new trial because it modified Egan's release conditions, thereby materially and prejudicially altering Copper Canyon's obligations under the appearance bond, and failed to consider the ...


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