#1 ANYTIME BAIL 24/7 INC. AND PALMETTO SURETY CORPORATION, Appellants,
STATE OF FLORIDA AND CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR CITRUS COUNTY, FLORIDA, Appellees.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Citrus County, Richard A. Howard,
Patrick Tarquin, Ocala, for Appellants.
Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Shelley Cridlin,
Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellee, State of
A. Czaya, of Keith Taylor Law Group, P.A., Lecanto, for
Appellee, Clerk of the Circuit Court for Citrus County,
Anytime Bail 24/7 Inc. and Palmetto Surety Corporation
("Anytime Bail") appeals the order denying its
application for remission of a bond forfeiture. On appeal,
Anytime Bail argues that the trial court abused its
discretion by denying the application for remission because
Anytime Bail met the statutory requirements for 100%
remission of the bond posted on behalf of Robert Williams
Post. We agree and reverse.
Bail posted two appearance surety bonds in Citrus County. Two
days prior to his scheduled pretrial conference, Post was
arrested and incarcerated in Pasco County on unrelated
charges. As a result, he breached the conditions of his bond
by failing to appear in his Citrus County case, and the Clerk
sent Anytime Bail a notice of forfeiture. The trial court
issued a no-bond capias, and Pasco County law enforcement
accordingly arrested Post on that capias.
Bail timely paid the forfeiture and sought remission of the
bond, alleging it substantially attempted to procure or cause
the apprehension or surrender of Post by staying in contact
with law enforcement, providing information regarding
Post's whereabouts, and inspecting his known addresses.
Along with its application for remission, Anytime Bail
requested a hearing and filed an affidavit in support of
remission and a motion to transfer Post to Citrus County. The
trial court did not rule on Anytime Bail's motion to
transfer Post but summarily denied its application and
request for a hearing. Anytime Bail appealed.
applicable remission statute is section 903.28(2), Florida
Statutes (2018), which provides, in part:
(2) If the defendant surrenders or is apprehended within 90
days after forfeiture, the court, on motion at a hearing upon
notice having been given to the clerk of the circuit court
and the state attorney as required in subsection (8), shall
direct remission of up to, but not more than, 100 percent of
a forfeiture if . . . the surety has substantially attempted
to procure or cause the apprehension or surrender of the
defendant, and the delay has not thwarted the proper
prosecution of the defendant.
903.28(8) requires that an application for remission be
accompanied by an affidavit setting forth the facts on which
it is founded. Additionally, it mandates that the surety
"establish by further documentation or other evidence
any claimed attempt at procuring or causing the apprehension
or surrender of the defendant." § 903.28(8), Fla.
Stat. (2018). It is the surety's burden to show a
substantial attempt to procure the return of the defendant
and that any delay has not thwarted proper prosecution.
Accredited Sur. & Cas. Co. v. Putnam
Cty., 528 So.2d 430, 431 (Fla. 5th DCA 1988).
to meet this burden, a surety must recite the specific
efforts it made in its attempt to procure the defendant's
return. Palmetto Sur. Corp. v. State, 148 So.3d 517
(Fla. 2d DCA 2014) (holding that when surety provided only
counsel's argument at a hearing and a general affidavit
"woefully deficient in relevant facts showing
entitlement to remission," trial court did not abuse its
discretion in denying surety's application for remission
based on its attempt to procure defendant). Here, however,
given that Post remained in custody in Pasco County after he
failed to appear in his Citrus County case, Anytime
Bail's only avenue to procure Post's return was to
petition for his transfer. Anytime Bail made that effort and
provided documentation of such. Additionally, the record does
not reflect, and the State did not allege, that the delay
thwarted the proper prosecution of Post.
governing bail bonds "should be construed liberally to
favor sureties, since justice does not favor
forfeiture." Bd. of Comm'rs of Brevard v. Barber
Bonding Agency, 860 So.2d 10, 12 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003)
(citations omitted) ("Liberal interpretation of such
statutes in favor of sureties (1) saves the state the expense
and burden of keeping an accused in jail pending trial; (2)
promotes an accused's liberty interest consistent with
the presumption of innocence; and (3) provides incentives to
sureties to offer bails bonds and to pursue those who ...