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State v. Two Jinn

April 7, 2010

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
TWO JINN, INC., REAL PARTY IN INTEREST-APPELLANT, AND AARON KYLE HARRIS, DEFENDANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. John T. Mitchell, District Judge. Hon. Scott Wayman, Magistrate.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Melanson, Judge

2010 Opinion No. 24

Decision of the district court, on intermediate appeal, affirming magistrate's order denying motion to set aside forfeiture and exonerate bond, affirmed.

Two Jinn, Inc., a bail bond company and the real party in interest, appeals from the district court's decision affirming the magistrate's order denying Two Jinn's motion to set aside forfeiture and exonerate bond. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE

Aaron Kyle Harris pled guilty to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. I.C. § 18-8004. Harris was sentenced to 180 days in jail and placed on probation for two years. While on probation, Harris was ordered by the magistrate to appear and show cause why his probation should not be revoked. When Harris did not appear, the court issued a warrant for his arrest. After his arrest, Two Jinn posted a $5000 bond and Harris was released. On February 5, 2008, Harris failed to appear at a probation violation disposition hearing. As a result, the magistrate issued a bench warrant and forfeited the bond.

Months later, Two Jinn filed a motion to set aside forfeiture and exonerate bond pursuant to former I.C. § 19-2927 and former I.C.R. 46. In support of its motion, Two Jinn filed the affidavits of two investigators. The affidavits explained that one investigator had located Harris in Oregon and contacted him by phone in February. The other investigator traveled to Oregon in July, but could not convince Harris to return voluntarily. Two Jinn argued that, because Oregon law prohibited investigators from apprehending Harris and returning him to Idaho, it was impossible for Two Jinn to fulfill its performance under the bail bond agreement.*fn1 Further, Two Jinn also asserted that justice did not require enforcement of the bond forfeiture under I.C.R. 46(e)(4). After a hearing, the magistrate denied Two Jinn's motion. Two Jinn appealed to the district court, asserting that the magistrate abused its discretion. The district court affirmed the magistrate's denial of Two Jinn's motion to set aside forfeiture and exonerate bond, holding that the magistrate properly recognized the issue as one of discretion, applied the correct legal standard, and did so through an exercise of reason. Two Jinn again appeals.

II. ANALYSIS

The decision whether to exonerate bond is committed to the trial court's discretion. State v. Quick Release Bail Bonds, 144 Idaho 651, 655, 167 P.3d 788, 792 (Ct. App. 2007). In this case, the magistrate denied Two Jinn's motion to exonerate bond, and the district court affirmed on intermediate appeal. On review of a decision of the district court, rendered in its appellate capacity, we review the decision of the district court directly. Losser v. Bradstreet, 145 Idaho 670, 672, 183 P.3d 758, 760 (2008). We examine the magistrate record to determine whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the magistrate's findings of fact and whether the magistrate's conclusions of law follow from those findings. Id. If those findings are so supported and the conclusions follow therefrom and if the district court affirmed the magistrate's decision, we affirm the district court's decision as a matter of procedure. Id.

Two Jinn asserts that the magistrate erred when it denied Two Jinn's motion to set aside forfeiture and exonerate bond. The court's decision to set aside forfeiture and exonerate bond was governed by former I.C. § 19-2927 and former I.C.R. 46.*fn2 Former I.C. § 19-2927, which also governed the procedures for the forfeiture of bond, provided in relevant part:

If within one hundred eighty (180) days of the date of forfeiture, a person, other than the defendant, who has provided bail for the defendant, surrenders the defendant to the jail facility of the county which issued the warrant, the undertaking of bail or deposits are thereby exonerated.

Former I.C.R. 46(e)(4) provided in relevant part: The court which has forfeited bail before remittance of the forfeiture may direct that the forfeiture be set aside upon such conditions as the court may impose, if it appears that justice does not require the enforcement of the forfeiture.

(Emphasis added). This Court has identified several factors that a court should consider when deciding whether to order forfeiture of a bond. State v. Fry, 128 Idaho 50, 54, 910 P.2d 164, 168 (Ct. App. 1994). In Fry, this Court stated:

In deciding how much, if any, of the bond to forfeit, the court should also consider: (1) the willfulness of the defendant's violation of bail conditions; (2) the surety's participation in locating and apprehending the defendant; (3) the costs, inconvenience, and prejudice suffered by the state as a result of the violation; (4) any intangible costs; (5) ...


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