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  • Bounty Hunters?

    Kia ora,

    I have been watching more discovery channel and other channels of a similar nature, and have seen a few documentaries on Bounty Hunters.

    How are they regulated? One show had them carrying guns and badges with vests that said "AGENT Fugitive Recovery." Without much knowledge I would say that's impersonating an Officer. What legal powers do they have?

    Curious as it seems sort of vigilante.

    Cheers

  • #2
    They are bail bondsmen. In most states they are very tightly regulated, not so much in others. Remember, tv isn't always reality, most times its not even close. I'd say most wear body armor and carry weapons since they make arrests (of people who have been released on bond) and put them in jail.
    Last edited by madchiken; 11-02-2007, 04:38 AM.

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    • #3
      Since Illinois has the 10% rule (Illinois Bail Rule), they don't use bail bondsmen, nor bounty hunters. I don't know by what authority, other than security guard and/or private detective acts, they could carry firearms.
      I remember the case of a husband & wife team that came to this area to 'arrest' a person wanted on Florida warrants. They were told that the police arrest wanted persons, and that if they practiced their trade here, they could be subject to arrest for unlawful restraint and unlawful use of weapons.
      “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

      Miyamoto Musashi

      “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

      George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

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      • #4
        The badges, "Fugitive Recovery Agent" vests, and other fun stuff are purchased out of wannabee Rambo catalogs. You'll usually find them right next to the "Concealed Weapon Permit" badges, which are another extremely dumb idea. There are probably some legit bounty hunters out there, but I have yet to run into one. The ones that I have come into contact with were either self-appointed angels of death who saw a movie or TV show and then went out and bought all the neat-looking Rambo stuff, or thugs who were frequently felons themselves. In both cases, if we were to intervene at the scene of one of their "recoveries," they were advised that any further movement towards taking anyone from A to B against their will would result in a charge of kidnapping, and all their toys would be confiscated. They frequently argued this, and always lost.

        We would then run their bail skip for warrants, almost always discover some, and take the person into custody, which really annoyed the "bounty hunters." See, if the agency holding the warrant extradites the bad guy back to where he's supposed to be, the bail is usually exonerated, and the bounty hunters don't get their fee.
        Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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        • #5
          In Florida, either you pay your own bail or you bond out through a bail bond agency. If you pay it yourself then skip town, there is no "bounty" set for you. You just lose that money and obviously have an arrest warrant issued.

          If you go through a bail agency, then skip town, THEY are out that money. It is obviously then in their best interest that they get you back. That is where bail bondsmen come in (Florida does not allow "bounty hunters" "fugative recover agents" or any of those other nonsense titles.) The bail bondsman who issued your bond will try to get you back because otherwise, he has to pay money. If he gets you back, he doesn't get a bounty, he just saves having to pay your bail to the court.

          Sometimes, with really high bails, the bondsman might "bounty" to other bondsmen to assist him in recovering the person. I.E. "If he doesnt go to court, I have to pay $10,000. Since there is no way for me to recover him on the other side of the state, I will pay you $5000 to bring him to me. I'd rather lose 5 grand than 10 grand". Its not an official bounty so much as a business deal between two bondsmen, really.
          Sheriff: We just take turns being the sheriff. It's real easy. You just hang out here, eat some pie, and get drunk.
          Peter Griffin: Wait. Hold on a second. "Pie," "drunk," "the?" You got yourself a sheriff!

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          • #6
            In a lot of states, bounty hunters have more powers of arrest than cops do. First, they don't need probable cause, and second, they're not constrained by the Bill of Rights.

            They are in a sense like the guys in the auto repossession business. They are enforcing a civil agreement.

            "Dog" carries large cans of OC, not a firearm. Very few cops admire bounty hunters, and very few bounty hunters live a life of excitement. Look at Dog; he's going aftere $2000 bail-skippers and makes it look like a SWAT organization.

            Bonds are necessary, or our jails would be overfilled. I guess someone has to go after the runners, and in some cases, there is a lot of money involved, as the bondsman who goes on a $1M bond will gladly give $20 K to save his investment.
            "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gene L View Post
              Bonds are necessary, or our jails would be overfilled.
              I say we just build more and bigger jails and prisons...but that's just me.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DinoTX View Post
                I say we just build more and bigger jails and prisons...but that's just me.

                We certainly need bigger prisons, but for someone on a simple battery beef who hasn't been convicted, who wants to feed his sorry butt until the court can get around to trying him?
                "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gene L View Post
                  "Dog" carries large cans of OC, not a firearm. Very few cops admire bounty hunters, and very few bounty hunters live a life of excitement. Look at Dog; he's going aftere $2000 bail-skippers and makes it look like a SWAT organization.
                  Duane Chapman (a.k.a. DOG) is a convicted Felon. THAT is why he dosent carry a firearm.

                  In a lot of states, bounty hunters have more powers of arrest than cops do. First, they don't need probable cause, and second, they're not constrained by the Bill of Rights.
                  I think you are reaching there. I would like to know what states allow Bondsman to violate people's civil rights or make arrests based on anything more than their civil contract with their "client".

                  I have only once ran accross a group of "Bounty Hunters". They were out of state and the goofballs figured they would remove the plate on their dark blue CVPI so that their Skip would not notice they were from that state. Of course they failed to realize that local police would notice. We explained to them that they needed to put their plate back on. They weren't real swift either. They told us who and where their subject was supposed to be at and for us to call them if we saw this person. I guess they didn't realize that if we come in contact with a Felon with out of state warrants we HAVE to lodge him and allow the other state to extradite him. We can't exactly hand him over to civilians.

                  ETA: They WERE legally carrying handguns and long guns and had body armor. It was an interesting stop for a few minutes.
                  "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
                  8541tactical.com - Ammo Wallets

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                  • #10
                    Most agencies around here Warrants teams... which is all the fun of "bounty hunting"... except with a whole lot more toys and resources than they have on TV.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by StudChris View Post
                      Most agencies around here Warrants teams... which is all the fun of "bounty hunting"... except with a whole lot more toys and resources than they have on TV.
                      Quite. We don't have dedicated Warrants squads - Warrants are handed out on slow days to patrol officers to up the arrest figures. Though if it's someone who is particularly notorious, each successive shift will be handed a copy of the Warrant and told to "fetch". This means all of his criminal associates will be visited once every eight hours. You'd be amazed, despite the famous loyalty of the criminal underworld, how often their associates then rat them out.

                      There was a couple of years ago a suggestion in a consultative document issued by the Home Office (our Justice Department) that we might introduce "bounty hunters" over here. I can only presume that the authors had seen one too many episodes of "Dog" (incidentally, I'm never quite clear why he gets so high and mighty with the people who he brings in - his firm, after all, was responsible for letting them loose in the first place).

                      That said of course it is of course surprising that warrants not backed for bail are issued in the first place. After all, the courts, in their almost infinite wisdom, have decided to bail an offender to his or her next court appearance and must therefore be pretty confident that the person will present him or herself. Admittedly, they generally thereby ignore the recommendations of the Police that this person is not a good bail risk. So it's odd that, what with Judges being so incredibly smart and all, how many don't actually reappear. Weird.
                      I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.

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                      • #12
                        Basically Bounty hunters or whatever you want to call them are either Bondsman or people employed by Bondsman to bring a subject that missed court on a bond back to jail so they don't have to pay the full bond amount. Here in TN we do some laws in regards to Bondsman and Bounty hunters. They are suppose to have x amount of hours of training and can't have any felony convictions. They don't have any law enforcement power. They tend to push the line with impersonation but wearing something that says agent doesn't cross it. Most of the bounty hunters I have met were just idiots wearing a gun and gall's stock badge.
                        Where'd you learn that, Cheech? Drug school?

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                        • #13
                          I think you are reaching there. I would like to know what states allow Bondsman to violate people's civil rights or make arrests based on anything more than their civil contract with their "client".


                          In seome states, cops can't serve a warrant on Sunday, or in certain hours of the night. Bail bondsmen can. Cops can't trespss on a person's property without an arrest warrant or a search warrant, because of Ammendment 4.

                          Ammendment 4 only applies to the government, not to civilians. They can (as they do on the movies) sneak up and look thru windows, (if they don't gt caught) tape them up and throw them in the trunk of their car, can enter private dwellings by subterfuge, etc. In otherwords they can do anything that would otherwise be considered kidnapping if it wasn't for their status as a bailsbondsman.

                          As I said, it's the same as a repro man...they have very few limits, since they are fullfilling a civil contract. A repro man pulls up into your driveway, hooks up, and drives off.

                          A bondsman pulls up, hooks up the jumper, and drives off.

                          There's nothing that says a bondsman can't carry a weapon because he's a bondsman, and a lot of states have reciprocity for CCW. So it depends on the state.
                          Last edited by Gene L; 11-02-2007, 04:53 PM.
                          "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"

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                          • #14
                            Bounty Hunters?

                            The term AGENT, if I recall correctly, originally comes from the railroad industry. Here is what http://www.merriam-webster.com/ shows:

                            Main Entry:
                            agent Listen to the pronunciation of agent
                            Pronunciation:
                            \ˈā-jənt\
                            Function:
                            noun
                            Etymology:
                            Middle English, from Medieval Latin agent-, agens, from Latin, present participle of agere to drive, lead, act, do; akin to Old Norse aka to travel in a vehicle, Greek agein to drive, lead
                            Date:
                            15th century

                            1: one that acts or exerts power2 a: something that produces or is capable of producing an effect : an active or efficient cause b: a chemically, physically, or biologically active principle3: a means or instrument by which a guiding intelligence achieves a result4: one who is authorized to act for or in the place of another: as a: a representative, emissary, or official of a government b: one engaged in undercover activities (as espionage) : spy c: a business representative (as of an athlete or entertainer) 5: a computer application designed to automate certain tasks (as gathering information online)

                            We have a business agent from our labor union that essentially represents us (labor) when dealing with management (them). So to me agent is a pretty generic term. In fact, I think the US government sort of took the term agent from the railroad industry and granted some investigators the title Special Agent. That is almost as bad as the word deputy. I am a deputy sheriff. I know people, however, that are:

                            -deputy court clerks,

                            -deputy fire chiefs,

                            -deputy U.S. Marshals

                            Again I will quote the dictionary:

                            deputy

                            Main Entry:
                            dep·u·ty Listen to the pronunciation of deputy
                            Pronunciation:
                            \ˈde-pyə-tē\
                            Function:
                            noun
                            Inflected Form(s):
                            plural dep·u·ties
                            Usage:
                            often attributive
                            Etymology:
                            Middle English, from Anglo-French deputé, past participle of deputer
                            Date:
                            15th century

                            1 a: a person appointed as a substitute with power to act b: a second in command or assistant who usually takes charge when his or her superior is absent 2: a member of the lower house of some legislative assemblies

                            Here in the Minneapolis Saint Paul (MN) Twin Cities Metropolitan area we have had some people getting bent out of shape that CBP has the word POLICE on their raid jackets. If I recall correctly they thought that it is unfair that CBP used the word POLICE on their clothing because they are special agents and not police and may have had people deal differently with them and/or local police officers because of confusion between federal agents and local law enforcement officers.

                            (Wasn't it Al Gore a few years back that had a way of pointing out the obvious and said, "...words mean things..."?)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by slamdunc View Post
                              Since Illinois has the 10% rule (Illinois Bail Rule), they don't use bail bondsmen, nor bounty hunters. I don't know by what authority, other than security guard and/or private detective acts, they could carry firearms.
                              I remember the case of a husband & wife team that came to this area to 'arrest' a person wanted on Florida warrants. They were told that the police arrest wanted persons, and that if they practiced their trade here, they could be subject to arrest for unlawful restraint and unlawful use of weapons.
                              3. Illinois

                              A statute enacted in 1963 designed to eliminate commercial bail bond industry. See Schilb v. Kuebel, 264 N.E.2d 377, 380 (Ill. 1970), aff'd 404 U.S. 357 (1971); Ill. Stat. Ch. 725 §§ 5/110-7, 5/110-8. "No bail bondsman from any state may seize or transport unwillingly any person found in this State who is allegedly in violation of a bail bond posted in some other state." Ill. Stat. Ch. 725 § 5/103-9.

                              http://www.americanbailcoalition.com...ter%20Laws.htm
                              Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                              [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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