Court of appeals rules against county in bondsman fee case

The 2nd Court of Appeals has ruled against Denton County in a suit filed by Vic and Eydie Burgess concerning a $60 fee charged by county and district clerks every time they mail a notification to a bail bondsman that a client has failed to show up for court.

That could eventually cost the county upwards of $360,000, but county officials say it’s much too soon to consider that because the suit has yet to be tried on its full merits.

Bail bond companies guarantee bail for their clients, promising that the clients will show up for court or the bail bondsmen will pay the full amount of the bail. That puts the onus on them to make sure the clients show up and to find them if they don’t.

Every time a defendant who is free on bail fails to show up on the appointed date, the district or county clerk notifies the bondsman. Sometimes, constables make notifications in person. Other times, the notification is sent by certified mail.

The clerks charge a state-mandated $8 fee for that. They also charge a $60 fee.

The Burgesses filed suit against the county, asserting that the county never voted to charge the $60 fee for mail service and that it is far beyond necessary costs to the county for sending the letter.

By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer
From the Denton Record-Chronicle (Texas)

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