RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE A Practice Manual – Bail Violation Hearing

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A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
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Bail Violation Hearing

SUP. CT. R. CRIM. P. 46(g): Forfeiture (of Bail)

Declaration. If there is a breach of condition of a recognizance, the court upon motion of the attorney for the State shall declare a forfeiture of the bail.
Setting Aside. The court may direct that a 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.

Enforcement. When a forfeiture has not been set aside, the court shall on motion enter a judgment of default and execution may issue thereon. By entering into a recognizance the obligors submit to the jurisdiction of the court and irrevocably appoint the clerk of the court as their agent upon whom any papers affecting their liability may be served. Their liability may be enforced on motion without the necessity of an independent action. The motion and such notice of the motion as the court prescribes may be served on the clerk of the court, who shall forthwith mail copies to the obligors to their last known addresses.
Remission. After entry of such judgment, the court may remit it in whole or in part under the conditions applying to the setting aside of forfeiture in paragraph (2) of this subdivision.
Settlement. The Attorney General may settle with any obligor liable upon a forfeited recognizance upon such terms and in such manner as he or she shall deem most advantageous to the interest of the State.
Bridges v. Superior Court, 396 A.2d 97 (R.I. 1978). Under Rule 46(g), any individual arrested while on bail for another offense may be held without bail for ten business days (not counting weekends or holidays) and given a bail violation hearing. If the court is reasonably satisfied that the defendant did not keep the peace or be of good behavior, it may revoke bail for up to ninety days, increase bail, or both.

The requirements of due process apply at a bail revocation hearing, with all the rights and standards of a probation revocation hearing.
Mello v. Superior Court, 370 A.2d 1262, 1266 (R.I. 1977). “…[W]e conclude that a defendant facing bail revocation is jeopardized at least as much as one facing revocation of parole, or probation, or imposition of sentence for breach of a deferred sentence agreement. Therefore, the rights afforded defendants in these latter situations must attach to a defendant in a bail revocation proceeding.”

State v. Werner, 667 A.2d 770 (R.I. 1995). Sanctions for violating conditions of bail are confided to the sound discretion of the trial justice. Declaring forfeiture of full bond amount of $250,000, when defendant failed to appear at trial-calendar call, was not an abuse of trial justice’s discretion. Although the judge knew defendant was quickly apprehended and the government incurred losses of only $200 in securing defendant, defendant’s breach was willful and bondsperson did not significantly participate in apprehension of defendant.

When determining whether to set aside a bail forfeiture “the factors a trial justice may consider are the cost, the inconvenience, and the prejudice suffered by the state as a result of a defendant’s breach of a condition of his or her recognizance, whether the surety was provided by family and friends rather than by a bondsperson, and any additional mitigating circumstances that may be present.” Id. at 774.
“Additional factors a court may consider include the issues of whether the defendant’s breach of the bond condition was willful; whether a professional bondsperson, acting as a surety, participated in a defendant’s apprehension; and whether a defendant failed to appear, thus interfering with the prompt administration of justice.” Id.

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