California Code, Penal Code – PEN § 980

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(a) At any time after the order for a bench warrant is made, whether the court is sitting or not, the clerk may issue a bench warrant to one or more counties.

(b) The clerk shall require the appropriate agency to enter each bench warrant issued on a private surety-bonded felony case into the national warrant system (National Crime Information Center (NCIC)).  If the appropriate agency fails to enter the bench warrant into the national warrant system (NCIC), and the court finds that this failure prevented the surety or bond agent from surrendering the fugitive into custody, prevented the fugitive from being arrested or taken into custody, or resulted in the fugitive’s subsequent release from custody, the court having jurisdiction over the bail shall, upon petition, set aside the forfeiture of the bond and declare all liability on the bail bond to be exonerated.


General principles

People v. Smith (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 1212, 228 Cal.Rptr. 277, explained the general bail bond procedures as follows: “`A bailbondsman [sic] posts an undertaking. A corporate surety agrees to pay a set sum if a defendant fails to appear. The failure to appear triggers bail forfeiture and issuance of a bench warrant. The police seek the missing defendant. The bail bondsman has six months to return the defendant to court or to show an inability [to do so]. The court then may make such order as to the bail as justice may require. If the defendant is not brought before the court within the six-month period and his absence is not satisfactorily explained, the order forfeiting bail is carried into execution by way of summary judgment.'” (Id. at p. 1216, 228 Cal.Rptr. 277.)

182*182 The applicable statutory provision is section 1300, which provides in pertinent part, that a bail bondsman may surrender a criminal defendant for whom it has posted bail at any time before bail is forfeited. (§ 1300, subd. (a).) Nonetheless, the statutory scheme also provides that if the court determines that “good cause does not exist for the surrender of a defendant who has not failed to appear or has not violated any order of the court, it may, in its discretion, order the bail or the depositor to return to the defendant or other person who has paid the premium or any part of it, all of the money so paid or any part of it.” (§ 1300, subd. (b).)

The legislative purpose behind section 1300, subdivision (b) was to temper a bonding company’s virtually unlimited power, which power is based on the venerable notion that its dominion over the defendant merely continues the original imprisonment and therefore permits the bonding company to surrender a defendant into custody and terminate liability at any time before forfeiture. (People v. Smith, supra, 182 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1216-1217, 228 Cal.Rptr. 277; see Taylor v. Taintor (1872) 16 Wall. 366, 83 U.S. 366, 371, 21 L.Ed. 287.) This extraordinary power is tempered by the statutory “good cause” requirement (§ 1300, subd. (b)), which operates as a check on the potential abuse of that power.

Taylor v. Taintor

Recent Decisions Relating To Bail Law

“When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment.” (Taylor v. Taintor (1872) 83 U.S. 366, 371; cf. Kiperman v. Klenshetyn (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 934, 939.)

Taylor v. Taintor

Court case



Taylor v. Taintor, 83 U.S. 366, was a United States Supreme Court case. It is commonly credited as having decided that a person to whom a suspect is remanded, such as a bail bondsman, has sweeping rights to recover the suspect. WikipediaDate decided: 1873Ruling courtSupreme Court of the United StatesPrior: In error to the Supreme Court of Errors of the State of ConnecticutCitations: 83 U.S. 366 (more)16 Wall. 366; 21 L. Ed. 287; 1873 U.S. LEXIS 1168


236 Cal.App.4th 37 (2015)186 Cal.Rptr.3d 131

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, Plaintiff and Respondent,
FINANCIAL CASUALTY & SURETY INC., Defendant and Appellant.

No. B251223.

Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Two.April 7, 2015.

40*40 E. Alan Nunez for Defendant and Appellant.

Richard D. Weiss, Acting County Counsel, Ruben Baeza, Jr., Assistant County Counsel, and Lindsay Yoshiyama, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent.



Appellant Financial Casualty & Surety Inc. (Financial Casualty) appeals the denial of its motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (b) asking the trial court to consider a prior motion to vacate forfeiture and exonerate bond that was taken off calendar due to its attorney’s mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect. Because Financial Casualty established surprise and excusable neglect due to misinformation from a court clerk, we reverse. The matter is remanded for the trial court to determine if there are grounds to vacate forfeiture and exonerate bond due to a permanent disability under Penal Code section 1305, subdivision (d)[1] because the bailee, Giovanni Santana (Santana), was deported to Mexico and barred from reentry into the United States for 20 years. If there is a permanent disability, the trial court is directed 41*41 to set aside summary judgment on the forfeiture of Financial Casualty’s bond, and then to vacate that forfeiture and exonerate the bond. Otherwise, the trial court shall deny the motion on the merits.