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The People v. Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company

February 14, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. SJ3224 APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Edmund Willcox Clarke, Judge. Affirmed.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Klein, P. J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Defendant and appellant Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company (the Surety) appeals an order denying its motion to set aside a summary judgment on a forfeited bail bond.*fn1

The Surety posted a bond for criminal defendant Hassan Saleh's release from custody. The trial court signed a Penal Code section 1275.1 order placing a hold on Saleh's release, pending a hearing to establish the bail funds were not feloniously obtained.*fn2 Saleh erroneously was released from custody without the section 1275.1 hearing having been held.

At the subsequent section 1275.1 hearing, the trial court stated it was "not satisfied" the source of funds for the bail premium was legitimate, but continued the matter for further proceedings and allowed Saleh to remain free on bond. Thereafter, Saleh failed to appear, at which time the trial court declared the bond forfeited. The trial court subsequently entered summary judgment on the forfeited bond and later denied the Surety's motion to set aside the summary judgment.

The Surety appeals, contending the bond was not subject to forfeiture because the release of Saleh from custody in violation of section 1275.1 rendered the bail bond void.

We affirm. Guided by People v. Accredited Surety & Casualty Co., Inc. (2004) 125 Cal.App.4th 1 (Accredited), discussing the effect of a court's noncompliance with section 1275 on a surety's liability, we conclude noncompliance with section 1275.1 does not operate to exonerate a surety's liability and is not a defense to forfeiture of the bail bond.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On May 11, 2007, criminal defendant Hassan Saleh (Saleh) was arraigned and pled not guilty to nine counts of sale of counterfeit mark. (§ 350, subd. (a)(2).) Bail was set at $200,000 and Saleh was remanded to custody.

On May 11, 2007, the trial court signed an order placing a hold on Saleh's release, pending a hearing to establish the bail funds were not feloniously obtained. A bail review hearing was scheduled for May 24, 2007.

On May 24, 2007, the Surety executed a $200,000 bond for Saleh's release from custody. Also on May 24, 2007, at the request of Saleh's counsel, the bail review hearing was taken off calendar. On May 25, 2007, the sheriff erroneously released Saleh from custody without the section 1275.1 hearing having been held.

Saleh appeared in court on May 31, 2007. Saleh's counsel was not prepared that day to proceed with the section 1275.1 hearing, and the matter was continued.

The section 1275.1 hearing proceeded on June 25, 2007. The People did not dispute the $200,000 bail, secured by a lien on real property, came from a legitimate source. The sole issue was the source of the $20,000 bail premium. After hearing the evidence, the trial court stated it was "not satisfied" the source of the funds for the bail premium was legitimate. The trial court continued the matter to July 6, 2007, for further proceedings, and allowed Saleh to remain free on bond.

On July 6, 2007, Saleh failed to appear and the trial court declared the bail forfeited. Notice of forfeiture was sent to the Surety that same day. The 185-day forfeiture period was set to expire on January 7, 2008, and thereafter was extended.

On October 6, 2008, summary judgment was entered on the forfeited bond. On October 7, 2008, the clerk served notice of entry of judgment on ...


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