California Court of Appeals, Second District, Eighth Division
[REVIEW GRANTED BY CAL. SUPREME COURT]
[As Modified on May 9, 2014]
APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. LA066432. Martin L. Herscovitz, Judge.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
John Mark Rorabaugh for Defendant and Appellant.
John F. Krattli, County Counsel, Ruben Baeza, Jr., Assistant County Counsel, and Joanne Nielsen, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
RUBIN, ACTING P. J.
Safety National Casualty Co. appeals from the trial court order denying its motion to vacate the forfeiture of the bail bond it had posted for a criminal defendant. We reverse because the hearing where the defendant failed to appear was not one at which his presence was required and the defendant had not been ordered to appear.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Elshaddai Machabeus Bent was charged with felony drunk driving in November 2010. Bail was set at $25, 000, and the bail bond was executed by Safety National Casualty Co. through its agent, High Five Bail Bonds. Between November 2010 and April 5, 2011, Bent, who was represented by counsel, appeared at several hearings held before different judges or court commissioners. At the conclusion of some of those hearings, the trial court said, “bail will stand.” At some, it ordered Bent to appear at the next hearing.
At others it said neither.
At a March 1, 2011 hearing, the trial court asked defense counsel, “[w]hat’s your preference for pretrial?” Defense counsel said early April and the trial court said the “pretrial conference” would be held April 5, 2011. At the end of that hearing, the trial ...