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People v. Financial Casualty and Surety, Inc.

Superior Court of California, Appellate Division, Los Angeles

August 27, 2019

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
FINANCIAL CASUALTY AND SURETY, INC., Defendant and Respondent.

          APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County Central Trial Court No. 0SJ2058, Michael C. Small, Judge. Order Reversed.

          Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel, Ruben Baeza, Jr., Assistant County Counsel, and David D. Lee, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

          Law Office of John Rorabaugh, John Rorabaugh and Crystal L. Rorabaugh for Defendant and Respondent.

          OPINION

          Ricciardulli, J.

         INTRODUCTION

         Once a criminal defendant's bail bond is forfeited, and the statutory time to secure a defendant's attendance has expired without the forfeiture being set aside, the court may enter summary judgment “within 90 days after the date upon which it may first be entered“ (Pen. Code, § 1306, subd. (c)). We hold that the only plausible reason for including the qualifying language “may be entered” is to ensure that the 90-day clock commences on the first subsequent day that the court is open for business.

         The People of the State of California appeal the trial court's order vacating the summary judgment entered on a bail bond posted by an agent of Financial Casualty and Surety, Inc. (Financial Casualty). The People maintain the court erred in finding summary judgment on the bond was entered after expiration of the 90-day period specified in section 1306, subdivision (c). As discussed below, we agree and reverse.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 27, 2012, a defendant pled no contest to the charge of burglary and was placed on summary probation on several terms and conditions. When she failed to appear in court for a probation violation hearing, a $5, 000 bench warrant was issued. Bail Hotline Bail Bonds, acting as Financial Casualty's agent, posted the bond for defendant's release from custody. The defendant again failed to appear. The court ordered the bond to be forfeited and the clerk mailed notice of forfeiture on March 22, 2016.

         On September 22, 2016, Financial Casualty filed a motion to extend the 180-day section 1305, subdivision (c)(1), appearance period, and on October 21, 2016, the court granted an extension “until (and including) 03/22/17.” On June 16, 2017, pursuant to section 1305.4, the court extended the period for an additional 28 days “until (and including) July 14, 2017.”[1] The critical event underlying this appeal occurred on October 16, when the court entered summary judgment on the bond.

         Financial Casualty filed a motion to set aside the summary judgment, pursuant to section 1306, subdivision (c), which provides, if “summary judgment is not entered within 90 days after the date upon which it may first be entered, the right to do so expires and the bail is exonerated.” Financial Casualty noted the date upon which summary judgment “may first be entered” in this case was July 15 (the next calendar day after the end of the extension period); 90 days from that date was October 13; and summary judgment was entered on October 16, a day which was more than 90 days after July 15.

         The People opposed the motion, arguing that, since July 15 was a Saturday, the court could not have entered summary judgment on that date, and the 90-day period began to run on Monday, July 17. The People maintained that 90 days from July 17 (October 14) was also a Saturday, and that Code of Civil Procedure section 12a, subdivision (a), extended the period to Monday, October 16, the date the court entered summary judgment.

         The court conducted a hearing and granted Financial Casualty's motion. The court concluded “the 90-day period is absolute, beginning with the day after the appearance period expires” regardless whether the court is open on the date following the appearance period. The court ...


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