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Latino Daily News

Tuesday January 25, 2011

Colorado Bill Would Make Obtaining Bail Bonds Difficult For Those Suspected of Being Undocumented

A new bill being introduced in Colorado will make it harder for anyone merely suspected of being in the country illegally to attain bail bonds.

Currently, Colorado law states that, should a bond agent’s client be removed from the country, the agent is exempt from forfeiture of the bond money, but this new bill would remove that exemption.

The bill, HB11-1088, sponsored by Rep. Mark Barker and Sen. Kent Lambert, both Republicans out of Colorado Springs, states:

The bill requires the bail bond agent to execute a waiver that states he or she understands that if the defendant is removed from the country the bond is forfeited and requires the bond of the bail bond agent to be forfeited if the defendant is removed from the country.”

“A defendant or OTHER person, INCLUDING a professional bonding agent, who posts bond on a felony or a class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor, either pretrial or post-conviction, for a defendant who is illegally present in the country shall not be entitled to recover the posted bond or fees if the defendant is removed from the country, and the bond or fees shall be forfeited.”

If passed, HB11-1088 would make it mandatory for law enforcement agencies to inform bond agents that their potential clients may be in the country illegally, and could be removed. If this were to happen, under the new law, the bond agent would lose that money.

In the end, the number of bondsmen willing to grant bail bonds to anyone suspected on being in the country illegally will likely drop, making it harder for any immigrants, especially Latinos, to post bail.

Barker claims the bill was not meant to deny bond to anyone, it was only meant to inform the courts and bondsmen of the risks that go along with granting bond to certain individuals.

“It doesn’t mean that they don’t get to bond. It doesn’t mean that when they get to the immigration facility they don’t get to bond either. The purpose is not to deny them bond, it is just to factor their status into the decision-making process,” Barker said.