Monday, April 8, 2013

Dorian Cotlar for Bail Bond Board

In our world of the Criminal Justice System, we are constantly dealing with people running for things.  People run for Judge.  They run for District Attorney.  They run for HCCLA Board positions  (NOTE: that would be me).  We all have our reasons.

My friend, Dorian Cotlar, has put his name in the hat to run for a position on the Harris County Bond Surety Board.  The position he seeks is one that is to be filled by a criminal defense attorney who helps oversee the practices of the bonding companies that work in Harris County.  His intentions are unquestionably altruistic:

"My interest in this position began when I had a client’s mother pay a $540 NON-REFUNDABLE "premium” (fee) for a $500 bond.  For you non-criminal practitioners, the client’s mother could have simply gone to the Harris County Jail, posted $500 in cash, and then received a full refund (minus a small service charge) when her daughter’s criminal case was resolved.  A reputable bonding company would have charged a reasonable fee.  While this practice is technically legal, dishonest bonding companies mislead the most vulnerable people in our society in order to extract outrageous bonding fees." -- Dorian Cotlar

I've known Dorian since we worked together at the District Attorney's Office.  He has an impressively successful law practice.  His foray into working with the Bond Surety Board won't benefit  him -- it will benefit everyone else.  He is volunteering to take on an extreme amount of work to make our system better.  He wants to clean up the bonding practices in Harris County.

To vote for Dorian, please click on this link:

As you will see on the ballot, you must be eligible to practice in Texas and your primary area of practice must be in Harris County.  You also have to be legally eligible to represent criminal defendants.

Loosely translated:  My friends in the District Attorney's Office have to sit this one out.

However, that doesn't mean that prosecutors can't forward this link on to their non-prosecutorial friends in Harris County.  Civil attorneys, Family Law attorneys, and Corporate Law attorneys are all eligible to vote.

Dorian is the right guy for this job and he is running for all the right reasons.

He's one of the good guys and he's doing what he can to make a difference.

Please take time out of your day and vote for a good man who will make a major difference in the way things are done in Harris County.


Glenn Strickland said...

Interesting post but without any facts one cannot asertain a correct answer. There could be numerous reasons why this could have happened. Almost everyone who is in need of a bond shops several companies to get the best deal.
I would submit that there is much more to this story in the details.
Bonding companies constantly field question about some huge fees charged by attorney's and we never take personal offense and respond by telling the people that each attorney can charge whatever they think thier representation will cost. Some are more and some are less. Competition drives fees.

I would hope some research would be done and know that the Harris County Bail Bond Board can only operate within the statutes.

Glenn Strickland
A-1 Bonding Company
member of the Harris County Bail Bond Board.

Scott C. Pope said...

Competition does not drive bonding fees. Desperation drives bonding fees.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know even one good reason you would charge a non-refundable fee for more than the actual amount of the bond?

Anonymous said...

Bonding companies are a racket that no first world company permits except for us. They need to disappear.

They are in constant default on their obligations, and are trying to have a statute passed that allows their debt to the county to disappear. They take in money, and almost never pay it out due to their lobbying efforts and pandering to the judiciary.

Go cry me a river about competition and what lawyers charge. If a lawyer charges an abusive fee it doesn't justify bail bonding companies' personal form of racketeering.

Anonymous said...

To do what you say he should do Dorian would have to spend his time filing complaints on bonding companies. He would have to file a complaint that someone actually violated the statute. What Anonymous quoted was not a violation of the statute. Not at all. I predict Harold will win and he has been doing a good job. The problem I have with the whole election process is that the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association will not tell you what the vote count is. I understand losing I have lost far more than I have won. However, when the vote is over, as a candidate I would like to know what the vote count is. If I only lost by one vote then I may run again and just try harder next time, however if I get beat badly I might just want to call it a day. When HCCLA keeps the vote count a secret then it becomes to difficult to run for a position that does nothing more than waste your time.

Paul Kubosh
1619 Lubbock
Houston, Texas 77007
(713) 222-0880 Telephone
(713) 222-7020 Fax
(281) 850-0171 Cell

Randy Kubosh said...

To the Anonymous person who said that they would like to know one reason why a person would be charged more than the amount of the bond.

Here are a few reasons.
Here are the court cost for a bond forfeiture.
Misdemeanor $230 + service fee
Felony $235 + service fee
+ possible re-arrest fees

If the defendant is not arrested on a misdemeanor withing 6 months and 9 months on a felony, the bondsman stands to lose the bond amount as well.

It is common for a bondsman to lose $750 to $850 on a $500 misdemeanor bond if they never return the defendant to the custody of the Sheriff within 6 months.

I suspect the reason why the person mentioned was charged the amount listed is because the defendant had a prior history of failing to appear in court or did not have roots in the community or any number of high risk factors.

additional cost for bonds include
$15 for the Sheriff Fee per bond
$25-$50 for the bond to be run

Of course, the person had the option to go to any of over 90 bail bonding companies in Harris county.

Randy Kubosh
Kubosh Bail Bonding
Office 713-222-0983
Cell 281-755-7004

Randy Kubosh said...

To the person who stated that bonding companies are a racket.

Bonding companies as strictly regulated by the Sheriff and the Bail Bond Board. The bond is the defendant's guarantee for their appearance in court. Should the abscond on the bond, the bondsman is liable for the full amount of the bond, plus the costs of court, interest and re-arrest fees.

Bondsmen paid into Harris County over $6 Million dollars last year. An additional, $500,000 was paid to the Assistant Attorney's longevity fund and $250 to the Public Defender's office. That's almost $7 million to the county.

On the other hand, Pretrial Services personal bonds are free to the defendant but cost the taxpayer approximately $1,000 per bond. Pretrial Services Annual budget is over $7 Million dollars to give free bonds away.

That's almost $14 Million dollar difference to the taxpayer.

You decide if you want bondsmen to disappear and put more of a burden the taxpayer.

Randy Kubosh
Kubosh Bail Bonding
Office 713-222-0983
Cell 281-755-7004

Randy Kubosh said...

I meant to say $250,000 annually paid from the $15 Sheriff Fee per bond goes to the Public Defender

Anonymous said...

If it costs that much to post a bond for someone; save the headache and let the person's family deposit the cash with the county. Sheesh. It's the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Is that the same sheriff to whose campaign bondsmen frequently contribute?

Anonymous said...

The Kubosh's do not bond people for money. They do it because they are altruistic.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kubosh:

Please address the following:

District clerk not collecting fees from bondsmen:

If you have the duty to pay, why aren't you? Have all past-due fees been collected? Why aren't bondsmen paying as they go, instead of sitting back and waiting for the clerk to come after them? A clerk to whose campaign they contributed heavily?

It looks like you can deduct "several hundred thousand dollars" from the amount you claim to save the taxpayers.

And another:

If the bondsmen are so heavily policed by the bond board, how is it that millions are paid late or not at all?

How can some fines be a decade old, if the bond board is supposed to go through their record more regularly?

Why haven't, as of the writing of some of these articles, anyway, any bondsmen been disciplined or had their licenses revoked in almost a decade, when they have millions in unpaid bonds?

If the county is still owed $26 MILLION in overdue bonds, how much is being done to collect it by the board, or by the bondsmen themselves?

How many bonds have you failed to pay?

Have you contributed to the campaigns of any judges or clerks who are charged with enforcing the rules against you?

Are you aware of any efforts to have past-due fees forgiven so that bondsmen do not have to pay them at all, and are you a part of any such effort?

Bondsmen are basically licensed to steal. You don't save taxpayers a cent, and in any event, the government is not there to turn a profit on the backs of its citizens.

Anonymous said...

We need Lykos back, things are going down hill quick.

Anonymous said...

If Bondsman have so many expenses to cover, why didn't they just tell the woman to go pay the $500 herself?.....theres nothing in it for them, thats why. Bondsman are like tow truck drivers, there reputation is slimy.

Anonymous said...

Occupations Code 1704.301 is the reason why bonding companies ask for the entire amount of the bond. Bonding companies do not inform people in writing that the money can be returned and then they keep the money.

The legislature wrote a very sloppy section that allows them to steal.