Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 16, 2013

Bail bond board

County votes to create regulatory body

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Henderson County Commissioners Court approved a recommendation on Tuesday to create a board to regulate companies that issue bail bonds within the county.

The vote was 4-to-1 with Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin opposed.

County Attorney Clint Davis said attorney Robert Davis of Tyler, who represents Henderson County on out-of-county cases, believes the  county needs the board.

“What Robert will tell you is that you have a $17.5 million industry doing business in our county, completely unregulated,” Davis said.

There are more than 20 bail bondsmen located in Henderson County, Clint Davis said. Without regulation, bail bondsmen from anywhere in the state can do business here.

When an individual accused of an offense posts bond, then fails to appear in court, sometimes the out-of-county bail bondsman makes little attempt to return that defendant for his court date.

According to the Texas Occupation’s Code, certain officials are designated to be members of the board.  The list includes the sheriff, a district judge, the county judge, the district attorney, a justice of the peace, the county clerk, the county treasurer and a criminal-defense attorney.

Davis said the board will elect the presiding officer from among its members. Once created, the board is required to hold its first meeting within 60 days.

Geeslin said he is in favor of setting up the board, but thinks the members of the proposed board should have made a formal request for its creation before the Commissioners were asked to vote.

Geeslin said the state statute calls for a majority of the persons who would serve as members of the board to create the board, then come before the Commissioners Court for approval.

District Attorney Scott McKee pointed out that seven of the people who would make up the board were present at the meeting on Tuesday, and none voiced any opposition to creation of the board.

Commissioners also voted:

• to accept a proclamation for April 21 as San Jacinto Day;

• approve an agreement to assist the City of Mabank with road construction at Oaklawn Cemetery in Precinct 2;

• approve an interlocal agreement between Henderson County and the City of Caney City;

• approve payment of regular bills in the amount of $147,302.63.