Leaving the United States on Bail - Bond Forfeiture

In People v. United Bonding Ins. Co. (1970) the defendant posted bail and left California for his native Mexico. There, he was charged with a felony and Mexican civil authorities ordered that his movements be "restricted to an area within 50 miles of the town of Magdalena . . . ." (12 Cal. App. 3d at p. 352.) A California bail bondsman brought the defendant to the United States border where a local magistrate used the travel restriction as a basis for refusing entry to the defendant. (Ibid.) Under these circumstances, the Court of Appeal held that the defendant was detained in Mexico and that section 1305 required the order of forfeiture be vacated. By contrast, the defendant in County of Los Angeles v. Maga (1929) 97 Cal. App.. 688 [276 P. 352], voluntarily left the United States while she was on bail and after a deportation order was issued. Federal authorities did not take the defendant into custody or otherwise enforce the deportation order. the Court of Appeal held the defendant's bond forfeited because she "voluntarily left the jurisdiction." ( Id. at p. 691.) Similarly, in County of Los Angeles v. Ranger Ins. Co. (1996) 48 Cal. App. 4th 992 [56 Cal. Rptr. 2d 25], the defendant, who was of Pakistani origin, fled to Cuba after posting bail. The surety argued the bail should be exonerated because federal law restricts travel to Cuba and the surety could not, therefore, obtain the defendant's return. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument because the defendant voluntarily left the United States. "Cuba was just one of many places which defendant could flee to and be immune from surety's agents. Such risks were present when surety posted bond. Respondent did not act to increase those risks." (Id. at p. 996.)