The History Of Bounty Hunters!

The History of Bounty Hunters

Gone are the posters of the most wanted, where the words “dead or alive” and “reward offered” were all that was needed to entice the man next door to embark on a hunt in hopes of securing a bounty on a fugitive’s head. Even as late as the early 20th century, a number of intrepid (and perhaps reckless) individuals chased down fugitives in hopes of reaping large rewards.

But bounty hunting’s history is even more colorful and extensive than the period of the famous bounty hunters like Pat Garret who, in 1881, was responsible for hunting down and killing Henry McCarty (a.k.a. Billy the Kid) in what many believe was a sensational ambush in Fort Sumner.

In fact, bounty hunting is believed to span as far back as the 13th century in England, when bail was not money, but an actual individual. During this time, a custodian was designated by the court to keep track of the accused and present him at trial. If the custodian failed to present the accused, the custodian would be forced to stand trial (and likely be hanged) in place of the accused.

A few hundred years later (1679), a structured bail system was formed, and the British Parliament created and passed the Habeas Corpus Act, allowing defendants to be released on monetary bail. The United States Constitution later adopted the Habeas Corpus Act of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibited the setting of excessive bail, and the Judiciary Act of 1789, which served to identify bailable offenses, but was also the foundation of what we now know as the U.S. judicial court system.

The U.S. Supreme Court case, Taylor v. Taintor, in 1873, gave bounty hunters the authority to act as agents of bail bondsmen. This court ruling also allowed bounty hunters a number of sweeping rights, such as the right to pursue fugitives in other states and, if necessary, break into a fugitive’s house, without a warrant, for the purpose of returning them on revoked bonds.

It wasn’t until the passage of the Bail Reform Act of 1966 that laws relating to bail really began to take shape. The Bail Reform Act of 1966 included verbiage that permitted prisoners to be released on as little bail as possible to ensure a return for trail. The subsequent Bail Reform Act of 1984 allowed courts to refuse bail to individuals who were deemed too dangerous for release.

What is a Bounty Hunter

What is a Bounty Hunter


What is a bounty hunter?       A bounty hunter, in simple terms, is a skilled professional who is hired by a bail bondsman to find and capture a fugitive in exchange for a monetary reward. The bounty hunter’s reward, which is considered the “bounty,” is typically a percentage of the bail. If a fugitive’s bail is $10,000, a bail bondsman may offer the bounty hunter between 10 and 20 percent of the bail amount, or $1,000 to $2,000, if the fugitive is successfully captured and brought to justice.

Bounty hunters today, in most states, are licensed and/or registered professionals who play an important role in the bail bond business and therefore in the nation’s criminal justice system. Their role is closely monitored by state insurance departments and other licensing authorities. Just four states (Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Oregon and Illinois) ban the practice of bounty hunting, although most states have clear statutes (even if they don’t license bounty hunters) that regulate the practice of these professionals in the state.

The History Of Bail in the U.S.

The History of Bail in the U.S.

The History of Bail in the U.S.

The History of Bail in the U.S.


When the New World was in its infancy, crime was on the rise. In an effort to take control of the uncontrollable it was simpler to adapt the English criminal system rather than invent a new criminal system. Taking its queue from the British, over time America was able to create a criminal system that works to provide an affordable means of release from jail and a greater success of criminals playing by the rules.

In medieval England, it was discovered that people accused of crimes would do whatever they could to avoid facing the court and the possible punishment for their crimes. In those days, the punishment was water torture and burning at the stake, so you can’t blame then for being ‘no shows.’

Local sheriffs had a great deal of difficulty keeping criminals locked up until trial because there was no magistrate in the local town and it could be a month or so before a judge would hold court, so there wasn’t any room to hold vandals, traitors and poachers. However, holding water torture over their heads seemed to be a good way to assure that anyone released from the overcrowded jails would show up for trial.

The decision of who to release was primarily made by the local sheriff, who was granted a great deal of authority by the king. The sheriff had the power to decide the fate of any and all criminals, based in the severity of the crime. This loosely structured ‘justice system’ had a tendency to be exploited for personal gain and proved to be less than perfect.

In 1275, Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster to remove some of the temptation from sheriffs. The statute specifically listed which crimes were bailable offenses and which were not. Once this was enforced, there were no changes made to the system for hundreds of years.

While there were further issues posed in relation to the right to bail and a trial, the most valuable law to date, after almost 200 years, was instituted by the U.S. Congress in the form of the Bail Reform Act of 1966. It stated that a defendant facing trial for a non-capital offense should be released “on his personal recognizance” or on personal bond. However, if the court had reason to believe the defendant would skip town, the judge could choose a more restrictive alternative like limiting the defendant’s travel and executing an ‘appearance bond’ that would be refunded when the defendant appeared in court.

Individual states might have had their own rules, but some states added guidelines similar to the Bail Reform Act of 1966. Then the District of Columbia pointed out flaws in the act like; the defendant’s potential risk to the community for non-capital offenses. This became an issue when defendants released for non-capital offenses were committing more crimes while out on bail. So a revision was made – The District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970 allowed judges to consider the dangerousness to the community as well as risk of flight when setting bail for non-capital cases.

Finally, the federal justice system joined in by adding the ‘safety of the community’ as a factor to be considered when imposing bail and thus the Bail Reform Act of 1984 was passed. This newer version added guidelines stating that a person can be detained without bail if he:

  • Poses a risk to the community.
  • May intimidate jurors or witnesses, or otherwise obstruct justice while out on bail.
  • Commits a violent or drug-related crime, an offense carrying a penalty of death or life in prison, or committing any felony while already having a serious criminal record.

These are the basic concepts of bail as we know it today, but they may vary from court to court. The ultimate goal of the bail system is that people accused of certain crimes and meeting specific criteria are entitled to be released from jail as they await their day in court.

So, PG13 Bail Bonds Saya!!!!!!

Bail On

Type of Bail…!

There are five different types of bail, although some of them are used less frequently than others. Let’s start with the most common ones.

Cash Bail

Cash bail means that the accused pays the full amount of bail in cash. Sometimes the court accepts checks or even a credit card.

Surety Bond

Also called a bail bond, a surety bond can be used for any amount of bail, but it is especially useful when the accused can’t afford to pay his or her bail. This type of bail often involves a friend or relative of the accused contacting a bail agent, also known as a bail bondsman. A bail agent is backed by a special type of insurance company called a surety company and pledges to pay the full value of the bond if the accused doesn’t appear in court. In return, the bail agent charges his client a 10 percent premium and collects some sort of collateral (i.e. a title to a house, car or boat, or jewelry or electronics).

By getting a friend or relative involved, the bail agent hopes that the defendant feels compelled to appear in court, since this friend or relative is probably paying the bail agent’s premium and has collateral on the line. The bail agent’s bond is also at stake, and if the defendant doesn’t appear in court (known as skipping or jumping bail), then it will be the agent who’s responsible for paying the entire bond. If the defendant skips a court date, the bail agent, and even the family or friends of the defendant, might seek out a bounty hunter, assuming it’s legal in that state.

Commercial bail bonding is illegal in Illinois, Oregon, Wisconsin and Kentucky [ref]. Some states require bondsmen to be licensed. If you are in need of a bail bondsman, you can find listings in local phone books.

Release on Citation (Cite Out)

In some cases, an officer will not book a suspect at all but will instead issue a citation saying that the accused must appear in court. While this process is less thorough than taking a suspect to a police station and performing the formal booking procedure, it allows the arresting officer to focus on catching more serious offenders.

Release on Own Personal Recognizance

A judge may also choose to release a suspect on his own recognizance, meaning that he is responsible for showing up for court dates and does not have to pay bail. Personal recognizance is usually only allowed when the charge involves a relatively minor, nonviolent crime and if the defendant is not considered a danger to anyone else or a flight risk — meaning that it’s highly unlikely that the person will flee and not appear for his or her court date.

Property Bond

Sometimes a defendant can provide some property to act as a bond. In these cases, the court gets a lien (essentially a legal claim) on the property in the amount of the bail. If the defendant doesn’t show up for his court appearances, the court can foreclose on the property to recover the forfeited bail.