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State v. Jones

January 11, 2008

STATE OF KANSAS, APPELLANT,
v.
PATRICK JONES, APPELLEE.



Appeal from Saline District Court; DANIEL L. HEBERT, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. The interpretation of a statute is a question of law over which an appellate court has unlimited review.

2. Aggravated failure to appear is willfully incurring a forfeiture of an appearance bond and failing to surrender oneself within 30 days following the date of such forfeiture by one who is charged with a felony and has been released on bond.

3. When a defendant fails to appear as required by the terms of an appearance bond, the district court is required to declare a forfeiture of bail. The district court's mistaken use of the word "revocation" rather than "forfeiture" does not alter the legal nature of the judicial act and the record establishes the necessary threshold predicate for an aggravated failure to appear prosecution.

4. Under the facts of this case, the district court did declare a forfeiture of bail when the defendant failed to appear but erred in concluding the appearance bond was not forfeited until payment of bail was made by the surety to the clerk of the district court. The evidence presented at preliminary hearing was sufficient to bind the defendant over for trial on the charge of aggravated failure to appear.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Knudson, J.

Reversed and remanded with directions.

Before MARQUARDT, P.J., and LEBEN, J., and KNUDSON, S.J.

The State charged Patrick Jones with one felony count of aggravated failure to appear, in violation of K.S.A. 21-3814. The district court dismissed the case at preliminary hearing after finding an appearance bond is not forfeited until payment is made by the surety. The district court erred, and the charge against Jones must be reinstated.

Underlying Circumstances

On February 1, 2006, Patrick Jones was charged in case 06 CR 107 with one count of felony possession of methamphetamine and several misdemeanors. Jones was released on bond. On February 22, 2006, Jones was charged in case 06 CR 197 with one count of felony possession of methamphetamine and several misdemeanors. He was again released on bond. In both cases, Jones was required, as a condition of his bond, to appear at all court proceedings.

On February 27, 2006, Jones failed to appear for a proceeding in case 06 CR 197. The district court ordered Jones' bond "revoked" and issued a bench warrant for his arrest. Jones appeared before the court on March 27, 2006, and explained that he had failed to appear because he had been jailed in Kearny County. The district court reset the bond.

Eventually, both of Jones' cases were set for arraignment on June 26, 2006. He again failed to appear. The State requested a warrant, noting that Jones had previously failed to appear. The district court issued a bench warrant and stated that "[b]ond would be ordered revoked." The warrant stated that the "[c]court declare[d] a bond forfeiture."

Jones did appear on August 21, 2006, after being picked up on warrants. After Jones' attorney stated a plea agreement had been discussed with the State, the district court continued the case and reinstated the bonds in both of Jones' cases. The State did not object to the reinstatement of the bonds. It is apparent to us that the reinstatement and the State's acquiesce contributed to the district ...


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