It seems to go hand-in-hand with bail bonds: bounty hunters. The idea is so prevalent in American society that there have been space-fantasy movies with major characters with the profession of “bounty hunter.” There’s a whole reality show franchise about a family of bounty hunters from Hawaii. A series of comic books feature a bounty hunter for the lord of the underworld.
Recent incidents have brought a bright light down on a profession that is often marked and defined by its shadowy nature.
No One Is Above The Law
In August, three bounty hunters broke into an apartment in Dallas, Texas. Inside were 18-year-old Michael Faz and his younger sisters. All present were innocent of any crime. Especially considering that the bounty hunters were searching for the children’s uncle, who didn’t even live there, this entire situation seems wrong.
Faz recorded the incident on his cell phone. On the recording, the bounty hunters can be heard threatening to take Faz to jail and involve Child Protective Services. Faz told the police that the bounty hunters forced him onto his knees, pointed guns at him, and handcuffed him.
All three bounty hunters are licensed as private investigators or commissioned security officers. They were working for EZ Out Bail Bonds at the time of the incident. One of them, John Faulstitch, told officers that they kicked the door in on the apartment because an informant had told them the man they were searching for was in the apartment. The bounty hunters now face charges of burglary.
Texas Bounty Hunter Laws
Unlike many states, Texas has strict rules regarding bounty hunting. Only peace officers, private investigators, and commissioned security officers employed by a licensed guard company can act as bounty hunters. The laws forbid bounty hunters from entering homes without permission, though there are no restrictions on public places.
John Rosa, a bounty hunter and bail bondsman, says, “If you didn’t have bounty hunters, or Texas didn’t permit bounty hunting, bail bond companies wouldn’t exist.”
Rosa is a licensed private investigator, and he explains that the police force simply does not have the resources to hunt down all the people who jump their bail and try to skip out.
Dallas attorney Anthony Farmer says, “It’s imperative that you have a mechanism to go out and apprehend individuals who bail jump.”
“Step-moms are the best snitches”
Rosa explains that his job frequently requires him to conduct surveillance, run background checks on bail jumpers, and pay snitches for information. “We give money to individuals or family members who are maybe tired of the defendant bringing turmoil to their front door. Step-moms are the best snitches.”
Rosa sums up his belief about the way you should do bounty hunting in just a few words. “You can’t get sloppy. You have to do things a certain way to ensure that you return home.”
Whatever is to be done about the situation with bounty hunters in Texas and other states, it seems obvious that treating the bounty hunters as separate from the bail bondsmen they represent is impossible. It almost seems that it’s a package deal. Does this mean that the entire bail system needs an overhaul? What do you think? Let us know in the comments. For more information contact us!