Yvonne Mason

Go West Young Man Go West:

The Outlaws Did and the Hunters Followed

California is another one of those states that tend to keep the laws and statutes for Bounty Hunters close to their chest so to speak. As I researched this state the pickings were very lean.

However, what I did find was very interesting. For instance a license is required which goes without saying, however, I found that the person must also be at least 18 years old. Which is very strange to me, you can’t be licensed to carry in most states until you are at least 21. They have to complete a 2 hour arrest course. This law also requires that a Bail Enforcement Agent has to notify his intent to apprehend his jumper to law enforcement six hours before he picks him up.

Now, I find that very interesting. The jumper more times than not will be gone in that amount of time. The reasoning behind this part of the law is to keep the hunter from forcibly entering the premises for any purpose except to pick up the jumper.

The hunter must carry certification of completion of required courses and training programs on his person and of course he shall not wear a badge or law enforcement type of apparel. I wonder is this includes bullet proof vest. They can not carry a firearm or weapon except in compliance with state law.

The hunter has 24 hours to deliver the jumper to either the court or the bonding agent if it is an instate pickup. If it is an out of state pick up they have 48 hours to deliver him to California.

Now I did find something very interesting in this state. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle there are more than 2.5 million arrest warrants outstanding in the State of California. Many are for misdemeanors, but thousands are for homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault and other very serious crimes, these warrants have remained unserved. The Question is why?

It appears that the state and local law enforcement agencies just sit on them and wait until they are picked up on some other crime. And to add insult injury they are re-released ROR (Released on Own Recognizance).

Also according to this same article it would appear the bonding companies seem to have a higher re-arrest rate than the agencies. Something to think about. The writer of the article thinks the hunters should serve the arrest warrants outstanding and bring those bad boys on in. It sounds like a plan to me.

Now that being said, in 1997 there was an incident where five hunters wearing ski masks( now why would they want to do that) kicked in a front door held children at gunpoint and shot a young couple, they were looking for a jumper.

It appeared the hunters were looking for an out of state jumper who had fled from California to Arizona. The bond on the jumper was $25,000.00 needless to say the bonding company wanted that boy.

The take down went like this. They kicked in the door. A woman and her two children were in one bedroom sleeping. She was held down and tied and hit on the head with a flashlight while two more of the hunters kicked in the door to another bedroom. Bullets flew from both the couple in the room and the hunters. Two hunters were hit but not hurt, they were wearing vests, the young couple was killed.

One hunter was charged with 2nd degree murder. This entire fiasco turned out to be mistaken identity. The hunters were at the wrong house.

It is stories like this which has given us as hunters a bad name and created the strict laws in the different states and has outlawed hunters in others. And of course the news media love this type of news it sells. It also speaks ill of those of us who are truly interested in bringing them in alive and well. It just takes too much red tape the other way and the clean up is murder.

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Lee Lofland on NPR’s Talk of the Nation

Last Friday, legendary FBI criminal profiler, Clint Van Zandt, and I appeared as guests on the NPR radio show Talk Of The Nation. Our discussion was about the aggressive tactics used by police when questioning criminal suspects and witnesses.

Click the link below to listen to the show.


4 replies
  1. Yvonne
    Yvonne says:

    If the jumper is pulled over or re-arrested for any reason the hunter loses his bounty. If the hunter takes law enforcment with him and the jumper is placed in a police car, he also loses his bounty. However, the bonding company is stil in the clear that is unless, they jumper has gone over the 30-45 day period, in that case the bonding company loses as well. But the jumper is still charged with failure to appear on top of the existing charges.

  2. SZ
    SZ says:

    Oh how I love these blogs ! And you are picking on San Francisco ! Even better.

    Elena created an interesting quest. I went to sfgov.org and tried age, age requirements … have not tried LA yet.

    Too tired. Long summer of work and visitors ! (of the human kind)

    Yvonne, you have no doubt answered this before, however ol’ braindead here is gonna ask.

    If the hunter calls six hours in advance, it is my belief that if the jumper was pulled over for traffic … then or the day before … that the hunter loses their share (and time spent) , yet the bondsman is ok ? And can a detective hear the address, time… and try to beat you to the punch ?

    Still braindead, I do believe I have read about the 1997 incident. Who shot first ? Was there no way to prove self defence ? Or was it outlawish handling ? B & E issues for a hunter ? Will have to google later.

    Whether you are hunter or a salesman (well a hunter has to sell themself) it really depends on the person. There are good and bad hunters, and good and bad salesmen. (cars heh heh)

    The repo stuff is interesting. What are the chances of showing up at the same time ? Well, the jumper is a mess, of course. This would be great to write into a scene ! I have met a repo man. He had some interesting stories indeed. That said, and again apologize if I am not alert enough, why does it matter that the hunter is there ? The repo guy is quiet, take the car, so I can go get my guy ?

    The crimes happening here are indeed deplorable. Most recently a Father and two sons over nothing. I could go on. I dont understand so many warrants out there. How can they ror ? This person has a warrant !

    Did you get to hear the NPR thing ? It was great. I want to hear it again. I had questions in just one listen, but was running around and could not e mail them in yet.


    Well done. Once again. Thank you !

  3. Yvonne Sewell
    Yvonne Sewell says:

    No I didn’t work with a repor on a jumping case- I did however work with one when I was in collections for a loan company. Which is pretty much the same thing.
    It can become a sticky wicket lol

  4. Elena
    Elena says:

    Between the six hour requirement, and the 2.5 million outstanding warrents I get the strange impression that CA is not especially interested in protecting it’s honest citizen’s.

    I did a quick browse trying to find out if you can be licensed to purchase a gun at 18 and couldn’t find any age at all. Given that one of the deal breakers to legally buying a gun is if you are under the supervision of a juvenile court, perhaps there is no minimum age for gun ownership.

    I’ve been wanting to ask you – have you ever worked with a repo guy? I used to know a few, and one told me a story about walking into a situation involving someone who had jumped bail – they wound up flipping a coin to decide if the car went first or the jumper. He said he used his double headed quarter and called tails! No dummy there 🙂

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