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Old May 25, 2019, 04:47 PM   #1
TXAZ
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What would you do when bail bondsmen break into your home looking for someone who used your address?

Absolute real event / scenario out of Miami area:

3 bail bond agents break in / force their way into a home in suburban Miami looking for someone who listed an address that was not their current address and hadn't lived there in 20 years.

So put yourself in the position, what are you going to do?

Bail bond agents break into (wrong) home claiming a 150 year old SCOTUS ruling lets them do that

Read the short article and watch the 2 minute video.
You’re the armed homeowner, they're disabling your front security door. They're going to be inside in 10 seconds.

What will you do?
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Old May 25, 2019, 04:53 PM   #2
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A - Shoot them !

2 - If its one of those idiots that's on T/V -- Shoot twice !
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Old May 25, 2019, 05:19 PM   #3
4V50 Gary
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Self defense comes to mind. Nowadays there are home invasions where the intruders assert that they're the police. Hopefully no one is injured and the remedy is a civil suit against the bail enforcement agents. When you have to shuck out bucks for trespass, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, damages, it can get kinda pricey.
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Old May 25, 2019, 05:26 PM   #4
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I don't want to shoot anyone, period. However, when someone's breaking into my house (I mean BREAKING IN), they're going to get shot...period. These idiots need to do their homework a little bit better before breaking into someone's house.
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Old May 25, 2019, 05:58 PM   #5
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So you have a sense of personal violation. That's terrible. Starting question - are the agents clearly identified as such. If so -

Which outcome is best?

1. You engage in a gun fight and lose.
2. You engage in a gun fight and win. You have the financial, social, psychological and legal burdens of dealing with that gun fight.
3. You comply and then sue them - their insurance probably pays you off.

Now if they are unidentifiable, that may be different.

There are two sources of decision - emotional vs cognitive/rational. You choose.
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Old May 25, 2019, 06:05 PM   #6
NoSecondBest
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It's not about a "sense of personal violation", it's a fear for your life. If they are breaking in, I'd take that to mean not knocking and showing just cause. I take it as kicking the door in unannounced. There are way too many home invasions now days for any knuckleheads to be kicking doors in without thinking about the consequences on either side of that door.
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Old May 25, 2019, 06:18 PM   #7
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It depends on the identification if you think about it. People have dressed up as pseudo-cops. Cops break into the wrong house. If you identify them as reasonably who they say they are, do you open fire?

Also, behavior is many faceted. Folks like the the idea of only one factor. In a situation like this, the self defense impulse and sense of territorial violation are both active and interact. That's what I am pointing out.

You see folks arguing with police and fighting during an arrest or stop when it is clearly better to accede and sue later if you think your rights are violated. No, they fight and get beaten or sometimes killed as they are emotionally drive and unable to let the rational part of their brain take over.

In the video, it just wasn't a charge in, it took time. Plenty of time to see who they were outside. They walked around with paper work. At what point, would you start shooting them? Charge out of a back room, shooting?

Call the cops when they are at the door - call 911. Shout that out.
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Old May 25, 2019, 06:22 PM   #8
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Even if they are who they say they are, they aren't the police and don't have a warrant to enter your home. If they're intruders/burglers who are claiming to be bail bondsman, then the situation is the same. Whatever the case, if you're concerned that they pose a threat to you, call police and tell them it's a home invasion, the cops can sort it out.

The unfortunate result that can happen is the bondsman may think you're an accomplice and if they see you armed, may try to shoot you. At that point, you have no choice but to shoot them and stop the treat, whether that threat is in good faith or not.

I'm certainly not laying down my guns unless it's the police. If the bondsman want in that bad, they can call the cops and have them do the job.
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Old May 25, 2019, 06:32 PM   #9
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BTW, if they say : Drop the gun, drop it.

No slowly laying down the gun. Next, many armed guys - you can take them all out? A little hubris in ability, you think?

Look at the tape again, this was a rather elaborate setup for fake bondsmen. Most home invasions are drug related and not set up like this. Fake people walk around with papers and videoing it?

Are we talking about this one or some hypothetical, door crashes open, no warning, scenario with folks not in elaborate gear?

Shooting in this one - could you prove that you were in fear of your life? Now maybe a jury would be annoyed with the action and buy your claim. It's a gamble.

Just not having a warrant is not a self defense claim.
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Old May 25, 2019, 06:41 PM   #10
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Everything posted on the internet is use-able in a court of law. As such, I would avail myself of all legal remedies in the state of Texas.

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Old May 25, 2019, 07:05 PM   #11
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Back when I wore a badge we got a call there was a stabbing in progress around midnight. Described on the radio it was Freddy Kruger on a slashing spree. Myself and two other race to the address, tires screeching. Three of us get to the door and get it kicked in. I'm first in, guns drawn, we are clearing the house as we go. No blood. No upturned furniture. No broken vases. No nothing. We quickly split up to different avenues of the house yelling Police.

As soon as this all is unfolding an old woman comes walking out of a room we hadn't gotten to yet, rubbing her eyes, 15 year old nightgown hiding her boobs swinging down around her belly button. "Whats going on?"

Turns out some other girl we soon found out was high, saw another girl at this address get a knife pulled on her 2 weeks ago. She remembered in the midst of the drug fog and called 911. In the mean time this poor old womans door is demolished.

No repurcussions on us, but that stoned girl has some explaining to do to the judge, and the city workers had a door to replace.
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Old May 25, 2019, 08:05 PM   #12
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I agree with the majority opinion. I would be willing to oblige if they identified themselves. In the case of an unidentified break-in, the intruders would have to disable a 12 gauge shotgun in action to complete the search.
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Old May 25, 2019, 10:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
In a video of the incident provided to the Miami Herald, Colas is heard telling the agents that Gabriel was not at the home, located on Northwest 32nd Avenue. He refused to let them enter the home, sparking a standoff between the band of bond agents and his family inside the home.
Quote:
A police supervisor at the scene told the bond agents that police officers could not compel the family to open their doors.

They identified themselves and there were police on the scene before the entry was forced. Okay, it seems to me that it was pretty well clarified, that wasn't a home invasion, bounty hunters had come looking for someone and they were not going to leave without him. The police could not stop them or interfere, it seems.

So, would that person have been justified in any sense to use lethal force to keep them from entering the home?

That is the stupidest thing that I have ever heard. There is absolutely no provision in any of the castle laws that I know of that would give a person impunity to shoot under those circumstances. Clearly identified and police "authorized" to continue their actions.
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Old May 26, 2019, 07:50 AM   #14
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The article describes it as "storming" the house, but that's not exactly what I saw. It may have been the slowest storming in history, I guess. I note that these guys were armed with "a battering ram, stun guns and crow bars." With all of that in mind, if bail bondsmen were actually storming my house in the middle of the night, I just might make someone's momma very, very sad. Perhaps mine in the process, as well.

As it unfolded here, though:

(1) I would have called the police immediately. They might get involved, or they might not, but they most assuredly would have been put on notice that someone was trying to break into my house.

(2) I'd be seeing every one of those bondsmen again, at depositions, if nothing else. The State is heavily involved in the licensing & certification process. The bondsmen are wearing uniforms, patches, and generally making every effort to look like police. They're either executing a court order, a warrant, to which I am not party, had no notice or opportunity to be heard; or they're executing a private contract, to which (again) I was not a party, but clearly to my detriment.
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Old May 26, 2019, 02:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
The State is heavily involved in the licensing & certification process. The bondsmen are wearing uniforms, patches, and generally making every effort to look like police. They're either executing a court order, a warrant, to which I am not party, had no notice or opportunity to be heard; or they're executing a private contract, to which (again) I was not a party, but clearly to my detriment.
You are right, my friend mcgee, there are laws, there are rules and conventions, and for the love of god, NOBODY should want to send a gang of thugs into a home to retrieve a fugitive of a traffic ticket. That's dangerous! It can end badly, and oh, gee, it just did!

This was a stupid decision. If the guy didn't want to have his door smashed open, he should have opened it. The bondsmen were clearly identified, and twice, he had cops on the scene who he could have ordered to accompany the bondsmen through the house. Those bondsmen should not have gone in like a swat team. Did he bondsman really say that if the fugitive got out of the house he wouldn't bother chasing him? I imagine him thinking
Quote:
I'll smash in the door to prove to these clowns that I'm in charge, but otherwise I don't care.
This thing degenerated to measuring their dorks.

I'd like to point something out. If the castle and stand your ground laws are examined, many of them have a certain proviso. If a person instigates violence, (not violence that is life threatening, and justification for deadly force against him) he is still justified, even though he instigated the confrontation to use deadly force against the homeowner.

The gist of most of these laws forbids using force to prevent a legally operating person from performing his duties or job.

Quote:
[defensive force is not justified against an aggressor if] The aggressor is justified under some other provision of this chapter or other provision of law;
The constant dumbing-down of the US citizenry has left us incapable of understanding even the most fundamental things. There is one fundamental thing that nearly everyone should understand. A bail bondsman should not have done this.

There is a comparison to be made. When a person is making collection calls, whether it's for a traffic fine or a thousand dollar default, it's perfectly fine to make calls based on any information given. In general, though, laws require that the collectors desist when verbally told that the defaulting party is not reachable from that phone or location.
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Old May 26, 2019, 02:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by briandg
The gist of most of these laws forbids using force to prevent a legally operating person from performing his duties or job.
But, as Spats McGee pointed out, this was a contractual arrangement between the perp and bond company, it wasn't a law enforcement action. And, as Mr. McGee further points out, the homeowner was not party to the contractual agreement.

So now someone gets to decide whether or not the entry was in any way lawful. The bail bond "agents" claim they have a right to assume that the address the perp gave was a valid address. That's their claim, but I am not prepared to accept that. We know that police (although they sometimes make mistakes, and even lie, on warrant applications) have a duty to make a reasonable effort to know that the person they are after may actually be at the address they seek a warrant to raid. If they mess up and raid 739 Forbes Street instead of 739 Ford Street, they have some culpability. Likewise if they get a warrant to search 739 Ford Street because they claim John Doe is dealing drugs from that address, but it turns out that Mr. Doe sold the house and moved to an adjacent town five years ago. Invalid warrant -- police have culpability.

I think the bail agents have some duty to verify that the guy they are after actually belongs to the address they're raiding before they get to bust down the door and march in.

As to their uniforms -- anyone can buy a shirt and/or a vest that says "Bail Enforcement Agent." Ditto a badge. It's fairly well-known that home invaders now often show up wearing actual police uniforms. So, if I'm a homeowner and I know there are no warrants out for me and I know that I never posted bond for anything -- why should I accept that a couple of dudes wearing shirts they bought from Amazon have a right to break through my door and bust into my house?
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Old May 26, 2019, 03:03 PM   #17
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In the single case described here, I am going to take the Spats Approach.
Call the police to get my version on record as soon as possible, then engage a lawyer and get a reporter lined up.

In the hypothetical battering ram at 2 AM, I am treating it as a home invasion with phone, burglar alarm, and weapons.
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Old May 26, 2019, 03:14 PM   #18
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If they beat on the door demanding someone to come out who does not live here, I will tell them to leave, the person does not live here, and for their safety; do not bust into the house. Warning me they are coming through the door gives me the few extra seconds to grab the 12-gauge loaded with Brenneke 603 gr Black Magic slugs.

I will also call the police to respond and tell them the police have been called.

However, if they just beat in the door and enter, I will shoot and I will shoot to stop the threat...for good.
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Old May 26, 2019, 03:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by zincwarrior View Post

...

My wienerdog, however, will dine on manflesh!
That sir,was the best laugh I've had in a couple of days.

Clearly post of the week material!
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Old May 26, 2019, 06:43 PM   #20
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Aguila, you have misunderstood something.

Quote:
But, as Spats McGee pointed out, this was a contractual arrangement between the perp and bond company, it wasn't a law enforcement action. And, as Mr. McGee further points out, the homeowner was not party to the contractual agreement.
The bondsmen, if they were following the law, properly and within limitations, were protected. They were performing a legal action of collecting a fugitive who was supposedly living in that place, and let's be serious, isn't it probable that 99% of people are going to LIE and deny entry when someone knocks and demands entry to remove a person?


Quote:
[defensive force is not justified against an aggressor if] The aggressor is justified under some other provision of this chapter or other provision of law;
At this point, with this information, with the clear warning regarding people acting within the law, using deadly force against the bondsmen is clearly not legal.

As I said, the bondsmen were clearly identified to a nearly absolute certainty. They would have provided identification to twoseparate teams of police officers and would have been (ostensibly) acting under protection of the law.

If a person shot one or more of those bondsmen, they would have to be assumed (clearly) guilty of use of illegal deadly force since the bondsmen were performing a completely legal service. After a long, drawn out confrontation that included two sets of police officers accepting the legality of their actions, there should have been no doubt that they were bondsmen.

If the homeowner had fired on those bondsmen and he had no reasonable proof that he was justified, the only thing that can be believed is that he deliberately shot in an illegal and unjustified manner.

A lot of the comments seem to suggest that the law isn't important, that a homeowner has the right to shoot no matter what the circumstances are. Not true. The laws clearly indicate that making legal entry into the home by a bondsmen is not an illegal violent attack on the person or property is not an excuse to shoot. Just wanting to shoot the guy who broke into your house does not mean that that you can.

There is one more consideration. The laws always refer to 'reasonable belief' of imminent harm.

The homeowner would have been absolutely unable to support an claim of 'reasonable belief' without some very, very solid proof that his life, safety, property were under immediate threat of very serious injury.
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Old May 26, 2019, 07:06 PM   #21
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All this makes me glad my state, Kentucky, is one of a handful that outlaws bail bondsmen. It is a felony for an out-of-state bail bondsman to come into Kentucky and forcefully take someone into custody, regardless of any warrant from another state.

BTW, that 150 year old SCOTUS case, Taylor vs. Taintor, referred to in the news story doesn't say what it is purported to say. The opinion is here: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supre...rt/83/366.html. It's from an era when judges and lawyers barely spoke English as we know it today. A Wikipedia article about it is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_v._Taintor.
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Old May 26, 2019, 07:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyJim View Post
...

BTW, that 150 year old SCOTUS case, Taylor vs. Taintor, referred to in the news story doesn't say what it is purported to say. The opinion is here: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supre...rt/83/366.html. It's from an era when judges and lawyers barely spoke English as we know it today. A Wikipedia article about it is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_v._Taintor.

Thanks KyJim. I just read the link you provided, and am still a bit confused on what the SCOTUS opinion says in English or Texan.

Any summary would be appreciated.
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Old May 26, 2019, 08:19 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg
Quote:
[defensive force is not justified against an aggressor if] The aggressor is justified under some other provision of this chapter or other provision of law;
At this point, with this information, with the clear warning regarding people acting within the law, using deadly force against the bondsmen is clearly not legal.
I disagree that using force against a bondsman is clearly illegal.

It isn't clear that some other provision of law allows a bondsman to enter a home with whom they've no relationship whatsoever. If someone with whom they've entered a contract defrauded them, then the surety's remedy is against the other party to the contract, not the occupants of a home fraudulently listed in one of their documents.

Neither a bail bondman's uniform nor a policeman's uniform confers immunity for illegal acts (though if a PO is genuinely acting within his authority as an agent of government, both he and his governing employer may be immune). Occupied home invasion isn't a mere burglary for drugs; it's the act of someone who has decided they want to get at the occupants, an act very aggressive by its nature.

Imagining that some who has said he is a bonding company employee is going to pry open your front door then have due regard for your safety would take a lot of faith in human nature; people forcing their way in while one's family are home can reasonably be seen as a grave threat.

Quote:
As I said, the bondsmen were clearly identified to a nearly absolute certainty. They would have provided identification to twoseparate teams of police officers and would have been (ostensibly) acting under protection of the law.
That really doesn't help. That PO's have a degree of immunity in the discharge of their duties doesn't mean that their immunity flows to whoever they think they aren't going to stop from acting. That some PO's stood around while a crew of bondsmen tore open a homeowner's front door even while the man is calling 911 repeatedly may only speak to the limits of their judgement.

If accurately reported, the action of the local police deciding to leave the scene of a public disturbance and then refusing to respond after the third call to them is bizarre.

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Old May 26, 2019, 11:39 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg
Aguila, you have misunderstood something.

Quote:
But, as Spats McGee pointed out, this was a contractual arrangement between the perp and bond company, it wasn't a law enforcement action. And, as Mr. McGee further points out, the homeowner was not party to the contractual agreement.
The bondsmen, if they were following the law, properly and within limitations, were protected. They were performing a legal action of collecting a fugitive who was supposedly living in that place, and let's be serious, isn't it probable that 99% of people are going to LIE and deny entry when someone knocks and demands entry to remove a person?
I don't think I have misunderstood anything. I understand, in layman's terms, what "privity of contract" is and means. The fact that a scumbag provided a false address may or may not give a bail bond agent a legal right to bust into the address provided by the scumbag. I would respectfully submit that this is far from being a slam dunk in favor of the bail enforcement agents. The homeowner clearly was NOT a party to the contract between the scumbag and the bail bondsman. Why should it be automatically assumed that the homeowner -- who was not party to the contract and who knows nothing about it -- should surrender his right to be secure in his home? He didn't give anyone permission to enter his home.

Suppose I commit a crime and I get arrested. I found out your address somehow (doesn't matter how). When I get a bondsman to post my bail, I use your address ... then I take off for parts unknown. Are you honestly going to feel perfectly okay with letting a team of bail enforcement goons enter your house and toss it, looking for a person you may not even know and may not even have heard of?

REALLY? Because that's what you're saying.

I don't agree that the bail enforcement agents have a blanket right to just assume that the address is the correct address, and that the fugitive is inside that structure. I think there needs to be some sort of due diligence on their part to (a) verify that the fugitive actually lives at the address he provided, and (b) that he's there at the time they're forcing entry.

What I think you are overlooking is that no third party can give anyone permission to enter a property that said third party has no ownership/control interest in.

It will be intersting to see what a judge thinks.
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Old May 27, 2019, 05:37 AM   #25
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briandg, I'm going to unpack some of your statements, one at a time. I've bolded certain parts for emphasis.
Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg View Post
. . . .This was a stupid decision. If the guy didn't want to have his door smashed open, he should have opened it. The bondsmen were clearly identified, and twice, he had cops on the scene who he could have ordered to accompany the bondsmen through the house. Those bondsmen should not have gone in like a swat team. . . . .
The same could be said if it had been honest-to-goodness, gang-affiliated home invaders. In fact, it reminds me of Clayton Williams' remark about rape from the 1990s. The homeowner has a property right in that door, one that is superior to strangers that feel like smashing it. The idea that some third party can put my (or another homeowner's) address on a court document and that somehow confers a right to enter and search, which is superior to the homeowner's right to exclude, upon a third party is ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg View Post
. . . . The bondsmen were clearly identified, and twice, he had cops on the scene who he could have ordered to accompany the bondsmen through the house. Those bondsmen should not have gone in like a swat team. . . . .
So what if the bondsmen were clearly identified? At my house, people enter either: (a) with permission; (b) with a warrant; or (c) by force. The first, I greet with grub. The second, I meet with suspicion. The third, I'll meet with force (assuming they don't have a warrant). I don't believe random felons can confer a right of entry and search on my house simply by putting down my address in their paperwork.

I don't know where you live that the homeowner "could have ordered [the police] to accompany the bondsmen," but I suspect that the police either: (1) would have agreed to a request to accompany the bondsmen, which would make this more like an action under color of law; or (2) they would have declined to participate, in which case you have a private party demanding the right to search my house.

I took a quick look at Westlaw and Taylor vs. Taintor. The Notes of Decisions, and the number of appellate decisions under it tells me it's not as strong as those bail bondsmen want to believe. There were quite a few bail bondsmen who appealed their convictions for breaking and entering, kidnapping, etc. I've got to give it a more thorough read, but my sense is that Taylor says that bail bondsmen can pursue a bonded person (not sure if that's the right term) into another state. I did not see anywhere that it said they can enter the private residence of someone unconnected to a case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg View Post
. . . . I'd like to point something out. If the castle and stand your ground laws are examined, many of them have a certain proviso. If a person instigates violence, (not violence that is life threatening, and justification for deadly force against him) he is still justified, even though he instigated the confrontation to use deadly force against the homeowner. . . . .
I'd like for you to point me to a law that would allow this. Specifically, one that would allow a party with no contractual or legal relationship to a homeowner to instigate violence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg View Post
The gist of most of these laws forbids using force to prevent a legally operating person from performing his duties or job.
I don't think that's accurate at all. You appear to assume that the bondsmen are "legally operating." I'm unconvinced. And most of the laws that allow some legally-permissible intrusion (such as bondsmen or car repossession, etc.) are based on some contractual or legal obligation between the person upon whom such intrusion is visited, and the intruding entity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg View Post
. . . .There is a comparison to be made. When a person is making collection calls, whether it's for a traffic fine or a thousand dollar default, it's perfectly fine to make calls based on any information given. In general, though, laws require that the collectors desist when verbally told that the defaulting party is not reachable from that phone or location.
Did you really just compare calling someone's phone to tearing the door open and searching the house? One is markedly more intrusive than the other.
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