People v. Bankers Insurance Co.Annotate this Case
Bankers posted a bond for the release of Al-Zetawi, who was in custody on felony animal-cruelty charges. Al-Zetawi did not execute a waiver of his right to personally attend all proceedings. He appeared at nine proceedings before the court scheduled trial for June 4, 2018. On March 8, Al-Zetawi sought a continuance; he appeared at the March 13 hearing, stating he planned to travel to Jordan for surgery. The court denied the motion. Al-Zetawi appeared at a March 20 pretrial conference; the court ordered him to return on June 4th. On May 31, Al-Zetawi moved to continue the trial date. Al-Zetawi did not appear at the June 1 hearing. His attorney stated that he was supposed to return the day before but was detained in Jordan because of medical issues. The court denied the request.
On June 4, Al-Zetawi did not appear. The court forfeited his bail, issued a warrant, denied Bankers’ motions to toll the six-month bail-forfeiture period to secure Al-Zetawi’s appearance, and entered summary judgment on the bond. Bankers argued that the court lost jurisdiction of the bond when Al-Zetawi failed to appear on May 29 and June 1 and the court neither declared a forfeiture of the bail nor found sufficient excuse for his absences. The court of appeal affirmed. While the judge did not state explicitly that she considered Al-Zetawi’s non-attendance at the hearings to be sufficiently excused, she clearly considered the failure to have ordered him to be present to provide an excuse.