Monday, February 11, 2008

Bail me out Part 2

She was problematic when I was on the bench, clearly not qualified, at least at that time, to handle most of the felony cases, and would never show up at docket call claiming she was not the attorney merely the attorney on the bond.

Lawyer's bond work draws critics
Karisa King: Express-News

When it comes to posting bail bonds, few commercial bondsmen or lawyers rival Kelly Green.
Since she entered the trade in 2001, she has posted $26.5 million in bonds, rocketing to the top of the list of attorneys who work in the controversial and high-risk business.
Her popularity among jail inmates fuels a bustling legal practice that racked up 430 cases last year. It also has led Green into murky ethical territory, clashes with fellow attorneys and bonds that frequently went bad.

Most states forbid lawyers from writing bail bonds, but Texas allows the practice as long as the lawyer also represents the client. The American Bar Association says lawyers should not post bonds for their clients except in rare circumstances because of the potential for a conflict of interest.

A review of court records by the San Antonio Express-News shows more than 250 lawyers in Bexar County wrote bail bonds last year for their clients. Yet most attorneys shun the wholesale practice. Of the attorneys who posted bonds last year, about half signed off on bonds totaling less than $34,000, compared to Green's total of about $5.1 million. Five professional bondsmen did more business than Green. Their totals ranged from $5.3 to $23.5 million.

Court records show that it's not uncommon for Green's clients to end up back in jail after she requests arrest warrants for them for various bond violations. In the parlance of the bail bonds industry, it's called "offing a bond" — common practice for a bondsman who suspects someone won't show up for court.

But Green's approach has a twist: She usually continues to represent clients after dropping their bonds, even when their client-attorney relationship has soured.

Most often, Green ended bond agreements because defendants failed to report to her office and she couldn't reach them, or they were arrested on new charges, valid reasons all for going off a bond. But to sever a bond agreement a bondsman must file a statement explaining why they believe the defendant poses a risk.