DEFENDANTS ON BAIL BONDS
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Have the Amwest/Far West bail bonds been cancelled?
Answer: Yes, all bail bonds that were active as of December 9, 2001 at 11:59 p.m. CST have been cancelled as required by Nebraska statutes and as a result of the Liquidation of Amwest/Far West.
Question: Why is Nebraska involved?
Answer: Because both Amwest and Far West are incorporated under the laws of the state of Nebraska.
Question: Who are Amwest Surety Insurance Company and Far West Insurance Company?
Answer: These are insurance companies that backed and underwrote thousands of bail bonds written by bail agents in over 40 states.
Question: Now that the bail bonds are cancelled, does this mean that the bond is exonerated?
Answer: Cancellation means that Amwest/Far West is no longer obligated to the court on the bond and Amwest / Farwest has no further liability beyond the cancellation date
Question: I am a defendant who was bailed out of jail on an Amwest/Far West bail bond. What does cancellation mean to me and my court case?
Answer: It means that Amwest/Far West is no longer obligated to the court on the bond. We urge you to immediately contact your attorney and arrange to appear before the judge so that the court can make an appropriate order in relation to the cancellation of your bail bond. Failure to do so may result in the issuance of a warrant for your arrest.
Question: What about bail bonds that were ordered forfeited by a court prior to the December 9, 2001 cancellation?
Answer: These are considered to be valid forfeitures and all customary steps will be taken by the court, the bail agent and law enforcement to address the matter. Since these are valid forfeitures, it is our opinion that the bail agent still retains the right to apprehend the defendant. If you are a defendant whose bond has been forfeited you should return to court and should also contact your bail agent.
Question: If as a result of the cancellation, the defendant is ordered to post a new bail bond, will Amwest/Farwest pay the premium?
Answer: If premium is paid for a replacement bond the, the person who paid the premium may file a proof of claim with the Liquidator for the premium attributable to the replacement of the cancelled bond(s). This claim must be filed in accordance with the Proof of Claim process described elsewhere. At this time, the Liquidator cannot predict what amount, if any, will ultimately be approved or paid on this or any other type of claim.
Question: If the defendant chooses to have a new bail bond written, may the premium be paid from collateral being held by the agent that indemnifies the Amwest/Far West bail bond?
Answer: No, not without prior approval from the agent that holds the collateral. Furthermore, we believe the judge should first acknowledge the cancellation of the Amwest/Far West bail bond.
Question: If collateral was pledged to obtain my Amwest/Far West bail bond, how will I get it back?
Answer: The fact that the bail bond was cancelled does not necessarily mean that the collateral can be released. The best case would be for the court to react to the cancellation process by ordering the bail bond exonerated. However, we realize that not all judges will issue such an order. In all cases, the judge needs to have to have taken some action acknowledging the cancellation. Some examples of this would be, for example, if the court orders the defendant released upon his own recognizance, or orders the defendant rebailed. In these cases, we will consider the bond to have been discharged. In addition, you must have satisfied all legal or contractual obligations between yourself and your bail agent. You should contact your bail agent for further guidance and assistance.
Question: As a result of the cancellation of the bail bonds, is the person who paid the agent the original premium for the Amwest/Far West bail bond entitled to a refund of that premium?
Answer: No. under the terms of the bond itself and also under applicable state laws, premiums for bail bonds are fully earned upon release of the defendant from custody.
Question: What if my bail bond was ordered exonerated by the judge at the completion of my required court appearances prior to the cancellation date of December 9, 2001?
Answer: The cancellation does not effect you.