Appealed from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and
for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Suit
Number 05-16-0104 Honorable Richard D. Anderson, Presiding
C. Moore, III District Attorney Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellee State of Louisiana
Tirrell Assistant District Attorney Baton Rouge, LA
Neal Wilkinson Baton Rouge, LA Counsel for
Defendant/Appellant American Surety Company
BEFORE: GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.
Surety Company appeals from a judgment of the trial court
denying its motion for release from bond obligation. For the
reasons that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Michael Hepworth, was arrested on November 5, 2015, for
aggravated arson, aggravated criminal damage to property,
theft, and resisting an officer. His bail was set in the
amount of $27, 500. On November 12, 2015, A American Bail
Bonds of Louisiana executed a bond on behalf of the
defendant, backed by commercial surety, American Surety
Company (American Surety).
the defendant was charged by bill of information with
aggravated criminal damage to property in violation of La.
R.S. 14:55. The matter was set for arraignment on June 14,
2016, and notice was sent to American Surety; however, the
defendant failed to appear in court for arraignment. The
trial court ordered that a bench warrant be issued for the
arrest of the defendant and rendered judgment in favor of the
State of Louisiana and against the defendant and American
Surety, jointly and in solido, in the full amount of the
bond. The court further ordered that the notice of the entry
of the forfeiture be sent to the defendant and to American
Surety. The trial court signed a bond forfeiture judgment on
June 15, 2016.
October 7, 2016, American Surety filed a motion for release
from bond obligation, asserting that on August 11, 2016, the
defendant was arrested and incarcerated in Davenport, Scott
County, Iowa, and that the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs
Office was notified but failed to transport the defendant and
he was released from custody. Therefore, American Surety
asserted that it was entitled to be released from its bond
hearing on American Surety's motion was set for November
17, 2016. After several continuances, the matter was finally
heard on April 5, 2017, at which time the trial court
denied the motion. The trial court signed a judgment in
conformity with its ruling on May 16, 2017, and American
Surety now appeals from this judgment.
Code of Criminal Procedure article 345(D), which was in
effect at the time American Surety filed its motion for