INSURANCE-RELATED COURT CASES
Digested from case reports published online
Suspect on the run
The prosecution filed a complaint alleging that Geovanni Quijadas Silva committed a lewd or lascivious act on a child by force, violence, duress, menace, and fear. North River Insurance Company and its bail agent (collectively, North River) posted a $100,000 bond to release Silva. The trial court declared the bond forfeited when Silva did not appear for a hearing on February 22, 2018.The forfeiture would become final in 180 days, on August 30, 2018, unless Silva came to court or was in custody by then. At North River’s request, the court granted two extensions for a total of 180 days from the first extension. March 20, 2019, was the final day of this new interval. On that final day, North River moved to vacate the forfeiture and to exonerate the bond under section 1305, subdivision (d) or (g). In the alternative, it moved to toll time under section 1305, subdivision (e) or (h).
North River’s motion included a declaration by an investigator who said he found Silva in Mexico on March 15, 2019. The investigator temporarily detained Silva in the presence of a Mexican law enforcement officer, who positively identified Silva. The motion had other exhibits, including Silva’s Mexican identification card and fingerprints, photos of Silva and the investigator, and statements from the officer and Silva.
The prosecution opposed the motion because it could not make an extradition decision within the appearance period—namely by March 20, 2019—nor did it decline to extradite within that period. The prosecution noted that North River served the motion on the last day of the appearance period and moreover served it to an office where the prosecutor of record and the prosecutor who handles contested bail motions did not work. The prosecution also said the fingerprints were not usable.
In reply, North River said the prosecution violated due process by not giving notice of its extradition decision and by not saying whether it would agree to tolling. North River alternatively argued that the court should toll time under section 1305, subdivision (h)or should grant a continuance under section 1305, subdivision (j).
On June 28, 2019, the court denied North River’s motion. It found that the matter was untimely because the prosecution had not decided about extradition by the end of the appearance period, March 20, 2019, and no statutory provisions required the prosecution to decide by then. The court also denied the alternate requests to toll the forfeiture period or to continue the matter.
On July 10, 2019, the court entered a judgment of $100,000 against North River. North River appealed.
The Second Appellate District affirmed. The court reasoned that North River’s position was contrary to the language and legislative history of penal code section 1305, subdivisions (g) and (h). Subdivision (g) requires the surety to find the defendant “far enough in advance of the 180-day appearance period to allow the prosecutor to decide whether to extradite.” North River gave less than a day’s notice; this was insufficient. Subdivision (h) did not apply because the prosecution did not agree to toll the appearance period.
North River posted a bail bond on a defendant who fled California. North River chased him but found him too late to get the prosecution’s decision on extradition, which is a necessary part of the statutory process. North River maintained that legislative purpose should override, or guide, the interpretation of the words of this statute. The court wrote, however, that rescuing anyone who may have pledged assets as security for the bond was not an issue before the court.
The People v. The North River Insurance Company—Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Eight—February 7, 2023—No. B322752.