May 4, 2011 6:35 PM by Andy Koen

Bondsmen outraged at alternative bond program

A bill at the state capitol is on a fast track to putting our government into the bail bond business. Senate Bill 186, which passed on Wednesday, is sponsored by state senator John Morse (D) Colorado Springs and would establish a state run alternative bond program.

Morse says the bill will help ease overcrowding at the jails. He estimates the cost to taxpayers to house one inmate at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center to be around $63 a day.

"There's plenty of people that bail bondsmen don't offer bail bonds to because they are financial risks that they're not willing to take, for whatever reason, and so the taxpayers end up picking up the tab as those folks sit in jail waiting for trial."

But local bondsmen Bobby Brown says the bill will harm his and others businesses.

"What it is is a greedy government take over," Brown said.

He also worries that the state won't do a good enough job bringing fugitives to court.

"What's going to make him come back to court? Mildred the little lady that took her course online?"

Morse says, under the program, the courts would establish rules for release and local law enforcement would be placed in charge of capturing fugitives, "with ankle bracelets or drug tests or calling in or whatever it's going to be."

He believes the government would do a better job of bringing defendants to court than the bail bondsmen.

"We need some more intensive supervision than what the private bail bond industry offers currently."

The bill passed the state senate Wednesday now goes to the house for approval where it is co-sponsored by state representative Mark Waller (R) El Paso County.

Brown says he plans to lobby the governor to veto it.


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