The State Supreme Court found a Van Buren County court can suspend a local bonding company for failure to appear.
Cumberland Bail Bonding challenged the September, 2017 ruling that it could no longer write bonds in Van Buren County. At issue, a local rule that requires bonding agents to appear at any court hearing involving the defendants. The bonding agent must also notify the defendants of any court appearance. Cumberland Bail Bonding and the defendants failed to appear in the September 25, 2017 hearing.
The company challenged the rule as being arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with Tennessee law. In a 2019 decision, the Court of Criminal Appeals found the requirement for bonding agents to appear at court hearings as redundant and illegal. The state challenged the ruling.
The Supreme Court found that the bond company’s presence can conserve judicial resources by providing the judge information on why a defendant did not appear. This can also avoid a merit-less decision to prosecute for failure to appear.
Cumberland Bail Bonding was reinstated in 2018.