November 24, 2014


Bond company wins delay to pay $200,000

John Davis

John Davis

ELYRIA — When John Davis failed to show up for his sentencing hearing on drug charges on June 12, 2013, prosecutors asked for his $200,000 bond to be revoked and forfeited.

Despite three court orders to that effect issued by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery, the money has never been paid to the county. If paid, the funds would be evenly split between county Prosecutor Dennis Will’s office and the Ohio Highway Patrol, which arrested Davis in 2011.

On Friday, Allegheny Casualty Co., the surety company backing the bond, reached an agreement with Will’s office that bought the company more time to find Davis and avoid having to turn over the money.

The agreement required the company to immediately deposit the full $200,000 bond with county Clerk of Courts Ron Nabakowski’s office, although as of Monday only $100,000 had been turned over.

Under terms of the agreement, the money is supposed to be held through June 20, when it would be forfeited if the company fails to produce Davis. The order also gives the company until May 30 to file a request that would allow them to explain to Rothgery why they should receive some of the bond money back.

Attorney Joseph Cirigliano, who represents Allegheny, declined to comment on the case Monday, citing attorney-client privilege.

Will said that because the company can make an argument to reclaim some of the forfeited money if Davis is ever found, Allegheny and Access Bail Bonds, the bond company that posted the money, have an incentive to keep up the search for Davis.

“We still want this guy,” Will said.

Davis, 54, was pulled over by a trooper on March 15, 2011, on the Ohio Turnpike in a GMC Yukon that was travelling under the speed limit and had drifted over the edge line on the side of the road several times, according to court documents filed in the case.

After Davis was stopped, another trooper arrived at the scene with a drug-sniffing dog, which indicated the presence of drugs in the vehicle. A search turned up roughly 188 pounds of marijuana in boxes in the back of the Yukon.

Court records show Davis was ordered freed nine days after his arrest when the $200,000 bond was posted.

After Rothgery rejected a request to suppress evidence seized in the stop, Davis pleaded no contest on Feb. 20, 2013, to trafficking in marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of criminal tools. Court records indicated that Davis was facing a mandatory prison sentence of eight years when he left the Lorain County Justice Center that day.

Jack Bradley, Davis’ attorney, said while he knew his client was ill and feared he wouldn’t live to see the end of his case, there was nothing to indicate that he wouldn’t appear for his sentencing. He said despite living in St. Petersburg, Fla., his client had always shown up for court in the past.

The last he heard from Davis, Bradley said, he was heading to Elyria for the sentencing hearing.

Prosecutors first sought to have the bond forfeited at a July 31 hearing, but that was continued at the request of Access and T-Bonds, a local bonding company that was working with Access on the case, according to court records.

No one appeared from either bonding company at an Oct. 2 hearing and Rothgery ordered the bond forfeited to the state.

The bond companies later tried to convince Rothgery to set aside the forfeiture order because they had missed the hearing due to a scheduling mix-up. The judge denied that request in a Nov. 8 order, when he again ordered the bond forfeited.

In December, Access’ attorney, Wayne Nicol, who did not return calls seeking comment, asked Rothgery to put the bond company on a payment plan to make good on the $200,000.

Assistant County Prosecutor Richard Gronsky objected, noting that “neither the state of Ohio nor the clerk of court nor this court have the time nor legal responsibility to monitor a forfeited bail ‘payment schedule.’”

On Jan. 14, Rothgery denied the request for a payment schedule and for the third time ordered that the forfeited bond be paid to Nabakowski’s office.

That order stood for two months until the agreement Friday.

  • Mark B

    Better call in “Dog The Bounty Hunter”.

  • jz

    All for marijuana. What a joke.

    • Mark B

      People need to keep this in mind anytime there is a tax levy that in anyway supports the police or the state patrol. If they are not marijuana friendly , certainly don’t be friendly be voting to give them any tax money!

      • Larry Crnobrnja

        I expect the police and state patrol to be “law friendly”. Their job is to enforce the laws that are on the books. Your comment suggests you misunderstand their responsibility.

        • Mark B

          Then that would include “Every Law” what about when they lie about people weaving or lane changes just to facilitate a traffic stop ?

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            If that were to happen, they wouldn’t be within the law, would they?

          • Mark B

            It does happen , and all of the time . One case was just recently tossed out of court for that very reason. That was just one of the times they happened to get caught at their game

      • jz

        You know it is not their job to be marijuana friendly and they have to do their jobs. It is our nations drug policies that need to be revised and give the cops something more meaningful to do than arrest people for marijuana. And don,t buy all the “safety” bull crap they try to give us. Nixons drug war had absolutely nothing to do with our safety.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Sure hope this bonding company has the other $100,000. The county can use the money.

  • golfingirl

    Make them pay. It is a cost of doing business for a Bond Company. They assume the risk, they pay the penalty.

    I know, maybe we can give them federal subsidies to mitigate their exposure and risk. Like we are going to give the insurance companies who agree to participate in the ACA.

  • Tommy Peel

    This is normal when a person doesn’t show up for sentencing. The courts usually gives the bonding company multiple chances to bring the defendant to court.

    • golfingirl

      Maybe they should not allow them to post bond for any other defendants until they “square up” with the courts.

      Just a thought.

  • It has to stop

    These companies have to be licensed with the county. Not sure if that is the case or not but either pull that license or don’t allow them to do bonds for the city/county and charge them the additional court cost associated with the city trying to get the 200k.

    • oldruss

      Exactly. The administrative judge of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas should issue an order that no court will accept any bond posted by these companies, and include the local bail bondsman. Why should the court stand to be flim-flammed this way?

  • Jamie Smith

    How the hell does a goofy looking little SH** like that hide from the Law ?? I say he’s Crossdressing like a Woman.