Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
14, 2017 Session 
from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 23281 David L.
Allen, Stella Hargrove, Robert L. Jones, and J. Russell
an appeal by Stoney's Bail Bonding, Inc.,
("Stoney's") of an order of the Maury County
Circuit Court, sitting en banc, which denied
Stoney's Renewed Motion for Relief from Bond.
Stoney's argues the single issue that the trial court
erred in its application of Tennessee Code Annotated section
40-11-201(c) because the State failed to commence extradition
proceedings, as previously ordered by the en banc
panel. Following our review of the record, we affirm the
trial court's denial of the motion.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court, sitting en banc, Affirmed
Charles M. Molder, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Stoney's Bail Bonding, Inc.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Brent Cooper, District
Attorney General; and M. Caleb Bayless, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Camille r. McMullen, JJ.,
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
procedural history resulting in the bond forfeiture in this
case is not in dispute. The defendant, Jorge P. Estrada,
failed to appear for a scheduled appearance in the Maury
County Circuit Court on October 31, 2014. Stoney's was
the defendant's surety on his $50, 000 bond. The Circuit
Court properly revoked Mr. Estrada's bond and entered an
order of conditional forfeiture on November 12, 2014. That
same day, a scire facias was executed on
Stoney's, triggering the 180 day period for Stoney's
to "show cause to the contrary or bring the body of [Mr.
Estrada]" or forfeit the bond. See T.C.A.
§ 40-11-139(b). Here is where the dispute begins.
1, 2015, Stoney's filed a "Motion for Relief From
Bond, or In the Alternative, Motion for Extension of Time
from Which Conditional Forfeiture Becomes Final."
Deciding alone, Judge Robert L. Jones granted Stoney's a
ninety-day extension on May 11, 2015, conditioned upon
Stoney's depositing $25, 000 with the Maury County
Circuit Court Clerk's office. There is no transcript in
the record of this hearing. Thus, we are left to ponder on
what proof the trial court based its conclusions.
Stoney's filed under seal an affidavit of its agent,
Kendall Vandiver, with the motion. We are unable to determine
if it the trial court considered the affidavit before
entering its May 11, 2015 order. The order did not release
Stoney's from its additional $25, 000 obligation. A final
forfeiture hearing was set for August 11, 2015.
there is no transcript in the technical record, apparently a
final hearing was conducted before an en banc panel
("the panel") of the Circuit Court for the 22nd
Judicial District on October 30, 2015. For reasons not at all
clear, the State did not appear at this hearing. The
panel's resulting order indicates that Stoney's
provided the panel with information supporting its continued
devotion of "resources, time and financial, to locate
and procure [Mr. Estrada]." Further, the panel found
that Stoney's had communicated with the Office of the
District Attorney for the 22nd Judicial District on several
occasions, notifying the office of Mr. Estrada's
"exact location within the country of Mexico and other
pertinent information which would have assisted in the
extradition process and ultimate apprehension of [Mr.
Estrada]." The order also indicates that Stoney's,
through its agent Mr. Vandiver and attorney Charles M.
Molder, in some way informed the panel that the District
Attorney's Office "rela[yed] to Stoney's that it
would seek a 'Governor's Warrant;' however these
efforts began at a time prior to the known location of [Mr.
Estrada]." The panel granted partial relief to
Stoney's by exonerating them of $25, 000 of the total
$50, 000 bond, pursuant to the court's discretionary
powers provided by Tennessee Code Annotated section
40-11-203. The panel further reserved ruling on the remaining
$25, 000 and "finds the District Attorney General shall
have thirty (30) days from the date of the entry of this
Order to commence extradition proceedings."
the passage of thirty days, Stoney's filed the motion
which is the subject of this appeal. In the motion,
Stoney's argued that the amended language of Tennessee
Code Annotated section 40-11-201(c) required the panel to
relieve Stoney's from its full obligation for the total
bond. All the parties, including the State, appeared at a
hearing on February 12, 2016, before the panel. The panel
entered an order denying Stoney's request, in all
respects, to recover the remaining $25, 000 bond proceeds.
The technical record contains no transcript of this hearing;
thus, again, we are left to ponder as to whether any of the
findings of the lower court were based on evidence or simply
arguments of counsel. It is from this Order that Stoney's
argues that the panel erred in failing to fully exonerate
them from the bond pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated
section 40-11-201(c) (amended 2015). Stoney's position is
that because Mr. Estrada is now in Mexico, the United States-
Mexico Extradition Treaty, P.I.A.S. No. 9656, 31 U.S.T. 5059,
is in play. This treaty requires a "provisional arrest
warrant" to be procured. Stoney's argues that it has
no authority or ability to begin this process as that
authority rests solely and exclusively with the office of the
District Attorney. Because the "detainer request [was]
refused, " then the surety, in this case Stoney's,
"shall not be liable in the undertaking." T.C.A.
§ 40-11-201(c). The State maintains that there is no
proof that a detainer, extradition, or habeas corpus was
"filed against Mr. Estrada with the detaining ...