Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
D.C.
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Mass.
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
N.Carolina
N.Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
S.Carolina
S.Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
W.Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Law Firm Website Design Companies : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


With phone in hand and dialing finger at the ready, bail bondsman Carl Pruett turned out to be a faster gun than the uniformed folks in reaching people with outstanding arrest warrants. That got him in trouble not only with the law, but with his fellow bondsmen. Drumming up business by calling alleged criminals before they were picked up put the lives of officers in danger and gave the bad guys a reason to flee. And someone on the lam who is already carrying a bond could cost some other bondsman dearly.

Six years ago, the Harris County Bail Bond Board, which regulates the bond industry, told Pruett to stop calling. Officials said he was breaking a local rule that banned certain solicitations. And they threatened to suspend his license to do business.

Pruett fought back with a lawsuit against the board and Harris County and recently, after a protracted legal fight, a federal appeals court ruled he and fellow bondsman Scott Martin had a First Amendment right to consult public records, then solicit business by phone.

Calling times restricted

The 5th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that state-imposed restrictions on "commercial speech" were unconstitutional, but agreed with the state law restricting solicitation calls between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.

Essentially, Pruett and Martin used public records to troll for people with outstanding warrants, and then called them to offer their services.

Constable offices, the county and other municipalities use those same records to mail thousands of letters every month to people with open warrants for bad checks, unreturned DVD rentals, unresolved traffic violations and other nonviolent criminal cases.

The 5th Circuit ruled that Pruett and Martin had the same rights to contact those people.

"The statute does not prevent attorneys, law enforcement officials or anyone else from alerting someone that he's the subject of an open warrant," the court said. "Harris County cannot give such notice itself and then claim that restricting notice by others is necessary to the safety of its officers and the public and the prevention of flight."

County Attorney Mike Stafford said the county didn't create or enforce the state law, but intervened to prevent bondsmen from "tipping off" alleged criminals. He said protecting officers from possible violence is a legitimate objection and the county will likely appeal the latest decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

David Furlow, who represents Pruett and Martin in the federal lawsuit, hailed the decision as a "vindication of First Amendment rights." But he said perhaps more importantly, the courts action sent a loud message to fellow bondsmen who saw Pruett and Martin as unscrupulous competitors.

"The largest bail bonding companies with large investments in Yellow Pages ads and large existing bases of criminal defendant clients, they wanted to restrict those and keep other bail bondsmen from contacting them," Furlow said.


Legal News | Breaking News | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Law Firm Web Design, Attorney Website Design by Law Promo

ⓒ Breaking Legal News. All Rights Reserved.

The content contained on the web site has been prepared by BLN as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case.
   More Legal News
   Legal Spotlight
   Exclusive Commentaries
   Attorney & Blog - Blog Watch
   Law Firm News  1  2  3  4  5  6 
   Lawyer & Law Firm Links
San Francisco Trademark Lawyer
San Francisco Copyright Lawyer
www.onulawfirm.com
New Rochelle Accidents Attorneys
New Rochelle Personal Injury
www.kboattorneys.com
Chicago Business Lawyer
Cook County Contract Law
www.rothlawgroup.com
Canton Criminal Lawyer
Canton DUI lawyer
www.cantoncriminalattorney.com
Surry County Criminal Defense Lawyers
Yadkin County Family Law Attorneys
www.dirussolaw.com
Oregon DUI Law Attorney
Eugene DUI Lawyer. Criminal Defense Law
www.mjmlawoffice.com
Houston Car Accident Attorneys
Wrongful Death Attorneys Houston
Houston Wrongful Death
New York Adoption Lawyers
New York Foster Care Lawyers
Adoption Pre-Certification
www.lawrsm.com
Santa Ana Workers' Compensation Lawyers
www.gentryashtonlaw.com
Indianapolis personal injury lawyer
Brain injury lawyer Indianapolis
www.rwp-law.com
Eugene Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy Attorney Eugene
willamettevalleybankruptcy.com
Lorain Elyria Divorce Lawyer
www.loraindivorceattorney.com
Denver, Colorado Drug Crimes Lawyer
www.vanlandinghamlaw.com
   More Legal News  1  2  3  4  5  6
   Legal News Links
  Click The Law
  Daily Bar News
  The Legal Voice
  The Legal Report
  Legal News Post
  Crisis Legal News
  Legal News Journal
  Law Firm Logos
  Attorney Web Design
  Immigration Law Web Design
  Law Firm Directory