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AA-Prof'l Bail Bonding v. Deal

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 8, 2015

AA-PROFESSIONAL BAIL BONDING
v.
DEAL

Bond forfeiture. Gwinnett State Court. Before Judge Brantley.

Atkins & Fife, David B. Fife, for appellant.

Rosanna M. Szabo, Solicitor-General, Casey C. Doyle, Assistant Solicitor-General, for appellee.

DILLARD, Judge. McFadden, J., concurs and Ellington, P. J., concurs in judgment only.

OPINION

Page 218

Dillard, Judge.

In this matter, AA-Professional Bail Bonding (" AAPB" ) appeals from the trial court's order denying its motion to set aside the forfeiture of a bond it issued on behalf of Anne Kisudila following her arrest for shoplifting. Specifically, AAPB contends that the trial court erred in finding that Kisudila's entry into a pretrial diversion program did not release it from liability on the bond under a statute pertaining to that issue. For the reasons set forth infra, we affirm.

At the outset, we note that under OCGA § 9-11-60 (d) (3), a motion may be brought to set aside a judgment based upon, inter alia, a " nonamendable defect which appears upon the face of the record or pleadings." And a trial court's decision regarding a motion to set aside a judgment will not be reversed absent a " showing of manifest abuse of discretion." [1]

Here, the undisputed record shows that on February 11, 2011, Kisudila was arrested for shoplifting. That same day, she was released on bond after entering into a bond agreement with AAPB as the surety. Then, on February 23, 2011, the Gwinnett County Solicitor-General (the " State" ) charged Kisudila, via accusation, with a single count of shoplifting. However, on April 13, 2011, Kisudila entered into a pretrial diversion program, the terms of which were specifically provided for in a " Notice of Diversion/Abeyance" signed by the solicitor-general, Kisudila, and her probation officer, and which was then filed with the clerk of court.

On May 25, 2011, it was determined that Kisudila failed to comply with the terms required by the pretrial diversion program, and therefore, her shoplifting case was placed back on the court's July 2011 arraignment

Page 219

calendar. When Kisudila failed to appear for arraignment on July 20, 2011, the State filed a motion for a bench warrant for her arrest and a forfeiture of her bond, both of which the trial court immediately granted. Subsequently, on December 1, 2011, the trial court held an execution hearing, after which it entered judgment on the bond forfeiture for $1,357.

Thereafter, AAPB filed a motion to set aside the order of bond forfeiture based upon a nonamendable defect in the record. Specifically, AAPB argued that it was released from liability on the bond under OCGA § 17-6-31 (d) (1) (C), prior to the order of bond forfeiture, because of Kisudila's entry into the pretrial diversion program. The [332 Ga.App. 858] trial court held a hearing on the issue, but ultimately denied AAPB's motion. AAPB then filed an application for discretionary review, which we granted. This appeal follows.

1. Although enumerated as three separate errors, AAPB essentially contends that the trial court erred in ruling that it was not released from liability on the bond under OCGA ยง 17-6-31 (d) (1) (C). Specifically, AAPB argues that the court erred in interpreting the statute to find that Kisudila's voluntary entrance into the pretrial diversion ...


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