On 23rd of February 2017, a Civil rights attorney was defending Maurice Walker in the federal appeals court, in a case that is likely to change the future of the bail bond industry. Duane Chapman aka Dog the bounty hunter and his wife were present in court during the proceedings, as this case directly impacts their livelihood should things change.
The U.S Court of Appeals listened to oral arguments in the case of Maurice Walker v. The city of Calhoun. 54-year-old Walker who suffers from a mental disorder was receiving with his sister and receiving a disability monthly payment of $530. He was arrested in Calhoun on 3rd of September 2015 for walking drunk. After his arrest, Walker was informed that he had to pay $160 bail in cash which is the amount set for the offense. Walker was forced to spend about 23 hours in jail, deprived of medication and he was not scheduled to appear before the judge until 11 days following his arrest. Lucky for Walker, Civil right attorneys with the Southern Center for Human Rights intervened and filed a suit on behalf of Walker who was at the time still in custody. The suit termed the bail system as a money founded post-arrest imprisonment arrangement that discriminated against the underprivileged.
Walker’s case is not unique. There have been many cases across the nation that challenge the practice of money bail. The Civil Rights Corps are now waging a war against bail policies which they feel have an unequal bearing on the poor. They argue that when poor defendants are locked up for minor offenses even for short periods of time, the consequences to their lives is often severe. Unable to raise the bail money they could lose jobs, homes, and connections that avail them stability. In some instances, some defendants have lost lives while in custody such as 60-year-old Mark Goodrum who died of a stroke in a jail in Virginia.
The Walker case is important to Duane Chapman aka Dog the bounty hunter because bounty hunters are paid a percentage of the bail bond for their work. Usually 10% to 20%. On average, they usually earn $50,000 to $80,000 annually. Should the law on bail bond change that would mean bounty hunters will be making less for their work.
Duane Chapman and his wife Beth are therefore supporting a public relations movement to save the bail industry. Duane referred to the war on future bailing as a two-front battle involving legislation and litigation. He feels that it is an assault by the Criminal vestibule to try change a practice that has existed for over 200 years.
Bounty hunters work under extremely challenging situations as they look for individuals who have skipped bail often exposing themselves to danger as they go to dangerous neighborhoods, engage drug addicts and drunks, and get into a confrontation with those attempting to skip bail. Sometimes they have to disarm the individual before taking them in.