History of Bounty Hunters
1492: Bounty Hunters, also known as a Fugitive Recovery Agents, were assigned to an accused person. If the accused did not show up for their court hearing, the agent could be punished in his or her place.
1679: The British Parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act, which for the first time guaranteed that an accused person could be released from prison on a certain monetary amount, also known as bail.
1850: Amidst the American “Wild West” years, bounty hunting was used by many sheriffs. “Wanted Signs” were strategically placed in towns. In some cases, Bounty Hunters were paid up to $500 per Head for “Dead or Alive.”
1873: The U.S. bounty hunter was given a much broader authority. The U.S. Supreme Court case, Taylor v. Taintor, gave bounty hunters the authority to act as agents of bail bondsmen. When Bounty Hunters were hired to capture a bail jumper, they could “pursue him into another state” and, if necessary, “break and enter his house for that purpose.”
Today, many people refer to Bounty Hunters as Bail Enforcement Agents. Historically, bounty hunting existed in many parts of the world; however, today it is found almost exclusively in the United States and the Philippines. In the U.S., each state has its own laws, but the majority of states give bounty hunters the freedom to pursue and arrest bail jumpers within and across their borders.