from Cullman Circuit Court (CC-16-181.51)
2015, Angel Ariel Zubia Mendias, a Mexican citizen, was
arrested and charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. The
Cullman Circuit Court set his bail in the amount of $1
million. In August 2015, 1 Quick Bail Bonds, LLC ("1
Quick"), posted bond in the amount of $25, 000 for his
release. Upon release, Mendias fled to Arizona and did not
appear for his trial. The circuit court ordered that the bond
be conditionally forfeited. The forfeiture, in the amount of
$1 million, was made final on November 8, 2016.
February 15, 2017, the circuit court entered an order
requiring payment of escrow funds held pursuant to an escrow
agreement between the circuit court, 1 Quick, and Traditions
Bank. Because 1 Quick did not remit payment, the circuit
court ordered Traditions Bank to pay the State $25, 000 plus
a fee. The record contains a copy of a check in the amount of
$25, 635.01 made payable to the circuit court.
March 6, 2017, 1 Quick filed a Rule 60(b), Ala. R. Civ. P.,
motion in the circuit court requesting that the final
forfeiture judgment be set aside and alleging that,
"through the diligence and efforts of [1 Quick] (as well
as the Cullman Sheriff[']s Department), [Mendias] has
been located, arrested, and is now detained/imprisoned in the
Cullman County Detention facility."
circuit court entered an order granting 1 Quick's request
that the final forfeiture judgment be set aside; however, the
next day the circuit court vacated the order and required 1
Quick to provide proof demonstrating that Mendias was in
custody. The record contains a document indicating that
Mendias had been arrested and incarcerated in the Cullman
County Detention Center on March 30, 2017, as opposed to
March 6, 2017.
April 7, 2017, 1 Quick moved the circuit court to be released
as bondsman for Mendias and to remit the final forfeiture of
the bond pursuant to § 15-13-139, Ala. Code 1975, which
provides, in its entirety:
"In forfeiture cases where the sureties have paid the
amount of the forfeiture into the court or in cases where the
forfeiture has been made final or absolute and there is no
further litigation pending on the forfeiture, and the surety
locates the defendant and causes the return of the defendant
to the custody of the court where the bond was forfeited, and
if the defendant was substantially procured by actions of the
surety, and the administration of justice has not been
thwarted nor the successful prosecution of the defendant has
been affected, then the court which ordered the forfeiture,
shall have full power and jurisdiction in all proceedings
conducted pursuant to this article and within a period of six
months from the date of issuance of any final forfeiture
judgment, to consider any costs to the state or its
subdivisions which resulted as a cause of the default, if
any, and upon giving consideration thereto, may, in the
court's discretion, remit the whole of the penalty of the
bail, or undertaking, or any portion thereof, which is in
excess of any costs to the state or its subdivisions, and
render a new final judgment against the sureties appearing
upon the bail bond or undertaking. In forfeiture cases, if
the judgment has been paid into the State or Municipal
Treasury, the court may issue an order to the custodian of
the treasury to make a refund to the sureties."
6, 2017, the circuit court granted 1 Quick's request to
be released as bondsman for Mendias, and, on June 29, 2017,
the circuit court entered a final judgment in favor of the
State regarding 1 Quick's request to remit the final
forfeiture of the bond.
6, 2017, 1 Quick filed a notice of appeal to the Alabama
Court of Court of Criminal Appeals, which transferred the
appeal to this court. See Wells v. State, 675 So.2d
886 (Ala. Civ. App. 1996); see also Ex parte Board of
Pardons & Paroles, 793 So.2d 774, 777 (Ala.
2000)(citing Ex parte Moore, 244 Ala. 28,
29, 12 So.2d 77, 77 (1942))(explaining that our supreme court
has historically recognized that a proceeding involving a
bond forfeiture is civil in nature). Because the amount
involved exceeds $50, 000, we transferred 1 Quick's
appeal to the supreme court, pursuant to § 12-1-4, Ala.
Code 1975. The supreme court then transferred 1 Quick's
appeal to this court, pursuant to § 12-2-7(6), Ala. Code
appeal, 1 Quick argues that the circuit court abused its
discretion by concluding that it was not entitled to
remission of the final forfeiture judgment.
"Under the language of § 15-13-139, Ala. Code 1975,
a trial court is given complete discretion to remit all or
any portion of a final forfeiture judgment. We note that it
is the duty of a reviewing court to presume that the trial
court properly exercised its discretion when a question of
its discretion is raised on appeal. Baumler v.
Baumler, 368 So.2d 864 (Ala. Civ. App. 1979). This court
will not revise a trial court's exercise of its
discretion unless it determines from the ...