Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Bond Provider Seeks to Avoid Penalty for Offender Missing Court While Jailed in Kentucky

Bail Bonds sign displayed on a building facade.


Bail bonds sign displayed on a building facade.

Bail provider seeks to avoid forfeiting bond because offender, who didn’t appear in Ohio court, was jailed in Kentucky.

A New Jersey bail bond company questions the fairness of forfeiting a $50,000 bond to an Ohio court because its client was sitting across the Ohio River in a Kentucky jail. The company tells the Supreme Court of Ohio that the bond most likely would be returned if the absconder had been locked up in Ohio.

In late 2018, Jaquan Jackson was indicted in Hamilton County for drug charges. Allegheny Casualty Company posted a $50,000 surety bond for Jackson to allow him to be released from jail until trial. Jackson agreed to appear in trial court when ordered and not to leave the state without permission.

In March 2019, Jackson pleaded guilty to the charges and was scheduled to be sentenced in April 2019. The day after he pled, Jackson traveled to Campbell County, Kentucky. He was arrested on multiple offenses and jailed in a Kentucky detention center.

Absence Leads to Forfeiture
Jackson didn’t appear for his sentencing in Ohio, and the trial judge ordered the bail bond to be forfeited. Allegheny was notified in July 2019 that the bond had been forfeited.

The bail provider told the court that Kentucky authorities refused to release Jackson to appear in Ohio courts. Because it was impossible for the company to produce Jackson, the bond shouldn’t be forfeited, the company argued.

The trial court rejected the request and ordered the bond forfeited. Allegheny appealed to the First District Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court’s decision.

Where Absconder Held Shouldn’t Matter, Bond Provider Asserts
Allegheny urges Ohio to join 21 other states in finding that where an absconder is incarcerated shouldn’t determine whether a bond is forfeited. The company points to two Ohio appellate court opinions that ruled if an offender is jailed while out on bond in another jurisdiction, then the bond provider can successfully argue it’s impossible to deliver the offender to court.

The company points specifically to a 2008 Second District Court of Appeals’ decision. In that case, the offender was jailed in Miami County and missed a hearing scheduled for the Montgomery County Courthouse 20 miles away. The Second District ruled the bond provider wasn’t at fault for its client’s inability to appear. Allegheny states Jackson was a mere 19 miles from the Hamilton County Courthouse, yet the lower court ordered the bail forfeited.

“This distinction without a difference is discriminatory to businesses writing bonds in the State of Ohio,” Allegheny’s brief stated.

Return of Bond Unwarranted, Prosecutor Counters
Distance isn’t the issue, but rather the bail provider’s failure to keep up its end of a contractual agreement to ensure that Jackson appeared in court, the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office counters.

The prosecutor maintains a bail provider is only excused from producing an offender when an “unforeseeable” event occurs. It was entirely foreseeable that Jackson would flee across the river to avoid sentencing, the office notes.

The prosecutor also explains there is another justifiable reason imprisonment in Ohio excuses a bail provider from delivering a client, and why out-of-state incarceration doesn’t. If an absconder is jailed in Ohio, then it is the state itself that makes it impossible for the bail provider to perform its duty. Since the money is owed to the state, then it’s justified in that circumstance to excuse the bail provider, the office argues.

Oral Argument Details
The Supreme Court will consider Allegheny Casualty Company v. Ohio on on May 11, along with two other cases during a two-day session. On May 10, the Court will hear four more appeals. Oral arguments begin each day at 9 a.m. The arguments will be streamed live online at and broadcast live, and archived, on The Ohio Channel.

In addition to these highlights, the Court’s Office of Public Information released preview articles today about each case, available through the case-name links.

Tuesday, May 10
Lab Report Disclosure
A man was convicted in Montgomery County on a 2016 rape charge based on the victim’s inability to consent because she was impaired. The man alleges in State v. McNeal that the prosecutor withheld the results of tests of the woman’s blood and urine, noting that the report stated there was no alcohol in the woman’s blood. He argues he could have raised doubt about her impairment had the prosecutor turned over the report, as the state is required to do. The prosecutor maintains that the man knew of the report and could have requested it during trial. The prosecutor adds that the report showed alcohol in the woman’s urine and the presence of other drugs that could have contributed to her impairment.

State Agency Records
A woman employed by Tuscarawas County was fired in 2018 and appealed to a state board that reviews disciplinary actions of public employers. The board reinstated the employee, and the employer appealed to a court. Based on a state law, the board must submit a complete record of its proceedings to the court. However, the board omitted one day of a two-day hearing transcript in the employee’s case, and the appeals court overturned the employee’s reinstatement. In Tuscarawas County Public Defender’s Office v. Goudy, the employee contends that she had no control over the agency’s actions. She also asserts that the employer wasn’t harmed by the missing transcript because the court eventually received it. The employer responds that the law requires reversal when a state agency submits an incomplete record.

Juvenile Case Appeals
In 2018, a 13-year-old boy was judged delinquent  by the Medina County Juvenile Court for committing an act that would be gross sexual imposition if he were an adult. He appealed the decision and lost. The boy then sought to have his case reopened, claiming his appellate attorney was ineffective for failing to question a key aspect of the juvenile court’s decision. The Ninth District Court of Appeals denied his request to reopen the case under a specific rule for appellate court cases. In In re T.A., the Supreme Court will determine if the rule applies only to defendants in criminal cases seeking reopen appeals or if juvenile offenders can invoke the rule.

Settlement Disbursements
In Butler County Bar Association v. Mahoney, a Cincinnati attorney contests a proposed public reprimand related to a settlement he negotiated in a personal injury case. The client instructed him not to pay two medical providers and stated she would take care of the bills. The professional conduct board concluded that the attorney was required to hold the disputed funds until the disagreement was resolved. The attorney maintains he wasn’t aware that the providers had a lawful interest to part of the settlement. He argues he violated no professional conduct rules.

Wednesday, May 11
Injury Lawsuit
A worker at a Lucas County manufacturing plan sued his employer, alleging the company intentionally caused his injury by removing safety precautions which prevented  workers from sticking their hands into a machine while it was in operation. The employer requested that the trial court dismiss the case through summary judgment. The trial court denied the request, and a jury in 2019 found the worker was entitled to $451,000 in damages. An appellate court reversed the jury’s decision. In Bliss v. Johns Manville, the Court will consider whether an appeals court can direct a trial court to issue summary judgment to the losing party after a jury verdict has been issued.

No Contest Pleas
A man charged with drug possession and trafficking in Stark County asked in July 2020 to plead no contest. The judge declined the defendant’s request, noting that the man could plead guilty or go to trial. On the day of trial, the man pled guilty and was sentenced to 16 to 21 years in prison. The man argues in State v. Hill that the refusal to accept a no contest plea was arbitrary and the judge failed to consider the facts of his case. The prosecutor counters that the judge was presented with evidence at a hearing and listened to the lawyers’ arguments, then determined a no contest plea wasn’t appropriate in the circumstances.