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Cobb v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 20, 2014

SANDRA COBB AND COBB BAIL BONDING COMPANY, APPELLANTS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: DESOTO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/08/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. GERALD W. CHATHAM SR. TRIAL COURT DENIED MOTION TO SET ASIDE JUDGMENT NISI.

FOR APPELLANTS: AZKI SHAH.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: SAMSON MABRY IV, LEYSER Q. HAYES.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ROBERTS AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 447

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - OTHER

ROBERTS, J.

¶1. Sandra Cobb and Cobb Bail Bonding Company [1] appeal the DeSoto County Circuit Court's decision to deny Cobb's motion to set aside a judgment nisi. One of Cobb's employees attempted to surrender a principal on an appearance bond to a bailiff and a court administrator, but the principal absconded from the courthouse. The circuit court held that Cobb's employee had failed to legally surrender the principal, so it found Cobb liable for the value of the appearance bond. Cobb appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Christopher Earl Reid was arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. Through Sandra Cobb's bonding company, Reid signed an appearance bond. Cobb agreed to pay the State of Mississippi $10,000 if Reid did not appear for court when ordered. On January 11, 2012, the circuit court sent Cobb a letter informing her that Reid was scheduled to appear on February 1, 2012.

¶3. On February 1, 2012, Reid and his attorney, Joe Morgan Wilson, went to the courthouse. Mary Millon was there on Cobb's behalf. Millon told the court administrator, Suzanne Lowrie, and the bailiff, Deputy Andrew Miller, that Cobb intended to surrender Reid's bond. Deputy Miller told Millon that he could not accept Reid's surrender at the courthouse because it was contrary to the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department's policy.

¶4. Reid received word that Millon intended to surrender his bond. He asked to make a phone call, and he went into the jury room. He then went into a bathroom adjacent to the jury room, and escaped through a second-story window.

¶5. Two days later, the circuit court entered a judgment nisi against Reed, Sandra Cobb, and Cobb Bail Bonding. The circuit court also issued a bench warrant for Reid's arrest, and a writ of scire facias summoning Reid and Cobb to appear on May 3, 2012. Neither Reid nor Cobb appeared for the hearing on the writ of scire facias. Consequently, the circuit court entered a final judgment against Reid and Cobb for $10,000.

¶6. Cobb filed a motion to set aside the judgment nisi. During the hearing on Cobb's motion, Millon, Deputy Miller, and Cobb testified. Ultimately, the ...


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