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State v. Kinholt

Supreme Court of Montana

March 19, 2019

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
CHALON MICHAEL KINHOLT, Defendant,
v.
ASAP BAIL BONDS, Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: February 13, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Musselshell, Cause Nos. DC 16-09 and DV 17-036 Honorable Randal I. Spaulding, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Nathan J. Hoines, Zachary D. Kitchin, Hoines Law Office, P.C., Great Falls, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, C. Mark Fowler, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Kevin R Peterson, Musselshell County Attorney, Roundup, Montana

          OPINION

          Mike McGrath Chief Justice.

         ¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

         ¶2 ASAP Bail Bonds (ASAP) appeals from an order of the Fourteenth Judicial District Court, Musselshell County, denying its request to discharge a judgment of forfeiture. We affirm.

         ¶3 On July 15, 2016, the District Court issued an arrest warrant for Chalon Kinholt (Kinholt) for violation of his bail conditions and set bail at $15, 000.[1] On August 8, 2016, Kinholt failed to appear at a final pretrial hearing, which the Court had ordered him to personally attend. Consequently, the District Court issued an additional arrest warrant for failure to appear at the hearing and for failing to maintain contact with his attorney. Bail was set at $25, 000 to ensure Kinholt's appearance and compliance with the Court's conditions of release on bail.[2] On December 22, 2016, Kinholt posted a surety bond in the amount of $40, 000 and was released from custody. The bond was issued by ASAP and underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company (USFIC).

         ¶4 A second final pretrial hearing was scheduled for April 24, 2017. Despite an order requiring Kinholt to personally attend, Kinholt failed to appear. On June 7, 2017, the State filed a petition requesting the District Court to forfeit the $40, 000 surety bond. That same day, the District Court entered its Order and Notice of Forfeiture declaring the $40, 000 bond posted by Kinholt and his sureties forfeited for Kinholt's failure to appear at the April 24, 2017 final pretrial hearing. The order and notice were mailed to Kinholt, ASAP, and USFIC on June 7, 2017.

         ¶5 On September 7, 2017, ninety-two days after the petition to forfeit was filed and after the District Court received no response from either ASAP or USFIC, the State moved for a default judgment and mailed the motion to ASAP and USFIC. Neither ASAP nor USFIC responded to the State's motion. On October 4, 2017, the District Court entered a Judgment of Forfeiture in favor of the State and against ASAP and USFIC for $40, 000, noting, "no basis for discharge has been provided by [Kinholt], his bondsman, or his surety. The time for discharge of the forfeiture previously declared by this Court has lapsed without satisfactory cause for discharge having been presented by [Kinholt] and/or his sureties." On October 6, 2017, the State filed a Notice of Entry of Judgment and served a copy of the judgment on ASAP and USFIC.

         ¶6 On October 26, 2017, ASAP filed an objection to the entry of judgment and forfeiture and requested a hearing. Briefing was submitted and on December 14, 2017, the District Court denied ASAP's objection and request for a hearing. This appeal follows.

         ¶7 This Court reviews a trial court's decision to forfeit bond for an abuse of discretion. State v. Seybert, 229 Mont. 183, 184, 745 P.2d 687, 688 (1987).

         ¶8 On appeal, ASAP argues the District Court incorrectly applied the law and miscalculated the ninety-day window ...


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