Clarksville Defendants Miss Court Dates, Blame Bondsman
by Todd Walker
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn – He has already been arrested once but now at least one man in Montgomery County said authorities are after him once again.
The man spoke to NewsChannel 5 on the condition of anonymity and said it's because his bonding company dropped the ball.
Bonding companies are required to notify their clients of their court appearance dates. Since March 6, Sallee's Bail Bonding in Clarksville has been cut off from issuing new bonds.
Court officials said that happens when bonding company clients don't show up for court. At least one client said the Sallee's isn't telling them when to be there.
On March 6, the 19th Judicial District, which covers Montgomery and Robertson Counties, suspended Sallee's from issuing new bonds.
The court said Sallee's owes $44,000 in unpaid bonds for missed court appearances which have gone into "final forfeiture."
"They will stay suspended until they bring those current or get relieved from the court," said Patty Arms, who is the chief deputy of court operations.
Arms said even if the company is suspended, it is still required to notify its clients of their court dates.
At least one of Sallee's clients said that is not happening and now there is a warrant for his arrest.
The storefront in downtown Clarksville is locked up. Reached by phone, owner Marques Sallee said he wasn't aware he owed $44,000.
Sallee said the reason people haven't been notified is because he can't track them down.
"And those are the people who have changed phone numbers," he said. "I'm in the process of apprehending those people with bounty hunters and private investigators."
Sallee said there are only three of his clients who fall into the category of "final forfeiture." It's been 6 months and they haven't made their court appearance. Sallee's money is on the line in those instances.
It is unclear how many people now have arrest warrants for recently missed court dates, but sources tell NewsChannel 5 it could be quite a few.
The man who contacted NewsChannel 5 about his situation with Sallee Bonding said he was only arrested a few weeks ago, shortly before Sallee Bonding was suspended.
He said he provided an accurate phone number and was not notified about his court date on March 13. He said it was a "docket call" where an official court date would be set.
A warrant was issued for his arrest just a few days later.
Official rules established by the court system point out it's the defendant's responsibility to keep in contact with their bondsman. It is the bondsman's duty to notify the defendant of all court dates, even while suspended from issuing bonds.
"He is still required to notify anyone that they've made bond for," Arms said. "They are still required to notify them of their court dates and carry on their business as usual, except that they cannot make new bonds."
Sallee said he will have his cases in "final forfeiture" resolved by this weekend.
Sallee denied having other clients missing court dates.