Tag Archives: fta

Airport Arrest on Warrant Issued in 1979

Jeff Downer  The Cook County Sheriff’s Department arrested fugitive Ata Yousef El Ammouri at O’Hare International Airport recently on a warrant charging him with murder.

Ammouri was originally arrested and charged in 1979 for the slaying of Joe Harris after Harris allegedly stole a can of Miller Lite from Ammouri’s neighborhood store.  After posting a $100,000 bail bond, Ammouri then fled the the country resulting the court issuing a failure to appear warrant.

Flash forward 34 years to the present when Ammouri, traveling from Jordan to Tennessee to attend a graduation ceremony, is arrested while changing planes in Chicago by Cook County Sheriff’s Deputies  It was no coincidence they were there when he got off the plane.  They knew he was coming.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart credited local and federal cooperation in sharing knowledge and making the apprehension possible.  The federal agencies who had been working with the Sheriff”s personnel included the State Department and Homeland Security.

This story resonated with me because I so often encounter questions about traveling with outstanding warrants.  In a post 9/11 world full databases and lists designed to raise red flags of course there is a very real chance of being arrested on a warrant.   Even if the fugitive has been half a world away and 34 years distant.

There is one more thing.  This time Ammouri was held without bond.

Posted in Bail Bonds, Fugitive, International, Law Enforcement, Warrant. Tagged with , .

Do Failure to Appear Warrants Expire?

Jeff Downer  A question often arises as to whether warrants issued for failure to appear in court will expire after a certain period of time.  The answer is no.

A wishful thinking defendant may hope that by failing to appear and remaining in a fugitive status for a long enough period of time will create some type of statute of limitations scenario where their case will magically disappear, and they will become immune from further prosecution on the matter.

Indiana failure to appear law is quite clear on this subject.  Any warrant issued for failing to appear in court (whether the case be a misdemeanor or a felony) does not come with an expiration date.  The warrant will remain in effect until the defendant is returned to face the court.

IC 35-33-2-4 Expiration; reissuance      Sec. 4. A warrant of arrest for a misdemeanor expires one hundred eighty (180) days after it is issued. A warrant of arrest for a felony and a rearrest warrant for any offense do not expire. A sheriff who has an expired warrant shall make a return on the warrant stating that it has expired and shall return it to the clerk of the court that issued it. The clerk shall enter the fact that the warrant has expired in his records and shall notify the prosecuting attorney of the county that the warrant has expired. Upon request of the prosecuting attorney, the court shall issue another warrant.

Failing to appear on a criminal case may buy some time on the run living as a fugitive, but it will not purchase a resolution to the case.

Posted in Bail, Fugitive, Law. Tagged with , , .

Is Failure to Appear a Crime?

Jeff Downer  Is a defendant’s failure to appear on a criminal case considered a separate criminal offense in it’s own right?  In most states and jurisdictions the answer is yes.

What this means is that not only will a failure to appear warrant be issued for current case, an entirely new criminal charge of failure to appear can be pursued against the defendant.  Commonly, the seriousness of the new failure to appear charge will depend upon the charge levels in the originating case.

In Indiana, this is how the failure to appear charge levels are determined:

  •  If the the original case consisted of misdemeanor charges then the failure to appear would be charged  as a Class A misdemeanor.
  • If the the original charges were felonies then the new failure to appear charge would be pursued as a Class D felony.

The key takeaway here is that failing to appear not only risks incurring the ill will of the court but also running the risk facing even more criminal charges.

Posted in Bail, Fugitive, Law. Tagged with , , .

Posting a Bail Bond After a Failure to Appear

Jeff Downer  Defendants who fail to appear (FTA) and become fugitives are a fact of life.  Since the insuring a defendant’s risk of failing to appear is the basis of the commercial bail industry, posting the bail of someone who has chosen to become a fugitive and subsequently been returned to court can be problematic.

While considering the effects of bonding someone out of custody after a FTA, think of a car insurance.  A car insurer assumes financial responsibility for damages caused in automobile accidents.  The occurrence of car accidents is going to change the dynamics of the relationship between the car owner and the insurance company.  Things are going to be different after an accident and may include:

  • The cost of insurance can increase.
  • The deductible may become larger
  • The policy can be cancelled.

In bail bonding a FTA, like a car accident, is going to change the dynamics of the bail bondsman and defendant relationship:

  • More premium may be required for a new and larger court ordered bond amount.
  • Cash collateral may now be expected.
  • Additional co-signers could be necessary.
  • Real property could be required to secure the bail bond with a mortgage.
  • Conditions such as check ins and electronic monitoring may be put in place.
  • The bonding company may decline to post any further bail for the defendant.

Keep in mind the court is going to have final say in the matter and is under no obligation to let the defendant out on bond again.  If the judge permits another bail bond, amounts can be increased and the court may impose additional conditions of its own.

All the above is not to say on occasions such as being hit by a bus on the way to court can’t result in the judge and the bonding company agreeing to adhere to the original bond and conditions, but it is important to remember that will take place at their option and not the defendant’s.

Posted in Bail, Business, Fugitive. Tagged with , .