Oregon: A Safe Hideaway For Petty Criminals?

As a no-bail state, Oregon has become a safe hideaway for small-time criminals. No one comes pounding on their doors as commercial bounty hunters (or the more politically correct term, fugitive recovery agents) are forbidden by law from capturing felons wanted for misdemeanor crimes and returning them to the state armed with a warrant for their arrest.

In the words of fugitive recovery agent, Dave Chadwick: “There’s nobody to come after them because Oregon is a no-bail state.”

There are only four states in America whose laws forbid private commercial bounty hunters from capturing criminals. This situation has created a safe place to fall for fugitives and a warrant problem that is out of control. By any standard of comparison with the other forty-six states, Oregon rates very low when it comes to getting defendants to appear in court. Their failure rate, according to Jeremy Hubbard, president of Washington’s Bail Bondsmen Association, is forty percent.

Jeremy Hubbard claims the issue concerns money. In his home state of Washington as well as many others, the bonding company is responsible for the remaining 90 percent of the defendant’s bond if he or she has not appeared in court within 60 days of the posted bond. In Oregon, hands are tied and private bondsmen are simply stuck.

The law is so stringent and unforgiving that a bounty hunter cuffing someone wanted for a misdemeanor in Oregon runs the risk of being arrested himself on charges of kidnapping.

Oregon laws, the way they now stand, are counter-productive and costly to state coffers. Officials need to legislate changes, as currently each county in the state has its own bail standard. While most law enforcement officials in Oregon acknowledge a failure in the bail system, most do not want to incorporate private bondsmen into the picture.


Oregon became a no-bail state back in 1971 when bounty hunters answered to a different, more lax standard. Now they are more regulated and subject to official scrutiny. In recent years, there have been several failed attempts to change the law. Bail bondsmen plan to legislate change to eradicate this criminal hideaway.

Good luck to all and to all a good night!

Posted by M Dee Dubroff, on November 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM