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In re Hann

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 4, 2015

IN RE: HANN, RICKY LYNN IN; APPEAL OF: PAUL WEACHTER

Argued October 29, 2014.

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Fulton County, Criminal Division, No(s): CP-29-MD-0000015-2011.

Clinton T. Barkdoll, Waynesboro, for appellant.

Travis L. Kendall, District Attorney, McConnellsburg, for appellee.

BEFORE: BOWES, J., OTT, J., and STABILE, J. OPINION BY OTT, J.

OPINION

Page 758

OTT, J.:

Paul Weachter, bail bondsman to Ricky Lynn Hann, appeals from the order entered March 21, 2014, in the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas, granting the Commonwealth's petition for bail forfeiture.[1] Weachter posted a $100,000 bail bond for Hann's release on February 19, 2011. The next day, Hann killed his girlfriend and himself. On appeal, Weachter argues the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered full forfeiture of the bail bond because (1) all of the other parties involved had the same information as Weachter regarding Hann's potential dangerousness, and (2) a surety should not be held responsible for the post-bail criminal conduct of a defendant. For the reasons tat follow, we affirm.

The relevant facts were summarized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a prior appeal as follows:

In September of 2010, Pennsylvania State Police arrested Ricky Lynn Hann

Page 759

for assaulting his then-girlfriend, Lisa Souders. Following an initial bail hearing, he was released on his own recognizance. Contemporaneous to Hann's arrest and release, Souders obtained a protection from abuse (PFA) order against him.
In November of 2010, police again arrested Hann and charged him with indirect criminal contempt for violating the PFA order. He was subsequently found guilty, but apparently remained free. Then, on February 19, 2011, Souders reported to State Police that the previous day Hann had kidnapped her, and kept her against her will for approximately 24 hours before she was able to escape. Based upon Souders'[s] statement, Trooper Gary Ford filed a criminal complaint against Hann,[2] and received and executed an arrest warrant against him. Hann was arraigned and bail was set at $100,000.
Following the arraignment, arrangements were made with ... Paul Weachter, a professional and licensed bail bondsman, for bail to be posted to secure Hann's release. As part of his agreement leading to his release, Hann agreed to the following conditions, relevant to this appeal:
1. The defendant must appear at all times required until full and final disposition of the case.
2. The defendant must obey all further orders of the bail authority.
* * *
4. The defendant must neither do, nor cause to be done, nor permit to be done on his/her behalf, any act as proscribed by Section 4952 of the Crimes Code (relating to intimidation of witnesses or victims) or by Section 4953 (relating to retaliation against witnesses or victims), 18 Pa.C.S. § § 4952, 4953.
5. The defendant must refrain from criminal activity.
* * *
By signing the bail bond, Hann agreed to " appear at all subsequent proceedings as required and comply with all the ...

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