Bail Bondsman gets 15 years for not following protocol
This looks like a really good reason for bondsmen to be VERY careful to verify all addresses, particularly when pursuing a skip.
15 years seem excessive s as Robert Stomps, 41, had “no prior felony convictions” and no one was hurt in the incident. Part of the reason was that he refused a plea deal.
Here are key excepts from the article published in the Columbian:
Vancouver bail bondsman sentenced to 15 years
A Vancouver bail bondsman who said he was just doing his job when he burst into the wrong home in search of a fugitive and held three occupants at gunpoint was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison.
Jason Robert Stomps, 41, of Amboy appeared in Clark County Superior Court to be sentenced for first-degree burglary, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and three counts of second-degree assault — all of which carried firearm enhancements. Stomps was found guilty earlier this month on all of the charges during a jury trial.
The charges stem from a March 20, 2014, incident in which Stomps forced his way into a Vancouver home, brandished a gun, and ordered two occupants to handcuff themselves. None of the three people inside the house in the 1200 block of Northeast 65th Street was the fugitive being sought, according to court records.
He potentially faced a maximum sentence of 30 to 33 years in prison, but the prosecution recommended he serve a shorter sentence based on several factors. Stomps was a licensed bail bondsman at the time and had no prior felony convictions. The crimes also were carried out in a single course of conduct, and no one was physically injured.
Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino said while the state did charge Stomps for his crimes, “his criminal intent was arguably different than that of someone going into a stranger’s home to rob them. But, the impact is the same.”
He said that the prosecution was put in a “tough spot” because Stomps refused to take any plea deal or accept responsibility for his actions.
The firearm enhancement on the burglary charge automatically adds five years to any potential sentence. The other charges carry firearm enhancements that each tack on an additional three years to any sentence. By law, firearm enhancement sentences must run consecutively.
“Mr. Stomps put himself in this situation. He put the victims in this situation, and he put the state in this situation,” he said. “He refused to take responsibility on the stand.”
Judge Vanderwood said the word “tragic” best describes the entirety of the situation.
“The bottom line, Mr. Stomps, is that although you were a licensed bail bond agent, that didn’t exempt you from the law,” he said.
…[He] added that Stomps plans to appeal his convictions.
As a bondsman or licensed recovery agent, what steps do you take to make sure that you are never at the wrong location?
From Barbarian Bail Bonds:
“As heart breaking as this is, that’s why we all have Protocols to follow, most times just knocking on the door first and asking a few questions before you go kicking in some body’s door and holding the occupants at gun point is actually the way to go, life isn’t a movie. You have to act professional in all aspects of this business, the fugitives as well as their families need to be treated with respect, that’s how you stay out of court.
This article was written by Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts reporter
Published: April 29, 2015