A hearing lasting about 10 minutes saw former Union Mine High School teacher and varsity baseball coach Robert Freeman’s attorney Shannon Baker fighting to get a bond premium returned.
Baker, who appeared on behalf of and without Freeman, argued that the bondsman who had released Freeman from El Dorado County Jail had done so against Freeman’s wishes. “The bondsman disregarded the instructions of Ms. Freeman,” she said, referencing the coach’s wife. Baker then requested the $10,800 premium be paid back to Freeman. Freeman turned himself in about two and a half hours after he was released. “He didn’t want to be released into the care of the bondsman,” she later said.
El Dorado Superior Court Judge Daniel B. Proud mulled over whether he was the correct judge to make the order. “The remedy is civil litigation,” he said. “I don’t know if I have the authority” to make the decision, he said.
John Van Doren, a bondsman from Atlantis Bonds, the company that handled Freeman’s case, called the matter a “Pandora’s box” that could go against the penal codes governing bonds, giving easier access for those bonded out of jail to have their premium returned. He agreed it was a civil suit.
Proud then went over the facts. Freeman was released on bond on Jan. 5, 2012, and Freeman’s wife had given the bond agent at Atlantis a credit card. “Two and a half hours after he was released, he turned himself in to Judge (James R.) Wagoner.” He then said that he “thinks this is civil litigation. I find that I don’t have the authority to return the premium based on the facts before me.”