Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Case # 12CF0727
June 29, 2012
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
BAIL BONDS AGENT CONVICTED OF ILLEGALLY SOLICITING CLIENTS FROM ORANGE COUNTY JAIL
SANTA ANA – A bail bonds agent was convicted today of illegally soliciting clients from the Orange County Jail. James Everett Morris Jr., 49, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of paying a person who is not a bail licensee commission in connection with a bail transaction and one felony count of having an arrangement with a person incarcerated in jail to inform and notify defendant of arrests. He faces a sentence of six months and jail and three years of formal probation at his sentencing Sept. 14, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. As a result of his conviction, the California Department of Insurance will revoke Morris’ bail bonds license.
Morris’ Case # 12CF0727
Between Oct. 9, 2009, and Feb. 18, 2010, Morris, a licensed Bail Bonds Agent and owner of James Morris Bail Bonds, made an agreement with an inmate incarcerated in the Orange County Jail for the inmate to notify Morris when other inmates needed bail. Morris paid this inmate commissions on five separate bails based on the information he received from this inmate. He paid the commission by putting money on the inmate’s financial book in exchange for information on other inmates.
Kenneth Hendrick’s Case # 12CF0728
Morris’ only other licensed bail bonds agent employee at James Morris Bail Bonds, Kenneth Lance Hendrick, is charged in a separate but related case. Hendrick, 49, Mission Viejo, is charged with 11 felony counts of having an arrangement with a person incarcerated in jail to inform and notify defendant of the arrest, two felony counts of a bail agent recommending the name of an attorney to an arrestee, one felony count of a bail agent allowing a non-bail licensee to solicit bail on the agent’s behalf, and one felony count of possession of a controlled substance in jail. If convicted on all charges, Hendrick faces a maximum sentence of 11 years and eight months in state prison. He is out of custody on $50,000 bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing July 9, 2012, in Department C-55.
Between March 4, 2010, and Dec. 6, 2010, Hendrick is accused of making an agreement with 11 different inmates incarcerated in the Orange County Jail for the inmates to notify Hendrick when there were other inmates needing bail.
On June 29, 2010, Hendrick is accused of permitting one of the inmates to specifically solicit bail on his behalf while in custody. On two separate occasions in March and April 2010, while on the phone with an inmate who was a potential client, he is accused of recommending the name of an attorney to the inmate.
Law Addressing Bail Bond Practices
California law prohibits licensed bail bond agents from having arrangements with any person in custody to notify the agent of the fact that another person has been arrested. Only a licensed bail bonds agent is permitted to solicit or negotiate bail bonds from another. The law prohibits a bail bonds licensee from allowing any non-licensee to solicit or negotiate bail on their behalf. California law also prohibits any bail bonds licensee from providing commission or compensation of any kind to a non-licensed person in connection with a bail transaction. In addition, bail bonds agents are prohibited from recommending attorneys to inmates.
Both cases were investigated by Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.