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As 2013 comes to a close, PBUS would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of the PBUS News Update a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Thursday, Jan. 2.

Bail bond family matriarch turns 100
From May 23: Jimmie Lois "Jim" Watson Blackman reached the century mark on Mother's Day this year. Born in a small cotton farming community in Shelby County on May 12, 1913, Jim never strayed from her native Texas, and neither did her heart. She is "Texan through and through," according to her family. During last year's terrible wild fires one of her sons called and asked if she was all right. She answered that she was and then said: "The bible says the world will be destroyed twice: once by water and once by fire, isn't that right?" When her son answered in the affirmative, she inquired further: "Do you think this is the one by fire?" When her son said: "Mama, Texas is not the whole world," Jim promptly replied: "It is to some of us!"

The Dallas Mavericks, The Texas Rangers and The Dallas Cowboys have no more loyal fan than Jim. And of all the tributes paid to her at the very large celebration of her birthday in Longview, Texas on May 18, her hands-down favorite was the football with an inscription congratulating her on being 100 and signed by the Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo.

There were other impressive items of memorabilia, such as a personal letter from past President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, the Texas flag that flew over the Capitol on her 100th birthday sent with congratulations from Speaker Joe Strauss and a letter from Texas Governor Rick Perry. Arkansas Senator Steve Faris attended and presented her with a certificate signed by the Arkansas Governor naming her an "Arkansas Traveler."

Jim's strong work ethic and her sense of simply doing what is right whatever the circumstances, values she taught to her family, have no doubt been of some benefit to the bail bonding industry of Texas. Her daughter-in-law, Susan Watson, was for years the owner of East Texas Bail Bonds,. Her younger son, Johnny Watson, was employed for a number of years by International Fidelity Insurance Company (the country's oldest and largest commercial bail underwriter), while her oldest son, Jerry Watson, has been a bail attorney for forty five years.

Even to this day, Jim is an example of the virtues of hard honest work and helping others. A local television station just did a piece on her as she engaged in projects of sewing blankets and raising money for shoes for less financially fortunate children in her town.

One might search in vain for better words to describe Jim than those written to her by Texas Governor Rick Perry when he said: "Over the years, in times of war and peace, during difficult economic times and periods of plenty, you have experienced what many of us can only read about. You have made the Lone Star State proud."

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Commercial bail identified as an evidenced-based practice
From Aug. 2: In a recent letter to the Governor of California, the Little Hoover Commission reports its findings from a year long study on California's criminal justice system. The letter says, "Bail is among the oldest of 'evidenced-based' tools to ensure the defendant's presence at trial. It is vital to public safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system."
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A bail bondsman is a voice for clients
Daily Inter Lake
From Aug. 2: The bail bonds industry is one rife with stereotypes, but at least one man is trying to change that perception. Charles Pesola owns and operates Moonlighting Bail Bonds and Moonlighting Detective and Security Services in downtown Kalispell, Mont. The 29-year-old is not, however, your average bail bondsman.
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'Big Mike' sets the record straight on bail bondsmen
From Dec. 20: When most people think about the bail bond profession, they think about big guys with big guns running through the streets chasing bad guys. While this is good for a Hollywood movie or reality television show, it is far from the reality of the bail bond business. 'Big Mike' doesn’t flaunt a big gun around, but rather flaunts big heart. A heart that has helped countless young people change their lives forever.
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PBUS opens dialogue with lawyers at NACDL reception
From Oct. 25: With a goal of opening a dialogue with criminal defense lawyers, PBUS exhibited and co-sponsored the cocktail reception at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' Fall Seminar in Savannah, Oct. 17-18. Board member David Stuckman, who is a NACDL member, along with President Scott Hall and Executive Director Corrine Markey, represented PBUS.

Over 300 criminal attorneys and public defenders attended the two-day seminar. Many stopped at the PBUS table to find out more and ask questions about commercial bail. Corrine answered questions about how to find a bail agent, provided information from the Dallas study and other information about the bail industry.

The reception was an excellent venue to introduce PBUS to and open a dialogue with many of the attendees in a social setting. During the reception, Scott spent time with people from Wisconsin discussing the possibility of the return of commercial bail to the state. They were open to the information he provided about bail on which they hadn’t previously focused.

An unexpected benefit was from being located next to a marketing firm that specializes in the most advanced aspects of Google search that now changes weekly. David spoke to them at length about using their program for his business. Corrine and David also discussed having them do a workshop at the PBUS 2014 Winter Conference. All felt it was time well spent for PBUS.

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Bail bonds company discovers credit card scam
The San Francisco Appeal
From June 13: A woman who used a fraudulent credit card to post bail has been linked to a credit card fraud operation at a home in San Francisco's Forest Knolls neighborhood, police said. After the suspect, who is believed to be about 30 years old, used the fraudulent card to post bail, the bail bond company tracked her to a home. The unnamed woman, however, is still at large, with limited information being made available by authorities at this time.
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'Big Marco' is making a big difference in San Diego
KUSI-TV via ExpertBail
From Dec. 12: ExpertBail Agent Marco LiMandri of A to Z Bail Bonds in San Diego is spending this holiday season breaking the negative stereotype of the bail bondsman. For the third year in a row, LiMandri is holding a Holiday blanket drive at his downtown San Diego office.
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Pretrial reform: Stop scapegoating the bail industry
The Crime Report
From Oct. 11: As the pretrial reform debate heats up across the country, there has been no shortage of finger pointing, with most of it directed toward the private sector, pretrial community — otherwise known as the commercial bail industry.
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Breaking down bail bond stereotypes
From Sept. 13: In this radio interview, Eric Granof of ExpertBail talks about the many misconceptions surrounding the bail bond industry. Granof also explains the bail process, while discussing the important role that bail plays in ensuring accountability in the criminal justice system.
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A bail perspective on pretrial release reform
Fox & Hounds via ExpertBail
From Nov. 8: The article provides an alternative perspective on the pretrial release reform debate — perspective of partnership and cooperation. This is something that the bail bond industry has proposed for many years to the public sector pretrial community with no response.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    New Jersey bail bondsmen in battle against court plan to cut their business (The Star-Ledger)
'Big Marco' is making a big difference in San Diego (KUSI-TV via ExpertBail)
Parolees less likely to commit new crimes than those who 'max out' (PCT)
FBI releases annual crime statistics from NIBRS (The Federal Bureau of Investigation)
How bureaucrats stand in the way of releasing elderly, ill prisoners (ProPublica)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


PBUS News Update
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Liz Murphy, Content Editor, Law Enforcement/Public Safety, 202.684.7166   
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