By gunslingerNZ 6 Comments
Having played a lot of Red Dead Redemption the topic of bounty hunting was recently on my brain. In some sort of beautiful coincidence I managed to catch the end of a show on TV recently about the arrest and prosecution of 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' Duane Chapman for breaking the conditions of his bail after being arrested in Mexico (ironically for false imprisonment of a big time bail jumper).
Now as a little bit of history I'd only ever seen 2 or 3 episodes of his show and just assumed it was some sort of ridiculous faux cop show that passed for entertainment and left it at that. After having my interest in the topic spurred again though I did a little bit of research and discovered that, stunningly, bounty hunting is still legal in the US! Don't mistake my surprise for a negative judgment here though, I'm just genuinely shocked that such an old tradition still remains on the US lawbooks.
So discovering that Dog's comedy troupe is actually carrying out a legitimate form of justice my question to you, citizens of America, is this. Why are you not out on the street busting ass and dragging criminals into court to collect a pretty penny? Apparently all it takes is a sweet hairdo, scrawny sidekick and amusingly top heavy partner and you're in business!
Well actually TV has the facts slightly wrong once again but I figure about now you're pretty interested in this potential new revenue stream and might want to know want legal rights you have in pursuit of these nasty criminal types? Well as it turns out your rights are actually pretty extensive!
The main legal authority seems to be Taylor v Taintor an old case of the US Supreme Court from way back in 1873. Apparently that case establishes that a bounty hunter can enter into a criminal's private property without a warrant in order to execute an arrest (curiously though those comments were actually only obiter in the original case but it seems subsequent courts have treated them as binding). Here's where I have to pour a little water on the fire though... Keep in mind your state might have other laws restricting the practice and it seems some states actually require bounty hunters to be trained or registered. In some states though all you need is permission from the bail bondsman and you're good to go!
You can expect to collect anywhere up to 20% of the original bail for your capture (no money for dead crooks unfortunately!) but don't forget your badass bounty hunter name for all the official documentation, I'd go with Machete myself.