Taylor v. Taintor Does Not Apply in Nevada

Taylor v. Taintor is a United States Supreme Court decision from 1873.  83 U.S. 366.  This case was about whether a surety company had to pay on a bond to the court where the defendant failed to appear in a Connecticut court because the defendant was in jail in Maine.  The Court ruled that the surety was obligated to pay on the bond because it was the surety’s negligence that caused the defendant not to appear in court.  Id. at 372–75. 

Many bail licensees rely on the Taylor case because of the following statement the Court made: 

When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done.  They may exercise their rights in person or by agent.  They may pursue him into another State; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and, if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose.  . . .

Id. at 371–72.  This statement in Taylor is “dicta”, which means that it is not the holding of the case and, therefore, is not binding law.  Importantly, this statement is not legal authority for a bail licensee to do anything at any time and at any place with his/her defendant.  The Nevada Legislature has enacted statutes regulating bail.  Therefore, any person acting in the business of bail must comply with these laws in order to engage in this business.