WANTED – In Arizona, bounty hunters bring suspected offenders who fail to appear to trial to justice. These court officers themselves sometimes break the law to achieve their ends. “Seven to Eight” followed several of them.
F. Senneville | Report 7 to 8: B. Bolzinger and L. Geisswiller – 2021-11-22T16:07:00.000+01:00
They practice a manhunt, and don’t even hide it. “I like the hunting side”, explains Korey, a civilian barber, in the “Seven to Eight” video at the top of this article. “When I was younger, I hunted animals”, he explains with an indecipherable smile, “but that’s a lot more fun”.
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In the United States, bounty hunters are in fact mandated by lending agencies, which have advanced the amount of their release on bail to those charged, pending trial. If an accused escapes, these surety agencies (“bail bonds” in English), have thirty days to get their hands on it, otherwise they would have to pay the deposit themselves. The “hunters” met in the Arizona report of “Seven to Eight” cash “bounties” when they manage to stop the fugitives, in the order of a hundred euros for each.
We’re still in a gray area
They are apparently ordinary people, who when doing this job full time earn around 3,500 euros per month. In Arizona, you only need to be 18 years old, a license to carry a gun, and a clean criminal record. Kenny and Jennifer lead a seemingly peaceful existence with their two children in a suburban Phoenix neighborhood, if one excludes the arsenal they store at home.
But in the evening, Kenny and Jennifer drop off their children with their grandparents, and set off together for a night of stalking. Knocks at the door, assault weapons in hand, intimidation of relatives of fugitives, searches without warrants, bluffing … The fugitives are generally arrested, and their relatives are terrified by these violent intrusions. In theory, these methods are illegal. But Kenny justifies this practice: “We are still in a gray area”, he believes, “In 90% of cases, we catch a liar with a lie. If they are not honest with us, we have to pretend to achieve our ends”.
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Critics abound in the United States against the bail agency system, which thrives on the poverty of most offenders, who have no money to pay their bail – but only four states have actually banned it. . Kenny and his team made up for themselves, like Nick – a bricklayer in civilian life – who is certain that if he did not “not this job, someone else would”. “This system is not I who created it “, he pleads, “and I don’t agree with the way some take advantage of people who are in difficult situations (…), but it’s a job, and I do it well”.
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