Crime

Idaho bounty hunters held a man at gunpoint. A judge just barred them from the profession.

Canyon County jail

Two bounty hunters who held a person at gunpoint despite there being no outstanding warrant on the victim have been sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and had to agree not to pursue bail bonding or bail recovery anymore.

District Judge Christopher Nye sentenced Kevin Ratigan, 26, and David Manery, 29, last week after they pleaded guilty Feb. 13 to misdemeanor unlawful assembly. The charges were amended down from felony unlawful exercise of the functions of a police officer, pursuant to a plea agreement.

The men were charged in June after Caldwell police officers saw Ratigan and Manery in an unmarked, decommissioned police car pull over a vehicle near the Maverik gas station on Marble Front Road and North Illinois Avenue. The vehicle had rear emergency lights that were flashing.

Police reported that the victim thought the bounty hunters were police because of their dress and tactical gear. Ratigan and Manery said they were stopping someone who fled from them, according to previous reports. Police said the two men had no probable cause to go after the victim.

Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker said the men agreed to turn in their bonding licenses with the Department of Insurance.

Ratigan was credited for the three days he served in jail, and Manery was credited for the two days he served.

Bounty hunters and bail bondsmen in Idaho are not sworn police officers and are not required to have any training or certification before apprehending people who have skipped bail.

That’s an issue the Idaho Legislature is attempting to fix this year, but efforts have failed in three previous legislative sessions.

The bill that recently made its way out of Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee implements regulations around who would be eligible to be a bounty hunter, what they must wear, and requirements around notifying law enforcement of their presence.

Other recent problems with bail enforcement agents include the actions of 208 Bail Recovery Services and its owner, Logan Delaney. He pleaded guilty to carrying a weapon onto school property, court documents show, and the bounty hunter also began the questionable practice of livestreaming searches for and captures of fugitives.

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Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.

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