Principal

One who becomes a surety for the performance of the judgment of a court in a pending case is represented by his/her principal[i].  The surety is bound by the judgment against his/her principal within the limits of his/her obligation.

The bond in a criminal action is an agreement between the court and the principal and his/her surety[ii].  When bail bond is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his/her sureties[iii].  Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment.

A surety may seize his/her principal and deliver him/her up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him/her until it can be done[iv].  They may exercise their rights in person or by agent.

Further, a surety may pursue his/her principal into another State, may arrest him/her on the Sabbath, and, if necessary, may break and enter his/her house for that purpose.

Thus in Lund v. Seneca County Sheriff’s Dep’t, 230 F.3d 196, 197 (6th Cir. Ohio 2000), the court observed that the bail put the principal on a string, and may pull the string whenever they please, and render him/her in their discharge.

Any bail or surety who has entered into a recognizance for the personal appearance of another, and afterwards believe that his/her principal intends to abscond, may apply to a justice of the peace in the county in which such principal resides, produce his/her bail bond, or evidence of his/her being bail or surety, and may apply to arrest such principal, and commit him/her to the jail of such county[v].

The surrender of the principal should be a full discharge of the surety upon his/her bond or recognizance.

Further, issues made and decided against the principal in a bond upon which the sureties were bound cannot be re-litigated, in the absence of fraud and collusion, by a surety when sued upon the bond[vi].

[i] William W. Bierce, Ltd. v. Waterhouse, 219 U.S. 320 (U.S. 1911).

[ii] Bruno v. Commissioner, 71 T.C. 191 (T.C. 1978).

[iii] Taylor v. Taintor, 83 U.S. 366 (U.S. 1873).

[iv] Lund v. Seneca County Sheriff’s Dep’t, 230 F.3d 196, 197 (6th Cir. Ohio 2000).

[v] Whitten v. Tomlinson, 160 U.S. 231 (U.S. 1895).

[vi] William W. Bierce, Ltd. v. Waterhouse, 219 U.S. 320 (U.S. 1911).


Inside Principal