Bounty hunter

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bounty hunter is a profession in which wanted people are found and given to the institution that advertises them for a reward, the "bounty".

This activity plays a role today, especially in the USA , where it plays an important role in the American legal system due to the deposit system there. The exact legal regulations vary from state to state. Official names for bounty hunters are, for example, Bail Enforcement Agent or Fugitive Recovery Agent. Colloquially they are also called bounty hunters . Four US states ( Illinois , Kentucky , Oregon, and Wisconsin ) prohibit commercial bounty hunters entirely.

In addition to the United States, bounty hunting is legal in the Philippines .


In the historical usage of the term bounty hunter , no distinction is made between legal and illegal activity. It is generally used to denote all persons who, in return for a reward for the state or private clients, track down and deliver wanted persons or who provide evidence of their death. In the USA, especially in large regions such as the “ Wild West ”, police officers offered bounties if the geographic conditions made effective state prosecution difficult. Private commercial enterprises such as railway companies or stagecoach companies also offer rewards for apprehending suspects.

Bounty hunter today

Bail system in the USA

The existence of bounty hunters in the United States is closely related to the bail system there. In the United States, a defendant can bail if he does not want to spend the time in prison before the trial. He can borrow the deposit from a private deposit office, which charges a fee for this. The customer usually has to secure the deposit with assets such as property or a car.

If the defendant does not show up for trial and is not apprehended within a specified time ( for example, 180 days or six months in California ), the bail bond will not be returned to the bailiff. Therefore, the bail bondman tries to arrest the fugitive himself or through a bounty hunter . The rights of the bounty hunters go back to a judgment of the US Supreme Court (Taylor vs. Taintor) from 1873. Another legal basis is the contract concluded between the bond office and the fugitive.

The state only advertises the fugitive to be searched , often without further measures being taken immediately. There are an estimated 15,000 bond offices in the United States. Each year, around 31,500 people fail to appear on court hearings after being released on bail. Of bounty hunters around 90 percent of which is claimed for himself again to hand over to the authorities.

In the four states of Illinois , Kentucky , Oregon and Wisconsin , commercial bond offices are not planned at all.

Bounty Hunter Rights and Benefits

Depending on the laws of the respective state, a bounty hunter in the USA has certain special rights towards private individuals. For example, he may pursue a fugitive to other states and bring back from there and cannot be prosecuted for kidnapping . Some countries also recognize arrest warrants presented by bounty hunters and extradite fugitives to the United States.

The law allows the bounty hunter to pretend to be someone else in order to obtain information about the whereabouts of the fugitive through deception. The bounty hunter is allowed in many states also enter a building and developing, if necessary, use force to arrest the fugitives. However, he must be sure that the person he is looking for is in the building. The bounty hunter is personally liable for any property damage during the arrest .

The laws of the different US states differ significantly in terms of the rights and obligations of a bounty hunter . In some states there are no training or license restrictions except for the requirements of the bailiff agent, while in California, for example, state and private training courses lasting several days must be attended in order to be allowed to work as a bounty hunter . In some states, the bounty hunter must register before an arrest can be made in order to be protected from kidnapping charges. There are also differences in how they are labeled: some states require bounty hunters to wear badges and badges that identify them as such. Other states prohibit this to avoid confusion with police officers. Whether the police must be informed before a planned arrest or whether the bounty hunters are allowed to do this themselves also varies regionally. Some states significantly restrict or prohibit bounty hunting.

The bounty hunter delivers the fugitive to the police, preferably to the responsible police of the place of justice. For this purpose, many bail agents and bounty hunters have an arrest warrant with them, so that it is not necessary to appear at the police station at the place of arrest.

The bounty hunter usually receives compensation of around 10 to 15 percent of the deposit amount for the capture. This amount is covered by the commission paid by the wanted to the bond office for the security deposit.

Popular culture

Films like the spaghetti western For a Few Dollars More , Midnight Run - Five Days to Midnight , Domino or Django Unchained all took up the image of the bounty hunter . In science fiction , Jango Fett and his son Boba Fett are well-known bounty hunters within the Star Wars universe . In television series, for example, the topic was dealt with in series such as A Colt for All Cases , Renegade - Merciless Hunt and the reality documentary Dog - The Bounty Hunter .

The Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop is about the adventures of a group of bounty hunters in 2071.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Bounty hunter  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Adam Liptak: Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains in US The New York Times, January 29, 2008, accessed January 28, 2020 .
  2. ^ A b Adam Liptak: Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains in US In: New York Times . January 29, 2008. Retrieved October 28, 2017 .
  3. a b "I grab the guys". Der Spiegel, November 4, 1997, accessed January 29, 2020 .
  4. ^ How The Bail System Works In California., September 24, 2018, accessed January 29, 2020 .
  5. a b c Holger Hötzel: Dirty Secret. Focus, October 27, 1997, accessed January 28, 2020 .
  6. ^ A b Christiane Vielhaber: California abolishes the deposit system. Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, September 3, 2018, accessed on January 28, 2020 .
  7. a b Bounty hunt goes wrong - 3 dead! Image, June 2, 2017, accessed January 28, 2020 .
  8. ↑ Bounty hunter behind bars. Manager-Magazin, June 27, 2003, accessed January 28, 2020 .
  9. a b Marc Bädorf: Dangerous games of hide and seek for adults. Deutschlandfunk Kultur, November 6, 2019, accessed on January 28, 2020 .
  10. ↑ Bounty hunter is still a profession in the USA today. Inside topics., accessed May 15, 2019 .