Bostons ordered to repay $70,300

Published 10:33 am Tuesday, November 18, 2008

By Staff
Judge rules for school board
Staff Writer
According to an order signed Wednesday by Judge Donald L. Boone, Joe and Mazel Boston were wrong to ask for $70,300 in bond money back, and must repay it.
In the order, which is signed but has not yet been received by the clerk of court, the judge overturned decisions giving the money from 83 forfeited district-court bonds back to the Bostons.
The Bostons are fighting the Beaufort County Board of Education and the 2nd Prosecutorial District Attorney’s office, which includes Beaufort County, on the matter.
When someone is arrested for a crime and cannot post bail, he or she can engage a bail bondsman who, for a fee, agrees to be responsible for his or her bail.
If the defendant doesn’t appear at his or her court date, the bail bondsman must pay the bail amount, which goes to the schools.
For an example of this process, along with how the school board says it went wrong, see the gray box at right.
The Beaufort County Board of Education, represented by attorney Rod Malone, claimed at an August hearing that the Bostons didn’t tell the school district or the district attorney’s office they were appealing a number of those forfeitures.
Because motions like the Bostons’ are automatically granted if the school board does not object, not notifying the board’s attorney guaranteed victory on every motion, Malone said at the hearing.
Malone also claimed at the hearing that the reasons the Bostons gave for getting the money back — such as that the defendants had been arrested or the charges taken care of — weren’t true.
In his order, Boone found that the Bostons erred in a variety of ways.
Boone wrote that the Bostons “…(a) incorrectly alleged that the order for arrest had been served on the defendant, (b) incorrectly alleged the (defendant’s) cases had been finally disposed of by the court, (c) incorrectly alleged that the defendants had been surrendered, (d) incorrectly alleged that the defendant’s failure to appear had been set aside and the order for arrest had been recalled, (e) had no facts to support any of the six statutory grounds …”
Boone also found that the Bostons hadn’t notified the school board’s attorney, Kim Edwards, or the district attorney, Seth Edwards, her husband. And he found that many of the motions weren’t filed within the allotted time period.
At the trial, the Bostons’ attorney, Calvin King, attacked Kim Edwards’ credibility. He said some of the errors were due to a mistaken interpretation of a computer system. In the past he has claimed that the action against his client was retaliation by the school board for Joe Boston’s interest in school affairs.
In addition to the 83 cases decided Wednesday, Boone already ruled against the Bostons in eight cases in which an insurance company underwrote the bond. The Bostons are currently appealing that decision.
And a number of superior-court cases will be on the docket Thursday.
King declined to comment, as did Kim Edwards. A call to Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss was not returned.