State of Tennessee Ex Rel. Rachel Beth Haynes v. Allan Vincent Daugherty

State of Tennessee Ex Rel. Rachel Beth Haynes v. Allan Vincent Daugherty
M2018-01394-COA-R10-CV

The issue in this interlocutory appeal is whether the trial court erred in requiring a cash-only appearance bond. Father, who had an arrearage judgment for failing to pay child support, was arrested and incarcerated pursuant to an order of attachment under Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-101(f)(2). The trial court set an appearance bond, without an evidentiary hearing, at the full amount of the alleged arrearage, $13,413.45, and restricted the bond to cash. The order also directed that, upon payment of the cash bond, the funds were to be forwarded immediately to the State Disbursement Unit and applied to Father’s arrears. In subsequent hearings, the trial court denied Father the right to post a secured bond, and this Tenn. R. App. P. 10 Extraordinary Appeal followed. First, we hold that the trial court violated Father’s constitutional rights under Article I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution and under the equal protection guarantees of both the Tennessee and United States Constitutions by imposing a cash-only appearance bond. Second, we hold that the trial court violated Father’s due process rights under both the state and federal constitutions by imposing a $13,413.45 cash-only bond as a means to collect a civil debt and ordering that the bond be immediately applied in satisfaction of the alleged debt, without an evidentiary hearing. Finally, we hold that the trial court misconstrued the applicable statute, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-101(f)(2), as allowing it to use the appearance bond solely as a means to collect the alleged arrears, rather than as a means to ensure Father’s appearance for legal proceedings. Therefore, because the trial court failed to identify and apply the appropriate legal principles, both statutory and constitutional, and its decision was not supported by an evidentiary foundation, the decision constituted an abuse of discretion. Because the trial court erred in requiring a cash-only appearance bond, the judgment of the trial court is reversed, the amount of bond shall be $1,000, which Father may post with sufficient sureties, and the case is remanded for further proceedings as may be necessary.

Authoring Judge: 
Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Originating Judge: 
Judge Diana Benson Burns
Date Filed: 
Tuesday, September 10, 2019