Bounty Hunters: Can the Criminal Justice System Live Without Them?
John A. Chamberlin   |   1998 U. Ill. L. Rev.

In this note, the author examines the problem of bounty hunters, who are granted broader powers than police, yet remain largely unregulated. This has inevitably led to tragedies where bounty hunters have injured or killed fugitives and even innocent people. The author begins his search for a solution by tracing the history of the bail system as it originated in England and later evolved in the United States. Next, he describes the bail system in the United States as it functions today. The author concludes that bondsmen and bounty hunters are such a necessary and invaluable asset that they should not be eliminated, as some have suggested. Neither should they be subject to the same constitutional restrictions as police, for it is precisely their enhanced powers which allow them to bring back fugitives more effectively. Instead, the best approach is to curb the abuses of power by bounty hunters without unduly limiting them. This can be achieved, as Florida has recently done, by regulating bounty hunters through licensing.