A North Raleigh couple paid the Wake County school system $25,000 to settle a case that could have cost them the home they put up as collateral in 2008 to bail their son out of jail on drug charges.
Seven years after their son failed to appear in court on the accusations, William and Frances Brodie received a bond forfeiture notice in August 2015 telling them they owed Wake County schools the $90,000 bond they had posted for his pretrial release.
After months of negotiations, attorneys for the couple and school system plan to go before a Superior Court judge Thursday, easing the worrisome prospect for the Brodies, both in their 80s, of being forced to leave their longtime home.
“We believed it was in everybody’s best interest to bring closure to it in an amicable way,” said Rod Malone, an attorney for the Wake County school system.
Under state law, school systems get money from fines, penalties and bond forfeitures imposed after a defendant fails to show up for court.
John Fanney, the attorney for the Brodies, did not immediately return requests for comment.
In June 2008, Mark David Brodie, then 55, was charged with trafficking heroin, possession with intent to sell/deliver heroin and maintaining a dwelling place to keep controlled substances. He was also indicted on a charge of being a habitual felon.
Mark Brodie’s parents used their home to secure a $90,000 bond to get him released from the Wake County jail while he awaited trial.
In October 2008, the Wake County District Attorney’s Office voluntarily dismissed the charges with leave after Brodie didn’t appear in court. This is a legal status that takes the charges off the active Superior Court calendar, but they do not go away. The district attorney can reactivate them any time Brodie is captured.
If Brodie had returned to North Carolina, his parents could have tried to get the bond forfeiture waived.
Arrest records in Santa Cruz, Calif., show that Mark Brodie, now 63, has been arrested multiple times in the past year on narcotics charges.
Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings said California and North Carolina do not have an agreement to extradite people in their custody charged with the low-level felony charges that Mark Brodie faces in this state. It would be costly to bring him back on a cross-country plane or van trip.
“It is a resource issue,” said Cummings, who signed off on the bond forfeiture settlement agreement.
The case was dormant for nearly seven years until the Wake County Clerk of Court’s Office filed the bond forfeiture notice in August 2015. Malone said the clerk of court’s office does a great job of getting bond forfeiture notices sent in a timely fashion, so the Brodie case is an anomaly.
Mark Brodie’s parents contend that for them to have to pay the $90,000, under North Carolina law, the forfeiture notice should have been sent within 30 days after Brodie didn’t appear in court in 2008. .
Malone said the the school district balanced the delay in sending the forfeiture notice with the age of the case in agreeing to take $65,000 less.
“Families, employers and friends fail to properly appreciate the significance of the decision that they’re making when they use their funds or their property to bail a person out of jail,” Malone said.