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Mercer University School of Law

Mercer Law Review

Contracts

1977

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Federal Common Law, Not State Law, Controls Interpretation Of Federal Bail-Bond Contracts, William T. Wingfield Jr. Jul 1977

Federal Common Law, Not State Law, Controls Interpretation Of Federal Bail-Bond Contracts, William T. Wingfield Jr.

Mercer Law Review

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in United States v. Miller, held that the liability of a surety on a federal bail-bond contract depends on the wording of the contract as interpreted under general federal common-law principles of suretyship and contract law.

Resolute Insurance Company was surety for Thomas Miller on two identical appearance bonds. Miller was found guilty of assaulting an FBI agent, had pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen goods, and was sentenced to a total of three years and three months of imprisonment. The trial court, at Miller's request and in the …