State v. Chestnut, ___ N.C. App. ___, 806 S.E.2d 332 (Oct. 3, 2017)

The trial court erred by granting a motion to set aside a bond forfeiture. When the defendant failed to appear in district court, the trial court issued a bond forfeiture notice. The bail agent filed a motion to set aside the forfeiture. However, on the preprinted form used for such motions the bail agent did not check any of the seven exclusive reasons under the statute, G.S. 15A-544.5, for setting aside a bond forfeiture. In addition to the motion, the bail agent submitted a letter stating that it had “been putting forth efforts to locate [the defendant]” but had been unsuccessful in doing so despite spending “$150 checking leads as to where and how” to locate the defendant. The Board of Education objected to the motion. The trial court allowed the surety’s motion to set aside. On appeal, the court held that the trial court erred in allowing the motion to set aside because the surety failed to demonstrate a legally sufficient reason to set aside under the statute. No box was checked on the relevant form and the reasons asserted in the letter attached to the motion did not fall within any of the seven exclusive statutory reasons for setting aside a forfeiture.