31. When the Bail Bond Board convenes an evidentiary hearing as to whether a licensed surety, licensed agent, or attorney has violated a Bail Bond Board Rule or any aspect of Chapter 1704 of the Texas Occupations Code, the hearing shall commence with the Board’s attorney reciting the nature of the charge and the name of the sworn complainant initiating the inquiry.
32. Next, the Board shall swear in all anticipated witnesses and issue any rulings as to whether the witnesses shall be asked to leave the room when other witnesses are giving testimony. The subject of a complaint shall in every case be allowed to remain present for all testimony.
33. All witnesses, licensees, and attorneys appearing before the Bail Bond Board shall have the right to counsel before the Board. This means that anyone accused of a violation of a Bail Bond Board Rule or any aspect of Chapter 1704 of the Texas Occupations Code shall have the right to address the Board on his own behalf or through counsel before the Board undertakes deliberation of its action in the matter. The time and manner of this address shall be subject to the reasonable control of the Chairman or other presiding Board member. Ordinarily, the subject of a complaint shall have the right to make a brief oral statement to the Board before evidence is taken. This statement may be made either by the subject, or his/her lawyer, but not both.
34. Receipt of evidence during a Bail Bond Board hearing shall be according to the following procedure:
(1) Witnesses shall be allowed to commence testimony in a narrative or through questioning from counsel.
(2) The Bail Bond Board’s attorney shall next be allowed to question each witness.
(3) After the Board’s attorney concludes questioning, the subject of a complaint shall be allowed to cross-examine each witness on his/her own behalf or through counsel.
(4) Finally, the Board members themselves will ask their questions of witnesses.
(5) Any further questioning shall continue in the order stated above.
(6) The conduct of all hearings, and any variation from the procedure above, is always subject to the control of the Board Chairman or other presiding member.
35. The Board may interrupt proceedings at any time to consult with its attorney about any matter. Such a consultation may be in open or closed session in the discretion of the Board.
36. Similarly, a witness, including one who is the subject of a complaint, may request a break at any time to consult with counsel. However, counsel for a witness, including one who is the subject of a complaint, shall not be allowed to stand at the podium with his or her client during the client’s testimony. During testimony, a lawyer must not make argument to the Board, but may assert any applicable legal privileges on behalf of his or her client. Lawyers representing parties who are not the subject of the complaint being heard shall not have the right to cross-examine witnesses.
37. Since the legislature has delegated to the Board the responsibility to determine whether a lawyer making bonds under the “attorney exception” (Texas Occupations Code Section 1704.163) “has engaged[ed] in conduct involved with that practice that would subject a bail bond surety to license suspension or revocation”, the Board will follow the same procedures for handling complaints against attorneys who are making bonds under the “attorney exception” that it follows for processing complaints against its licensees.
38. When the Board determines that an attorney has engaged in conduct prohibited by Texas Occupations Code 1704.163, it will also determine, in an individual case, what will constitute a remediation of the misconduct. Unless and until the conduct is remedied to the Board’s satisfaction, it shall order the Sheriff of Tarrant County to suspend the attorney’s power to make bonds under the “attorney exception” pursuant to Section 1704.163 of the Texas Occupations Code. Additionally, or as an alternative remedy, the Board may refer attorney misconduct to the State Bar of Texas when appropriate.
39. Any individual or corporation seeking a new license or the renewal of a license from the Board must appear before the Board prepared to answer questions about the application whenever consideration of the matter has been placed on the Board’s agenda. The Board will not grant a license or renewal in the absence of such an appearance.
A corporation may appear through any designated agent.
Any surety who is the subject of a complain must bring all agents or employees connected to the subject matter of the complaint to any hearing concerning the complaint. He or she should also bring all agents or employees who were physically present in the bond office whenever the events described in the complaint occurred.
“License” as used herein includes a corporate surety’s license, a license to act as the local agent of a corporate surety, an individual’s license to be a bail bond surety, a Class “A’ agent’s license, or a Class “B” agent’s license.