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In a recent opinion issued by the Washington State Court, the case of State of Washington v. Edward L. Jeglum brought to light significant questions surrounding the forfeiture of cash bail. This case has sparked considerable interest among legal professionals and individuals involved in the bail process, offering an important opportunity to dissect the legal intricacies of cash bail forfeiture. Here, we delve into the key aspects of the case and its broader implications for the justice system.

Background of the Case

Edward Jeglum was charged with felony stalking and violation of a no-contact order. He posted a $100,000 cash bail, with the condition that failure to appear at court hearings would result in the forfeiture of the bail money. Jeglum violated this condition by not attending multiple court hearings, prompting the State to request bail forfeiture. The trial court, however, reserved ruling on the request and eventually denied it after Jeglum reappeared and was sentenced, citing existing law that prevented forfeiture once the accused reappears in court.

The pivotal question in this case was whether the trial court abused its discretion by misconstruing existing law regarding cash bail forfeiture. The appellate court concluded that the trial court did indeed err in its interpretation. The ruling clarified that trial courts have the discretion to forfeit cash bail even after the accused reappears in court and after judgment and sentence are entered, provided the accused has violated a condition of cash bail.

This interpretation underscores a significant point: cash bail serves as a mechanism to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. Its forfeiture can be considered when conditions attached to the bail are violated, irrespective of subsequent appearances or sentencing outcomes. The court’s decision emphasizes the need for defendants to comply with all bail conditions to avoid forfeiture.

Broader Implications

The Jeglum case sheds light on the critical role of cash bail in the criminal justice system and the potential consequences of violating bail conditions. For defendants, it serves as a stark reminder of the importance of adhering to court-imposed conditions. For legal practitioners, it highlights the discretionary power of courts in handling bail forfeiture cases and the importance of understanding the nuances of bail law.

Additionally, this case contributes to the ongoing debate about the cash bail system’s fairness and its impact on defendants’ rights. By clarifying the conditions under which cash bail can be forfeited, the ruling may influence future legislative discussions and reforms aimed at ensuring a more equitable bail system.


The State of Washington v. Edward L. Jeglum case offers valuable insights into the legal principles governing cash bail forfeiture. It serves as an important reference for understanding the discretion courts hold in such matters and the necessity for defendants to comply with bail conditions. As the legal community continues to scrutinize the cash bail system, cases like Jeglum play a crucial role in shaping the dialogue and guiding reforms toward a more just and equitable legal system.

You can read the text of Washington v. Jeglum, 442 P.3d 1 (Wash. Ct. App. 2019):

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