Name: James Waldron Lindblad
Job: Certified bail agent and president of the Professional Bail Agents Association of Hawaii, director of the Hawaii State Sheriff Association and occasional bounty hunter
Years of experience: 34
Toughest part: Lindblad has bailed out more than 20,000 people. With numbers like that, some are bound to run, but he has only two people unaccounted for. (Yes, he often contracts his longtime friend, Duane “Dog” Chapman, to find bail jumpers.)
The worst part is dealing with the heartbroken families who have often paid a lot of money to get loved ones out of jail. “When you observe the family tragedy, and not just the defendant, but with everyone involved, that’s extremely tough,” Lindblad says.
His most emotionally difficult job was trying to find a defendant who ran after his family posted bail and was later found dead. “He was a very legitimate, church-going guy, a homeowner with a family, and he just abandoned his life.”
Rewards: Lindblad views his job as a much-needed service to people who can’t afford bail. “Nobody should be in jail for lack of funds,” he says. “We bail people out so they can have their day in court, not so they can run.”
About 90 percent of his clients need bail for the first time in their lives, so part of his job is to counsel them through a trying process and he finds that helping families is very rewarding. “I get gratification in helping people. So if you can make money and survive doing it, that’s great.”
Pay: Bail bondsmen make, on average, between $75,000 and $150,000 a year. “But that’s a very deceptive amount, since it’s not usually a one-man operation,” Lindblad says. His wife, Evelyn, works with him, as does his younger son, Nicholas. His older son, Scott, owns his own bail-bond company.