Leonard Padilla known for his colorful personality, dedication to his career
Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla talks on his cellphone
at Flood and Waverly roads near Linden on Wednesday, Jan. 25,
- Leonard Padilla at a glance
Born: July 10, 1939 in Santos Place, a
restaurant/bar in Firebaugh.
Education: Attended five high schools
—Summerville in Tuolumne County, Delta High in Courtland, Klamath
Union in Klamath Falls, Ore., Sacred Heart Academy, also in Klamath
Falls. Graduated in 1957 from Tulelake High in Siskiyou County.
Attended Lincoln Law School in Sacramento beginning in 1975,
graduating in 1980.
Military: Enlisted in Air Force three days
after graduating from high school. Served in Libya and other
locations. Discharged in 1963.
Career: Worked at gas stations in Sacramento in
the 1960s; sold used cars in places like Sacramento, Stockton,
Roseville and Auburn; owned a large nightclub in Sacramento before
becoming a bounty hunter in 1975. In 1982, he opened Lorenzo Patino
Law School in downtown Sacramento.
Politics: Was one of 135 candidates for
governor in 2003, when Gray Davis was recalled. Received 1,155
votes, placing him 58th. Ran for mayor of Sacramento four times,
most recently in 2010 against Kevin Johnson.
Family: Wife Vanessa, 29, whom he married a
year ago; five grown children, Leonard, who lives in Spain, Julie,
a Denver resident, Alex, a retired race car driver from Beverly
Hills, Lorenzo, from Ottawa, Canada, and Alexis, who is attending
— Source: Leonard Padilla
“I’m not afraid if I have to shoot them. I have no problem with
that.” — Leonard Padilla, about the fugitives he hunts
“We used to be a very close family. We aren’t anymore.” —
Sacramento County bail bondsman Greg Padilla, Leonard’s
“I have a phone I keep in my hand. Even when I’m asleep, I have
a phone in my hand.” — Leonard Padilla
“It’s invigorating. The adrenaline is flowing. As I told a
reporter, it’s better than sex. When you hunt down a fugitive and
catch him, you can talk about it all day. With sex, in 10 minutes,
you forget about it.” — Leonard Padilla, explaining that he
isn’t burned out of his bounty hunting career
“Hello.” — Charlie the parrot
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 12:00 am
Updated: 9:11 am, Tue Jan 28, 2014.
Leonard Padilla is known throughout the country for his colorful
reputation as a bounty hunter who tracks down fugitives, searches
for the remains of murder victims and enjoys talking all about
Wearing a black western shirt, black pants and his trademark
black cowboy hat with a feather running through it, Padilla
searches for fugitives who have jumped bail. He finds them wherever
they are and returns them to custody.
Friday, January 27, 2012 12:00 am.
Updated: 9:11 am.