St. Louis Isn't the Only City With Bad News Bail Bondsmen
|Chico's Bail Bonds not licensed for business in St. Louis...yet|
If you haven't yet read the stories (click here and here and here for the texts), or allow us to paraphrase the gist of the articles:
Mary Catherine Moran is the pretrial release commissioner for St. Louis City Circuit Court. She recommends to the judges what types of bail bonds should be set for what defendants. Her job is one of a kind; in every other court in the state, judges decide on their own what the bail should be in each particular case.
Bob Block is the biggest name in St. Louis bail bonds. His company was responsible for more than $3.6 million worth of bonds last year in the city alone.
The Post-Dispatch found out that somehow the bail bonds for eight different criminal defendants were changed -- without the knowledge of judges in the cases -- to benefit Block and their jailed clients. (Specifically, the bonds were changed from "split" or "cash" to "secured," technicalities that netted the bail company up to $5,000 in some instances.)
No one seems to know how this happened. Moran, the person who handled the paperwork, claims she doesn't remember which judge authorized her to make the changes. The FBI has launched an investigation and Block has been temporarily banned from doing business in the city.
Implicit in the P-D's stories is that someone received a little something on the side for helping out the business of the city's largest bail bond company.
If kick-backs are, in fact, at the heart of the case, it would hardly be the first time a bail bondsman greased a few palms in order to get their perp out of jail. Here are a couple recent cases of illegal/questionable acts committed on behalf of bail bondmen.