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Monthly Archives: May 2011

IMF chief denied bail because of … Roman Polanski

The head of the IMF will sit in a cell at Riker’s Island until at least Friday, thanks to …Roman Polanski.  Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s defense team argued forcefully for his release on bail, but prosecutors in New York warned that a bail release would mean certain flight from prosecution.  Like Polanski, the US would be unable to force France to extradite Strauss-Kahn if he managed to slip out of the country while out on bail:

Strauss-Kahn spent the night at the infamous Rikers Island, a 400-acre penal complex, after being denied bail Monday. Prosecutors had warned the wealthy banker might flee to France and put himself beyond the reach of U.S. law like the filmmaker Roman Polanski. …

Prosecutors said they couldn’t force Strauss-Kahn’s return from France if he went there.

“He would be living openly and notoriously in France, just like Roman Polanski,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Daniel Alonso, referring to the film director long sought by California authorities for sentencing in a 1977 child sex case.

Defense lawyers suggested bail be set at $1 million and promised that the IMF managing director would remain in New York City. His lawyers said Strauss-Kahn wasn’t trying to elude police Saturday: The IMF head rushed out of the hotel at about 12:30 p.m. to get to a lunch date with a family member, then caught a flight for which he had long had a ticket, they said.

For that matter, they could also point to the case of Ira Einhorn, who lived openly in France for years despite his conviction for murder in Pennsylvania.  Only after prosecutors agreed to a new trial (Einhorn had been convicted in absentia after jumping bail) and to abandon the death penalty did France finally extradite Einhorn.  And he was a US citizen without any other passport, unlike Polanski and Strauss-Kahn.

If France honored normal extradition protocols, Strauss-Kahn would probably be out on bail today.  He can thank Polanski and the French government for keeping him in his cell.

Meanwhile, the defense has shifted its claims a bit since the weekend.  Earlier, they spoke of finding an alibi because Strauss-Kahn was supposedly not in the hotel but at a restaurant at the time of the attack.  Now, they’re arguing that the evidence doesn’t support a forcible encounter:

Brafman said defense lawyers believe the forensic evidence “will not be consistent with a forcible encounter.” Defense lawyers wouldn’t elaborate, but Brafman said “there are significant issues that were already found” that make it “quite likely that he will be ultimately be exonerated.”

Sounds like a bit of a walkback, and since the maid was treated for minor injuries after the “encounter,” it doesn’t promise to be a terribly convincing one, although they only need to raise reasonable doubt.  But if they’re starting to concede that an “encounter” took place, it seems as though they’re preparing for a DNA match to be made from the forensic evidence.

In Europe, some have seen enough and want a resignation tout suite:

Austria’s finance minister suggested Tuesday that Strauss-Kahn consider stepping down to avoid damaging the IMF, which provides emergency loans to countries in severe distress and tries to maintain global financial stability.

“Considering the situation, that bail was denied, he has to figure out for himself that he is hurting the institution,” Maria Fekter said as she arrived at a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels.

Elena Salgado, Fekter’s Spanish counterpart, said Strauss-Kahn had to decide for himself whether he wanted to step down, considering the “extraordinarily serious” nature of the charges.

“If I had to show my solidarity and support for someone it would be toward the woman who has been assaulted, if that is really the case that she has been,” she said.

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County Corruption Defendants’ Bail Reduced, Made To Do Perp Walk

As a crowd of more than 50 people looked on, four men more accustomed to suits and ties came shuffling into a San Bernardino County Superior Courtroom in green prison jumpsuits.

James Erwin, former chief of staff to third District San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry, led the way for what is commonly referred to as a “perp walk.” Behind him was Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt and current director of government relations in the county administrative office, Jeffrey Burum, a general partner of Colonies Partners, L.P., and former San Bernardino County Second District Supervisor Paul Biane.

All four wore wrist and leg shackles into Thursday’s arraignment hearing. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies ushered the men from the hallway into the room to muffled gasps.

“Is that how they do it here?” a woman in the audience asked softly.

The hearing was spent trying to get the four defendants out of jail and out of those jumpsuits. An arraignment was postponed until June 10. Attorneys for accused successfully lobbied to have bail reduced for the foursome.

Bail had been set at $2 million for all but Burum, who was hit with $10 million. Biane and Erwin’s bail was lowered to $250,000, Kirk’s bail to $100,000 and Burum’s bail to $500,000.

Superior Judge Brian S. McCarville granted the request over the objections of State Deputy Attorney General Melissa Mandel, who argued that each was a flight risk and a danger to society because of the nature of their crimes.

Not so, said defense attorneys, who pointed out all had close ties to their communities.

“He has poisoned the political institution that was designed to protect citizens,” Mandel said of Kirk. She added that Kirk violated the trust of the very community he claims to have ties to.

Of Burum, a wealthy developer, Mandel said, “He feels very much at home across the country and across the globe. He has a private plane which he uses regularly. He’s very much at home in other places.”

Biane’s risk of fleeing was without question in the mind of prosecutors, who reminded the judge that the former supervisor was out of town when he should have been turning himself in to authorities. San Bernardino County District Attorney investigators arrested him as he stepped off a flight at Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport on Tuesday night, some 10 hours after he was expected to surrender.

“At best, he was hours late,” David Goldstein, Biane’s attorney told he judge. “Now I’m not trying to minimize that but he was trying to get back from another city. He was in a remote location. He’s not a fugitive. He was fleeing back here to be arrested.”

As of late Thursday, the men were out on bail but soon will be fitted with electronic monitoring devices per Judge McCarville’s orders, according to jail records.

The men were arrested Tuesday in connection with a $102 million bribery scheme involving Colonies Partners, L.P., and flood control improvements on 434 acres of land in Upland on which the Colonies Crossroads shopping center sits now.

All four were indicted Tuesday by the San Bernardino County Grand Jury on 29 counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, misappropriation of public funds, improper influence and conflict of interest, according to a news release issued by the California Attorney General’s office.

According to the indictment, Erwin accepted money in exchange for influencing then county supervisor William “Bill” Postmus and Biane’s vote. Kirk also took payment to influence a vote of an unidentified official, the indictment said.

Postmus and Biane agreed to accept a bribe to approve a Colonies settlement. The bribes were reportedly $100,000 each. After Colonies received the $102 million settlement, Burum distributed the bribes/payments to Postmus, Biane, Kirk and Erwin, according to the indictment.

The defendants used political action committees to conceal the bribes, officials said.

In March, Postmus pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts, including conspiracy to accept a bribe and conflict of interest. He has agreed to cooperate in the continuing investigation.

 

Judge reduces bail for ex-water officials in $1.3 million bribery case

Inmates

A Las Vegas judge decided today to cut the bail in half for two former water officials being charged in an alleged $1.3 million bribery case.

Bail was reduced from $500,000 to $250,000 for Robert Alan Coache, 52, former deputy state engineer for Southern Nevada in the Nevada Division of Water Resources, and Michael E. Johnson, 51, former chief hydrologist of the Virgin Valley Water District.

However, Justice of the Peace William Jansen put a stipulation on the bail — an evidentiary hearing must be held first to show the source of the money before they post bond.

Jansen set a tentative bail evidentiary hearing at 8:30 a.m. May 25 for the two former officials, which is the same date he set from their preliminary hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Both men appeared with their attorneys today at their arraignment. The charges against each of them include bribery, misconduct by a public official, conspiracy and money laundering.

The criminal complaint says they were paid more than $1.3 million in bribes to help Bunkerville landowner Michael Lonetti Jr. sell two Virgin River water permits to the Southern Nevada Water Authority for about $8.4 million.

The complaint alleges the activity took place between Jan. 1, 2006, and Sept. 13, 2010. It says the two men set up a company, Rio Virgin LLC, to accept the $1.3 million from Lonetti and then paid themselves from that company.

The complaint lists 18 counts of money laundering and says the money paid by Lonetti to acquire the water rights was withdrawn from Rio Virgin LLC by Coache and Johnson.

According to a police investigator’s report, the two men worked with another man, Michael Winter, the former general manager of Valley View Water District, to sell Lonetti’s water permits. Neither Winter nor Lonetti have been charged in the case.

 

SB 11-186 Fails in Colorado

Colorado bail agents breathed a sigh of relief May 10 as SB 11-186 failed to move through Legislature before adjournment. The alternative bond bill would have instituted a pre-trial release program and effectively put the state’s bondsmen out of business. The bill threatened to eliminate approximately 485 Colorado bail agencies and the eight surety companies who insure them, according to an earlier article from the Denver Post. SB 11-186 would have given judges strong incentive to recommend that people go through the pre-trial release program as opposed to private bail bonds, considering that 50% of the bond amount would have been used to fund pre-trial release services.

The Professional Bail Agents of Colorado, Rocky Mountain Professional Bail Association, several bail insurance companies and a group of lobbyists were among the many people who worked to rally against the bill. They were deeply concerned that public safety would be in jeopardy because pre-trial release programs have been shown to be far less effective than bail agencies.

While the failure of SB 11-186 is great news for bail agents in Colorado, the same issue will continue to rear its head in other states across the country. This emphasizes the need for constant communication and news sharing within the nation’s bail industry, as well as membership in state and national bail associations.

To read about SB 11-186 Click Here

 

Bail Bond Agent Sentenced In Orange County


Just yesterday, the Superior Court of Orange County sentenced Ronald Lee Brockway of Respect Bail Bonds in an illegal referral scheme. Mr. Brockway was sentenced to a year in jail, fines, probation, and a six month suspension of his bail license.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new to Mr. Brockway. He avoided prosecution in 2005 in exchange for testimony before the Orange County Grand Jury, which helped put away Joseph Cavallo, an attorney. In his testimony, he claims to have received cash monies from the criminal defense attorney in exchange for referring clients.
California Code of Regulations- Title 10, Article 2, defines bail transactions as they pertain to a licensed bail agent in the State of California. Section 2071 prohibits directly or indirectly referring / suggesting an attorney to an arrestee for representation. Furthermore, section 2074 prohibits solicitation for bail to any person on the premises of any jail, prison, court, detention facility, and connections to administrations of justice.
Mr. Brockway didn’t take the previous “run in with the law” as a warning, but continued his illegal bail bond operations. In fact, he posted his own $50,000.00 bail bond back in July of 2010! It is my assumption that he had a total disregard for the law, which finally led to his arrest and conviction. The truth of the matter is, he will serve only part of his sentence just in time for the reinstatement of his bail agent’s license, an ill decision made in part of the California Insurance Commissioner.

 

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Who Is Watching Sited Out Prisoners

AB 109 bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown to set criminals out on GPS Monitors.

Taxpayers being taxed to death, county and states are broke. Counties can’t pay for the police staff now and they want to take away from the private interprise of the Bail Bond Industry that is self funded by the Bail Industry.

State can’t afford to watch every prisoner on a GPS monitor. They can’t even keep you safe. San Bernardino releasing child molester, drug dealers and drug traffickers. Any bail bonds $500,000 or less being released into your community at the expense of your tax dollars.
Detention and Release paid by your tax dollars releasing criminals into your community.

Hundred of thousand warrants not being served on those criminals released on their promise to come back to court.

More crimes being committed at the expense of your taxpayer dollars. Taxpayer funded organization take no responsibility for no
shows to court. Criminals running the judicial system. Running
amonk in your community.
Detention and Release programs was for the indigents on minor
offenses. Not for felons!

Governor Jerry Brown tried to take away peoples right to bail in 1979. He lost his compaign to take away our constitutional rights.

GPS monitors now tattoos on our forehead or wrist going to be next.

When do we as American Citizens say enough is enough.

Glenda Stroobant

 

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