It’s an Old World model embedded into a 21st-century criminal
justice system, one that critics have complained threatens basic
BY CHASE PURDY
The Roanoke Times
She leafed through the contents of a manila folder
from the driver’s seat of her truck, which idled in the parking lot of a
squat motel on a lonely autumn night. The whiff of bygone cigarettes
clung to the interior air. A trail of exhaust drifted languidly against
red taillights and off into the clear night.
Teresa St. Clair-Lavender paused to examine a photo.
Donald P. Ward, a ruddy man with cropped hair, stared back at her. He
was a fugitive wanted in Tennessee for a handful of minor crimes, but
St. Clair-Lavender didn’t know this when her company agreed to bond him
out of Roanoke City Jail for $1,000. Neither did city authorities. Word
traveled fast, though, and so did she.
This is a typical day for St. Clair-Lavender. This is how she earns a living.
She and the 15 or so bail bondsmen across the
Roanoke Valley keep tabs on hundreds of people who paid bond for release
from jail. The majority will show up for their court dates, as
promised. Some, though, will run and hide. Sometimes in broad
daylight. Sometimes in attics. And sometimes, if they’re really
desperate, between water bed mattresses or packed into layers of pink
housing insulation. It is a game of cat and mouse that stretches back
Read the rest of the story in The Roanoke Times.