10 December 2013
It’s an Old World model embedded into a 21st-century criminal justice system, one that critics have complained threatens basic liberties.

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 through centuries.

Read the rest of the story in The Roanoke Times.
 
posted by Chase at 9:59 AM |


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