NEWS AND EVENTS

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38 YEARS AGO…Saturday-Sunday April 28-29, 1973 Globe-Democrat


Judge issued Bail Bondsmen ‘Blank Check’

By James Robinson and Steve Higgins

A St. Louis judge signed more than a dozen blank bail bonds for three commercial bondsmen to use while the judge was vacationing in Ireland last summer, a Globe-Democrat investigation shows.

Judge Richard J. Brown of the St. Louis Court of Criminal Correction, signed 14 separate blank bonds and apparently divided them between bondsmen Carl Biondo and Bernard and Irwin Crouppen before Brown’s three-week trip to Ireland in July and August last year…
In effect the judge signed his name to a “blank check” which allowed the bondsmen to write in the name of any person he wanted to and subsequently gain the release of that individual from police custody for any amount the bondsmen designated.
At first Brown said he “couldn’t recall ever having done such a thing” but later admitted that he may have given out a blank “bond or two with my signature.”…
When asked how a blank bond scheme could occur, Crouppen added:
“I can’t answer you about something I have no answer for.”
One St. Louis judge with more than 30 years on the bench had said that “gratuities” from a bondsmen to a judge may be a possible cause for some bail bond irregularities.” …

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