|Newspaper Blames Dem For GOP Scandal|
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A Cincinnati Enquirer story Nov. 15 about the unfolding bail bond scandal in the Hamilton County Clerk of Court's Office tries to shift blame for the $2.1 million mess from GOP officials to a Democratic Common Pleas Court judge. But the newspaper's reporting doesn't appear to stand up when measured against public records easily available in online court filings. In other words, the Enquirer swallowed hook, line and sinker a Republican contrived effort to discredit Judge Nadine Allen. The GOP spin looks to have made the Gannet Co. Inc. newspaper so dizzy it fell down on the job. Judge Nadine Allen intends to hold a press conference today -- which is an unusual move for a judge -- to point out gaping holes in the Cincinnati Enquirer's story. Here's what The Daily Bellwether has gleaned so far:
The Sunday story by Reporter Kimball Perry said $2.1 million in forfeited bail bonds has been uncollected by the clerk's office. It said Hamilton County is going to have to refund $105,000 to a bailbonding company because Judge Nadine Allen set aside a forfeiture last month. The story said the county doesn't have money available to pay back the bonding company. The story -- and this is really the guts of the slam against Nadine Allen -- reported the $105,000 forfeiture had been distributed to police and prosecutors. Truth is, that never happened. Court records show the county had a lien against the bonding firm and the criminal defendant who jumped bail. The lien represented an unpaid debt that had been on the books for three years. If the county had distributed the money, there would not be a lien because legal procedure requires the lien to be cancelled when a debt is paid off. It would be massive incompetence for the clerk's office to maintain liens against people who had cleared their debts.
Here's the Enquirer version with the disputed statements in bold face:
"In 2006, Ismial Salaam was arrested and jailed on drug charges. A judge set bond at $105,0000. A bond agent posted that bond. Salaam was released and told to show up in court. Instead, he ran. A judge ordered the $105,000 forfeited on June 12, 2007. That money was given to the prosecutors and the police department that arrested Salaam.
"Salaam then was arrested in June 2009. When he was brought to court, his bond agent asked for the return of the $105,000 bond. Common Pleas Court Judge Nadine Allen agreed on Oct. 6 and ordered the money returned to the bond agent. 'The money's spent,' [Assistant Prosecutor Mike] Florez said. 'I don't know how you're going to get it back.'"
|Lien For Bail Bond|