Bond Company Sues County

Valley Bail Bonds, a Belgrade bail bonds company and its owners have filed a suit against Park County. They claim that a Justice Court judge acted illegally as a bail bondsman.

The suit was filed against Judge Linda Budeski in US District Court in Billings. The suit claims that Budeski accepted the posting of 10 percent of a defendants bail amount to the court.

Park County says that this was an isolated incident, but the suit alleges otherwise. Valley Bail Bonds believes that incidents like this happen regularly. The suit also says that in July, Valley Bail Bonds was contacted by a defendant looking to post $7,500 cash in response to a $75,000 bond set in Park County Justice Court. Valley Bail Bonds agreed to issue a surety bond in response to the request. Instead, before they completed their transaction, Valley Bail Bonds discovered that Budeski allowed the defendant to post with the court.

“Essentially, Judge Budeski took over the bail bondsman’s role rather than, as she could have constitutionally done, simply reduce the defendant’s bail from $75,000 to $7,500,” said Valley Bail Bonds attorney Douglas Marshall in the documents filed. “In doing so, Judge Budeski deprived (Valley Bail Bonds) of at least one business opportunity.”

Marshall also wrote that allowing defendants to post directly to the court is not an approved method of obtaining bail according to the laws in the state of Montana.

Park County has asked the judge for the case to dismiss the suit. No ruling has yet been made.

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM