This is a note to the Steamboat judicial system. As a longtime business owner, I have dealt with the court system here on a couple of occasions and found it to be singularly ineffective in its application of the law, so I am turning to the media to be heard.
As a longtime satisfied customer of Alpine Bank and potential victim of the recent theft, I was shocked and infuriated to hear that the bail assigned the two women recently arrested for suspicion of having committed the theft is so insignificant, amounting to approximately 1 to 2 percent of the alleged theft. Local rumor has it that the small bail is due to the fact that the accused are mothers and have family to look after.
I find it odd that their status as mothers could be cause to assign such easy bail terms. Many other clients of Alpine have expressed the same outrage. This is no snowboarder's jaywalking offense. Those suspected of robbing the bank, grand larceny and fraud should be treated as potentially serious felons. Is this leniency perhaps due to their long-term residence and the fact they are female? There is something wrong here in Dodge. The bail isn't much more than the fine for a DUI handed out to a tourist who drank a few too many margaritas. Ten or $20K would not be hard to come up with if they actually perpetrated the crime.
This crime was carried out through a devious and clever scheme during many years. A million dollars of hard-earned cash was stolen from private accounts of working people with families. Admirably, Alpine Bank is making good on all the theft before it collects federal insurance, but what a needless exercise and expense for them. The feds wont pick up the entire bill.
As citizens, we must insist that justice be dealt out as our legal system was designed. I know I am not the only one who is sick and tired of the apparently arbitrary application of law which seems to favor those of a similar mindset, have lived here for 25-plus years, or can touch the sympathies of those in power. Even our own fairly elected sheriff suffers from these biases.
When our judicial system can't tell the difference between serious criminal activity and minor offenses, and is swayed by what appears to be emotional prejudice or favoritism, we should question them. Serious suspects should not be treated like little girls who have been a bit naughty. People lose their jobs and walk to work for months and pay fines equal to a year's take-home pay for driving over the limit, jaywalkers are arrested, people get into big trouble when their dogs bark, yet when someone is suspected of grand larceny they are treated like juvenile delinquents. Not OK.
We will be watching the progress of this case closely and expect the prosecution to be handled professionally and without bias. Everyone should stay tuned.
Founder and President, EXPLORE, Inc.