Van Cise Project
Bunco Trial Chronology
Denver Post, March 29, 1923
Aug 24, 1922-Sensational roundup by District Attorney Van Cise, and thirty-three men arrested as members of an alleged $1,000,000 ring.
Aug. 27-After careful investigation, Van Cise declares he has caught master minds of the confidence ring.
Aug 28-First hints that Denver police may be involved in collusion-Van Cise asks $30,000 from city council to prosecute the gang.
Aug 29-Mayor Bailey flays the district attorney as extravagant. Van Cise is praised by federal agent, who says no bunko ring can operate without collusion of police and bankers. Van Cise lands on Attorney WA Bryant in open court when latter hints district attorney a liar.
Aug 31-Plans of "con" ring raid discovered on AW Duff, alleged field lieutenant of the ring. Prosecutor's letter asking arrest of Duff also found in the latter's desk. Mayor Bailey flays citizens who helped Van Cise in raids.
Sept. 7-Probe committee of Law Enforcement league announces "Official Denver" is rotten. Armed guards posted at district attorney's vaults, where "con" ring evidence is held.
Sept. 12-City council votes $15,000 for prosecution of gang. Conspiracy to defraud charged against alleged ring, in information filed in west side court. City Detective Sanders makes secret statement to Van Cise.
Sept. 19-Gang is reported raisin a fund of $500,000 for defense.
Sept. 22-Judge CC Butler refuses to reduce bonds.
Sept. 28-Nineteen of thirty-three arrested freed on bail. Fifty Denver printers called before county grand jury in connection with the flood of fake bonds printed here and sent over the country.
Oct. 1-District Attorney Van Cise removed as prosecutor by Judge Butler-court says it is no reflection on honor or integrity of prosecutor, but that his name was linked with that of an attorney who appeared for one of the bunco victims in a civil suit.
Oct. 4-S. Harrison White and Harry C. Riddle named by court to prosecute "bunco" cases.
Oct. 13-Denver "con" ring netted over $500,000 in three years, Van Cise announces.
Oct. 27-In arguments on motion to quash the indictments, defense attorneys charge Van Cise is using dummy witnesses to swear to the informations. Andrew Koehn later appears in person as the "dummy."
Nov. 11-Judge Butler overrules motion to quash and says defendants must go to trial.
Nov. 28-Van Cise condemns city administration for "con" raid policy.
Dec. 3-Bitter clash between White and Horace N. Hawkins, chief of defense council, marks court hearing. Open war declared.
Dec. 5-White charges "Vampire squad" is going about country inducing "lambs" not to appear against defendants.
Dec. 8-"Bunco ring should have shot Van Cise in his tracks during raid," shouts Hawkins in open court.
Dec. 10-White challenges Hawkins to duel during court arguments.
Dec. 28-Judge Butler upholds Van Cise in manner of arrest of bunco suspects. "It was the only way." Chief Deputy Sheriff Tom Clarke and Detective George Sanders named bunco ring aides by White.
Dec. 29-Manager of Safety Downer and Health Commissioner Sharpley accused of favoring bunco suspects.
Jan. 4, 1923-Downer barred from serving any legal papers in cases.
Jan. 10-Bunco defendants sue Van Cise and his aides for a total of $190,000.
Jan. 15-Raids held legal and Van Cise justified by Butler ruling.
Jan. 17-Blonger and Duff drop suits against Van Cise to avoid cross-questioning.
Jan. 23-Coroner Sharpley names Floyd Fairhurst and Fred Boyer as special deputies to serve process in bunco cases, after Manager of Safety Downer has been deposed as unqualified.
Jan. 25-Selection of jury begins.
Feb. 5-6-Opening statements of counsel for prosecution and defense.
Feb. 7-First witness-$25,000 bank president "lamb" from Michigan-takes witness stand.
Mar. 22-Prosecution rests; defense rests without having introduced a word of testimony and offers to submit case to jury without argument.
Mar. 23-Instructions to jury prepared.
Mar. 24-Judge Dunklee instructs jury and case is submitted without argument. Jurors begin deliberations at 10:45 am. Defendants' bonds, totaling $98,000, expire and they are remanded to custody of Chief Deputy Sheriff Tom Clarke. Drunken debauch staged in grand jury room where Blonger, Duff, French are in custody of Clarke. Other defendants had been locked in jail.
Mar. 25-District Attorney Van Cise orders grand jury investigation of "bunco" drunk scandal. Manager of Safety Downer suspends Clarke.
Mar. 26-Clarke forced to resign as grand jury probe begins.
Mar. 27-Judge Dunklee gives "third degree" instruction to "bunco" jury, advising minority to give in to majority.
Mar. 28-Jury, which, at its own request, had been allowed to remain in the west side court building dormitory, is put in the regular jury room to deliberate. Grand jury indicts Clarke, Blonger, Duff and French for their alleged part in drunken orgy. Grand jury launches probe of alleged attempts to bribe "bunco" jury. At 4:45 pm "bunco" jury announces it has agreed. Blanket verdict of conviction returned against all twenty defendants. Jurors summoned to appear before garnd jury in bribery probe.
Mar. 29-Grand jury questions "bunco" jurors concerning alleged bribery attempts.