Court records reveal that possible infringements of witness tampering laws were not called into question by federal judge; A Just Cause seeks answers in IRP6 case
Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) February 04, 2014
Advocacy group, A Just Cause, calls for an investigation of whether federal law, 18 U.S. CODE § 1512 - TAMPERING WITH A WITNESS, VICTIM, OR AN INFORMANT, was violated in the case of the IRP6.
The IRP6 case is a federal case in Colorado that involved six Colorado business executives who were convicted of mail and wire fraud charges in 2011. Their company, IRP Solutions Corporation, developed criminal investigations software for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The six executives, who represented themselves pro se, have maintained their innocence. The men have been incarcerated since July 2012, and are serving 7-11 year prison sentences in Florence Federal Prison Camp. Advocacy group, A Just Cause, is investigating the case and is seeking exoneration of the executives. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)
“The IRP6 case makes one ponder several questions, but as A Just Cause has explored additional elements of the case, there are new questions regarding whether proper actions were taken by Judge Arguello regarding defense witnesses being subpoenaed ”, ponders Sam Thurman, A Just Cause. “A Just Cause also questions why the judge didn’t cite the prosecution for perceived improper contact with defense witnesses”, adds Thurman.
Court records from pre-trial hearings show that the prosecution originally communicated to the court that their case would take approximately 3 weeks (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). Transcripts show that Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch rested the government’s case after 11 days (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA).
“Based on our review of the court transcripts, when the prosecution rested their case nearly 2 weeks early, that posed a challenge to the IRP6 because several of their witnesses were from out of state”, states Thurman. “Upon examination of the transcript, it appears that Judge Arguello held the IRP6 accountable for court scheduling issues created by the prosecution resting their case two weeks early, she admonished the IRP6 for defense witnesses not being readily available in the courtroom, she did not use her authority to ensure that witnesses appeared, and she did not call the prosecutor into question when he stated that he had been in contact with defense witnesses”, Thurman expounds. “All of this seems highly unusual”, argues Thurman. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)
Court records show that when the prosecution rested its case, the IRP executives, in an attempt to accommodate the shift in the court schedule, contacted several defense witnesses to re-arrange for earlier appearances. Court records show that witnesses from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Steven Cooper and Bill Witherspoon, were served subpoenas but they were returned asking the IRP6 to send the subpoenas to DHS Counsel with additional information (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). According to court records, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch acknowledged being in contact with DHS regarding Cooper and Witherspoon. When IRP6 explained to the court the situation of Cooper and Witherspoon, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch affirmed, “Your Honor, I can add a little bit of information about the two DHS witnesses based on my conversation with counsel for DHS last night…it is my understanding both of them (Cooper and Witherspoon) have made pre-existing arrangements and are not available.” (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA).
“Why was the prosecution in contact with defense witnesses versus those witnesses contacting the defense, and why didn’t Judge Arguello question the actions of the prosecutor”, asks Thurman. “What is disturbing about this situation is that the DHS witnesses (Cooper and Witherspoon) were critical to establishing the legitimacy and viability of IRP and the software that the company had developed. Court transcripts show that their testimony could be considered non-supportive and contentious, and makes one question if contact by the prosecution impacted their testimony”, questions Thurman.
According to 18 U.S. CODE § 1512 (b) Whoever knowingly…engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to (1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding; (2) cause or induce any person to; (A) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding;… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. (18 U.S. CODE § 1512 –TAMPERING WITH A WITNESS, VICTIM, OR AN INFORMANT)
Court records show IRP6 complained to the court regarding interference with attempts to serve a subpoena to witness, FBI Special Agent, Robert Moen (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). Court records show that on October 14, 2011 the IRP6 attempted to locate and serve Mr. Moen. According to court records, the process server attempted to serve Mr. Moen at his home but was met by another FBI agent and told he would not be permitted to serve Agent Moen. According to transcripts of the proceedings, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirsch affirmed, “Your Honor, Mr. Moen is elk hunting somewhere in the mountains outside of -- more than an hour away from Montrose, somewhere on the Uncompahgre Plateau. He is not available by cell phone. He is not expected back until the middle of the week.” Court transcripts show that Judge Arguello admonished the IRP6 for not having the witness in the courtroom. “…if you had properly subpoenaed your witnesses and gotten them here, we could have been done last week,” chided Judge Christine Arguello. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). “A Just Cause again questions why the IRP6 were admonished and the interference with issuing a subpoena was not addressed”, questions Thurman.
According to 18 U.S. CODE § 1512 (b) Whoever knowingly…engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to… (2) cause or induce any person to;…(C) evade legal process summoning that person to appear as a witness, or to produce a record, document, or other object, in an official proceeding; or (D) be absent from an official proceeding to which such person has been summoned by legal process; … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. (18 U.S. CODE § 1512 –TAMPERING WITH A WITNESS, VICTIM, OR AN INFORMANT)
Court records show that Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Collin Reese avoided being served to appear at trial. Upon being questioned by Judge Arguello on the status of witnesses, Gary Walker (IRP6) attested, “Due to constant changing of schedules, we have people who are evading our service” (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). “We scheduled -- we had to change some of these schedules three times because the time has changed for the Government's closing its case in chief. And that is giving us problems getting people in, getting them to respond to our phone calls, and not to evade our service”, Walker concluded (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). There is no record of Judge Arguello taking action to ensure appearance of the witness (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA).
According to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17, “(g) Contempt. The court (other than a magistrate judge) may hold in contempt a witness who, without adequate excuse, disobeys a subpoena issued by a federal court in that district” (http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/LEGAL/FRCrPWeb/fcr00021.htm).
“A Just Cause is troubled by what the court record shows in the IRP6 case in that Judge Arguello did not exercise the authority of the bench to compel witnesses who were on the defense witness list, who happened to be government witnesses, to appear in court”, says Thurman. “The courts must evaluate, and re-evaluate, instances where there is even the perception of procedural violations. This is part of the basic premise of innocent until proven guilty, and everyone should be afforded this benefit”, concludes Thurman.
The case of IRP Solutions (IRP6) is currently under appeal (US District Court for the District of Colorado, Honorable Christine M. Arguello, D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA; Case Nos: NO. 11-1487, Case Nos. 11-1488, 11-1489, 11-1490, 11-1491 and 11-1492). The IRP executives (Gary Walker, David Banks, Kendrick Barnes, Demetrius Harper, Clinton Stewart and David Zirpolo) have been incarcerated for nearly 18 months at a Federal Prison Camp in Florence, Colorado. (Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA, US District Court for the District of Colorado). IRP Solutions Corporation developed the Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) criminal investigations software for federal, state, and local law enforcement.
Appellate Court panel includes the Honorable Senior Judge Bobby R. Baldock, Honorable Judge Harris L. Hartz, and Honorable Judge Jerome A. Holmes.
For additional information on the IRP6 case, or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org. Related press releases: http://www.prweb.com/search.aspx?search-releases=irp6&hitsPerPage=20&x=10&y=13