Was gag order privately issued to jurors in jury room after the verdict in the IRP6 case, asks A Just Cause
Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) February 11, 2014
Advocacy Group, A Just Cause, questions if jurors were prohibited from participating in post-verdict interviews. A Just Cause is a volunteer organization that assesses cases for possible errors and/or judicial misconduct. A Post-verdict interview in theIRP6 case indicates that the jury was given separate instructions in private, in the jury room, after the presiding judge had discharged the jury.
Court records show that following the verdict in the IRP6 case Judge Christine Arguello stated in open court, “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your service as jurors in this case. You are now discharged with the thanks of the Court. And the question usually arises regarding whether or not you may now discuss this case. Whether you talk to anyone about this case is entirely up to you. I will instruct the Government lawyers and the defendants and anybody who is related to either the Government or the defendants, that they are directed that they cannot contact you to speak with you. However, you are free to talk with whomever you wish, as much or as little as you like, about your deliberations or the facts that influenced your decisions.” (Criminal Action No. 09-cr-00266-CMA , Jury Trial Day 17).
A private, third party firm attempted to conduct post-verdict interviews in the IRP6 case but found that the jurors were reluctant to speak to anyone about the case. “He (one of the jurors) stated that he was told by the judge (in the jury room) that no one should be contacting (the jurors) from the defense. And that if anyone did call (the Jurors) to call the (Prosecutor)”, stated Venus Lovetere in the post-verdict interview report (Venus Investigations Post-Verdict Interview Report, November 2012). “I asked him if he was aware of an Order from the Court barring the Jurors from talking to the Defense. He was not”, added Lovetere.
“There seems to be a contradiction with the official records as to what the jury was told in the IRP 6 case”, questions Sam Thurman, A Just Cause. “If the jury was told in the courtroom that they were free to talk to whomever they wish, then why are jurors saying something totally different during post-verdict interviews”, ponders Thurman. “There are several inconsistencies in this case that cause red flags. That’s why A Just Cause is questioning if something inappropriate was stated to the jurors after being discharged”, adds Thurman.
“One juror stated that about one week after (the jurors) reached their verdict (Oct 2011), that someone called him wanting to talk about the case. He called the Prosecutor and soon after, someone from the FBI contacted him”, states Lovetere in the post-verdict report. “According to the juror, he was told that if he was contacted again to gather as much information as possible and to contact the FBI and ‘that (the FBI) would take care of it”, stated Lovetere (November 19, 2012 Venus Lovetere Venus Investigations). “A Just Cause questions why the FBI would get involved in a post-verdict interview attempt”, states Thurman. “We have even had reports that jurors seemed anguished and fearful to discuss the IRP case. These type of responses seem strange. From our perspective it seems pretty straightfoward; either the person agrees to do the interview or not. One has to respect that person’s wishes, but it still makes you ponder where the apparent fear is coming from. One has to question what was possibly stated in that jury room after the jurors were discharged”, concludes Thurman.
According to the Handbook For Trial Jurors Serving In The United States District Courts, “After the jurors return their verdict and are dismissed by the judge, they are free to go about their normal affairs, although in some districts jurors must check with jury office personnel to see if their service is concluded. They are under no obligation to speak to any person about the case and may refuse all requests for interviews or comments. Nevertheless, the court may enter an order in a specific case that during any such interview, jurors may not give any information with respect to the vote of any other juror. (Handbook for Trial Jurors Serving In The United States District Courts, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, HB100 (Rev. 8/12)).
“It stands to reason that safeguards must be in place during a trial to maintain the integrity of the trial, but A Just Cause questions the secrecy with the jury after the fact”, states Thurman. “If a person chooses not to participate in a post-verdict interview that’s one thing, but if a juror is under the impression that he/she was directed not to speak with anyone, that is a different matter”, asserts Thurman.
The IRP6 case concerns an African-American company (IRP Solutions Corporation) in Colorado that developed the Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) criminal investigations software for federal, state, and local law enforcement. The IRP6 (Kendrick Barnes, Gary L Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A Stewart, David A Zirpolo and David A Banks) were convicted in 2011 after being accused of mail and wire fraud. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)
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 an 11-1492).
For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org. Appellate Court panel includes the Honorable Senior Judge Bobby R. Baldock, Honorable Judge Harris L. Hartz, and Honorable Judge Jerome A. Holmes
Related press releases: http://www.a-justcause.com/#!press-release/c21pq