Six Colorado Businessmen (IRP6) Wrongly Convicted, Says Appellant Attorney In Letter to Panel of Appellate Judges

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Appellant Attorney for the IRP6 expresses concerns about investigative processes, court proceedings, and trial aftermath related to the case of her clients who are currently serving up to 11 years in federal prison.

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"My clients have been innocently sitting in prison awaiting review of the case for over a year." - Attorney Gwendolyn Solomon, Appellant Attorney for IRP6

Appellant Attorney Gwendolyn Solomon released a statement today in support of her six clients who are appealing their 2011 conviction for mail and wire fraud. “I graduated from law school believing that everyone is guaranteed a fair trial where the judge is to be impartial, attorneys on both sides are allowed to present their cases, evidence and witnesses and the defense is allowed to confront their witnesses and/or victims," says Gwendolyn Solomon, attorney for the IRP6. “I am fully aware that there are judges, lawyers and legally related professionals that have the same integrity that I have and there are many that do not," added Solomon. “After careful review of the issues in this case, I am troubled by the many flaws, judicial errors, and abuse of public trust that are sometimes prevalent in our judicial system and are unfortunately part of my observation in this case, all of which are included in the appeal," concluded Solomon.

The IRP6 case concerns an African-American company (IRP Solutions Corporation) in Colorado that developed criminal investigations software for federal, state and local law enforcement. The case of the IRP6 (Kendrick Barnes, Gary L. Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A. Stewart, David A. Zirpolo and David A. Banks) is currently under appeal in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The men were convicted in 2011 after fighting the U.S. Government pro se at trial and have been incarcerated at the Federal Prison Camp in Florence, Colorado since the summer of 2012. The IRP6 continue to maintain their innocence. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)

Trial records show that the men defended themselves pro se. "We strongly disagreed with the direction that the court appointed attorneys wanted to go and we were totally opposed to how they wanted to defend the case," says Gary Walker, CEO, IRP Solutions Corporation. "They seemed only interested in doing a plea deal," Walker adds. Court documents show that the men are appealing the case based on Fifth Amendment Prohibition of Compulsory Testimony, Sixth Amendment Right to Present a Defense and Speedy Trial Act Violation. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)

Court records show that the defendants' appeal argues a violation of their Fifth Amendment right. Defendants argue that a critical portion of the transcript is missing which would substantiate the Fifth Amendment violation claim. Court records show that the defendants requested the transcript from court proceedings of October 11, 2011, but discovered that the sidebar discussion where the Fifth Amendment violation incident occurred was missing. (Appellate Case: 11-1492 Document: 01018987811 and Document: 01018987485 Date Filed: 01/22/2013)

Court records show that the defendants argue that on October 11, 2011 they were compelled to take the witness stand. “I was present in Court the day of the incident where one of the defendants, unwillingly and unknowingly, took the stand without being given his Fifth Amendment rights or an advisement regarding the same,” says Solomon. “I was deeply disturbed as to why the judicial officer after two days of trial threatened the defendants to ensure their witnesses appear or she would close their case while the defendants were seeking assistance from the court,” states Solomon. Court appellant documents show that the Fifth Amendment violation claim is part of the appeal (Appellate Case: 11-1492 Document: 01018987811 and Document: 01018987485 Date Filed: 01/22/2013).

Court records show that Attorney Solomon initially represented the IRP6 during bond hearings immediately following the verdict (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). “I entered my appearance on the defendants’ behalf and personally got involved in requesting the unedited portion of the transcript,” states Solomon. “At the time of the request, I was informed that the unedited portion of the transcript was available, but by the court reporter’s discretion, a person of no authority to withhold the transcript, I was denied receipt," claims Solomon. “There were several requests made not only by the appellants but also by myself via personally and via motions through the court. Later, I was directly informed that the transcript was destroyed,” concludes Solomon. Email communication and sworn affidavits are on record to substantiate conversations regarding destruction of the transcript. (Motion to Reconsider Release of Unedited Transcriber Notes and Note File for the Bench Conferences on October 11, 2011, D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA, Document 635, Filed 12/20/11, USDC, Colorado).

The Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 6 and 28 U.S.C. § 753(b)(3) details the responsibility of a court reporter in the execution of duties. "The Court Reporters Act, 28 U.S.C.A 753(b) makes it mandatory by Congress, that a court reporter shall record all proceedings verbatim in criminal cases held in open court which includes sidebars," says Attorney Gwendolyn Solomon (attorney for the six defendants). According to Solomon the statute reads, "...all original notes are required to be preserved and available in the clerk’s office. The reporter or other individual designated to produce the record shall attach his official certificate to the original shorthand notes or other original records so taken and promptly file them with the clerk who shall preserve them in the public records of the court for not less than ten years." (Court Reporters Act, 28 U.S.C.A 753(b))

Attorney Solomon argues that IRP was conducting legitimate business practices. Court documents show that the software developed by IRP Solutions was evaluated by a professional forensics analyst. Attorney Solomon argues that the court did not allow evidence of the analyst's findings. “Originally, the prosecution alleged that the software was a scam and once it was proven that it was a viable software product, my clients were not able to present or even discuss the exculpatory evidence that would vindicate them from this alleged scheme," argues Solomon.

Court records show that Analyst Don Vilfer, Califorensics, concludes in a written report, “...it appears the CILC software (IRP Solutions) strives to... manage information throughout the criminal justice pipeline. No one software application would meet the needs of all agencies, but the functionality that we observed... would undoubtedly be of interest to many law enforcement agencies.” Records show that Vilfer is an Attorney, a Certified Fraud Examiner, a Certified Analyst for Computer Forensics and Decryption, and a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent for the White Collar Crime and Computer Crimes Squad. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)

Court documents show that part of the defense strategy included proving that the case was a debt collection case. Court documents confirm that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) initially acknowledged that the IRP case was a debt collection case and encouraged “victims” to pursue civil remedies. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). Solomon argues that the IRP6 should have at a minimum been released on bond pending appeal. "My clients have been innocently sitting in prison awaiting review of the case for over a year", says Solomon. "Moreover, the alleged crime committed is a white collar crime, not aggravated or violent. I have seen murders walk the streets pending appeal", adds Solomon.

“I have been in contact with Eric Holder’s office," says Solomon. “I am in agreement that there should be a reform in the federal system. The system is broken as acknowledged by Eric Holder (in a recent speech to the American Bar Association),'– America’s legal system, we must face the reality that, as it stands, our system is in too many respects broken,'" concludes Solomon. http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/ag/speeches/2013/ag-speech-130812.html

Solomon's letter will be filed with the Clerk of the Court, for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. Solomon's letter to the court reveals a definitive plea for justice. “I request that Justice be rendered in this case and the innocent men (IRP6) be released," states Solomon. (Supplemental Authority filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, Case Nos: NO. 11-1487, Case Nos. 11-1488, 11-1489, 11-1490, 11-1491 and 11-1492)

For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org

(Case of the IRP 6 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)

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Sam Thurman
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