Denver, CO (PRWEB) March 20, 2014
According to a press release issued by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), he and Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation to “increase transparency and accountability at the Department of Justice” (Office of Senator Mike Lee, 3/13/14, http://www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=d4e53268-a6d8-4764-ba0f-a72dab0104f8).
According to the communiqué from the Senators, the bill, being called The Inspector General Empowerment Act, “…would eliminate a problem in the law that requires allegations of attorney misconduct at DOJ to be investigated by an agency that reports directly to the Attorney General rather than the autonomous Office of the Inspector General. The bill would remove this obvious conflict of interest and grant the OIG complete jurisdiction throughout the department” (Office of Senator Mike Lee, 3/13/14, http://www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=d4e53268-a6d8-4764-ba0f-a72dab0104f8).
“The bill being introduced by Senators Lee and Tester brings to light something that A Just Cause has been drawing attention to for the past couple of years, that being a need to reform the laws to hold DOJ attorneys accountable for their actions”, says Sam Thurman, A Just Cause. “A Just Cause has been fighting for the IRP6 and drawing attention to their case for over five years because we are convinced that not only was there misconduct during the course of the investigation in this case, but also during the trial”, added 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 company was raided in 2005 by federal investigators alleging wrongdoing by company executives. 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 IRP6 have been incarcerated for 20 months in federal prison in Florence, Colorado while their case is under appeal.
Media reports show that in conjunction with the Lee-Tester bill, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) published a report on DOJ investigations of federal attorneys. According to the report published by the POGO, an internal affairs office at the DOJ reported that the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) documented more than 650 reports of misconduct over a 12-year period, but the OPR has not made public details of how the cases were handled. (POGO Report, Hundreds of Justice Department Attorneys Violated Professional Rules, Laws, or Ethical Standards, 3/13/14, http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/2014/hundreds-of-justice-attorneys-violated-standards.html)
The POGO report shows that the OPR substantiated that there were “severe violations… that involved recklessness or intentional wrongdoing and are defined by the Department (DOJ) as professional misconduct”. (POGO Report, Hundreds of Justice Department Attorneys Violated Professional Rules, Laws, or Ethical Standards, 3/13/14, http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/2014/hundreds-of-justice-attorneys-violated-standards.html)
“In reviewing the DOJ statistics, I was troubled to see that the most severe cases of misconduct included those where ‘attorneys misled courts’, (DOJ) ‘personnel violated constitutional or civil rights’, (DOJ personnel) ‘abused investigative or prosecutorial authority’, ‘prosecutors abused grand jury or indictment process’, and there was ‘overzealous prosecution’”, asserts Thurman. (POGO Report, Hundreds of Justice Department Attorneys Violated Professional Rules, Laws, or Ethical Standards, 3/13/14, http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/2014/hundreds-of-justice-attorneys-violated-standards.html)
“A Just Cause can point to any one of these areas of reported misconduct and draw a parallel to the IRP6 case”, says Thurman. “Just look at the situation in this case where the IRP6 are appealing, among other things, a Fifth Amendment violation, and there are over 200 pages of the court transcript missing. Judge Arguello, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch, nor Court Reporter Darlene Martinez will produce the missing pages of the transcript. These actions are violations of the Code of Conduct outlined in The Guide to Judiciary Policy”, argues Thurman. (Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 2, Ethics and Judicial Conduct, Codes of Conduct, § 320 Text of the Code, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, August 2, 2013, http://www.uscourts.gov/Viewer.aspx?doc=/uscourts/RulesAndPolicies/conduct/Vol02A-Ch03.pdf and IRP6 Case - 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)
Court records show that Attorneys for A Just Cause are petitioning the courts for release of over 200 pages of transcripts that were omitted from court records of the IRP6 trial. Appellant filings show that Court Reporter Darlene Martinez omitted 200 pages of transcript which the IRP6 argue are critical to their appeal. (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 bill introduced by Senators Lee and Tester reveal a systemic problem within the DOJ, and it confirms what A Just Cause has been arguing all along, that being there seems to be no accountability in DOJ”, reaffirms Thurman.
“In the matter of the IRP6, A Just Cause has sought intervention by reaching out to legislators at all levels of government, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Attorney General Eric Holder, the Congressional Black Caucus, Senator John McCain, Congressman John Conyers, Congressman John Lewis, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility, DOJ Civil Rights Division, DOJ Criminal Division, DOJ Executive Office of United States Attorneys, as well as others, and none of these offices seem to assume responsibility for issues that are raised”, says Thurman. “I’ve previously stated that somehow our government leaders have misinterpreted a request for an investigation, as a request to disregard ethics rules. When in fact, A Just Cause is asking that ethics and codes of conduct be enforced. This is about holding people accountable; especially people who are tasked with conducting investigations and operating our courts. Maybe the Inspector General Empowerment Act will bring about change”, Thurman concludes.
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).
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