Advocacy Group, A Just Cause, To Push for Judicial Reforms Following Public Outrage in Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and IRP6 Cases

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A Just Cause Seeks Accountability and Legitimacy for Investigators and Prosecutors in IRP6 Case

Free The IRP6

The advocacy group, A Just Cause, calls on Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice to take swift action in implementing reforms that would change the “get a win at any cost” mindset among some prosecutors, and hold them accountable. “The matter of blanket immunity is a major concern that must be examined," exclaims Sam Thurman, A Just Cause.

“We ask Attorney General Eric Holder to take a look at the events in cases like Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the IRP6 as examples that warrant more oversight and accountability during the investigative/prosecutorial stages of a case," argues Sam Thurman, A Just Cause. “This year, the public has seen case after case in the media where there are indications that the time is right for judicial reforms," says Thurman. “Cases have raised questions about conduct by prosecutors, problems with the grand jury process, racial disparity in policing, and disproportions among races when it comes to sentencing," Thurman adds. “Prosecutors in the United States must move away from this notion of ‘win at any cost,’” Thurman emphasizes.

A Just Cause continues its advocacy for six Colorado executives of the black-owned IRP Solutions Corporation, which developed the Case Investigative Life Cycle criminal investigations software for federal, state and local law enforcement. Court records indicate that the six executives, David A. Banks, Kendrick Barnes, Demetrius K. Harper, Gary L. Walker, Clinton A. Stewart and David Zirpolo, known as the "IRP6", were convicted in 2011 on mail and wire fraud charges. According to the indictment, the IRP6 made false statements to staffing company representatives about having "current or impending contracts with one or more large law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security" that induced staffing companies to enter into contractual agreements to provide staffing services. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)

“When cases like Brown, Garner, Rice and IRP6 are compared to other like cases, disparity is exposed as evidenced by the outcome," argues Thurman. “In the IRP6 case, court records show that Judge Christine Arguello chastised the IRP6 for making positive comments to potential vendors and business partners about IRP’s business strategy and prospects," says Thurman. “Court records show that in another, similar case, Judge Arguello commented, ‘A corporation’s self-praise about its business strategy plays no serious role in market participants’ evaluation of potential investments. Reasonable investors do not normally rely on vague, optimistic statements in making investment decisions,’” concludes Thurman. (http://www.law360.com/articles/477411/delta-petroleum-execs-shake-securities-fraud-class-action). (Delta Petroleum, Darwin v. Taylor et al., case number 1:12-cv-01038, and the consolidated case is Nakkhumpun v. Taylor et al., case number 1:12-cv-01521). "Judge Arguello's visible disparity between the IRP6 and the Delta Petroleum case concerning optimistic statements certainly makes me wonder if she possesses some hidden racial or class bias," says Banks

“There were several opportunities in our case where if the judicial system had operated as designed, I’m convinced that there would not have been a prosecution or conviction,” says David Banks, Chief Operating Officer, IRP Solutions (IRP6). “There seemed to be a ‘win-at-any-cost’ attitude prevalent in our case as evidenced by two grand juries, the IRP6 not being allowed to talk about ‘criminal intent’, expert witnesses not being allowed to testify at trial, and the harsh sentences,” adds Banks. “Disparity in the judicial system is a hot subject right now, and one doesn’t have to look very far into our case and question some of the actions that took place,” says Banks.

"There are several cases in the United States that substantiate the need for reform as well as greater oversight by the feds,” suggests Thurman. "The extensive media coverage related to the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice has raised questions about the conduct of some law enforcement officials, especially as it relates to African-Americans," adds Thurman. “The public must question if certain officials are properly executing the duties they have been entrusted to carry out,” ponders Thurman.

“Eugene Robinson, in his December 4, 2014 Washington Post blog post, ‘Eric Garner and the devalued lives of black men’ wrote, 'African-American men are being taught a lesson about how this society values, or devalues our lives (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/12/04/eric-garner-and-the-devalued-lives-of-black-men/),'” says Thurman.

According to the December 5, 2014 New York Times, The Justice Department recently shared findings of a two-year civil rights investigation that it conducted related to actions of the Cleveland Police Department. According to the New York Times the Justice Department investigation, “…found a pattern of ‘unreasonable and unnecessary use of force’ that resulted in dangerous and reckless behavior by officers… (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/us/justice-dept-inquiry-finds-abuses-by-cleveland-police.html?_r=0). Regarding the findings in Cleveland, Attorney General Eric Holder stated, “Accountability and legitimacy are essential for communities to trust their police departments and for there to be genuine collaboration between police and the citizens they serve.”

“A Just Cause agrees that the cases involving Brown, Garner and Rice have exposed a system in dire need of an overhaul,” expresses Thurman. “A Just Cause challenges the Justice Department to expand the call for accountability and legitimacy to include federal prosecutors, federal agents, local District Attorneys, and anyone tasked with fulfilling the obligations to uphold the law,” implores Thurman.

"Cases like the IRP6 expose another level of disparity,” says Thurman. “While there was no lost of life, there has certainly been a major impact to the lives of the men involved,” adds Thurman. “Court records show that the government claimed that the IRP6 made false statements or staffing representatives were induced to do business are contradicted in court documents," says Thurman. “In another case Judge Arguello found no wrongdoing on the part of the accused, yet they were accused of virtually the same thing that IRP executives did. Measures must be put in place to prevent this type of disparity from occurring,” adds Thurman.

The IRP6 case has drawn considerable scrutiny from legal experts who have conducted independent review of trial transcripts and court documents. In his July 25, 2014 Huffington Post blog, “The Case of the Missing Transcript Becomes Stranger Yet (Part IV)”, Retired Federal Judge H. Lee Sarokin of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals said, "[The IRP case] raises serious questions about the prosecution, conviction and incarceration [of the IRP6] (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judge-h-lee-sarokin/the-case-of-the-missing-t_2_b_5619097.html)." Sarokin questioned, “1) Why wasn't a critical conversation recorded during trial where the IRP6 accused trial Judge Christine M. Arguello compelling them to testify? 2) Why did the FBI in a letter refuse to investigate stating that the case was civil, not a criminal matter? 3) Why did the first grand jury refuse to indict the IRP6?, and 4) Why did the IRP6 receive such harsh sentences (7-11 years)?” According to Sarokin’s review, the trial record provided "enough evidence" for the 10th Circuit to conclude that the IRP6's Fifth Amendment rights were violated. "Judge Sarokin characterized the IRP6 case as "strange" and would not risk his reputation if he wasn't convinced that something unjust has occurred," exclaims Thurman.

"The harsh sentences alone should say something about the disparity in the IRP cas," says Thurman. On December 8, 2014, Jacob Gershman of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported that Bernie Madoff's former operating chief, Daniel Bonventre, received a ten year sentence and was ordered to pay $155 billion in restitution (http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/12/08/ex-madoff-employee-sentenced-to-10-years-behind-bars/?KEYWORDS=bonventre). Federal Judge Laura Taylor Swain said that Bonventre avoided ascertaining the full scope of the massive fraud and prepared false books and records for many years that allowed it to continue. "How could five out of six of the IRP6 receive a sentence of 10 years or more when trial records show that Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirsch stated that none of the defendants got wealthy?" says Thurman. "Nothing in the IRP6 case makes sense," adds Thurman.

Court records show that five years prior to the indictment and one month prior to the FBI raid on IRP Solutions office, retired Immigration and Customer Enforcement Special Agent-In-Charge Gary Hillbarry, who worked for IRP Solutions for a year as an independent contractor, sent a letter to the FBI stating, "We decided that IRP Solutions had a viable law enforcement product and appeared to be moving forward to acquire state and federal law enforcement contracts." (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)

“Questions arise in cases like the IRP6 when sworn affidavits are submitted claiming that a person(s) are not engaged in criminal activity yet federal agents are able to secure a search warrants citing that IRP was a ‘purported software development company,’" ponders Thurman. “A Just Cause has argued consistently that FBI Agent John Smith had no grounds for pursuing a search warrant, yet he was able to obtain the warrant from Judge Schaffer and execute a raid on IRP Solutions,” says Thurman. “There must be more accountability and legitimacy,” concludes Thurman.

"We trusted law enforcement and hired three retired federal agents to assist us as subject matter experts to teach us about the federal law enforcement investigative processes so our software could be better, be the best,” says Banks. “One must question if it stands to reason that IRP would be involved in criminal activity and invite federal agents to join our team while engaged in such alleged activity," reasons Banks. "In the words of President Obama in his recent interview with BET, ‘…black folks are not just making this up…’” adds Banks. "One must question if there is a difference between an officer misusing weapons and power resulting in lost of life, and prosecutors misusing the law resulting in lost of life, liberty and property," questions Banks.

The IRP6 case was litigated in the United States District Court, District of Colorado (United States v. Banks, et. al, Case No. 09-CR-00266) and convictions affirmed by the 10th Circuit on August 4, 2014 (Case Nos. 11-1487/1488/1489/1490/1491/1492).

A Just Cause (AJC) continues its advocacy and review of court records for the six Colorado information technology executives known as the "IRP6" (David A. Banks, Kendrick Barnes, David A. Zirpolo, Gary L. Walker, Clinton A. Stewart and Demetrius K. Harper).

For additional information on IRP Solutions and the City of Philadelphia, go to http://www.freetheirp6.org

For blog posts by David Banks (IRP6) go to http://www.freetheirp6.org/#!stand-up-blog/ci23/Page/3/

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AJC Communications Director
A Just Cause
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