Advocacy Group, A Just Cause, Requests Federal Inquiry Into Missing Court Transcripts in IRP6 Case
A Just Cause Seeks to Reopen Investigation of Federal Court Reporter Involved in Missing Transcript in the IRP6 Case
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April 17, 2015 (FPRC) -- Advocacy group, A Just Cause, announces that it will reopen efforts to get a federal inquiry into the matter of a missing transcript in the federal trial involving executives of the Colorado-based company, IRP Solutions Corporation.
The IRP 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 IRP6 have been incarcerated for nearly 36 months in federal prison in Florence, Colorado, while A Just Cause continues to review their case seeking grounds for exoneration.
"Recent events regarding missing transcripts in other cases has prompted A Just Cause to revisit the matter of the missing transcript in the IRP6 Case," says Sam Thurman, A Just Cause. "When we heard about the case at the state level in Texas, and saw how the state courts handled that matter, it made our team question why the federal courts shouldn't be as proactive and demand that Court Reporter Darlene Martinez turn over all of her records in the case of the IRP6," argues Thurman.
According to court records, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in the state of Texas reversed and remanded two cases due to the court reporter's inability to produce court transcripts. In Bryant v. Texas (Co Crim Ct at Law No 8 of Harris County, 14-13-00922-CR) and in Markle v. Texas (Co Crim Ct at Law No 8 of Harris County, 14-13-00961-CR), the appellate court ordered new trials because court reporter Sondra Humphrey could not produce a complete record of those cases. Records show that there were numerous hearings on the issue, and Ms. Humphrey now faces jail time for contempt of court. According to per curiam opinion in the Bryant case, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals wrote, "Appellant's ability to present meaningful issues on appeal after a jury trial is severely limited in the absence of a reporter's record…We therefore conclude that the appellant has been harmed by the absence of a reporter's record. The trial court's judgment is reversed, and this cause is remanded for a new trial."
"If a state court can come to the conclusion that an appellant is harmed by a missing transcript, the federal courts should be able to come to that same conclusion, especially when there is strong evidence to support the argument," Thurman argues.
"The IRP6 have maintained the argument that their Fifth Amendment was violated during their trial in Oct 2011, but that the transcript to substantiate that argument is missing," conveys Thurman. "A Just Cause can in fact validate these occurrences based on legal action that our organization took to get the courts to release the transcripts, but we continually got stone-walled by the courts," Thurman adds.
A Just Cause reviewed a sworn affidavit by Attorney Gwendolyn Solomon and found several inconsistencies in responses provided by federal court employees as to why the transcript was allegedly missing. According to the affidavit, Solomon spoke with Ms. Martinez (Court Reporter) on November 14, 2011 regarding the alleged missing transcript. Martinez advised Solomon that there was no policy, requirement, or rule that governs release of the unedited transcript but it was at her discretion to release the transcript (Case 1:09-cr-0026-CMA, Document 635-2, 12/20/11, USDC Colorado). On the same day Court Reporter supervisor Charlotte Hoard confirmed to Solomon that the unedited transcript was still available (for $3.05 per page) but that it was at the discretion of the court reporter to release it. Court documents show that Mr. Ed Butler (legal officer for the U.S. District Court of Colorado) was contacted by Solomon on December 12, 2011. He advised Solomon that he was informed by Martinez and Hoard that the unedited version of the transcript no longer existed. According to Solomon's affidavit, Mr. Butler further advised, "...nothing had been destroyed and suggested (Solomon) file a motion to request a copy of the unedited version." (Case 1:09-cr-0026-CMA, Document 635-2, 12/20/11, USDC Colorado)
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 (including sidebars). 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))
For more on this see: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/-2010562.htm
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