DENVER, March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- "We are here to uphold the Constitution, and it doesn't matter whether you are a Democrat in the White House or a Republican, if you violate the Constitution we are going to hold you accountable, says U.S. Senator Charles Grassley in his interview with AJC Radio.
"A Just Cause will be requesting Senator Grassley and his counterpart on the House Judiciary Committee to hold officials accountable from the Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office, the United States District Court in Colorado and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for violating the 5th and 6th Amendment rights of six innocent men in Colorado who, according to former federal appeals judge H. Lee Sarokin, were wrongly-convicted for 'failing to pay corporate debts'," says Lamont Banks Executive Director of A Just Cause. "There is overwhelming, uncontroverted evidence that prosecutors and judges conspired together not only to create a straw-man from Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to violate the pro se defendants 6th Amendment rights, but also violated their 5th Amendment right by compelling them to testify against their will at trial," contends Banks.
According to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (Case no. 11-1492), Judge Arguello didn't "abuse her discretion" and violate the IRP6 defendants Sixth Amendment right when she improperly dismissed two defense expert witnesses in accordance with Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
In 2009 the entire 10th Circuit panel said that "a defendant IS NOT required to file a Rule 16 disclosure UNLESS the defendant has made a similar request of the government...and the government has complied." "Specifically, if a defendant requests and receives a written summary of any expert testimony the government intends to introduce, the defendant must provide similar notice of any expert he intends to use," added the 10th Circuit. Judge Arguello confirms in the transcript on Day 11 of trial "that the Government has tendered no expert witnesses."
"The transcript shows pages of discussion between Arguello and AUSA Matthew T. Kirsch about the fictitious Rule 16 straw-man as if they had a valid legal basis for excluding the witnesses," says Banks. "10th Circuit judges Baldock, Hartz and Holmes made the same invalid legal arguments in affirming the conviction." "The unlawful dismissal of the experts proved to be the catalyst that prompted Arguello and the 10th Circuit to violate the IRP6 defendant's 5th Amendment rights," exclaims Banks. "And once again, the 10th Circuit would violate the law to cover for Judge Arguello and Kirsch," adds Banks.
Court records show that the IRP defendant's struggled to regroup their defense presentation after the experts were improperly excluded. The defendants said Judge Arguello became "angry" and violated their 5th Amendment right by forcing them to testify under threat of "resting their case." "I don't know what my exact phrasing was, but the fact of the matter is I didn't direct you to do anything," said Judge Arguello in denying the coercion. When the defendants immediately asked for the sidebar transcript to prove Judge Arguello's coercion, the transcript mysteriously disappeared.
10th Circuit law that says a conviction must be reversed when "the unavailability of a transcript makes it impossible...to determine whether or not prejudicial error was committed," however, the panel said that Arguello's statement, "Put one of your witnesses on or one of you will have to testify" was a "purported" directive for the defendants to call a "non-defendant" witness, specifically FBI Agent John Smith, and their failure to do so was a voluntary agreement to testify. "First, the transcript shows that Kirsch, not Arguello, was the one who suggested Agent Smith could have been called. Second, Kirsch only suggested Smith after the defendants complained they were forced to testify," says Banks. "The purported directive argument by the 10th Circuit was clearly a dishonest attempt to excuse Judge Arguello's violation of the defendant's 5th Amendment rights," says Banks. Even "without the critical transcript.... there is unconverted evidence that the right against self-incrimination, indeed, was violated by the trial court," said Sarokin on the Huffington Post.
"These are not convoluted issues, they were overt constitutional violations that are easily substantiated by court records," says Banks. "We are confident a congressional investigation will help free the six innocent men who have spent the past 4 years in prison," adds Banks.
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SOURCE A Just Cause