Judge Continues to Conceal Records of Her Religious Bias in Violation of Supreme Court
Denver, CO -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/19/2019 --"Secrecy of judicial action can only breed ignorance and distrust of courts and suspicion concerning the competence and impartiality of judges." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. (1976)
It is no secret that in the United States criminal and civil trials are public.
Federal judges are keenly aware that the U.S. Supreme Court says that "what transpires in a courtroom is public property" and that court proceedings should only be sealed in the rarest of circumstances such as the compelling interest of protecting the privacy of child rape victims, to protect a business' trade secrets or to protect a government confidential informant ("snitch") whose life will be in danger if their identity or testimony is made public. So why does federal judge Christine M.
Arguello continue violating the law by concealing virtually every record from a court proceeding after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated her sealing order on January 23, 2019 and instructed her to properly apply law to ensure the public can view court records? "Because court records will show Judge Arguello improperly used her court to promote her spite (and possibly hatred) against Colorado Springs Pastor Rose Banks, as well as to promote a public scandal against the Colorado Springs Fellowship Church (CSFC) which Pastor Banks founded and has pastored for 38 years," says Cliff Stewart, President of A Just Cause (AJC).
The court proceeding in question concerns convicted felon Gary L. Walker, who, in 2011, was convicted in Judge Arguello's court of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud for two companies (IRP Solutions Corp. and Leading Team Inc.) where he served as President/CEO. Arguello sentenced Walker to 11 years in prison. According to the government's opposition brief in 2017, Walker (who at that time was Pastor Banks' son-in-law of 30 years) asked Judge Arguello to free him from prison on a new claim that he had only committed crimes because he was under a "religious spell" of Pastor Banks (See government brief online at http://bit.ly/2Oe82Y3 which was filed publicly but subsequently sealed by Judge Arguello after chastising the government). Any self-respecting judge would have sent Walker packing with his hocus-pocus/religious spell claim because it had absolutely nothing to do with Walker's conviction or sentencing, but Judge Arguello apparently harbored too much bias (and possibly hatred) against Pastor Banks to dismiss the golden opportunity Walker provided her to publicly vilify Pastor Banks and damage her and CSFC's reputation. "The cowardly CEO Walker claimed he was just a lowly software developer and blamed his wife and mother-in-law for running his companies and committing crimes of which he was convicted but claimed he was innocent of for 10 years," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "I am absolutely sickened that Gary would engage in such a despicable, cowardly act and disgusted that Judge Arguello used a federal court as her personal star chamber to personally attack this pastor, indict her Christian beliefs and demonize her church," adds Banks.
According to a few court records that haven't been kept secret, Judge Arguello allowed Walker and a dozen or more disgruntled former CSFC parishioners (some of whom had been excommunicated) to defame Pastor Banks' Christian beliefs and scrutinize the biblically backed doctrine being taught at CSFC. After Walker and his cabal of witnesses slandered Pastor Banks in a public proceeding, Judge Arguello, likely realizing she let her intense hatred of Pastor Banks go too far, sealed virtually every record in the proceeding in violation of the well-settled law of the Supreme Court, 10th Circuit and every other court in the land.
Court records show that from her bench in the PUBLIC hearing, Judge Arguello (who has never met Pastor Banks) shockingly claimed that Pastor Banks was a "vindictive" and "mean-spirited" prophet of God who controlled the minds of the 54 year-old Walker, his wife and son, Walker's five codefendants, and all CSFC parishioners. Judge Arguello has never met Pastor Banks, Walker's wife and son or been to the church. Judge Arguello's vitriolic comments and testimony of witnesses was so slanderous, it poisoned the minds of the 10th Circuit panel, prompting them to state in their January 23, 2019 opinion that sealed records showed CSFC "was far from the most upstanding litigant."
Judge Arguello was aware that ten years prior to Walker petitioning her for his freedom, Walker, his brother-in-law, COO David Banks (Pastor Banks' son) and four other decades-long friends who were executives at his companies, proclaimed their innocence and released a number of professionally produced online videos discussing their case (See videos at https://vimeo.com/11935525 - http://bit.ly/2sdCTVA - http://bit.ly/2ubWLKc - http://bit.ly/2szeGIH). "Judge Arguello witnessed Walker and his codefendants aggressively and coherently defend their innocence at trial as pro se defendants, which makes her conclusion that Walker's mind was being controlled absolutely crazy!" adds Cliff Stewart. "The proceeding wasn't about Walker, but Walker was a sword Judge Arguello used to publicly attack Pastor Banks for being the leader of a church where its members protested against her and the government outside the Denver federal courthouse in support of the IRP6 and for their malicious acts against CSFC," contends Stewart. Walker's services were obviously appreciated by Judge Arguello as court records show she immediately released him after telling him that because Pastor Banks had control of his mind and actions she understood "why he did what he did" in committing crimes. "Although Judge Arguello absurdly concluded the other five codefendants who worked under CEO Walker had their minds controlled by Pastor Banks, she obviously didn't free them because they wouldn't help her cause by lying about Pastor Banks controlling them," says Stewart.
During the ten years Walker proclaimed his innocence, hundreds of parishioners from CSFC lent their vocal First Amendment support to the IRP6 which included protesting outside the courthouse against the malicious acts of Judge Arguello and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Kirsch responsible for the malicious acts, including using a 2006/2007 IRP6 grand jury (no. 06-01) as subterfuge to destroy CSFC. Kirsch only subpoenaed church members before the grand jury who worked for IRP Solutions, but instead of focusing on the company, Kirsch peppered parishioners with questions about Pastor Banks, even asking if the church was a "cult." Court records indicate Kirsch privately colluded with banking officials to illegally obtain church and parishioner banking records without a valid subpoena. Parishioners were told by their banks that they had never received a subpoena for their financial records and grand jury transcripts show grand jurors (who would've been responsible for issuing a subpoena) asking the FBI agent where he obtained CSFC's banking records. Kirsch arrogantly proclaimed in court that "even if the [banking] records were improperly obtained" it had nothing to do with the IRP6 case.
A Just Cause believes the protests were likely the beginning of Judge Arguello's intense bias and that was exacerbated when Kirsch further inflamed Arguello's anger when during court he described some of the signs being carried by the protesters that criticized her. Dr. Alan Bean, Executive Director of the Friends of Justice conducted a six-month investigation into the IRP6 case said Judge Arguello's bias was on display throughout the trial. Over the years Judge Arguello's bias clearly metastasized due to AJC publishing hundreds of press releases severely critical of Judge Arguello and other government officials who have known for years about the IRP6's innocence and the misconduct responsible for their wrongful conviction but did nothing to correct the injustice.
On November 21, 2019, after ten months of stewing over the 10th Circuit vacating her unlawful sealing order, Judge Arguello responded by issuing an order claiming she "has nothing to hide" but stated she won't unseal records because she's so worried that the slanderous testimony (which she allowed and participated in during a PUBLIC hearing) would have an "adverse impact" on CSFC's ministry (See Arguello's order online at http://bit.ly/2trqpiL). "Give me a break," says Stewart. "If Judge Arguello was truly concerned about the reputation of Pastor Banks and CSFC she wouldn't have slandered them and allowed Walker and his cabal of witnesses to do the same in a PUBLIC hearing," adds Stewart.
Arguello also claimed in her order that she wants to keep testimonial records sealed out of her deep concern for the "safety and welfare" of Walker and his witnesses and wants to protect them from "possible harassment" resulting from the type of so-called harassment she has endured from A Just Cause publishing "scathing" press releases about her conduct in the IRP6 case. Glaring evidence of Judge Arguello's bias is apparent when in her order she blames Pastor Banks and CSFC for AJC press releases, stating "CSFC lashes our unrelentingly towards those whom Pastor Banks perceives to have wronged her or her church" and says records must remained sealed because Pastor Banks and CSFC will do the same to Walker and his witnesses. Having enough of Judge Arguello's incessant bias and continuing failure to follow the law, Constitution and the 10th Circuit's instructions, CSFC attorney Bernard Kleinman filed a motion for Judge Arguello to recuse herself and asked to have the case re-assigned to another judge (online at http://bit.ly/2S1lWNJ ). In his motion, Kleinman addresses Judge Arguello's bias and her bizarre "harassment" characterization of AJC's First Amendment right to publicize press releases critical of her conduct. If Judge Arguello refuses to recuse herself Kleinman will petition the 10th Circuit to remove her.
In their opinion (online at http://bit.ly/36S0EXp), the 10th Circuit stressed to Judge Arguello that the law strongly supports CSFC and the public's right of access to Walker's habeas proceeding because (1) the proceeding was used to determine Walker's substantive legal rights, (2) the fact that no jury was present, CSFC's and public's right to view records is 'even more significant' and (3) when the information was already disclosed in public, any interest in sealing is diminished. In fact, in 2000, the 10th Circuit said that "those using the courts must be prepared to accept the scrutiny that is an inherent part of public trials." Femedeer v. Haun, 227 F.3d 1244, 1246 (10th Cir. 2000).
A Just Cause has scoured case law of the Supreme Court and every other federal circuit in the country and couldn't find a single case where a federal judge sealed records for information that had already been disclosed in public proceeding. In her order Judge Arguello claims that in the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court case of Nixon v. Warner Communications gave her the right to deny every member of the public access to ALL of the records in Walker's case on the false claim that CSFC only wants them to "gratify private spite" against Walker and his witnesses. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals discredits Judge Arguello's rationale for concealing public court records under the "gratify private spite' standard because it does not apply to information "already publicly disclosed...at a public session of court." See In re: Application of National Broadcasting Co., 635 F.2d 945, 950 (2nd Cir. 1980). The U.S. Supreme Court gets the last word for Judge Arguello concerning her unlawful concealment of court records from the public in contravention of their precedent:
"In view of this nation's historic distrust of secret proceedings" and "their inherent dangers to freedom"...we recognize that "public access to court proceedings is one of the numerous 'checks and balances' of our system, because 'contemporaneous review in the forum of public opinion is an effective restraint on possible abuse of judicial power'...Indeed, [this] Court focused with particularity" on public proceedings serving "as a safeguard against any attempt to employ our courts as instruments of persecution" or "for the suppression of political or RELIGIOUS heresies...Open [proceedings] are indispensable to First Amendment political and RELIGIOUS freedoms" and "for reporting truthful information about judicial misconduct..." U.S. Supreme Court, Richmond Newspapers Inc. v. Commonwealth of Virginia 448 U.S. 555 592-93 (1980) (citations omitted).
For more details on the IRP6 case, including additional misconduct by Judge Arguello, including her conspiring to conceal and/or destroy a court transcript to cover her violation of the IRP6 defendants 5th Amendment rights and violation of a federal statute, check out following links:
Federal Judges Behaving Badly, Part 1 - http://bit.ly/2RYQHmI
Federal Judges Behaving Badly, Part 2 - http://bit.ly/2YUHnBD
Comprehensive Dossier of Facts and Documents Complied by A Just
Cause - http://bit.ly/2wBaCyJ
Judge Arguello's Racial Bias in IRP6 Case - http://bit.ly/2D01PXC
Washington Post Article - Former Federal Appeals Judge Discusses IRP6's
Innocence and Government's Fraudulent Case - www.wapo.st/29jXqSC
David Banks' (IRP6) Letter to President Trump About Obama
Administration Failure and Wrongful Conviction - http://bit.ly/2wUlqTQ