Colorado Defendants Discuss Their Decision to Represent Themselves in Federal Criminal Case
Six Codefendants Fired Their Six Court-Appointed Attorneys on Same Day for Lying
Denver, CO -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/12/2017 --What makes the IRP6 case so unusual and unprecedented is that the six Colorado defendants (David A. Banks, Demetrius K. Harper, Kendrick Barnes, David A. Zirpolo, Clinton A. Stewart and Gary L. Walker) fired their attorneys on the same day, in the same room and chose to personally represent themselves to fight for their innocence in a frivolous federal criminal case (Dist. Colo. case no. 09-cr-00266-CMA) that criminalized corporate debt. Former federal appeals judge H. Lee Sarokin told the Washington Post that these six corporate information technology executives of the IRP Solutions Corporation were "indicted and imprisoned for not paying their bills" (http://www.wapo.st/29jXqsc). According to the Post, the executives were anticipating gaining a contract with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other law enforcement agencies and were supposed to pay their bills to dozens of temporary employment agencies after IRP Solutions had used software developers and their payroll services. "Our court appointed attorneys were apathetic and never developed or discussed a coherent strategy or tactical plan based on mastering the obvious debt nature of our case," says IRP6 defendant David Banks. "They simply wanted us to plea to a crime we didn't commit, and we could not risk our liberty with attorneys who were not willing to defend our innocence or mount an aggressive defense," adds Banks. "We had no choice but to go it alone," says Banks.
The government claimed in the indictment that false statements by the IRP Solutions executives about a large current or imminent contract with DHS & New York City Police Department is what tricked temporary agencies to enter into business arrangements with IRP. "Our case wasn't complicated and there was an enormous amount of evidence in discovery that showed the government's allegations were completely untrue and that the prosecution was a fraud," adds Banks.
Without attorneys, the IRP6 were able to capitalize on the discovery and prove, through cross-examination of the government's witnesses from the temporary agencies, that 1) false statements about having a large DHS or NYPD contract were never made, and 2) the temporary agency representatives never relied on any alleged statements about contracts, but based their decision to enter into business with IRP or extend credit on creditworthiness or the possibility of more profitable business opportunities in the future (See actual excerpts of their trial testimony in AJC press release http://bit.ly/2mkcn4k).
"Judge Christine Arguello and the magistrate judges repeatedly admonished us about the so-called grave dangers of not having these apathetic attorneys representing us, but each of us felt it was better that we defend ourselves if the attorneys couldn't care less if we were to win or lose," says Banks. "I laugh at the absurd adage promoted by self-serving, arrogant defense attorneys who say a person who represents themselves has a fool for a client when the federal prisons are full of people who had them representing them," adds Banks. "I am 100% certain we would have won our case without these attorneys, if not for a crony federal legal (not justice) system that permitted Assistant United Sates Attorney (AUSA) Matthew Kirsch and Judge Arguello to violate federal statutes and our 5th and 6th Amendment constitutional rights," says Banks (IRP6).
Sarokin discussed the 5th Amendment violation in the Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com/judge-h-lee-sarokin/the-case-of-the-missing-t_1_b_5340397.html) and the IRP6 filed a judicial complaint (http://bit.ly2s863pr) and sent a letter to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, asking that the complaint be transferred to another circuit because the 10th Circuit harbored a "deep-rooted bias" against the IRP6 (See http://bit.ly/2sfjTpr). Below are more details from the IRP6 about their decision to represent themselves.
"Our court-appointed attorneys showed a disgraceful obsequiousness towards their careers and the coddling of the pathetic, fragile egos of AUSA Kirsch and Judge Arguello," says Banks (IRP6). "They were always telling me they didn't want to upset the judge or the prosecutor by aggressively defending certain issues," adds Banks. "I fired two Denver attorneys during the trial phase, one of which (Martin Stuart) who told me to shut-up and that he and he alone would make all decisions about the case and my life, and that my only job was to enter a plea and tell him whether I wanted a jury or bench trial," adds Banks. "My trial attorney didn't have a coherent strategy or tactical approach based on mastering the obvious civil nature of our case and after billing the courts for over a year's worth of continuances and denying me a right to a speedy trial, our attorneys had not interviewed a single witness, claiming they were waiting for Judge Arguello to approve money for travel expenses," adds Banks. "The six of us repeatedly discussed firing our court-appointed attorneys based on our respective frustrations with each of our attorneys," recalls Banks. "The tipping point came after our attorneys lied to us," explains Banks.
"Each of our attorneys had agreed to present a proffer of our innocence to U.S. Attorney John Walsh compiled by us that wholly disproved all of the charges in the indictment," says Banks. "But when we arrived for a joint meeting at one of the attorney's offices and walked into the conference room, all of our attorneys were at the back of the room joined together to screw us over, telling us they were not going to present our proffer," adds Banks. "We fired them on the spot and walked out determined to represent ourselves," says Banks.
"I thought the court-appointed attorney would fight for my rights," says defendant Demetrius Harper (IRP6). "That is the furthest thing from the truth," adds Harper. "My court-appointed attorney did NOTHING to combat the lies of the government. NOTHING!" exclaims Harper. "I was told 2 or 3 times that AUSA Kirsch is reasonable, if I want to talk him," says Harper. "What about the truth that there is NO CRIME?" asked Harper. "All my attorney wanted me to do was plea to a crime I didn't commit," says Harper. "I found out during trial that he and the other attorneys failed to ask for a Franks hearing to challenge the government going outside the scope of the search," adds Harper. "I fired my attorney and made the decision to fight for my rights. Given my innocence and the same circumstances, I'd do it again," concludes Harper.
"The most glaring reason I fired my attorney was because he lied to me," says defendant Kendrick Barnes (IRP6). "He agreed to schedule a meeting with U.S. Attorney John Walsh regarding a proffer of our case that detailed our innocence," adds Barnes (IRP6). "After telling me he was in the process of scheduling the meeting and stalling for weeks, he revealed to me that he was not going to schedule a meeting," asserts Barnes (IRP6). "I had no choice in the matter because my attorney didn't work for me, he worked for the government and Judge Arguello who were responsible for paying his legal fees," concludes Barnes.
"I fired my attorney after much thought and consideration," says defendant David Zirpolo (IRP6). "In looking at his performance, I realized that he was not focusing on my defense, and after numerous queries I realized he may not have even spent much time reviewing the case," adds Zirpolo. "I found that after almost a year he had not reviewed discovery," says Zirpolo. "When asked about providing periodic updates, my attorney told me he did not work that way and when the FBI agent lied on the stand, I pointed it out to my attorney and he said he didn't want to pursue his lying," says Zirpolo. "After all of that and more I decided it was time for him to go," adds Zirpolo. "It was obvious to me he was not concerned about defending me and only wanted me to plea to a crime I didn't commit," concludes Zirpolo.
"My attorney was matter-of-fact about informing me that the government does whatever (illegal things) they want to do and he couldn't do anything about it," says defendant Clinton Stewart (IRP6). "I asked him about challenging the FBI going outside the scope of a search warrant where the FBI not only lied about our company (IRP Solutions) being a "purported" software company, but also their seizing of IRP software developer notebooks and patent information when the warrant clearly stated they were to seize only financial and contractual documents associated with staffing companies," adds Stewart. "My government-appointed attorney set this fact aside with some vague alluding that everything will come out in the court-proceedings," says Stewart. "My decision to dismiss my government-appointed attorney was invoked by his refusal to represent me at a hearing with the U.S. Attorney John Walsh over a proffer portraying evidence of my innocence," adds Stewart. "This was like the 'straw that broke the camel's back' for me, and showed me my government-appointed attorney was decidedly NOT an advocate for me," says Stewart IRP6). "I'm glad I made the decision [of my own volition] to dismiss him out of hand," concludes Stewart.
"By and large federal criminal trials are nothing more than movie/theater productions where self-serving, ambitious prosecutors, judges and defense attorney are the actors and supporting actors and defendants are extras or stage props," says Banks (IRP6). "All the talk about your rights, the Constitution or innocent until proven guilty is just part of the script," asserts Banks. "Our defense attorneys were there to promote their personal interests with absolutely no concern for us," concludes Banks (IRP6).
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