Today is a sad day for me and certainly for the defendants and their families in the IRP6 Colorado case. The Court of Appeals has affirmed their convictions, but I still cannot shake my belief that an injustice has occurred in respect to their guilt. Apart from all that I have already said in the past about this case in particular, there is the fact that every day we read of corporate fines for criminal activities, but no personal charges against the executives who directed or approved those crimes no matter how great the losses -- both personal and financial -- or how many persons suffered from them. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judge-h-lee-sarokin/deaths-caused-by-corporat_b_5348182.html But in this case, for basically the crime of failing to pay corporate debts that pale by comparison (and probably puffing or even lying about their future prospects), these business men, five black and one white, all members of the same church, several of them veterans, with no criminal records, were charged, convicted and are serving sentences of seven to 11 years in prison, even though they had every intention to make their business a success and pay their debts. The government's contention that their business was nothing but a scam defies reality.
If a scam, would you single out law enforcement agencies as your sole customers? Would you work for years developing the program? Would you leave other gainful employment to join in the venture? Would you hire former law enforcement personnel to work on the project? Would you spend your own time and money for years to improve it? Would you personally guarantee the corporate debts and risk your own financial security? If a scam, wouldn't the perpetrators make some money out of it? The only possible way that the defendants could profit was if the company were a success!
The matter was first brought to the attention of law enforcement through a lawyer who failed to disclose whom he was representing -- undoubtedly a claimant or a competitor. The FBI declined to investigate on the basis that it was a civil matter (debt collection), and the grand jury to whom it was presented refused to indict. Yet for reasons unknown, someone insisted that the matter be pursued and the indictment and convictions ensued. I have written at length about what has transpired in this case -- the treatment of the defendants at trial, the harsh sentences imposed, the refusal to grant them bail pending the appeal, a delay of more than a year until the decision was reached today and questions about bail motions and their disposition.
All of that now is rendered moot. Reading the Court's decision today, as persuasive as it is, still leaves me with this gnawing feeling that justice was not served. The government proved that the defendants incurred debts and did not pay them, but it failed to prove that they did not intend to pay them when incurred, because that was not their true intention. Now, although all of the legal arguments have been neatly sewn up and put aside, I cannot help but believe that the fabric of justice has been frayed in the process.
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