~~~ JFK the Movie
Conjecture notwithstanding, Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” is perhaps one of my favorites, if for no other reason than its attempt to satisfy conspiracy theorists such as myself concerning the Kennedy assassination in Dallas. The aforementioned quote refers to the scene when New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, played by Kevin Costner gives his closing arguments in the only criminal trial presented in the matter. Garrison references the line in the Declaration of Independence that suggests that as citizens we continue to move forward in pursuit of establishing a government of the people, for the people and by the people when and if the current government fails to meet these objectives in any sense.
So in keeping with that notion of moving “just a little farther out west,” we set our sights on the state of Colorado where in March of this year, the Colorado Women’s Hall of fame inducted 10 women. I make no efforts here to critique in any way the merits for induction nor will I infer that any accomplishments considered do not warrant inclusion into what I am sure is a fine organization. That said however, there is one inductee that I along with several others take exception to and that is Federal Judge Christine Arguello. Reading the introductory bio about Judge Arguello on the Hall of Fame website makes quite the impression and highlights the many ‘firsts’ in Judge Arguello’s storied career.
However, while the accomplishments of Judge Arguello made, and continue to make members of her family proud there are at least six families who do not judge the judge from that perspective. In fact, I would venture to say the families of The IRP6, (Kendrick Barnes, Gary L Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A Stewart, David A Zirpolo and David A Banks) see the Hall of Shame as a more appropriate place to honor Judge Arguello. For those of you familiar with the saga of the IRP6, you know the accusations brought by the IRP6 regarding Judge Arguello’s handling of the case. In particular, the missing 200 pages of transcript purportedly containing evidence that Judge Arguello violated the 5th Amendment rights of the IRP6 during trial and Judge Arguello’s refusal to make those transcripts available for purposes of appeal.
According to court transcripts, court reporter Darlene Martinez confirmed that she (Martinez) failed to include more than 200 pages of transcripts pertaining to the prosecution of the IRP6. Moreover, Judge Arguello refused to make those missing pages available to the defense for appeal. Court records reveal the following exchange between Martinez and Judge Arguello,“First of all, the unedited version (of the transcript) cannot be used for any purpose… how many pages is it?” Martinez affirms, “Over 200 pages.” Judge Arguello further states, “Over 200 pages…for no purpose that I can see that would be served by having that at this time.” “I am not going to have an expedited, and unedited version (of the transcript) delivered to the defendants (IRP6)”, concludes Arguello. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA, October 2011, Court transcript pages 2062 -2063)
Perhaps it’s just me but I was under the impression that relevance of evidence as it relates to appeal be established by the appeals court, not the presiding judge on the original case. The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from Judge Arguello’s actions suggests an attempt to cover her error. Unlike Judge Arguello who somehow channels a hidden clairvoyance in regards to what is relevant for appeal, I will make no claims as to knowing her state of mind. Benefit of the doubt notwithstanding, if touting the judge’s many accomplishments and her acumen concerning Jurist Prudence validates her induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, should we not then presume she knows better concerning the missing transcripts and the sidebar conversation therein.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Any man can withstand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.” The reason this is so important is that power reveals any holes in claims of those who say where they came from to where they are humbles them. Humility should if genuine, cultivate compassion and fairness especially for someone with the power to destroy the lives of others and their families. Proper function of any system is dependent on those who work the system more so than policy and it is no different as it relates to the criminal justice system. The adage “you get out what you put in” has never been more apropos than in the courtroom. So then, if we are indeed putting justice and fairness ‘first’ as Judge Arguello likes to be associated with, should we not then get out what we put into the system.
We can only hope and pray the truth will one day come out. In fact, we know that it will. It better or we might just as well build ourselves another government like the Declaration of Independence says to when the old one ain’t working — just a little farther out west.
~~~ Jay Arrington (Maryland Daily Examiner)
- See more at: http://www.marylanddailyexaminer.com/just-little-farther-west/#sthash.86RHM2M3.dpuf