Calvin Walker denied access to prosecution file

Calvin Walker

In a case the presiding judge said has been “languishing too long” in the courts, former Beaumont ISD contract electrician Calvin Walker is accused in six 2014 indictments of various crimes related to alleged fraud against city and state agencies for whom he was hired to perform work, including the Beaumont school district and the city of Port Arthur. Evidentiary information used in the case dates back even further, to 2008 and 2009, according to the indictments handed up against the accused.

Despite more than three years already in the system, the state case against Walker will not be heard this year, either, according to a judicial determination entered Monday, Dec. 4, in Judge John Stevens’ Jefferson County Criminal District Court, delaying future court dates until 2018.

Walker and counsel, Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin, have argued that Walker’s prosecution is tantamount to “double jeopardy,” basically meaning that he is being tried twice for the same crime because he faced similar federal charges in 2011 and 2012 – even though the law allows for both federal and state prosecution under the “dual sovereignty” doctrine.

However, even though Walker was charged on a 37-count federal indictment (that included allegations of wire fraud, money laundering, and fraud on programs receiving federal funding), the federal prosecution ended in a hung jury. Walker escaped a second trial by entering a guilty plea to an unindicted misdemeanor.

With no criminal proceeding precluding the state from evoking its sovereign right to prosecute alleged thieves, in July 2014, Walker was subsequently indicted on four state felony charges of securing execution of a document by deception and two felony charges of money laundering. According to the indictments, from Dec. 23, 2008, through Sept. 10, 2009, Walker, who at that time owned and managed Walker’s Electric alongside his wife, Stacy, submitted fraudulent invoices to both BISD and the city of Port Arthur to receive payments he was not due.

“The fraudulent invoices resulted in Walker being compensated for labor, materials and other expenses which were never incurred concerning his work as a contractor on various projects (at BISD and in Port Arthur),” information from Jefferson County District Attorney Cory Crenshaw’s office stated upon indictment. The trial court judge, subsequent appeals courts, the Criminal Court of Appeals, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court, elected either not to hear Walker’s claims of improper prosecution or agreed with the now former Jefferson County DA.

Although the highest criminal court in the country cleared the matter for moving forward despite the defense’s claims, and despite the trial court previously denying a hearing regarding the defense’s perceived issues, Walker’s attorney is adamant that the case not be heard at trial until he receives a hearing on the merits in pre-trial discussion. In Judge Stevens’ court on Dec. 4, DeGuerin again argued that the court allow oral arguments pertaining to the cases at hand and the virtue (or lack thereof) of dual sovereignty and – again – the attorney was denied his request.

“We were requesting a hearing from Day 1, and the court never granted that hearing,” DeGuerin protested. “It was never fully litigated.”

“The earlier order that worked its way to the Supreme Court – I’m standing by it,” Stevens ruled. “There’s no reason for that to be resurrected.”

Additionally, Judge Stevens granted three motions produced by the state asking the Criminal District Court to suppress subpoenas, at least one of which requested data the prosecution called proprietary.

In front of the judge, Walker’s defense team made statements as to needing more time to prepare things that were “still pending” and acquire discovery from the prosecution. Assistant District Attorney Wayln Thompson said the defense has received all the discovery it was entitled – and Stevens was inclined to agree, stating that the Dec. 4 status hearing was meant to serve as the clearinghouse for all pending requests.

DeGuerin, who alluded to the possibility of appealing the status hearing decision, said that he was not in agreement with the events of the day.

“All I’m saying is we haven’t been given the opportunity to make a record so that it can be reviewed,” he said. “There was no hearing – so nothing has been resolved.”

Stevens set the case to again be before his bench in four weeks – tentatively slated for hearing on Jan. 16 at 9 a.m.

According to the judge, there is a “sense of urgency” to moving the stagnant cases through the system and advised both sides to “consider the court’s concern that this case has languished.”

“I want this thing tried as soon as everybody is ready, willing and able,” Stevens said.