The Court of Appeal upholds the conviction of the Beaumont ISD contractor

On February 9, nearly eight years after former Beaumont Independent School District (BISD) contract electrician Calvin Walker was indicted in July 2014 for crimes alleging he defrauded the district of more than a million dollars through misleading documents, fake invoices and padded work orders, an appeal The court upheld the indictment, jury trial and restitution order issued to the criminal convicted of obtained the execution of a document by deception in January 2020.

As noted in the Ninth Court of Appeals decision, Walker and his legal team, led by Houston attorney Dick Deguerin, kept the charges against the defendant in limbo for years using the process of county, district and state appeal. A brief description of the process was even included in the February 9 notice.

“We note that in 2014, Calvin Walker filed applications for pretrial habeas corpus writs seeking to dismiss his cases on the grounds of dual criminality and due process.

“After finding that the state had not waived the doctrine of dual sovereignty, the trial court found Walker’s double jeopardy claim to be without merit and denied Walker’s claims. The trial court also determined that, based on Walker’s motions and attached documents, it could render an appropriate decision without further developing Walker’s claim.

“Walker has appealed the decision denying his pre-trial requests. This court upheld the trial court’s decisions in these appeals, finding that Walker was not entitled to relief,” the court filing reads. But that only covered the first set of appeals and didn’t even address the arguments sent to the US Supreme Court.

“In 2017, Walker filed additional habeas claims. He asked the trial court to dismiss the indictments on the grounds of dual criminality and he challenged the constitutionality of the separate sovereign exception The trial court also dismissed these claims, finding Walker’s claims without merit. Walker appealed and this court upheld the trial court’s decisions in the opinion the court issued in 2018.”

At the heart of the alleged criminal activity are checks Walker received from BISD for work performed prior to May 2009. According to prosecutors, Walker submitted forged invoices and fraudulently applied check receipts to collect approximately $1,172,656, $01 from BISD taxpayers that he was not entitled to. Walker’s defense promoted the idea that Walker was free to charge whatever he wanted for BISD’s work which included hurricane resolution on BISD campuses, and forged documents were useless fluff.

A jury chose to believe that Walker had indeed used deception to obtain the overpayment, and in October 2019 the trial court entered judgment, suspended Walker’s 10-year sentence, placed Walker in probation for a period of 10 years and indicated the court would hold another hearing and impose any remaining conditions relevant to Walker’s probation after presiding judge John Stevens received Walker’s post-sentence report.

On November 5, 2019, Walker filed his sentencing memoranda, in which he argued that the trial court should not order restitution.

Walker, effectively able to block the proceedings again, was back in court to challenge the next phase of the trial until the end of 2019 – but, unlike the years that pass between filings when the defense presents arguments in the appeals court, the arguments were quickly forwarded to the Jefferson County Trial Court.

“On January 8, 2020, the trial court held a hearing to decide the amount to be awarded in restitution,” detailed the court of appeals opinion published on February 9 under the pen of Chief Justice W. Scott. Goleman. “Following the January 2020 hearing, the trial court orally granted and ordered Walker to pay BISD $1,172,656.01 in restitution and entered an order for restitution and judgment on the same day to include the amount of restitution pronounced in open court.”

Another appeal was then made by the defense – Walker wanted a new trial. Judge Stevens denied the request, which was then taken to the Court of Appeal for further consideration. It took two years, but the opinion of February 9 upheld the lower court’s decision.

Summarizing the opinion of the Court of Appeal on Walker’s objections: Appeal No. 1 – dismissed; Appeal no. 2 – dismissed; Appeal no. 3 – dismissed; Appeal No. 4 – dismissed; Appeal No. 5 – dismissed; Appeal no. 6 – dismissed.

“Having dismissed Walker’s questions, we affirm the judgment of the trial court,” the court of appeal agreed.

The appeals court upholding the trial court’s verdict doesn’t necessarily end this chapter, as Walker’s team could file a motion for reconsideration or seek a discretionary review by the Court of Criminal Appeals.

“It will take a while,” Jefferson County First Assistant District Attorney Pat Knauth said, clarifying whether or not the State V. Walker case is officially closed. Knauth anticipates some form of appeal, and his office is ready to fight for justice for the stakeholders defrauded by Walker’s crime. “After we hear if the court grants further consideration, we will do what we need to do.

“When that time has elapsed, a warrant will be issued. Once that happens, Walker’s sentence will be handed down.

Knauth said the state will never be able to recoup the man-hours and funding that went into prosecuting this case for nearly a decade, but the seasoned prosecutor is happy with the restitution of more than a year. million dollars, a fine of $10,000 and six months in prison. the time Walker will have to serve – either all at once or on weekends.

“We look forward to him starting his sentence very soon,” Knauth said. “He’s been waiting for justice for a long time, and it’s long overdue.”

About Jessica J. Bass

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