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Circuit Court: Spreadsheets OK as evidence

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A Terre Haute company and its president lost an appeal of their convictions and sentence for making materially false statement reports under the Clean Water Act.

In United States of America v. Derrik Hagerman and Wabash Environmental Technologies, LLC, Nos. 07-3874, 07-3875, Derrik Hagerman argued the District Court erred in admitting into evidence copies of certain electronic spreadsheets that recorded test results of waste liquid that weren't charged in indictment. Hagerman believed the test results are evidence of prior bad acts that should have been excluded under Fed. Rule of Evid. 404(b).

Wabash Environmental treated industrial liquid waste and discharged the treated liquid into the Wabash River. The company was required to make monthly reports disclosing the test results of the waste using EPA-approved procedures.

The spreadsheets in question in the appeal cover the same period of time that Hagerman and his company were charged with misrepresenting results of tests. It would have been infeasible to separate out the evidence to eliminate any hint that Hagerman had also falsified other test results, wrote the 7th Circuit in the per curium opinion. The judges also dismissed Hagerman's argument that by admitting those spreadsheets, which showed misconduct not charged in the indictment, the District Court allowed the indictment to be "constructively amended."

The 7th Circuit affirmed the District Court judge's jury instruction on the requirement Hagerman was to certify each report was accurate and complete by using language from Wabash Environmental's discharge permit. Hagerman believed it should be up to the jury to determine whether Wabash Environmental had a system in place to ensure the test results were properly gathered and evaluated.

"The judge's instruction that the testing methods must 'conform to applicable federal regulations' was a correct interpretation of the permit, and the meaning of the permit presented an issue of law that the judge was entitled to determine, rather than leave to the jury," wrote the court.

The 7th Circuit also upheld Hagerman's 60-month prison sentence over Hagerman's arguments that imprisonment will make paying restitution difficult and that he's made considerable contributions to his community.

In September 2008, Hagerman's appeal of the District Court's dismissal of the government's petition for relief after Wabash agreed to start paying restitution and furnish specific financial information was dismissed because Hagerman and Wabash Environmental weren't represented by an attorney. The 7th Circuit ruled owners of limited liability companies must have an attorney to appeal a decision in federal court.

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    This story is not fully vetted. The real truth is that the spreadsheets appeared on Friday, May 18, 2007, just one business day before my trial began. They were emailed from one of my lab tech's home to the AUSA's office. I received copies while I sat in the Public Defenders' offices preparing for my digustingly corrupt trial. When the govt admitted the spreadsheets as evidence, I objected because I had not had the time to find a forensic computer specialist who would testify that the spreadsheets WERE NOT on my company's computer hard drives and server...Versus the lab tech's testimony that she made them on the company computer in her lab and emailed and hand delivered them to me. My testimony was that I had NEVER SEEN those spreadsheets. The judge refused to give me time to refute the govt's evidence, ala the fake spreadsheets. After I was convicted, I hired a computer specialist who inspected all of the computers' hard drives and server. Just as I testified, THERE WERE NOT ANY SPREADSHEETS on the computers. Therefore, that false evidence of spreadsheets was the smoking gun that got me convicted of something I never did. I have to include the following: 1. I was not allowed to have witnesses, discovery, evidence, or my private attorneys at my federal jury trial. 2. The judge allowed the lead AUSA read the charges against me, which took up 8 pages of transcripts. 3. Just after #2 above, the judge allowed the 2nd AUSA to state the govt's Opening Statement, but this only took up 2 pages of transcripts. 4. After I was convicted, I fired the public defenders and hired an attorney for the sentencing hearing and appeal. Within two weeks, the judge threatened by attorney causing him to be ineffective and prejudice against me when he told my attorney, "You're not going to try to re-try this case at the Sentencing Hearing, are you?" AFter that exchange, I never heard from that attorney for 5 months until the day before the sentencing hearing.

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  1. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  2. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  3. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

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  5. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. https://www.scribd.com/document/299040062/Brown-ind-Bar-memo-Pet-cert Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

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