Sunday, May 4, 2008
"Actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for refusing to file federal tax returns. The decision in federal court [in Ocala, Fl.] came after a daylong hearing. ... Attorney Carmen Hernandez, a recent addition to his defense team, said, 'Mr. Snipes was sentenced because he's Mr. Snipes. The judge said the actor's celebrity status had no bearing on the sentence. ... 'It'll be a fraction of what he owes,' [$5 million] said M. Scotland Morris, an assistant U.S. Attorney who made the argument for the government. Morris said a rough estimate of Snipes' outstanding tax liability will exceed $20 million. ... Hernandez argued that Snipes' crimes were not serious, pointing out that the jury found him guility of three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file federal tax returns. But Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges argued otherwise. 'Any offense that places my liberty at risk is a serious one,' Hodges said", my emphsis, Houston Chronicle, 25 April 2008.
www.sovereign-american.org/docs/IRS/Snipes%20indictment.docx, has Snipes' indictment. Snipes was indicted on one count of conspiracy, 18 USC 371, one count of filing a false claim, 18 USC 287 and six counts of failure to file income tax returns, 26 USC 7203. As usual, I agree with the jury. I would only have convicted Snipes of the 26 USC 7203 counts. The jury convicted Snipes of misdemeanor 26 USC 7203 violations. This is important. Why? Had Snipes not paid $1 billion in income taxes, the most time Hodges could have given him was the 36 months he got. Do I think this reasonable? No. I read Robert O'Neill's (RO) 37-page Sentencing Memorandum, "google" it at Snipes PSR. "This case presents the Court with a singular opportunity to deter tax fraud nationwide", page 18. "18 U.S.C. S 3553(a)(2)(A) & (B) provide that the sentence should 'promote respect for the law' and 'afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct'," footnote 16 at page 18. Snipes' sentence caused me to have contempt for the law. Does that bother you RO? I bet not. More quotes, "But for the limits of the stautory maximum sentence, the sentencing guidelines would call for a term of imprisonment of more than 10 years", page 2. So? Snipes was acquitted of the felony counts. RO says ignore the jury. "This case accordingly presents the Court with a momentous opportunity to instantaneously increase tax compliance on a national scale. ... The sentence imposed upon Snipes in this case is particularly crucial for additonal reasons that correspond to the audience at issue. The fact that Snipes was acquitted on two felony charges and convicted 'only' on three misdemeanor counts has been portrayed in the mainstream media as a 'victory' for Snipes", page 20. So RO wants Hodges to sentence Snipes for the contents of newspaper articles. Hey RO, ever heard of the first amendment? Wonderful. The Bush DOJ falls in my esteem daily. So? Hodges, I choose to disbelieve you. If Snipes celebrity status had nothing to do with his sentence you should have raked RO's office over the coals for asking you to consider it.
How would I sentence Snipes? Class P at Tax Table 2T4.1 applies to tax losses over $400 million. It gives offense level 36, a 188-235 month sentence with no prior criminal history. Based on Snipes giving $5 million in part payment of his taxes, I assume Snipes falls into class K, offense level 26, 63-78 months. RO writes, "even if the Court were only to find as relevant conduct the $7.3 million loss attributable to the false claim of which his co-defendants were convicted, that loss alone would render a Base Offense Level of 26, calling for 63 to 78 months' imprisonment, but for the statutory maximum", page 9. RO says sentence Snipes for conduct he was acquitted of. What now? If 36 points gets Snipes say 212 months, had he been convicted of everything charged, I get 36 /212 of the maximum sentence. Wait, 16 years, or 192 months is the most Snipes could have gotten. Now what? Multiplying the midpoint of 63-78 months, 71 months; 71 X 36 / 192 = 13 months. Now I show discretion and sentence Snipes to 18 months. There is plenty of basis to appeal here. Hernandez, get cracking. Oops! What now? Will some DOJ idiot see my phrase "get cracking" as my abetting the distribution of cocaine? Well RO, do you intend to have some DEA agent visit me? What a country! Recently Michael Savage (MS) called for the decriminalization of drug possession. MS, welcome aboard!