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December 8, 2010

"Wesley Snipes suggests race a factor in his sentencing"

The title of this post comes from this report at Monsters and Critics of movie star Wesley Snipes' appearance on Larry King Live last night on the eve of his requirement to report to prison to begin a three-year sentence.  Here is move from the M&C piece:

Wesley Snipes has suggested that race may have played a part in his being sentenced to a three-year jail term for failing to file tax returns.  The Blade star, 48, has appeared with his lawyer on Larry King's CNN talk show, just two days before he is due to surrender himself at a federal prison in Pennsylvania.

He insisted he was innocent of failing to pay around USD$7million in taxes and said he was 'nervous' and 'upset' about the prospect of prison....  Adding he had not spoken out against the conviction before because, 'One thing is my mother told me if you don't have anything good to say about anybody, don't say nothing at all.'

He also implied his race could have been a factor in his conviction. 'There is an agenda set by a particular body that benefits from villainising (sic) a certain people, particularly if they come from a particular community.'

His lawyer Don Meacham said they had made a last-minute appeal against the conviction and had also called for a retrial. He also claimed potential African-America jurors at his trial were given the wrong day to return for service on his trial.

This longer story at CNN about Snipes interview includes more details about sentencing issues and Snipes' concerns:

Snipes suggested he was unfairly singled out by prosecutors. "It does seem to be rather unusual and rather bizarre when you had a prosecutor come into the sentencing and say that this is the biggest tax trial in the history of the IRS," Snipes said. "I think there is a certain amount of selectivity going on here."

Snipes indicated he was disturbed by some public comments that he was receiving "just punishment." "It's been presented as though I'm worthy of this punishment," Snipes said. "I've been a law-abiding citizen ever since I grew up in the Bronx, New York."

One juror, Frank Tuttle, gave Larry King Live a written statement that three other jurors had made up their mind that Snipes was guilty before the trial began. The jury's verdict was a compromise between those jurors who thought Snipes was guilty and those who didn't, Tuttle said in the statement.

"That's when a deal was made to find him guilty on the failure to file taxes and not guilty on the federal tax evasion charges," Tuttle said in the statement. "We did not think he would go to jail."

Snipes' attorney, Daniel R. Meachum, said neither he nor Snipes had any involvement in preparing that juror's statement to Larry King Live, saying the show's producers obtained it on their own. "We on the defense team never suggested that the media reach out to any of the jurors," Meachum said.

December 8, 2010 at 07:26 PM | Permalink

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Comments

CNN did what should be the standard of due care for every defense attorney, discovery of the adversaries of the client, including the prosecutor, the vile lawyer on the bench, and the jurors, plus any prior interactions between those adversary parties. A mistrial needs to be declared, and the judge should have to pay for all legal costs from a professional insurance policy.

We should end all self dealt judge and prosecutor immunities. They are really bad at what they do. They do nothing about 90% of serious crimes, including violent serious crimes. Then they have extremely high error rates when they do prosecute people. Immunity contributes to this total, ridiculously bad incompetence. There is no incentive to improve the level of practice, mostly based on atavistic, totally unacceptable Rules of Evidence.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 9, 2010 6:18:35 AM

Wesley and his C team and his advocates know little of what they speak. He got a very fair trial and was actually undercharged. Sentence was clearly within the bounds of substantive reasonableness given the underlying facts. Turns out this anti-tax racist, is simply scared to do his time. Contrary to the assertions of him and his supporters, others similarly situated have been prosecuted. They all got time mostly more than him.

Posted by: Kowman Harsh | Dec 9, 2010 8:15:22 AM

Is the job market only softening for law school grads looking for specific, high-paying jobs at the top law firms, or if it means that the United States has too many lawyers in general? However, a report earlier this year by the National Association of Law Placement indicated that even though the majority of law school graduates can still find jobs, a far higher percentage of those grads are now taking jobs that are temporary.

Posted by: school scholarships | Dec 9, 2010 10:00:30 AM

40 million dollars in income and not a single tax return filed.

The temerity of raising race as a factor is mind-boggling but not surprising.

Just look at the publicity his insinuation has garnered.

Posted by: mjs | Dec 9, 2010 10:56:38 AM

mjs --

All a defendant has to do is shout "RACISM," and a segment of population will automatically side with him, since that segment views Amerika (as they call it) as a racist cauldron. With their own mind-blowing racism (which they seem unable to recognize), they view blacks as simply pawns of white malevolence, rather than as independent actors capable of deciding for themselves how they want to live.

I guess, to this way of thinking, it was racism that caused Snipes to keep the seven million dollars he owed in taxes.

Far out. If it's being victimized by "racism" that causes you to sit on a fortune, I wish someone would act racist toward me. If, on the other hand, Snipes accumulated the fortune simply out of greed and cheating (something I believe can be found in all races), then racism had zip to do with it.

Still, I could be missing something. Maybe, like our President, I should sit in Jeremiah Wright's church for a few years so that I too can learn how much racist "Amerika" stinks.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 9, 2010 11:16:14 AM

all of what you have to say may or may not be true...i dont' know. But i do know what at least one juror had to say!

"One juror, Frank Tuttle, gave Larry King Live a written statement that three other jurors had made up their mind that Snipes was guilty before the trial began. The jury's verdict was a compromise between those jurors who thought Snipes was guilty and those who didn't, Tuttle said in the statement.

"That's when a deal was made to find him guilty on the failure to file taxes and not guilty on the federal tax evasion charges," Tuttle said in the statement. "We did not think he would go to jail."

IF even part of this statment is true...the trial was a sham and totally ILLEGAL.

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 9, 2010 6:52:44 PM

rodsmith --

The practice in US district court is that, upon the defendant's request, each juror is individually asked by the judge whether the verdict represents his individual judgment. If that happened in this case, there are only two possibilities.

One is that Juror Tuttle said "yes," in which case his statement now is highly questionable at best. What you say in the sobriety of the courtroom, facing the defendant and the judge, is likely to be much more reliable than what you say in unknown circumstances when a TV producer comes around looking for a juicy story.

The other possibility is that Juror Tuttle said "no," in which case the judge would have sent the jurors back to deliberate or declared a mistrial.

We report, you decide.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 9, 2010 7:29:04 PM

horse pucky!

" Frank Tuttle, gave Larry King Live a written statement that three other jurors had made up their mind that Snipes was guilty before the trial began. The jury's verdict was a compromise between those jurors who thought Snipes was guilty and those who didn't, Tuttle said in the statement."

He gave a written statement that others in the jury either comitted fraud to get on the jury or violated jury rules and decided what their verdict was gonna be before the end of the trial and it was given to them. Either way the jury has been tainted and law enforcment should be asking major hard questions of EVERY ONE on that jury.

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 10, 2010 8:17:15 PM

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