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July 16, 2010

Eleventh Circuit affirms convictions and 3-year prison sentence of Wesley Snipes for tax crimes

A busy week for notable federal circuit court rulings in criminal cases concludes with a major league Eleventh Circuit ruling affirming the convictions and sentence of Passenger 57 for tax crimes.  The unanimous panel decision in US v. Snipes gets started this way:

Defendant Wesley Trent Snipes appeals from his criminal convictions, after a jury trial, on three counts of willful failure to file individual federal income tax returns for calendar years 1999, 2000, and 2001, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203. Snipes alleges that the trial court committed reversible error in sentencing, jury instructions, and on issues of venue.  After thorough review, we affirm the rulings and judgment of the district court in all respects.

The final 10 pages of the 35-page opinion in Snipes discusses various sentencing issues surrounding Snipes efforts to avoid the tax collectors on the money train.  But Blade is not going to be a big fan of any aspect of a ruling that confirms that even a celebrity like Snipes cannot jump out of his tax obligations or zigzag away from a prison term.  (Hat tip to IMDB for some Snipes' movie titles to (poorly) incorporate into this post.)

July 16, 2010 at 04:41 PM | Permalink


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Perhaps the court could have taken a page from fictitious Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown's book and as a punishment had Snipes do 20 push ups for every dollar he did not pay. It seemed to work for Willy Mays Hayes.

Posted by: Steve K. | Jul 16, 2010 5:35:52 PM

should have know this one was coming.

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