That’s the question on the mind of Wesley Snipes as he enters this third day of his trial for failure to file income tax returns. Prosecutor Robert O’Neill, US Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, holds that Snipes knew what he was doing when he failed to file income tax returns. Snipes attorney says he was duped by an organization that says it’s legal not to file tax returns.
While I am not proud of the fact, the fact is, I spent time in Federal prison for poor choices (embezzlement and tax evasion for those who’s curiosity is peaked). During that time, I encountered several inmates who, like Snipes, failed to file tax returns. In every case they claimed that it was unconstitutional to have to pay taxes and cited some obscure legal concept to support that. In every case, they were convicted and sent to prison. (Today I serve as Senior Sales Executive for a Public Company and Motivational Speaker – good choices yield positive results!)
One might come up with every well worded argument one can think of, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is precedent for the law supporting filing your taxes! Should Snipes find himself convicted on all charges, he could face up to 16 years in federal prison. The Blade actor might be tough in film, but real life in prison is much different.
Back to the issue of location:
Snipes has a Florida drivers license, but claims to be living in New York where he wanted his trial moved to. His trial takes place in Ocala, Florida. However, as it turns out, Snipes faces an all-white jury and is concerned about the racial makeup of the area. His concern is exacerbated by the fact that in front of the courthouse stands the statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest – the founder of the Ku Klux Klan.
Will Snipes get a fair trial in his tax fraud case with an all white jury?