Wesley Snipes – Patriot or Plain Idiot?

How many times did I hear in federal prison, people convicted of tax fraud claiming that they were just patriots imprisoned by a government gone amok. Fact was – they were in prison for their misguided belief. Considering that today the closing arguments were being made in the Wesley Snipes tax fraud case, we will likely see either a conviction (my prediction) or the miracle of the century – Snipes acquittal.


Federal prosecutor M. Scotland Morris portrays Wesley Snipes as a common criminal with worked with idiots like Eddie Ray Kahn to defraud the government of their duties as a citizen to file and pay their taxes. While Robert Barnes, Snipes attorney, portrays Snipes as a patriotic American who was legitimately seeking information about his tax liability. (If the jury buys that one – well, there’s some outstanding property in the Everglades for sale.)

According to Rick Cundiff with the Star-Banner:

Prosecutor Morris went first, telling jurors Snipes conspired with Kahn and Rosile to file a fraudulent refund claim for $7.3 million in taxes on his 1997 return, and sought to illegally deny his ongoing tax liability for 1999 through 2004.

“Nobody likes paying taxes. Nobody,” Morris said. “But paying taxes is the privilege we pay to live in a civilized society … That’s what this case is about – three men who believe they are above the law. They’re not above the law. Tell them that.”

Barnes invoked the Founding Fathers and said the Internal Revenue Service deprived Snipes of his civil rights by not responding to his letters seeking information.

“It may have been protest,” he said of filings by Snipes and by Kahn on Snipes’ behalf. “Protest is not criminal. It may have been disagreement. Disagreement is not criminal. It may have been frivolous. Frivolous is not fraud.”

Barnes urged jurors to acquit Snipes in the name of American freedoms.

In the name of American freedoms? What American freedom is it that allows us to avoid filing tax returns? What American freedom is it that allows us to avoid paying income taxes on the money we earn? What is Barnes talking about?

“The liberty to ask questions … the liberty to challenge your government. The liberty to engage your government. These liberties are American liberties,” Barnes said. “The Liberty Bell may be cracked in Philadelphia, but it can still be heard in Ocala.”

The last time I checked, challenging your government was perfectly legal as long as it was done through the legal legislative or judicial process. Here Snipes is taking the judicial road to challenge something he will lose and ultimately end up paying the price with his freedom. Sorry, but that to me is the mark of a plain idiot.

Every choice has a consequence. Snipes (unless I’m dramatically wrong) will pay the price of his choices with his freedom and while he spends time in federal prison, perhaps will come the knowing that he was duped by the likes of Kahn. But, maybe not, maybe they’ll share a cell together so they can experience the joy of knowing they took a stand for the civil liberties of us all.

For now, I’m going to do my tax return.

14 Responses to Wesley Snipes – Patriot or Plain Idiot?

  1. Bert says:

    I totally disagree with our system of Tax Evasion prosecution… fine, if Wesley Snipes owes the IRS taxes, let them settle it in Civil Court like most other civilized countries do, where the burden of proof is on the defendant, not the Government. Don’t send someone to prison over personal finances, destroying his ability to repay the very taxes in dispute. If he is found guilty in civil court, he will surely pay dearly with the IRS in penalties and interest, instead of removing a decent person from society; it is simply counter-productive and I can’t believe our Government has brain-washed so many people with tax charges that they are able to get criminal convictions not just for a high-profile, large $11M case but cases as low as $150,000 over 4 years…

    WAKE UP America, don’t convict for criminal charges, a tax evasion case, instead, force it to civil where everyone in normal society, excluding prosecution and Government disillusioned types, benefit from the result.

    The only argument the Government can use in these criminal tax evasion cases is one of deterrence… IT DOES NOT WORK and is extremely flawed. Maybe with this philosophy, in order to prevent people from speeding, which easily kills more people in this great country than tax evasion, we should create deterrence by spot checking the violators and punishing them with the death penalty…hmmm…great idea.

    Maybe the people of America will wake up, the people who are on juries in these types of cases, and stop allowing the Government to control them and send a message that some of their policies are ridiculous and realize the next person under the Federal IRS microscope may be them…

  2. Clinton J. Harrold says:

    OK.. here’s and ethical question for Mr. Gallagher. Lets assume that what is at stake here is the Constitution. Mr. Snipes has a question. He has numerous times over the years, presented it to the IRS, evidently pretty strange at times.

    The IRS by its own mission statement claims it will assist the “taxpayer” in understanding the laws and meeting the peoples tax burdens while applying the tax laws with integrity and fairness to all.

    The IRS has never answered the question ” What law (usually answered by a cite of the code) imposes a liability for a direct tax on our labor? Title 26 provides liability cites for tobacco, firearms and alcohol, specific cites, they are without question and very clear, easy to understand, and easy to find for anyone who reads them.

    But in section 1 there is the taxpayer, taxable income, gross income from sources (but not limited to) but never a statement of the like ” there is hereby imposed on every individual a tax on any money, property or the like ever received.”

    The courts in numerous decisions and opinions have stated many times the mechanics of the 16th Amendment. The mechanics of the amendment gave congress the power to tax gains derived from many different sources, and put the tax in the class of indirect excises. Totally constitutional, and within the law.

    But here is the problem, and the source of all this scrutiny. The IRS has been for 60 years collecting a tax from the American laborer that is applied directly to their labor. This application is not withing the language of the act. The legislative draftsmen of the treasury department have rewrote Title 26 many times over the years and it is very doubtful that any mistakes have been allow to persist.

    So if no mistakes exist in Title 26, then where’s the cite of liability? If no liability exists for a direct tax on labor, then no requirement to file exists. If no requirement to file? Then why are we here?

    How ethical is the legal community for allowing the IRS to get away with prosecuting people for a non crime. A lawyer is an officer of the court, a responsibility exits for the attorney to inform the court of the lack of merit in a case. In these type of cases, silence by both sides of the bar to the fact that no crime exists and allowing the case to progress is tantamount to judicial fraud, and leaves the court as an institution, damaged.

    So I put the question here again, So that perhaps a lawyer that is smarter than all the lawyers before her/him can set the record straight and end the discussion, free the courts of all the litigation and put the question to rest:

    What USC 26 cite imposes a direct tax on the compensation for labor performed by an individual.

    Should be pretty simple….right?

  3. Mr. Harrold…thanks for your comments. And I agree…it really is pretty simple. Let’s say (for example) that I’ve been living with someone for 12 years (not really true, but again it’s an example). In some states I would be deemed to be “common law” married. But, we had no papers to support that. POINT: You don’t have to have a citation from the law to establish law. My guess is you and I are similar, we both file and pay our income taxes. (If you don’t – for God’s sake don’t admit it here). We may not like it, but we recognize that the law of the land requires as much. Snipes did too. Well that is till he met the likes of Eddie Kahn. Somewhere, he got brainwashed (drank the koolaid if you will) and decided that he wasn’t required to pay his taxes. As I have said too many times, I spent time in federal prison with people who argued the same point as Snipes. My fear – Snipe will end up where I was – just to prove a point. This battle has been fought before. You change the law through legislation, not by becoming a one man protest. Wish Snipes the best, but expect the worst.

    Although I am surprised that the jury hasn’t yet come back with a verdict.

  4. Clinton J. Harrold says:

    But Title 26 is not common law, it is a enumeration of specific cites pertaining to liabilities for a tax.

    House Congressional Record March 27th 1943, page 2580
    by F. Morse Hubbard, Treasury Dept. legislative draftsman:

    “The sixteenth amendment authorizes the taxation of income `from whatever source derived’– thus taking in investment income–`without apportionment among the several States.’… So the amendment made it possible to bring investment income within the scope of a general income-tax law, but did not change the character of the tax. It is still fundamentally an excise or duty with respect to the privilege of carrying on an activity or owning any property which produces income. The income tax is, therefore, not a tax on income as such. It is an excise tax with respect to certain activities and privileges which is measured by reference to the income which they produce. The income is not the subject of the tax: it is the basis for determining the tax.”

    The liability must be cited to exist…right?

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about 26 USC 861(3), which defines gross income to include compensation for labor or personal services performed in the United States?

    Simple enough for you?

  6. Clinton J. Harrold says:

    Close, but misread. 861(3) refers to gain derived from labor. for example:

    A temp labor firm that hires contract labor and pays the laborer 20.00 an hour but charges the company requiring the laborer 40.00 an hour. The temp firm produces 20.00 an hour gain for the labor someone else performs. The temp firm has a gain derived liability for the 20.00 profit.

  7. Clinton J. Harrold says:

    Well its been almost 3 years folks, and not one super intelligent lawyer or wanna-be, has been able to quote the cite imposing a direct tax liability on personal labor, and the one that did try to misdirect, didn’t have the guts to put his name on it!(must have been a DOJ penguin) How much have you suffered bailing out the criminals on wall street? Aren’t you done with this yet?

  8. TJ says:

    Sometimes i find it amazing how people waste time and effort on topics like does the government have the right to force us to pay taxes. Really? You really want to pick a fight with uncle sam over tax obligations. Makes no sense to me. I feel bad for Wesly but you can have people walking around our country believing this nonsense. I if he had of been more cooperative with IRS it would not have gone down like that but now he’s got jail time.

  9. Clinton J. Harrold says:

    What I find amazing is how a population, living in a country that is a Constitutional Republic, continues to be badgered repeatedly by a tiny group of “employees”. Uncle Sam continually lies, cheats and steals, and yet is still allowed to live in the basement and control our lives. This question is not about the government forcing us to pay legitimate taxes that are clearly cited and enumerated (over 1300 of them). This is about 1 tax, that has to date never been backed up by any cite in any court of law (70 years).

    And TJ not to attack you in any way personally because your response is the same as most Americans who have the “Why Bother” feeling. Most Americans have acquiesced to the notion that they are but cogs in the machine.

    The question still stands, unanswered, the American people still are stolen from because they will not stand together and tell these thief’s “NO”.

    This is real simple you so called “Professional’s”:

    What USC 26 cite (which of course would be repugnant to the Constitution) imposes a direct tax on the compensation for labor performed by an individual.

    Come on there has to be one lawyer in the country that has 90% of the worlds lawyers in it that can put the question to rest, (You would be a hero amongst your peers…) probably catapulted to Attorney General within 2 days. but before you get all giddy about how smart you are just remember one thing. There’s a reason why Lawyers don’t answer the question, there’s also a reason why they answer erroneously and anonymously like the coward above.

    If it were to come to light that there is no law and the general public found out that their courts had been mis-representing them for 70 years…. just think of the possibilities.

  10. Clinton J. Harrold says:

    And still no response, this should tell all of you that your being lied to and stolen from. About the closest you will ever get is some coward like “Anonymous” above (probably a real lawyer) that incorrectly applies code. By the way most of the Tax Protesters out there will recognize the cite given as the 861 defense which has routinely and incorrectly been denied in the courts as a defense, funny how here it is attempted to be used from the other direction to prove a direct tax liability!

    Notice how the coward never responded again.

    So still not one Lawyer can make the cite, Not one “Professional” can put a stop to the question by making a simple cite (with their name attached!) to the code imposing a liability on a direct tax on labor. Snipes was railroaded, and his lawyer and the courts mis-represented the law.

  11. Clinton…you may be right – there may not be a code section that imposes a direct tax on labor. However, AND THIS IS A BIG HOWEVER, are you willing to put your actions where your mouth is? Do you pay your taxes each year? If so, why? If not, then you are a true patriot!

    Those questions asked, which by the way I’d like an answer to – the reality is, whether there is code for a direct tax on labor, failure to pay taxes and file is a criminal offense subject to an outcome of spending time in Federal Prison. In fact, I spent time in prison for such a crime, so when its all said and done. I don’t care whether the requirement to file and pay is founded in code, rather I prefer to stay out of prison. THAT MY FRIEND IS THE MOTIVATION.

    So…please share with the audience here whether you fear prison or stand on principle.

  12. Clinton J. Harrold says:

    Chuck, Yes I do pay the taxes that are computed, but the other thing I do is send a registered letter demanding to know what statute imposes the liability for the tax assessment that I just paid, I do this every 20 months concerning each and every tax year since I started this (starting in 1989, 22 this year). This way the statute of limitations (2yr) cannot be invoked and their liability to prove themselves in a court of law, stays in play. That way no prison, and no giving in. (btw, you need 2 for each year, sealed with tape, and notarized, one sent to the IRS commissioner, one send to your self and unopened)

    At some point they will have to answer, and pay up. (for 2011 a total of 523K)

    But what is really telling here is YOUR response. Your first paragraph is really powerful and should be motivating factor to all out their to research and find out for themselves.

    If the mass of the population was to become aware of the lie, how much trouble would our legal system be in?

    If it were known to all that no liability existed, and that we were paying so that corporations could get out of paying their liability, so the rich could stay rich. My My what a quandary the Judiciary would have on their hands. Courts mis-representing the law, lawyers mis-representing clients, and all to coverup their lack of professionalism, or worse, culpability to the crime.

    That is the real reason you will never get an answer from the people in the positions of accountability, at least with their name attached. The law does not exist, but their culpability for letting the crime continue does.

  13. Clinton J. Harrold says:

    And the audience sits, quietly bewildered, wondering how the IRS duped them so well…..

    • Clinton J. Harrold says:

      3 years 8 months, not one Lawyer willing to step forward and quash the most powerful argument to the misapplication of USC 26 against the Laborious American People, Not even the ever so brave Anonymous (couldn’t muster the guts to identify themselves) from Feb 1 2008, had the guts to re-engage and cite the section of USC 26 imposing a direct tax on labor.

      American’s your being stolen from every day, and the American Bar is the thief, as well as the United States Judiciary.

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