Monday, June 11, 2007

Wesley Snipes Moves to Dismiss Tax Charges

Attorneys for Wesley Snipes filed a Motion to Dismiss the Indictment of tax charges, arguing selective prosecution.  Prof Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog has links to the indictment and motion to dismiss, and also explains the history of this case. (See also the story on Yahoo News).

The Motion to Dismiss (see Smoking Gun) starts with a claim that the section 371 conspiracy charge "fails to allege the essential elements" of the statute.  This is followed by a claim that the court does not have jurisdiction.  The Motion concludes with claims of selective prosecution.

Selective prosecution is a difficult argument to make as it requires that the defendant prove not only that similarly situated individuals were not prosecuted, but that this prosecution was "intentional or purposeful" and that it was due to an "arbitrary classification." See LaFave, Israel, & King, Criminal Procedure 2d s 13.4.  The problem facing defense counsel is that he or she can't prove the "intentional or purposeful" prong without obtaining discovery, and many courts will not give them discovery upon a mere allegation of prosecutorial selectivity. The Supreme Court provides an allowance for discovery, but a certain base level of proof is needed to reach that level. (See United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). 


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This reminds me of a driver that got pulled over by a traffic stop (speeding) and complained that all the others were doing to so he should not get the ticket. When asking the officer why he was giving him the ticket and not the others also he was told "I am only one person and can only stop one person at a time, and you pulled over first ;-)

Posted by: JN | Jun 11, 2007 11:00:49 PM

the first thing i would ask is for the record that the i r s has that makes the liability there has got to first be a record

Posted by: larry lynch | Jun 12, 2007 8:09:27 AM

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