Wesley Snipes: Acquitted, but Imprisoned for His Bad Attitude

The Libertarian Party is standing up for Wesley Snipes as he fights a lawless show-sentence of three years in prison for failing to file a 1040 form.

From a statement issued by LP executive director Wes Benedict:

"The three-year federal prison sentence for Snipes's failure to file tax returns is absurd. Snipes is not a threat to anyone, and the judge who sentenced him clearly just wanted to scare others who might think about resisting federal taxes.

"Maybe it's worth reminding people that Wesley Snipes was acquitted of tax fraud and conspiracy charges in 2008. He was only found guilty on misdemeanor charges of 'willful failure to file an income tax return.'

"Why is a failure to file a tax return a criminal non-act? Should people ever be sent to prison for not doing something? If the IRS wants to come after Snipes and take his money, they have power to do that. Who does it help to send the man to prison?

"The tax code is incredibly vague and open to interpretation. In fact, the 'law' is largely written by IRS bureaucrats. If they decide the law says one thing, you're OK; if they decide it's something else, then you're headed for prison.

"The federal tax code also allows for 'selective enforcement,' to put it mildly. Why is it that Wesley Snipes gets a prison sentence, but known tax cheat Tim Geithner gets promoted to Secretary of the Treasury? Maybe Tim should be Wesley's cellmate. Throw tax cheat politician Charlie Rangel in the slammer too for good measure.

Of course, any true Snipes fan would know that Ving Rhames, Wes Studi and Peter Falk should be his cellblock mates. More specifically, he shouldn’t be going to prison at all because, as Benedict notes, Wesley Snipes was acquitted of the tax evasion charges the government threw at him. When those didn’t stick, Florida U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges decided to give Snipes a sentence for a misdemeanor failure to file conviction that is longer than the average time served in the Sunshine State for felony theft, fraud, forgery and auto theft; almost as long as the average time served for burglary; and longer than you would serve for assaulting a police officer.

“These are serious crimes, albeit misdemeanors, because he has a history of contempt over time,” Hodges announced at Snipes’ sentencing.  Snipes is still trying to appeal the excessive sentence, but Hodges has ordered him to report to a federal prison next Thursday.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Gibby||

    He looks like Arsenio Hall in that pic.

  • ||

    It is, he keeps telling the guards he's not Wesley but they won't listen.

  • Gibby||

    BTW, I have heard it said that public figure Florida U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges fucks sheep.

  • Gibby||

    Of course I have no idea if that is true.

  • ||

    He hasn't denied it.

  • Previously on H&R...||

    "The behavior by these commenters is threatening our ability to keep comments enabled at Hit & Run."

  • Binky||

    The behavior by these sheep-fucking commenters is threatening our ability to keep comments enabled at Hit & Run.


  • cynical||

    It's different with livestock-molesting public figures.

  • Almanian||

    G Money, am I my brother's keeper? Am-I-my-brother's-keeper??

    Also, fuck Judge Hodges with a sheep's dick.

  • Gibby||

    "Also, fuck Judge Hodges with a sheep's dick." There are some who claim that's exactly how he does it.

  • Tony Montana||

    Joo know - I never like that piece o' shit, I never trust him, I'm pretty sure he try to have me and my friend Angel killed.....and no one's told me he don't fuck himself with a sheep's dick.

  • ||

    Tax money is needed for the war on terror, falure to pay your taxes amounts to treason.

  • Almanian||

    "Tax money is needed for the war on Wikileaks, falure to pay your taxes amounts to blood on your handsss!!!!11!"
    Peter King (Retard - NY)

  • FreeLibertine||

    Tax money is needed for the war on drugs, failure to pay your taxes amounts to treason and DEA agents won't get their bonus.

  • SIV||

    It's December and y'all know what that means. WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!1!

  • ||



    What are these "1s" Among the exclamation points?

    Are we supposed to believe in your rage and excitement that somehow you cannot hold down a shift key?

  • ||

    This can't stand up to appeal.

  • ||

    What, in the entire history of this country, makes you think this?

  • ||

    Because it's a misdemeanor. I'm just as pessimistic about shit as others, but all it takes is one appeals judge who thinks the sentence is ridiculous to overturn it. And since it is ridiculous, he stands a good chance.

  • ||

    I thought that misdemeanor sentences were limited to

  • ||

    Interesting HTML artifact. I wrote less than one year, using symbols.

  • ||

    Forbidden symbols?

  • johnl||

    This line down the screen is probably the result of an unclosed .lt. someplace. Just in case >.

  • LarryA||

    As far as firearms law is concerned, any sentence over one year is a felony, and a permanent bar to possession. Wesley’s next movie may be a lot quieter.

  • ||

    I think he got 3 one year sentences and they must be served in succession as opposed to concurrently. I don't think it will affect his ability to own a gun.

    It is absurd he will sacrifice 36 times the freedom that asshole Miami Dolphins receiver gave up (1 month) when he pleaded guilty to killing someone. Disgusting.

  • .||

    “These are serious crimes, albeit misdemeanors, because he has a history of contempt over time,” Hodges announced at Snipes’ sentencing.

    So now failure to file is some sort of "hate crime" - or is it failure to kiss some government ass? Hodges is a contemptible prick.

  • ||

    Wait... Harry Reid said that our tax system was voluntary!

  • That Guy in That One Movie||

    You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!

  • Skid Marx||

    I thought it was impossible for a black man to commit a hate crime. But I guess if the victim is the US Treasury...

  • ||

    a history of contempt over time,

    I guess I should be expacting a knock on the door soon because I also have a history of contempt for those cocksuckers.

  • ||

    Eventually, the state will make libertarians of us all.

  • ||

    That it hasn't already is why I really wonder about my fellow citizens...

  • CatoTheElder||

    First, you have to remember that half of them are below average. Second, you have to remember that about half of them depend upon State for their sustenance and that the two groups don't overlap entirely.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Oh, you also have to remember that virtually all of them have been indoctrinated K-12 to worship, even love, the State and to regard it as a benevolent god.

  • college freshman||

    I don't understand what you're saying. You're not making any sense.

  • Uncle Samael||

    What's your point? Am I not your God?

  • ||

    Eventually, the state will make libertarians criminals of us all.


  • Trespassers W||

    Whoa, for a second I was like "his real name is Monroe Hutchen???"

    Thanks for explaining that, Wikipedia.

  • ||

    “These are serious crimes, albeit misdemeanors, because he has a history of contempt being uppity over time,”

    FIFY Judge Hodges Boss Hogg

  • Tman||

    Charlie Rangel: "Pffft. What an amateur."

  • Skid Marx||


    And this should be repeated until it goes viral.

    Equal protection my ass.

  • Warty||

  • Congressman Charlie Rangel||

    People who don't pay their taxes deserve jail time - except for me of course.

  • Tim Geithner||

    And me!

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    This. Snipe's error was asking to be left alone when he should have demanded the Department of the Interior.

  • Rich||

    Couldn't the Screen Actors Guild just censure Snipes instead?

  • ||

    Brilliant. Fucking brilliant.

  • hmm||

    IRS agents can breath easy. They have been bumped down to second on the list of people to be hunted if theirs a collapse. TSA agents are now first.

  • hmm||

    I already have my Humungus outfit ready!

  • ||

    Funny. He doesn't look like Martha Stewart.

  • ||

    serious crimes, albeit misdemeanors

    I think its one or the other, actually.

  • ||

    Maybe they're federal misdemeanors. Which are like treason and punishable by secret drone attack.

  • Jonathan||

    While I am sorta a libertarina, someone needs to remind this guy that basically the only crimes in our society where theres punishment for 'strict liability' (ie no defenses permitted) are only for failing to file a tax return and statutory rape. i think we can live with those two.

  • cynical||

    We still have a little thing called the eighth amendment, which exists to prevent government officials from going far beyond what justice demands in order to make an example of someone.

  • bif||

    What is the over/under on the year the state dies?

  • prolefeed||

    Are we supposed to believe in your rage and excitement that somehow you cannot hold down a shift key?

    I think it has more to do with the temporary stupidity brought on by being stoned.

  • Choy||

    I'm don't understand why this isn't a fifth amendment issue. It seems clear that the law is designed to force people to incriminate themselves either by filling out the form correctly, lying on the form, or failing to fill it out. Since there is no way to assert your rights to avoid self incrimination w/o being a criminal, isn't the law unconstitutional on it's face?

  • Bureaucrat||

    The law is what I say it is!

  • ||

    All this and not one Demolition Man crack? Yous guys are slipping.

  • ||

    This definitely enrages me. Geithner and Rangel are crooks. Wesley is my hero. The Judge is a boob of the first magnitude.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.