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.