17683Re: [tips_and_tricks] Re: I had to deliver Peter Hendrickson at noon today to Milan FCI.
- Jul 1, 2010
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, jerry bell <anguillabell@...> wrote:
> Well Pete Hendrickson was warned about his citizenship but he chose not to look at that fact.
Which is totally irrelevant because it has nothing to do with what he was charged with & convicted of. And none of Pete's arguments had anything to do with the charges either - arguing over the definition of "employer", "employee", etc. is a complete & total waste of time when you're charged with 10 counts of "Filing a False Document" (26 U.S.C. § 7206(1)) - 4 Form 1040's & 6 Form 4852's - read the attached Verdict sheet.
As far as the court & the jury is concerned it's real simple - we're not here to argue over the tax code - did the defendant willfully file false documents, yes or no? The jury said yes - end of story. Pete's only defense would have been the "Cheek Defense" (Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192 (1991)).
Cheek was charged & convicted of 6 counts of "Willful Failure to File" (26 U.S.C. § 7203) & his case went to the U.S. supreme court - the main points being the element of "willfulness" & whether a good-faith belief that one is not violating the law negates "willfulness". The lower courts held that his beliefs, however sincere they might be, were not "objectively reasonable", but the supreme court overturned. Excerpt from the Syllabus (emphasis added):
"In instructing the jury, the [district] court stated that an honest but unreasonable belief is not a defense, and does not negate willfulness, and that Cheek's beliefs that wages are not income and that he was not a taxpayer within the meaning of the Code were not objectively reasonable. It also instructed the jury that a person's opinion that the tax laws violate his constitutional rights does not constitute a good-faith misunderstanding of the law. Cheek was convicted, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.
1. A good-faith misunderstanding of the law or a good-faith belief that one is not violating the law negates willfulness, whether or not the claimed belief or misunderstanding is objectively reasonable. Statutory willfulness, which protects the average citizen from prosecution for innocent mistakes made due to the complexity of the tax laws, United States v. Murdock, 290 U.S. 389, is the voluntary, intentional violation of a known legal duty. United States v. Pomponio, 429 U.S. 10. Thus, if the jury credited Cheek's assertion that he truly believed that the Code did not treat wages as income, the Government would not have carried its burden to prove willfulness, however unreasonable a court might deem such a belief. Characterizing a belief as objectively unreasonable transforms what is normally a factual inquiry into a legal one, thus preventing a jury from considering it."
Note that while Cheek's conviction was vacated & remanded, with the supreme court's determination that a good faith belief doesn't have to be "objectively reasonable", Cheek was tried & convicted again, so he still lost. But, the "willfulness" standard was set & even if you do sign of form "under the penalty of perjury" & the form contains false information, if you honestly believe the information is correct, you could have a defense. But that is the only one Pete could have used & from all the court papers I've read in his case, he didn't.
Simply put, you signed the forms, they contained false information & that's that - you're guilty.
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