DID THE GOVERNMENT LIE TO CONVICT WESLEY SNIPES?
by John Benson | on January 24, 2012
DID THE GOVERNMENT LIE TO CONVICT WESLEY SNIPES?
Wesley Snipes was convicted of three counts of willful failure to file income-tax returns for three years. The question I want to address in this article is this:
Did the Government use what it knew, or reasonably should have known, was false or fraudulent testimony to convict Wesley Snipes?
Before anyone can answer that question, they must know what the Government had to prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict Wesley Snipes.
Among the things they had to prove was this:
Was Wesley Snipes required to file a tax return for the three years in question?
The section of the Tax Code that sets out the duty for Wesley Snipes to file a tax return states that any person must do so if he or she has received a certain minimum amount of “gross income” for that year.
Now, I have no doubt that Wesley Snipes had sufficient income for each of those years to lead a normal American, including the twelve Americans sitting on the jury, to conclude that Wesley Snipes had sufficient “gross income” to meet the filing requirement for each of the three years.
However, there are two facts about the trial of Wesley Snipes that, I am certain, the Government did not tell the jury, the judge and certainly did not tell Wesley Snipes or his legal counsel:
1. The term “gross income” has a very special meaning in tax law and does not mean what the normal person understands to be “gross income” in everyday language; and
2. The tax return that the IRS wanted Wesley Snipes to file, Form 1040, U.S. Individual Tax Return, has a peculiar history and background that are virtually unknown outside the inner circle of Treasury Department experts who draft the Tax Code.
As for the term “gross income,” Treasury Regulation § 1.61-1 states that
“Gross income means all income from whatever source derived, unless excluded by law.” (My emphasis.)
Another very crucial regulation that I’m certain no one explained to the jurors who sat in judgment of Wesley Snipes is Treasury Regulation § 1.321-6, which reads, in relevant part:
Earnings and profits
. . .
(b) Among the items entering into the computation of corporate earnings and profits for a particular period are all income exempted by statute, income not taxable by the Federal Government under the Constitution, as well as all items includible in gross income under section 61 or corresponding provisions of prior revenue acts. (Emphasis added.)
The peculiar thing about those four words, “unless excluded by law,” in the definition of “gross income” is that nowhere in the Tax Code or the Treasury Regulations, which are supposed to explain the Tax Code, nowhere within the Code or the Regulations is there a single explanation of what income is, in fact, under the Constitution, not taxable by the Federal Government. I doubt that this little gem ever entered into the ears of the Wesley Snipes jury.
That leads into item # 2 on my short list: What is so very peculiar about the IRS process that required Wesley Snipes to file a Form 1040 tax return for the three years in question? To answer this question requires that we do a little “legal mining,” or, as Justice Holmes stated my point:
“Upon this point, a page of history is worth a volume of logic.” New York Trust Co. v. Eisner, 256 U.S. 345, 349 (1921) (Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., for the Court).
Here’s the history in a nutshell: The Supreme Court has held that all processes used by the government to collect its revenue without a court trial must resemble or be no different in principle from the same processes used by King George III in 1791 to collect his revenue. I have written an entire eBook on this topic, Taxation by Misrepresentation, the Truth about Income Taxes in Plain English, but for our purposes, it is sufficient to know that Form 1040 must mirror one of the two processes used by the King in 1791 to collect debts and revenue owed to him.
Now, there were only two processes used by the King in 1791, and before, to collect his revenue. One was used to collect revenues owed to the King as a result of an Act of the English Parliament. This process was very similar to what we think of as an administrative hearing, outside of court, but with rules and procedures that resemble to some degree court hearings.
I can assure you that the process to file the Form 1040 tax return that the IRS required of Wesley Snipes for the three years in question did not resemble or mirror in the slightest the King’s process to collect debts due him by acts of Parliament.
The other process used by the King was reserved for private debts, fees, duties and the like, owed to the King by agreement between the debtor and the King’s officials. This process was termed “statute staple,” a modification of the Statute of the Staple, 27 Edw. III, Stat. 2 (1353), enacted by Parliament for the benefit of contracts between merchants dealing in staples of the realm at that time. It was a commercial agreement that bound only by knowing and voluntary consent of the parties, in the case of the King, between the debtor and the King’s officials acting on his behalf.
It is, of course, very convenient for the drafters of the Tax Code to know that neither the public nor the legal profession, including the lawyers defending Wesley Snipes, nor judges sitting on the bench, have the slightest idea that statutes staple are in use by the IRS, but this is not something very new. Here’s what Joseph Chitty, Jr., said in a similar manner back in 1820:
Statutes merchant, statutes staple, and recognizances in the nature of statute staple, are now out of use. But the powers and energies of those instruments are still in force in favour of the Crown. And since the statute of Hen. 8. the writ of extendi facias or extent, by which the sheriff is authorized in one writ to take person, goods, lands and debts, has been the constant execution at the suit of the Crown, against its own immediate debtor.
Joseph Chitty, Jr., A Treatise on The Law of the Prerogatives of the Crown and the Relative Rights and Duties of the Subject 263 -64 (1820) http://j.mp/uTC4lf (scroll down to p. 263).
These “statutes staple” were a very formal type of contract that were considered to have the same force and effect of judgments with this exception. Unlike final judgments from a court, the judgments obtained by the statute staple process could be pleaded to at every stage of the King’s collection processes, even at a trial such as the one Wesley Snipes went through.
Without reading a wearisome repetition of all the details necessary for this short article, you have probably already concluded that a private contract between the King and his debtor via a statute staple contract, bond or deed resembles or mirrors the Form 1040 agreement to pay the yearly income taxes that the IRS alleged that Wesley Snipes owed to the government. You are absolutely correct.
However, the crucial point I want to make is this: The defense counsel for Wesley Snipes had absolutely no knowledge of the “pages of history” I have briefly summarized here and that are more fully set forth in my eBook. Actually, I and my associate, Glenn Ambort, attempted to get this material to the lawyers of Wesley Snipes prior to his trial, but, as you may already know, lawyers are slow to listen to laymen about anything. Regrettably, had they done so, Wesley Snipes might not now be a guest of Uncle Sam.
Here is my plea to those of you who might read this article: I do not know Wesley Snipes personally. One or more of you may know Wesley Snipes. If so, I plead with you to get a copy of my eBook, available at:
Read it and get a copy to Wesley Snipes just as soon as possible. If he is convinced of the truth within my book, the name Wesley Snipes added to my personal crusade to bring truth to our tax system would put us over the top.
Finally, if you read and understand my eBook, both you, Wesley Snipes, and the attorneys for Wesley Snipes will have the facts necessary to answer the question: