Friday, March 4, 2011

Snipes Takes Tax Appeal to Supreme Court

Think you’ve got a lot to deal with during tax season? “Blade” and “Passenger 57” star Wesley Snipes is taking his appeal of his three-year sentence on tax charges to the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to, the actor’s lawyers filed their appeal on the grounds of a provision in the Bill of Rights that says criminal cases must be brought in the judicial district where the crime was committed. Snipes was tried in Ocala, Fla., despite his attorneys’ argument — brought up during the trial and in an appeal — that he had not lived in Florida since childhood.

Snipes was convicted in February 2008 of three misdemeanor charges of failing to file his federal income tax returns from 1999–2001. He was acquitted of felony charges and has launched several unsuccessful appeals and began serving his prison sentence in 2010.

Snipes said he had lived in New York, New Jersey and California during most of the period in question. Prosecutors countered that he maintained a home in Florida and listed that address on various forms, while also citing his many tax protestor practices, including his claim of a homestead exemption as a “citizen of the Republic State of Florida.”

Snipes’ lawyers also claim that the judge in his trial instructed the jury that they had to accept the Florida venue based on the standard of “preponderance of evidence,” rather than the customary “beyond a reasonable doubt” and want the Supreme Court to rule on the level of evidence needed to establish the proper venue.

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