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‘Show me the law’

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

Recently, in an interview on KSPN, I was asked that since I have not paid income tax for five years “how could I justify using government funded services?” I replied that by taking my stance I was risking my freedom. Here is what a lack of time and eloquence kept me from expressing.

Our government is brutally repressing any citizen who dares come forth with the simple request: “Show me the law.” The most recent, blatant, miscarriage of justice was the pivotal Richard Simkanin trail.

Here are documented facts:

Simkanin was a successful Texas businessman with no prior criminal record. For years he asked the IRS to “show him the law” that required him to file and withhold from his employees. Receiving no answer, he refused to file.

After waiting patiently through three grand juries (the first two found him innocent), Judge McBryde (JM) ruled him a “threat to society” and Simkanin spent four months prior to his trial in isolation in federal prison. He was then bound in chains, hand and foot, during his trail.

With the defendant facing a life sentence (sentencing scheduled for the end of this month), JM prevented Simkanin’s legal counsel from presenting any substantive defense based upon on the actual written laws of this nation. No defense exhibits were allowed during the trial. Unbelievable, but true.

Example: a one-page letter from a U.S. Senator, on official stationary, stating that he could find no law was not allowed into the record. Time after time when Simkanin’s attorney attempted to get the law into the record, JM ruled “I’ll decide what the law is.” He then misled the jury as to what the law said.

Incredibly, Simkanin was charged with violating a penalty statute, not a specific law. Even though this general penalty statute applies to hundreds of different types of taxes including excise, imports and duties found within the IRS code, the indictment itself never averred to what specific statute (or tax) Simkanin was alleged to have not withheld or not paid. He faces life in prison – without the government ever identifying what specific law he actually violated. (Once again, our government cannot “show us the law.”)

The tax crimes the defendant was charged with require clear criminal intent. JM not only prevented Simkanin from showing the jury the laws and Supreme Court decisions that he formed his beliefs upon, but also overruled attempts to inform the jury with regard to the Supreme Court’s explicit ruling regarding “willfulness.” Instead JM substituted his own definition, which essentially gutted Simkanin’s totally proper and legal defense.

Astoundingly, the transcript of this public trial was sealed by JM (parts are now being slowly released), the selection of the jury done in secret, the jury bused to the courthouse, the jury instructed, after they had rendered their verdict, not to identify themselves or any other juror. (Thus journalists could not ask jurors questions.)

The vast majority of citizens who hear of this crucial trial naively assume another “illegal tax protester” got what he deserved and thus income tax continues to haunt us. While I do not expect others to confront tyranny as Richard and I have, I ask that citizens, at least, inform themselves and spread the truth. Meanwhile, I feel justified not participating in this travesty.

Will Kesler

Snowmass Village


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