Friday, April 25, 2008

Tax Defier Conduct

This is just stupid. I’m so tired of prison being the “answer” for everything.
OCALA, Florida (CNN) -- Actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns -- the maximum requested by federal prosecutors.

"Snipes' long prison sentence should send a loud and crystal clear message to all tax defiers that if they engage in similar tax defier conduct, they face joining him," said Assistant Attorney General Nathan J. Hochman of the Justice Department's Tax Division.

This is not a crime of violence, nor does Snipes pose any risk to the public. He cheated on his taxes. Or, from what I understand, simply didn’t bother paying them at all. That’s a bad thing and he should be punished. But punishment doesn’t necessarily have to mean prison. In this case, he should be punished financially for what amounts to a financial crime. Get all the back taxes from him and fine him double or triple the amount or whatever. Make it monetarily painful. But prison? For three years? We lose even more taxes from him not working AND we get to foot the bill for his stay in prison (unless he’s being made to pay that too).

Our prisons are already busting at the seams from overcrowding. I saw a statistic the other day that the U.S. has like 5% of the world population but 25% of all people being held in prison worldwide. It’s ridiculous. And hugely expensive. We have to get away from this incarceration mentality. It’s expensive and, in many cases, counterproductive.


nancy said...


I thought the exact same thing when I read about Snipes. I thought there had to be something else to the story, priors...something! It's ridiculous.

RickMonday said...

A couple of things:

First, I agree that 3 years is too long. But if he were to have only gotten a slap on the wrist, then there would have been cries of favoritism towards a rich star.

2nd, I think we should legalize certain drugs, namely marijuana. I believe there are far too many people locked up for non-violent crimes such as marijuana possession or distribution.

geek_guy said...

I agree with "get all the back taxes from him and fine him double or triple the amount or whatever." Tack on maybe 6 months prison. It would be appropriate for a first offense, and I would not have considered it favoritism.
I am curious on what crimes other countries actually imprison people for. What do they do with drug addicts and people suffering from mental illness?

allie said...

no kidding. youre right, we are losing money by paying for his stint in prison. im sure hes got some assets they could liquidate. or geez, just garnish his wages. but prison. you know, him and martha stuart really got the book thrown at them. honestly its just to make examples out of them. but hey, they dont listen to "the people" anyway.

rickmonday said...

I finally just read the article, although I had heard about his sentencing. I think Snipes made a couple of mistakes that may have irritated the judge.

1. He wrote checks totaling only $5million. He owed over $15 plus interest.

2. His list of letters from the Hollywood elite including some rebel types, Woody Harrelson, probably didnt help too much. I mean would you include a letter from the likes of Harrelson? Big mistake.

Now, I disagree with the prosecutors asking for the maximum because they thought the public felt Snipes got away with it.