TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Judge Postpones Marion Barry's Tax Sentencing

Interesting article in this morning's Washington Post, Marion Barry's Tax Sentencing Postponed, by Carol D. Leonnig & Yolanda Woodlee:

An irritated federal judge called off yesterday's planned sentencing in the tax case against D.C. Council member Marion Barry, complaining that he had not promptly filed his tax returns, arranged to pay his outstanding tax debt or provided other required paperwork.

The former four-term mayor pleaded guilty in the fall to misdemeanor charges stemming from his failure to file local and federal income tax returns for six years. He had hoped at his sentencing hearing yesterday to ask the judge to let him avoid prison time. But his effort to seek the court's leniency -- already threatened after he tested positive for cocaine and marijuana use in a court-required drug screening in November -- was put in further jeopardy yesterday when he tried the patience of the jurist who will decide his fate.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson expressed surprise and frustration upon hearing that Barry had waited until Tuesday to finally file the overdue tax returns. Even then, she said, he did not provide copies to the court. The judge also complained that Barry has not made arrangements to pay whatever he owes, though he was required to do so under the plea agreement he signed in October.

Prosecutors pointed out yesterday that Barry, 69, and his lawyer had said that the tax returns would be filed soon after Barry pleaded guilty in October. The returns cover the tax years 1999 to 2004, during which Barry earned more than $530,000, prosecutors say.

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