Wednesday, January 15, 2014
National Law Journal: Court Sidesteps 'Novel' Defense Involving Armed IRS Agents:
A federal appeals court has rejected a tax protester’s claim that evidence seized during a search of his property must be tossed out because the IRS agents enforcing a warrant carried guns without statutory authority.
On Monday in United States v. Adams, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed Charles Adams’ conviction for conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstructing payroll tax collections and tax evasion. U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor IV in Boston sentenced Adams to four years in prison in October 2012.
The ruling leaves unresolved a question raised for the first time at the federal appellate level: whether armed IRS agents can lawfully search for tax evidence. Adams, described in court records as “an unabashed opponent of the tax laws,” argued that the statute only explicitly allows agents to carry guns when enforcing laws relating to alcohol, tobacco and firearms.
“The defendant's theory is a novel one, and the district court was skeptical of it,” Senior Judge Bruce Selya wrote for the First Circuit panel. “In the end, the court elected to detour around the statutory construction question. Instead, the court assumed a statutory violation but held that suppression was not an appropriate remedy. This prudential approach makes eminently good sense.”