Paul L. Caron
Dean




Sunday, June 1, 2008

Why Did Government Appeal Wesley Snipes' Sentence? Should He Pay $258k Cost of Prosecution?

The Government has filed a Notice of Cross-Appeal in the Wesley Snipes case.  Ellen Podgor (Stetson) of our sister White Collar Crime Prof Blog asks why:

What could they possibly be appealing? Snipes received the prison sentence the government asked for -- three years. They can't appeal the jury's failure to convict on the counts he was acquitted on. Thus, the only remaining basis could possibly be the court's failure to impose any fine, or to make "restitution" (payment of delinquent taxes) a special condition of supervised release. Would they really make this a basis for a cross-appeal?

The Government has filed a motion requesting that Snipes reimburse the Government for the $257,687.74 cost of prosecuting him, consisting of:

  • Fees for daily trial transcripts:............................................................. $2,456.40
  • Fees for scanning, printing, and numbering of documents......$193,716.98
  • Fees and disbursements for witnesses.........................................$61,326.18
  • Fees for copying and certification of trial exhibits............................... $188.18

After Snipes failed to respond within the mandatory ten-day time period, the court ordered Snipes to respond by May 28.  Snipes' counsel filed a 13-page response in which he

oppose[d] the Government’s request for costs because the costs are not allocable solely to the three § 7203 offenses of which he was convicted, not material, reasonable and necessary to the proof of those offenses, and not authorized to be imposed under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1920 and 1821.

From press accounts:

Lawyers for actor Wesley Snipes are challenging the government's demand that he pay nearly $260,000 for the cost of prosecuting him on tax evasion charges.

Snipes was found guilty Feb. 1 of three misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file tax returns. An Ocala jury also acquitted him on two felony charges and three additional charges of failure to file.

In a bill of costs filed earlier this month, federal prosecutors asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones to order Snipes to pay $257,687 for the cost of prosecuting the case.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Snipes' legal team argued that the costs are excessive and should not be allowed, saying that the bill improperly included costs for counts on which Snipes was acquitted.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2008/06/why-has-governm.html

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Comments

The real question is how the government could spend $193,716.98 for "scanning, printing, and numbering of documents?"

Posted by: posey | Jun 1, 2008 2:25:21 PM