11th Circuit Upholds 3-Year Term for Actor Wesley Snipes on 3 Misdemeanor Tax Counts

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Saying that a federal district judge in Florida had discretion to sentence Wesley Snipes the maximum term, a federal appeals court has upheld the actor’s three consecutive one-year sentences on three misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file a tax return.

Snipes reportedly owes the Internal Revenue Service some $17 million (presumably minus a $5 million payment he made on the eve of sentencing in 2008). And, although his law firm dropped him as a client when he refused to follow advice that he was violating tax law, Snipes not only refused to file himself on bogus grounds but urged others to follow his lead, recounts the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in its written opinion (PDF).

Although Snipes contended that the only reasonable sentence for him was probation, citing his college education, family and charitable works, among other mitigating factors, the 11th Circuit found otherwise: “The district court acted well within its considerable discretion in sentencing Snipes to 36 months in prison,” the appellate panel writes.

A tip of the hat to the Ministry of Gossip blog of the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Wesley Snipes to Appeal 3-Year Term; Case a Warning to Others”

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