March 16, 1996
Short Ruminations on the Lloyd Long Case
It is night time in Indianapolis, and I have just finished addressing a seminar gathering on the subject of juries in tax cases. My preparation was to print out the pages of this web site since it says so much about the subject. I will here summarize those remarks:
1. The good Lord gave us a teacher in the person of Lloyd Long and that is why I had to meet the man and interview him and his lovely wife Dana in May of 1994. That story, captured on video and available through me, is a story in courage and faith and family. It details the horrors that their family faced which almost rent asunder what no man could, their loving bond in marriage. Dana prayed for a wise man to appear and help her husband to see the error of his way, and lo and behold the wise man was the spirit of the Lord which imbued her with the courage to stand by her man. Lloyd educated himself on constitutional law and tax law and challenged long held beliefs in coming to the conclusion that he believed in good faith ( Cheek v. U.S.) that he was not required to file. The important thing to remember is that it was a jury which held his fate in their hands. The government tried the case poorly and defense counsels Becraft and Leonard were able to capitalize on that and the judge, to most everyone's surprise, was fair and largely impartial in his rulings and instructions to the jury. In the final analysis, it was the jury and their informed verdict which granted the Longs' their freedom and peace. So always bear in mind that the jury is the fourth and final check on oppressive government.
2. The Long case was tried in Chattanooga and the case of Franklin Sanders was tried in Memphis; these are the western and eastern districts of Tennessee. But there is a middle district which has not had a case of this sort and that is where the government will likely bring their next action, if they bring one in Tennessee at all. You see, the government needs a win at the trial level, not the appellate level.
3. The Atlanta case of Danny Steve Brandt did not go as well because the judge was not so fair and impartial as his oath of office requires. Danny relied on the government's own publications and put them in evidence. Having done so he clearly showed that those same publications which are sent to everyone each and every year demonstrate that he was not required to file; but the judge forgot to instruct the jury on this defense, so they had to decide against Danny, and he went to jail. This is the judicial tyranny that is written of elsewhere in this site, as for example, see the Black Robe Fever essay . So the jury can be circumvented by judicial misconduct, and this, in a state which, like Indiana, has jury nullification written into the body of their constitution. That is why it is so important for everyone to know what is in the FIJA flyers that national headquarters publishes and that I have published in my Indiana pamphlet.
4. Education is the key and not just your individual education but everyone's education. The criminal law requires a guilty mind as well as a guilty act and the statute that the above named Defendant's were charged under requires proof of WILFULL failure to file, which is the same as alleging a guilty mind. So, the defense proceeds to attack the willfulness first by establishing the Defendant's good faith belief. Then they proceed to the other elements required to be proved by the government under the statute, namely, that the Defendant had income, even though the Code does not define "income" per se, that the Defendant was required to file, and that the Defendant failed to so file.
5. Here it is important to point out that it was the judge in the Long case who was inadvertently so helpful. In an important sidebar with counsel, the issue of "direct or indirect tax" was raised and the prosecutor said he didn't know, and the judge said that all he knew was that the court's were divided on this issue. Thereupon, Mr. Becraft seized the opportunity to suggest "Then, let's let the jury decide. . . ."
6. A classmate of young Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was quoted to the effect that Nelson told him, "Everything my Granddad did was legal, but they passed laws to make sure that no one else could do them." My law schooling in corporations and anti-trust laws demonstrated this quite clearly to me, and I feel that it is worth mentioning here because so many of you are looking for silver bullets or magic words and phrases which will make your actions impervious to attack. Please be advised that there are no such things. Let your conscience be your guide and always, always act honestly with everyone and everything (i.e., the government). "To thine own self be true." If you find something that works, good for you, but remember that the government will legislate against it just as soon as you prove it to be so, even if you proved it in reliance on the state and/or federal constitution.
I hope that you have found these thoughts helpful in some way and that you will continue your education and help spread the word about jury rights!
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