Third Party & Independents Archives

Department of Justice?

Many people may feel that Irwin Schiff is an despicable man, spending decades pointing out a serious flaw in our income tax code that what individuals earn are wages, not income, and therefore not subject to current federal income tax laws. Others may feel that he is a hero for taking on the federal government in what they see as a major overstepping of federal power. Still others may not even know who Irwin Schiff is. But we should all agree that the ‘justice’ being handed down to him now by an overzealous Department of Justice is worse than anything done in Abu Grahib or Guantanamo, and it is being done to a 78 year old American Citizen.

The Las Vegas Tribune touches on the topic briefly, one of the few news organizations to do so, mainly because the trial occured in Las Vegas. However, according to the We The People Foundation website, not only did the recent trial and conviction of Irwin Schiff resemble a textbook sham, his being confined to federal prison in shackles without access to proper medical attention while trying to work on his appeal is the kind of behavior you would expect from a country not founded on the rule of law. How it is happening within the borders of the United States is beyond comprehension. Where is Dick Durbin now when we are talking about citizens of the United States? Where are our Congressmen? Why is the national media participating in quiet complicity?

Again, let's not look at who is being tried here, let's look at what has happened that defies logic. Not just a single isolated misstep by the federal judge in charge but a colossal slap in the face of justice. The We The People Foundation website does a good job of detailing them, but a few highlights that are specifically appalling:

  • Being prosecuted without the court ever having to establish for the legal record or prove before the jury that the law that you are being accused of breaking even exists, even though the Supreme Court has ruled it must
  • Not being allowed to question your accusers about the law or present evidence about the law even though what the law actually says is the only question before the court and your entire defense is based on what the law actually says
  • Schiff witnessed the US Attorneys emerging from a secret, ex-parte meeting in the judge's chamber in which his attorney (himself) has no knowledge or notice of and had no idea what they discussed
  • The jury during deliberations made a specific request to examine the Internal Revenue code, which had already been admitted into evidence, but were denied because the Judge said that providing the jury with a copy of the law would be 'problematic'
  • The US Attorney's last words to the jury, during final statements, were “You are breaking the law if you find the defendants not guilty”
  • Those are just SOME of the horrendous actions that took place during this trial. Beyond that, Schiff filed a number of legal motions to throw out the case based on the jurisdiction of the federal government to even bring charges against him in a CRIMINAL tax trial. All fully researched and documented. The US Attorney rebutted them by simply saying that the motions were 'frivolous'. After not hearing back on the status of the motions for months, he was finally notified, just hours before the trial was to begin, that the motions were rejected without any substantive explanation or discussion, preventing him from being able to file an appeal on the issue of jurisdiction as was his right before the trial began.

    And during the trial, Schiff could not talk about the law, could not question government agents about their authority, could not present any defense witnesses to testify about relevant and material facts, and required Schiff, who was representing himself, to submit questions in advance to the judge detailing what he intended to ask government witnesses.

    In Prison

    Schiff has been visited in jail since his conviction. The first was radio reporter Mike Golden. This is quoted from the We The People Federation website:

    Golden reported that 78-year old Schiff appeared almost ready to collapse, that he was in immediate need of medical attention that was not being provided, and that he was being held in locked chain shackles despite the fact that no other prisoner was.

    Schiff reported he was running a high fever and that he was denied a second blanket in the 55 degree jail cell. Schiff had earlier reported he was being forced to attempt to sleep on a one-inch thick mattress and had been denied a pillow.

    Golden reported that Schiff appeared unstable and partially disassociated, and could not put on the telephone headset used to talk through the glass to jail visitors, even after having one hand unlocked by a jailer. At one point, Schiff, who’s never at a loss for words, could barely remain seated on his stool and could not form a cohesive response to questions posed by Golden.

    Schiff currently without counsel, is being denied access to a law library and has only a 2-inch pencil available for his use. Golden reports from conversations with Cindy Neun that she is being locked full-time in leg-shackles, has no paper available for her use, and is being denied the medication she takes to combat debilitating pain from a previous back injury and surgery.

    We urge all our supporters to listen to the disturbing audio blog report of Golden’s visit to the Las Vegas city jail to see Schiff, and the jailhouse phone calls with Cindy Neun pleading for support.

    Go to www.triallogs.blogspot.com and listen to the 10/30/2005 audio posting at 1:34 AM by Mike Golden.
    Cindy’s phone calls from the jail were on 10/28 at 6:58 PM and on 10/30 at 10:55 PM. Additional postings are being made daily.

    Like I've said before, you can say that he is guilty of tax evasion. Though I personally have been intrigued by the arguments and have listened to him many times in the past. While not nearly as 'brave' with my personal life, mainly because I have a family that I need to make sure I can support, I have not personally gone against conventional wisdom regarding the US federal tax code simply out of fear, knowing what the US Federal government is capable of, as we can see in this case. But no American should be subjected to this kind of treatment.

    I'm not sure what to do either. I can complain to my senators, congressmen and president. But beyond that, we have little power I'm afraid. Which is just an example of why the federal government should NOT have this kind of power. Does anyone feel comforted in the fact that this can happen, without redress, to anyone? What happens when you are targeted next? What happens with the federal government has so much power that they don't even need to pretend to try anyone for perceived criminal acts, they can just put people in jail for whatever they feel like? How far away are we from those days, if we aren't already there?

    Personally, I'm scared. This is why the federal government was suppose to have limited powers, so that they could act as a way of protecting our rights from state irregularities, not be the ones motivated through acquiring power to walk all over those rights they are suppose to be protecting. Our system of government has become seriously flawed and until we get people to run the government thinking for the best interests of their people while adhereing to the Constitution to which they are legally bound I'm afraid that sad cases like this one are going to occur again and again until there is no one left to dissent against the power of the bureaucracy.

    Posted by Rhinehold at November 2, 2005 5:20 PM