ILNews

Excise tax allowed on couple's marijuana

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Tax Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Department of State Revenue in a controlled-substance excise-tax case, ruling Monday that charging the tax does not apply to Indiana's joinder and successive prosecution statutes.

In John David Harrison and Jennifer A. Harrison v. Indiana Department of State Revenue, No.49T10-0409-TA-44, the Harrisons appealed the final determination of the Department of State Revenue, which assessed them with a controlled-substance excise tax (CSET) on the nearly 6,500 grams of marijuana police found in their home. Both John and Jennifer entered plea agreements with the state, in which the state agreed to dismiss criminal charges against them if they completed the agreement's terms. Jennifer was to submit to random drug testing, pay a fine, and not commit any criminal offenses for a year. John received a fine and probation.

Nine months later, after the department received written notice from the Fayette County prosecutor about the plea agreements, the department assessed the CSET against Harrisons for nearly $50,000; the department collected $1,501.75 from the Harrisons. In Sept. 2004, the Harrisons filed an original tax appeal and both sides filed for summary judgment.

The Harrisons argued that they couldn't be assessed the CSET because they were already charged criminally and applying the CSET would be double jeopardy. They also argued the Indiana joinder and successive prosecution statutes apply to CSET proceedings, and CSET assessment is barred because those proceedings were initiated subsequent to their criminal prosecutions.

Judge Thomas Fisher disagreed with the Harrisons' argument. Unless the Indiana General Assembly has defined something as a crime, then an individual's conduct cannot constitute a crime, and the General Assembly has not "exercised such authority with respect to the CSET," he wrote in the opinion.

The CSET is intended to be an addition to any criminal penalties under Indiana Code 35-48-4 and is primarily civil in nature. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the state.
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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

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  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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