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Criminal convictions and financial penalties do not violate double jeopardy

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A business owner will have to serve his sentence after the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected his argument that his criminal convictions and financial penalties imposed for failing to pay taxes violated double jeopardy principles.

Tuan Chu did not pay state and local income taxes or remit the sales tax he collected for the glass repair business he operated.

First, a judgment was entered against Chu in the amount of $280,326.62. Then he was convicted of three counts of Class D felony evasion of income tax, three counts of Class D felony theft, and one count of Class D felony failure to remit or collect sales tax.
 
Chu appealed his convictions, arguing that the nonpayment penalties and his criminal convictions violate double jeopardy because he was improperly being punished twice for he same conduct.

In Tuan Chu v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1210-CR-495, the COA affirmed Chu’s convictions, concluding that Chu did not show that the assessment of nonpayment penalties and the criminal convictions violate United States or Indiana double jeopardy principles.

Chu cited Bryant v. State, 660 N.E.2d 290 (Ind. 1995), to support his assertion that the tax penalty was a punishment. However, the Court of Appeals pointed out that Bryant relied heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Halper, 490 U.S. 435, 109 S. Ct. 1892 (1989), which has since been nullified by Hudson v. United States, 522 U.S. 93, 118 S. Ct. 488 (1997).

Even if Bryant was still good law, the court stated it was not convinced the nonpayment penalties assessed to Chu are punishments. And, it disagreed with Chu’s assertion that not only was the imposition of the nonpayment penalties dependent of the state’s decision to prosecute him for failure to pay taxes but also that the Indiana Department of Revenue’s use of jeopardy assessments was punitive.   

“Chu, however, does not explain what socially undesirable activity the Department was seeking to eliminate when it issued the jeopardy assessments against him, nor does he assert that the jeopardy assessments were issued in the absence of the necessary statutory requirements,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the court. “Without more, we are not convinced that the issuance of jeopardy assessments rendered the nonpayment penalties punitive.”

 
 

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  • Constitution
    The judges and justices of the Indiana court of appeals as well as the Indiana state supreme court and the United States supreme court, need to read the constitution and start executing law as stated by the constitution. I never saw a footnote in any copy of the constitution, that stated that the constitution should be interpreted as judges see necessary to effect convictions of innocent people!

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  1. Hmmmmm ..... How does the good doctor's spells work on tyrants and unelected bureacrats with nearly unchecked power employing in closed hearings employing ad hoc procedures? Just askin'. ... Happy independence day to any and all out there who are "free" ... Unlike me.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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