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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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