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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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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