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. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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