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Opinion of the Day: Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner Sits as District Court Judge in Criminal Tax Case

While I was a law student at the University of Chicago, I was fortunate enough to have Richard Posner, one of the more well known federal appeals court judges, as my evidence professor.  Posner is well known for his evidence rulings, as he has a manner of saying things that cuts right to the point.  In a recent district court case in the Northern District of Illinois, Posner did just that in a criminal tax case.  The case is USA v. Hakeem L. Bey, and on February 20, 2015, Posner was at his best.  While some judges perhaps wouldn’t take the time to rebut a frivolous claim in a tax case, Posner took his time to thoroughly explain the fallacies in defendant’s position, stating:

He also asserts “Lack of Jurisdiction over the Person (contracted Artificial Subject vs Natural Borne)”—whatever that means. He also asserts that “Queen of England, entered into a Treaty with the Federal Government For the Taxing of Alcoholic beverages and cigarettes sold in America. The Treaty is called—The Stamp Act and in this Act, the Queen ordained that her Subject, the American people, are Exonerated of all other Federal Taxes. So the Federal Income Tax and the State Income Taxes Levied against all Americans is Contrary to an International Treaty and against the Sovereign Orders of the Queen.”

The Stamp Act was enacted by the Parliament of Great Britain in 1765. It did not relieve Americans of any taxes; on the contrary, it imposed a comprehensive tax on the use of paper by Americans. The Act was not a treaty between Britain and the federal government of the United States, for there was no United States; there were just the 13 British colonies that 11 years later declared independence from Great Britain. There were no federal taxes that the Act could have relieved Americans from having to pay. The sovereign of Britain at the time was a King, not a Queen; the King’s wife (Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz) was Great Britain’s Queen but had no governmental authority.

A tip of the hat goes to the legal blog Above the Law.  The complete opinion can be found there, by clicking here.


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