Monday, March 24, 2014

Tax Protester's Jury Instruction Arguments Rejected; Convictions for Filing False Liens Affirmed

U.S. v. Williamson, -- F.3d --, 2014 WL 998409 (10th Cir. 3/17/14) - The Tenth affirms convictions of a longtime tax protester who was convicted of offenses resulting from his filing of liens against the real and personal property of two IRS agents. First, the court concludes that Mr. Williamson failed to preserve his argument that the jury instructions did not impose the proper mens rea requirement by arguing in the district court that the jury should be instructed that in order to find he acted unlawfully, it must find he intentionally violated a known legal duty. The Tenth decides that it was not plain error to fail to instruct the jury that in order to convict Mr. Williamson of endeavoring to impede the administration of the tax code by filing a false and fraudulent lien claim under 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a), it must find that he knew that he was acting unlawfully. Second, it concludes that Mr. Williamson was not entitled to a good-faith instruction with respect to the offense of filing a false lien on account of performance of official duties under 18 U.S.C. § 1521 because that would be inconsistent with the statutory language that the violator need only have reason to know the lien was false.