Attorneys for actor Wesley Snipes are appealing his three-year prison sentence after he was convicted last year for failing to file his income taxes.
Snipess lawyers are claiming that the trial should have occurred in New York instead of Florida, as they had argued before the first trial. The actor was found guilty in February 2008 of three misdemeanor charges of failing to file his income taxes for 1999, 2000 and 2001, but he was acquitted of felony tax charges (see Snipes Sentenced to Three Years for Tax Charges). He is currently on bail as he appeals the conviction.
Snipess attorneys argued that the sentence focused too much on deterrence as a way to dissuade other tax protestors from following his lead. They also said the Florida venue interfered with their clients constitutional rights as Snipes lived in New York. Snipes had earlier claimed that the Ocala, Fla., venue was a hotbed of Ku Klux Klan activity.
The right to a correct venue is part and parcel to the right to a jury trial, said attorney Peter Goldberger, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors countered that the request for a change in venue had not been made on a timely basis.
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