From the January 2004 Idaho Observer:

Court of “law” can't produce one, jury finds Simkanin guilty anyway

FORT WORTH, Texas -- After spending six months in jail awaiting trial, a Texas federal jury hung 11-1 in favor of acquitting New Bedford businessman Dick Simkanin, 59, of willful failure to withhold taxes from his employees' wages.

The 1st trial

Despite U.S. District Judge John McBryde declaring a mistrial, Simkanin was taken back to jail since the U.S. intended to retry the case.

While deliberating the 27 charges against Simkanin, the jury requested it be provided a copy of the specific IRS Code he is being prosecuted for violating, a copy of the applicable U.S. Code and a copy of the judge's jury instructions. The jury hung after the judge refused these requests.

The 2nd trial

Before Simkanin's second trial, which began January 5, 2003, Judge McBryde granted the government's motion to choose the jury without the public present and kept the jury completely away from the public before and during trial. Judge McBryde also granted a pretrial government motion to deny Simkanin the ability to present any of the evidentiary exhibits upon which he relied to form his beliefs about the tax code.

This time the jury found Simkanin guilty of the same 27 charges. “Justice was served, and we're pleased that the jury understood that no one is above the law,” said U.S. Attorney David Jarvis.

No “law” or IRS code demanding an employer withhold taxes was identified in either trial. When Simkanin's attorney Arch McColl attempted to query government witnesses about the legal definition of “wages,” Texas Star-Telegram reporter Max Baker wrote that Judge McBryde “told jurors they could not question the constitutionality of the tax code.”

Simkanin supporters claim he is in good spirits. McColl believes his client will prevail on appeal though he is “... terribly disappointed. It was not a fair trial in accordance with the 6th Amendment of the Constitution that includes the fundamental right to present evidence on your own behalf”

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