RIOY good news!
Jun 18, 2005 06:25 PDT
Here is a message from Peter Goldberger about court yesterday in New
Jersey regarding the sentencing for the Restored Israel of Yahweh case.
(Joan is with Yearly Meeting and was there also).
Amazing day in court. Be sure to get Joan Brodhead's version,
too. We argued about various issues for nearly 5 hrs and judge recessed
until July 1 without a sentencing decision. By the end of the day, Judge
had conceded our clients were religiously motivated and sincere, although
perhaps not perfectly consistent and altruistic. And the last thing he did
was ask the govt if they would consider "compromising" the case by zeroing
out the defendant's past tax liabilities if they would agree to pay a large
fine (i.e., equal amount), because fines are directed not to the General
Fund of the Treasury (and thus largely to the military) but rather directly
to a Crime Victims Assistance program. We were flabbergasted -- a true
suggestion of creative accommodation, coming in a criminal case from a
federal judge! THe prosecutors actually said they would take it to their
superiors, and the judge required that the lawyers all report back to him
on 6/29, two days prior to final sentencing. Inge and Joe Donato spoke
movingly and eloquently about their beliefs. The judge was very impressed
with them (since their court-appointed trial lawyers had advised them not
to testify, the judge had never heard from them before) and I think almost
completely turned around on his possible initial impression of them
(fostered by the prosecutors) as self-serving cheats and cultists. Quite a
day. Judge Simandle also asked the prosecutor to respond to the claim in
Scott's affidavit that no conscientious tax resister had ever been sent to
jail by any judge for such charges or similar conduct, and the prosecutor
said he had tried to investigate that and couldn't deny that it was so!