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FW: RIOY sentencings  NWTRCC
 Jul 04, 2005 11:51 PDT 



-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Goldberger [mailto:peter.go-@verizon.net]
Sent: Saturday, July 02, 2005 10:41 PM
To: Ruth Benn
Cc: Joan Broadfield; Scott Bennett
Subject: RIOY sentencings


The Restored Israel of Yahweh sentencings were held on Friday morning
July
1. (This is the small New Jersey Bible-study group which is a 50-yr old

offshoot of the Jehovah's Witnesses.) What had looked so promising to
me
two weeks ago ended in frustration, as the judge imposed prison terms on

all three defendants, coupled with post-imprisonment terms of
supervision
which expressly require them to file past and future tax returns and to
pay
past and future taxes. Judge Simandle imposed a 24 month term on Kevin
McKee, 27 months on Joseph Donato (who had slightly more personal
income,
according to the judge), and 6 months on Inge Donato (Joe's wife, my
client).   In addition, all three were fined. (To our further
disappointment, the Dept of Justice Tax Division prosecutor refused
consider abating the unpaid tax amount in view of the fines imposed, as
the
judge has suggested in the first hearing.) The defendants were not
taken
into custody, happily, but must turn themselves in when the Bureau of
Prisons selects the location (presumably a minimum security prison camp)
in
August. Kevin has decided to appeal, and we are still talking about it
with the Donatos; we about two weeks to decide. Bail pending appeal
would
then be possible, although not especially likely.
While these sentences were only half of what the prosecutor
sought for the
men, and 25% in Inge's case, our hope of course was for much more
understanding and leniency. The men's sentences equal the lowest end of

the standard federal sentencing guidelines for their cases, as
determined
by the judge; Inge's was far below, mainly for personal reasons not
directly related to her war tax resistance.   In other words, the judge
in
the end did NOT treat their faith-based action as anything more than
ordinary criminal conduct, albeit with a good rather than a bad
motive. There will be a lot to discuss at future meetings and in
counselor
training about how these folks wound up being the first pacifist tax
resisters to be prosecuted and jailed -- possibly ever -- for felony
conspiracy to defraud the US and attempted tax evasion, the most serious

criminal charges in the Internal Revenue Code.   Joan B may want to
comment
on that part of the courtroom discussion, where the names of Gordon
Browne
and Rosa Packard and PYM were invoked, as well as comparisons with other

resisters' cases (including Robin Harper's, although his name was not
mentioned).
-- Peter Goldberger, Ardmore, PA
	
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