Wesley Snipes' Supreme Court appeal is rejected
Wesley Snipes and his income-tax case will not be headed to the Supreme Court after that judicial body on Monday declined to hear his most recent appeal, leaving the actor's conviction and 36-month prison sentence intact.
Snipes was convicted in federal court in Florida on three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file income tax returns and sentenced to the maximum term.
An appeals court decided last July that the sentence was "well within" the "considerable discretion" of a U.S. District Court.
The "Blade" actor, who'd been free on bail since the verdict came down in 2008, reported to federal prison in Pennsylvania on Dec. 9, 2010, to begin serving a 36-month sentence -- though not before asking the court if he could put that off until after the holidays, because he has four kids. Snipes' Christmas wish for more leniency didn't come true.
Eight days into his prison term, the actor asked to be released on bail yet again while his attorney pursued the Supreme Court appeal, which posited that Snipes' constitutional rights had been violated when he wasn't allowed an evidentiary hearing to explain why he should be tried in New York, where he said he lived, rather than in Florida, where he'd repeatedly renewed his license to drive. Bail was not granted.
Co-defendants Eddie Kahn and Douglas Rosile, the men who told Snipes he didn't have to file tax returns from 1999 through 2005 and helped him file false refund claims for millions of dollars, were convicted in 2008 of felony tax fraud and conspiracy. Kahn was sentenced to 10 years, while Rosile got 54 months. Snipes was acquitted on those charges and popped only for failure to file returns.
During the six-year period in question, "White Men Can't Jump" star Snipes earned in the neighborhood of $40 million and paid no income tax.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Wesley Snipes in Santa Monica on Feb. 12, 2010. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times