The Sham Trial of Irwin Schiff

Many of you may be aware of the recent “trial” (if one can even call it that) of Irwin Schiff, the grand-daddy of the tax honesty movement. You may not like him, but this man has put his life on the line to expose just how corrupt the american judiciary has become.

In a previous posting, I’ve discussed that it really doesn’t matter what the law says if we don’t hold the government and ourselves to them. People say the USA PATRIOT Act was a sign of the beginning of the end. Not true. The government was already exceeding it’s constitutional limitations already. Merely making the unconstitutional laws was more a slap in the face than a change in American Jurisprudence.

So why was this a sham? As one Schiff supporter summarized:

Judge Kent Dawson stated he was the LAW, and anything that Congress wrote was of no bearing in his courtroom.

We would like to resolve the matter, but it appears that Irwin Schiff, 77 years old, will be spending the rest of his life in prison because Judge Kent Dawson stated he was the LAW, which Congress was NOT.

Judge Kent Dawson:
1) Refused to allow the Internal Revenue Code to be read in the courtroom unless it supported the prosecution.
2) Sustained every objection by the prosecution when the defense was asking the questions, which was more than 80% of the defense’s questions.
3) Had only the defense’s witnesses Mirandized and not the prosecution’s witnesses.
4) Had only witnesses in for the defense to be questioned on the character of Irwin Schiff and nothing about his books or other materials on tax law.
5) Allowed the prosecution to state to the jury before they went to deliberate; “You are hereby notified that if you do not bring back a decision of guilty you will be breaking the law.”/span>
6) Denied the jurors from seeing the Internal Revenue Code when they asked for it, thus making the jurors guilty of; “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”
7) Had Irwin Schiff and Cindy Neun convicted on “WILLFULNESS” which was not given in great detail of what it was.
8) Denied bail for both Irwin Schiff and Cindy Neun as they were both flight risks for their promoting the TRUTH of the law, and NOT for any felony!!!

If we are going to try and win back this country, the first thing we need to do is actually adhere to the laws that exist. If the laws on the books are stupid, then repeal them. It’s that simple. But let us not enforce laws that don’t exist.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: In my view this is yet another loss for the legality (loophole) argument of tax evaders, which has always struck me as the intellectually lazy way to fight back. Contrast with tax resistance or tax protesting — not paying based on political beliefs or actual opposition to paying taxes regardless of their legality — and you’ll notice that historically there is a much better case to be made for simply not paying (because you oppose how it is spent or just don’t want to part with your money), whether you’re legally required to or not.

Update by Rick Rajter:Apparently, I did not make this clear. Irwin is an ACTIVIST. He never just quietly stood back in the background and didn’t file just to save a few bucks. The guy has wrote numerous books, joined up with We The People at and their petitions for redress of grievances, and has testified and helped numerous people get in the government’s face at every turn.

Finally – Riddle me this. How does one repeal what doesn’t exist?

  1. This is analogous to the founding fathers trying to jumpstart the revolution by claiming that there’s no legal document signed by the king that verifies they aren’t a sovereign state.

    If you don’t want to pay taxes, you better be prepared to feel the anger of the government that imposes them, and not rely on a slippery argument of legality.

    In short, tax evaders need to grow a pair.

  2. I am going to agree with Stephen V. on this. I don’t know too much about the tax laws but I think that we can spread libertarianism a lot better if we are not setting in jail.

    The government isn’t going to wake up one morning and say we have this all wrong, we must first elect candidates to fix the laws. People in jail don’t often get elected.

  3. you’re right. If the government says I have to give up my house for someone else, I guess I’d rather do that then go to jail.

    I’d rather turn in weapons than go to jail.

    I’d rather do whatever they say, than go to jail.

    Rule by fear, the new american way

  4. Rick,

    I don’t see anything wrong with civil disobediance like if I was to send a letter to the IRS or Selective Service saying I am not going to pay taxes or I am not going to register for the draft but I do have problems with not paying because of the way the law is written because time and time again these people go to jail I don’t agree with it but they do and in my opinion are presented to the public as thieves not patriots standing up for their rights. Some often try to hide they are not paying taxes.

    If a law was passed saying I could not own a firearm while living in town. I could own a firearm and not tell anyone and risk getting arrested or I could walk around town carrying a firearm and then gain much more public support when I am arrested.

    It is not some much about going to jail it is how you present yourself to the public. If you refuse to pay your taxes or register with selective service and tell no one what good does it do, if you tell everyone one why you refuse to do so before you are arrested you will have much more support for your cause because the judicial branch is so screwed up you will not get a fair trial.

  5. Oh, and let’s elect an all conservative federal government. That way, we’ll surely get tax breaks. I mean Bush certainly won’t pass every spending bill!

    oh wait

  6. To call them conservative would be like calling a cow a horse. It is a lie.

    Another example of what I was trying to say would be a drivers license. If I refuse to obtain one and get arrested or fined many people will think I am crazy. If I make it known that I don’t have one and tell everyone I know why I don’t then public opinion for me will be stronger everytime they read in the newspaper about my $80 fine for not having a license.

    It is not necesarly that I disagree with what they are doing (I have not looked into it and have no idea about the debate) but I think there are other methods to use in this issue or what they are doing could be done differently.

    Maybe we can convince the voters to elect a more libertarian government who will fix the tax system and taxes altogether.

  7. So sad. Hey Jake, how do you think that we will have that happening any time soon. Personally, although I think that the tax protests are corageous, it would be nice to keep freedom lovers out of prison. Don’t want all of us locked up, then to find that they give ALL of us life sentences. Good thing is, that’s not quite possible, but….

  8. AB,

    What are you talking about happening any time soon?

    I also think that keeping them out of prison is a good idea. They are smart people and needed for activism.

  9. I am going to have to agree with Rick on this.

    If it isn’t the law, you should have to obey it. No matter how small your balls are. Actually, I would say that those that are too afraid of jail to stand up for what is right are the ones that need to “grow a pair”.

  10. If it isn’t the law, you should have to obey it. No matter how small your balls are. Actually, I would say that those that are too afraid of jail to stand up for what is right are the ones that need to “grow a pair”.

    Here’s the problem: It is the law. Saying that your personal reading of a code or statute is more correct than the reading of duly-appointed judges is not just arrogant, it will end you up in jail.

    Part of living in a society governed by the rule of law is abiding by the decisions of the courts. Choosing not to abide by them on principle is civil disobedience, e.g. Thoreau, Rosa Parks, etc. Ignoring them or pretending that they don’t have any effect is the act of a petulant child and deserves no respect whatsoever.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X


  11. Schiff is nothing but a two bit con artist. This will be his third (and final) time in prison for tax crimes, and more than two dozen of his clients have done time in prison simply because they were gullible enough to believe in the products being sold by a charlatan.

  12. Oh man… let’s look at these comments shall we.

    It is the law

    then show it… specifically, liability.

    Saying that your personal reading of a code or statute is more correct than the reading of duly-appointed judges is not just arrogant

    Apparently you’ve never heard of jury nullification. Who wrote the Constitution? We the people. Therefore, the creators of the root document have the final say.

    it will end you up in jail.

    So will most forms of protest. This is just FUD. Thank you for your concern, but I believe in innocent until proven guilty. Merely getting put away by a judge hell bent on putting you there is not justice.

    Part of living in a society governed by the rule of law is abiding by the decisions of the courts

    And I agree! Especially courts that have jurisdiction over said matters (Supreme Court), and not those petty tax “courts”, which Scalia argrees are not more than administrative hearings.

    Gotta love pulling out the “society” card. The hallmark of the “do it for the greater good” socialist rhetoric.

    Ignoring them or pretending that they don’t have any effect is the act of a petulant child and deserves no respect whatsoever.

    I’m not pretending that they don’t exist… I know they don’t!

    It’s time for judges to stop pretending they do!




  14. While I agree with you Ron, typing in all caps makes you look like the raging lunatic on the street corner.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that… but you’ll just scare away the sheeple that need awakening.


  15. Here’s the fallacy in the arguments used by some tax evaders claiming the income tax is unconstitutional.

    Amendment XVI (1913) states “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on income, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

    The solution is either change the Constitution or elect representatives that will not abuse power. I see no way out of paying income taxes. We must accept the Constitution in its entirety and not shop it like a buffet. I see this as a problem because some will accept the 1st amendment and the 16th amendment and whatever suits their agenda but as an example, refuse to accept the 2nd amendment. I say all or nothing and if one does not like it, use due diligence by following the rule of law as directed in the Constitution to change it.

  16. From the Stanton Vs. Baltic Decision (204 US 103)

    But, aside from the obvious error of the proposition, intrinsically considered, it manifestly disregards the fact that, by the previous ruling, it was settled that the provisions of the Sixteenth Amendment conferred no new power of taxation, but simply prohibited the previous complete and plenary power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged, and being placed [240 U.S. 113] in the category of direct taxation subject to apportionment by a consideration of the sources from which the income was derived.

  17. Dear Rick,
    Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co., 240 U.S. 103 (1916), dealt with a mining corporation arguing that the tax on its proceeds was a tax on gross, not net. Two things are of interest with regard to this case. (1) The mining company lost. (2) This case has been routinely rejected by later courts when raised to try and make a point about individual income tax liability.

    “Congress exercised its power to tax income by defining income as, inter alia, “compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits and similar items.” 26 U.S.C. § 61(a)(1) (Supp. II 1984). Every court which has ever considered the issue has unequivocally rejected the argument that wages are not income. See, e.g., Coleman v. Commissioner, 791 F.2d 68, 70 (7th Cir. 1986); Connor v. Commissioner, 770 F.2d 17, 20 (2d Cir. 1985) (per curiam); Perkins v. Commissioner, 746 F.2d 1187, 1188 (6th Cir. 1984) (per curiam); Funk v. Commissioner, 687 F.2d 264, 264 (8th Cir. 1982) (per curiam).

    Moreover, Connor’s argument has already been rejected by this court. In Sauers v. Commissioner, 771 F.2d 64 (3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1162, 90 L. Ed. 2d 727, 106 S. Ct. 2286 (1986), the taxpayer argued, inter alia, that wages are property and therefore are not taxable income. Id. at 66 n. 2. This court agreed with the Tax Court that the taxpayer’s “legal contentions were patently frivolous,” id. at 66, and affirmed the decision of the Tax Court awarding the Commissioner damages for a frivolous claim under 26 U.S.C. § 6673. Id. at 67-70. We take this opportunity to reiterate that wages are income within the meaning of the Sixteenth Amendment. Unless subsequent Supreme Court decisions throw any doubt on this conclusion, we will view arguments to the contrary as frivolous, which may subject the party asserting them to appropriate sanctions.”

    – United States v. Connor, 898 F.2d 942, 943-44 (3d. Cir. 1990)

    I challenge you to cite any modern case for your erroneous contentions regarding the income tax. The law didn’t stop in 1916 and choosing to ignore all subsequent decisions is equivalent to stuffing your fingers in your ears and screaming, “La la la, I can’t hear you.”

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X


  18. Dear Rick,
    No. Are you challenging the Constitutional authority pursuant to Article III, Section 1 (“The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” emphasis mine) of the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals? The Supreme Court has repeatedly denied certiorari of these circuit decisions. Until such unlikely time as they overrule them, they are binding within that Circuit and persuasive authority within the other Circuits.

    One reason that you’re unlikely to see certiorari granted is that there is no disagreement among the Circuits on this question.

    Can you explain under what theory you’re ignoring the settled law and are unable to cite any modern case in defense of your contention about the nature of the income tax?

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X


  19. Mr. X

    Ahhh good, another question before bed :)

    Well, based on the USC 28 USC Chapter 5… it appears that only the United States district courts given article III powers were Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Therefore, unless proven otherwise, I’m assuming that such power was never granted. Therefore, extra-constitutional and I would have to agree to enter the jurisdiction of an article I court (which I simply will not do).

    If you want to continue following this white rabbit into the woods to never never land, by all means.

    Finally, stop being so stuck on the necessity of “modern” cases. The law says what it says and nothing more. The cases tried around the time of the inception of any “law” are far more accurate than those tried 90 years later, as they are more privy to the true intent of the legislation. Judges like to think that they can interpret changes into the constitution (aka legislating from the bench). But, since all such powers were vested in congress (so important, that they made it article I, section I, clause I), then it’s dishonest to think that one can get away with such nonsense. The only way to change the constitution is an amendment. Period. End of story.

    Now, we can stop following this document (as we pretty much already have for most areas of interest), but there are some that actually want to stick to it.


    PS. I’m not here to impress you

  20. Dear Rick,
    Well, based on the USC 28 USC Chapter 5… it appears that only the United States district courts given article III powers were Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Therefore, unless proven otherwise, I’m assuming that such power was never granted. Therefore, extra-constitutional and I would have to agree to enter the jurisdiction of an article I court (which I simply will not do).

    See here for a through debunking of your erroneous theory about District Courts.

    The reason that you can’t come up with a modern case is that there aren’t any. Furthermore, the case you cited from 1916 doesn’t stand for any proposition that supports your argument.

    Finally, for those who might be tempted to act on the erroneous theories you propound, I recommend taking a quick look here and here before wandering down the path to jail; might as well make it a fully-informed trip.

    If you still decide to go down that path, do make sure to say ‘hi’ to Irwin “Convicted by a jury of his peers for the third time” Schiff when you get there.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X

    …still right…

  21. Mr. X,

    BALZAC v. PEOPLE OF PORTO RICO, 258 U.S. 298 (1922)

    The United States District Court is not a true United States court established under article 3 of the Constitution to administer the judicial power of the United States therein conveyed. It is created by virtue of the sovereign congressional faculty, granted under article 4, 3, of that instrument, of making all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory belonging to the United States. The resemblance of its jurisdiction to that of true United States courts, in offering an opportunity to nonresidents of resorting to a tribunal not subject to local influence, does not change its character as a mere territorial court.



    PS. Did you check out those FIJA links?

  22. Dear Rick,
    The citation you reference is from a case distinguishing the court established in the unincorporated territory of Puerto Rico from the United States District Courts within the United States. I’m not sure what you think it has to do with U.S. citizens living within the United States and their relation to the properly formed Article III courts, but I’m sure you’ll enlighten me.

    And yes, I read the FIJA link. So?

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X


  23. Mr. X,

    I was merely hopping down the bunny trial with you. But law can’t be created by the judiciary, even your beloved district courts that have the proper jurisdiction, then this whole debate was just to waste some time.

    Have a nice day :)


  24. Well, between Rick and Mr. Z, I think I am already in a different country. In my country, the Constitution applies, the law is not set in stone in 1916 or 1922 or some other arbitrary point in the past, and we respect the rulings of properly constituted courts of law.

    This is not about justice or principle; it’s about people who deny objective reality, insisting that any decision that doesn’t comport with how they would like the world to be is invalid, while any one that seems to fit their world view is valid. This Chinese menu system of justice and law is oddly appealing, being able to say, “I’ll have an order of Marbury v. Madison, and a side of Balzac, but hold the Roe.”

    There was a guy who tried to do the same thing with biology, name of Lysenko. Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, he insisted that genetics could be controlled by will.

    Unfortunately he, like Mr. Rajter and his tax-denying ilk, was absolutely wrong.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X

    …try the red pill…

  25. LOL

    I agree Mr. X! I believe the Constitution should apply and be enforced as such. Why don’t you use your leverage with Mr. Evans and try to get the IRS to answer the We The People petition for a redress of grievances. After all, that would help clarify much of the problems that the tax honesty movement is having. Believers in the income tax (like yourself) like to hide behind court cases from tax and district courts, but have little to stand on when using the Constitution itself, the statutes passed by congress, and implementing regulations. Believers like to push the income tax by enforcement, not by reason and certainly not by law (they get a little hot and bothered when you even mention it!)

    And please, hold back the tears. I’m sure you were popping corks and running around the streets celebrating when Schiff lost. Stop playing the “I care, don’t listen to him” game. You don’t care about the people. Only keeping this system in place for you when you’re a lawyer/judge.

    t’is been fun Mr. X, but I’m afraid I’m going to just let you finish and keep posting without replies.

    Best of Luck to ya on your career.


  26. Dammit. I will have to break my promise, as I just say a quote that fits my belief of how law in this country works or at least should work. From Justice Antonin Scalia. I apologize and will stop this time :) I swear!

    “A Living Constitution Doesn’t Exist”
    “I’m what you call an `originalist,’ one who believes the Constitution
    should be interpreted exactly as it was adopted,”
    “It should be interpreted as it was written – nothing more, nothing less.
    Rights do not grow smaller or larger. Some legal experts say you have to
    interpret the Constitution broadly, but that’s not true under any
    “The Constitution is not a living document. It’s a legal document, and
    legal documents do not change.”
    “But we must apply the words as they were originally written and we must
    be bound by their original meaning. We must think of what the words are and
    what the words meant when the people adopted them.
    “The Constitution doesn’t `morph’ to be what we want it to be.”

    ~ Justice Antonin Scalia, from a speech at Texas A&M University

    May 2005

  27. Rick

    You have refuted your own argument. Go back and read again Amendment XVI. If the Constitution is what it is, then according to the Constitution, income tax is Constitutional.

  28. All personal attack comments are and will be deleted. Please keep the discussion on-topic or you will earn a 1-week ban.

    This isn’t censorship, this is private property. My rules.

  29. Irwin Schiff, a 77 year old man possesses the kind of courage all American should aspire to.

    Whether right or wrong, the man was railroaded in court.

    The IRS lost to Shirley Downing:

    The IRS lost to Joe Bannister:

    This time they left no freedom untrampled to win.

    Reading about this case is very upsetting… Forget it’s a “Tax Protester” case, just look at how this man was treated in court. If he had been a murderer, this would not have stood…if he had been a terrorist, the media would have brought the court’s injustices to light.

    We all owe Irwin Schiff a debt a gratitude. He has sacrificed his own life to show us it’s time to fear your own government.

  30. Dear Rick
    I want someone out there to state the LAW that makes me liable for a tax on my wages.NOT court cases,not personal opions, but the actual God fearing LAW with the legislative regulation that gives it the force and effect of LAW.

    Thanks Jayb

  31. Dear Jayb,
    It appears that you are unclear about how the common law system works. In a civil law country (France, for example) the law is entirely statutory. Judges look up the right statute and apply it. How a judge applies a statute in one case has no effect on any future cases.

    In a common law country, like ours, the rulings made by courts are law that is binding on subsequent courts. This system of precedent makes for a more efficient legal system, since the same case doesn’t come up over and over again.

    If there is a previous case that is substantially the same as the case being brought, the judge decides it in the same way as the previous one. If the litigant wants a different result, he/she has to distingush the present case, i.e. show how his/her case is different from that preceding one.

    Courts can overrule previous decisions, but it’s uncommon and generally considered a bad idea, since it makes the law unpredictable. The litigant would have to have a very persuasive argument to get a court to overturn a previous decision.

    Tax law is statutory, but statutes are like a frame of sticks. When there’s a gap between them, the issue gets litigated and the resulting decision fills in that gap like putty.

    I can understand, given the fact that they have held against your position, how you’d like to eliminate court cases from consideration when discussing the law. However, they’re just as much part of the law as the statutes.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X

    …how stuff works…

  32. Where we started this was: if you do not obey (i.e. pay on) non-existing laws, then you lack “a set.” Actually, bowing down to men with guns and giving them your hard earned wealth is most accurately called slavery and is ignoble.

    If secret courts legislate secret laws and randomly order some people thrown in jail for “violations”, then the courageous thing is to oppose them. These judges are criminals themselves.

    We were a nation of laws, not men, at our founding. That was and should again be our greatness.

  33. Dear questik,
    The laws exist, the trial was held, and the results are public. Mr. Schiff has repeatedly and publicly been convicted by a jury of his peers for violating existing laws.

    The courts aren’t secret, the laws aren’t secret, the decisions of the courts aren’t secret, and the facts of the cases aren’t secret.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X
    …saying it again…