Saturday, October 30th, 2010

PC World

United States v. Drachenberg, No. 09-3114-cr (2d Cir. October 2, 2010) (Kearse, Pooler, Hall, CJJ) (per curiam)

The court’s latest per curiam puts to rest several recurring tax-protester argumenst. Representing himself pro se, Drachenberg argued that federal courts had no jurisdiction over him because “New York is not subject to the legislative or territorial jurisdiction of the United States” and thus that as a “native-born” New Yorker he was under no obligation to pay income taxes “unless and until the United States has conquered or subsumed New York.”

The circuit called this argument “as frivolous as it is hackneyed.” Congress had authority to enact the statute of conviction, and the constitution clearly authorizes Congress to collect taxes. “In sum, the United States was not in want of jurisdiction.”

The court also summarily rejected Drachenberg’s arguments that he was not a “person” subject to income tax – he obviously is – and that the government was required to first obtain an administrative determination of a tax deficiency before initiating a tax-evasion prosecution. The deficiency arises by operation of law on the date a tax return is due but not filed. Finally, Drachenberg’s arrest warrant was valid even though it did not itself contain a written oath or affirmation in support of probable cause. These requirements are satisfied by a grand jury indictment.

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