IRS vs. Vernice Kuglin
The case is: U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) # 03-CR-20111, USA v. Kuglin.
A synopsis: Vernice Kuglin, a FedEx pilot, was acquitted by a federal jury of six counts of felony Tax Evasion and Willful Failure to File tax returns. Kuglin testified that since 1995 she had sent letters to the IRS asking them to show her the portion of the Tax code that requires individual citizens to pay federal income taxes. The IRS never responded to any of her letters. Through further study Kuglin eventually became convinced that she was exempt from paying individual income taxes. The IRS took the case to court, but the jury acquitted her on all six counts.
http://www.sierratimes.com/03/08/10/ar_IRS_vs._KUGLIN.htm (notes lack of media coverage on this case)
http://www.federalobserver.com/archive.php?aid=6308 ("IRS Loses a Big One")
There are many other articles. Just Google "IRS Kuglin".
How this case appears to me
My understanding is that there is indeed no "law" that requires individual citizens to pay individual income taxes. These are not "cases at law" but "cases at equity". They are like contracts. The individual has agreed in some way to pay these taxes in exchange for getting some benefit back, like Social Security, or mere use of the Social Security number. The enforcement part comes when the taxpayer signs the 1040 form, which has an "under penalty of perjury" clause. Contracts may also include penalties for non-performance.
I am told that individuals who don't want to participate in the system can request the IRS to take them out of it. Individuals can even get a refund. Of course they lose any "benefits" of being in the system.
Although not widely known, there is apparently nothing secret about this arrangement. The IRS just does not talk about it. "We the people" are supposed to know how our own government operates.
Some other personal observations:
1. Ms. Kuglin is apparently using the SS number on the W4 form. The use of the W4 form, or the use of the SS number anywhere for anything, may be construed as an acknowledgement of the existence of a "contract". We probably have not heard the last of this case.
2. If this case had not been tried before a jury, she probably would have lost. And yet people complain about jury duty!
3. The IRS can only tax "taxable income." Somewhere, somehow, this lady has declared her wages to be "taxable income" (just like the rest of us).
4. Note that corporations are creatures that are created by government, not by God. They do not have any inherent inalienable rights. The latter apply only to people who still live in the "House of the Constitution", and that has been largely abandoned by the vast majority of Americans (beginning in the mid 1930s).
5. "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation . . ." (Article 6 in the Bill of Rights) Arraignment is a good opportunity to ask the JUDGE to clarify the charges. (This is BEFORE you agree to jurisdiction, BEFORE you enter a plea, etc.) Make sure the explanations are from the JUDGE (not your lawyer) and that they are on the record.
6. Realize that jurors are limited in what they can do. In the old days, jurors were expected to judge both the law and the facts. But nowadays, much of what is called "law" actually consists of voluntary agreements and commercial agreements. Juries are therefore allowed only to judge the facts, not the appropriateness of what the parties have agreed to do. (An "unconscionable contract" would be invalidated by the judge, not the jury.)
A couple of examples as I understand them: When I apply for a driver's license, I voluntarily take tests, pay fees, sign forms. Once I get the license, I get the "benefits" of applying for insurance and limiting my liability in case of an accident. And I can use the license for identification. But I have also agreed to "these and other applicable laws" (of which I may have no detailed knowledge) by signing on the dotted line. In a similar vein, I can nowadays pay for my groceries with a check, instead of gold coin. In the old days I would have had to pay for them with something of inherent value (gold or silver coin) , but nowadays I can pay for them with a debt instrument (a check) which says, in effect, "A portion of the debt that so-and-so owes to me, he now owes to you." By signing the check, I signify my participation in this system (the Uniform Commercial Code) with whatever benefits, conveniences, restrictions, and remedies it may offer. Such "color of law" arrangements are very pervasive today.
The Constitution does not interfere with the operation of contracts between individuals or between individuals and government agencies. In contract cases, the jury can only judge the facts; the contract itself (the "law") is the realm of the judge. The jury is given explicit, written instructions by the judge and the jurors swear with an oath to abide by those instructions. The instructions usually stipulate that the rightness or wrongness of the "law" is not at issue and cannot be judged by the jury, nor can issues of jurisdiction, applicability, or the existence of a contract. Jurors that refuse to follow these instructions can be held in contempt of court and can be jailed or fined. (This is usually done only as a last resort; inflaming jurors and the general populace against jury duty, and the legal system in general, is not something judges want to do.) Jurors are usually free to ask the judge all sorts of questions and to clarify any issues (even those pertaining to "jury nullification") that may arise during deliberations.
You can sit in on arraignments for similar cases to get ideas about what questions the judge may ask, and what questions you should ask.
Questions the judge may ask you:
"Do you accept the jurisdiction of this court?" The judge is implying that the court does not have jurisdiction over you (it is probably an Admiralty court which is often used for these kinds of cases). Do you agree to jurisdiction anyway? You need to understand the charges before you can answer this one. Note that if you enter a plea, you have accepted jurisdiction.
"Are you a United States citizen?" (Respond with "What makes me a United States citizen?" Note that the wording in the Constitution is "citizen of the United States" not "United States citizen". Is there a difference? You need clarification on this. (The use of a Social Security number is apparently what makes you a "United States citizen". )
"Do you have a Social Security number?" This has the same intent as the above.
Questions you might ask the judge:
How do the charges arise against you? Is it from a law? Is it from a contract (whether expressed or implied)? Can the document be cited? Can the words be pointed out on paper? How do your wages become "taxable income"? Does it have to do with being an employee of a corporation? Does it have to do with using a Social Security number? Is it because you have declared them to be "taxable income" somewhere, somehow?
Is this a criminal case? Does the Sixth Amendment apply? (if there is a contradiction here, you are probably dealing with some sort of contract, not an actual law)
Is this a case of administrative law? (Applicability is the issue here. The administrator of a prison system may make an "administrative law" forbidding the "possession of plant leaves" by inmates. This law applies only to the prison population and not to the general population. The prosecution must show that you are a member of the applicable population. If it cannot, the court may lack jursidiction; jurisdiction, however, is decided by the judge, not a jury.)
Do not say that you understand the charges against you until their origin and applicability to you are thoroughly clear. Just keep asking questions as necessary. Ignore any statements like "Any reasonable person can see . . ." or "Your lawyer can explain . . ." Get the JUDGE to do the talking! What better source of information will you have available than a Federal judge!? How can you get the right lawyer until you understand the charges? Ask plenty of questions and avoid giving lectures based on some book, some amendment, common law, etc., etc. If you are thoroughly confused as a mere, ordinary citizen, just say so and ask for a timeout. Restate for the record any new understandings you acquire in discussions with the judge in his chambers. And always be respectful of the judge and call him/her "Your Honor" (not Sir or Ma'am). The judge has sworn to uphold the law and to be impartial. And generally that is exactly what they do. (They are really not in cahoots with the IRS.)
If nothing else, you will clarify the issues for the rest of us, and the statements of the judge (not your know-it-all lectures) might be helpful on appeal.
And of course, get yourself a good lawyer who has experience in this area. This is absolutely essential, even if he only acts as an advisor. A lawyer can tell you a lot more about the legal situation, as well as warn you about your blindspots, coach you on courtroom demeanor, and so forth.
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want,
and deserve to get it good and hard" —H.L. Mencken
"Every country has the government it deserves."
—Joseph de Maistre, French jurist (1753–1827)
"The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments, I.R.S. (2012) http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/friv_tax.pdf
"Tax protester statutory arguments", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_protester_statutory_arguments
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