Published June 06, 2011
There will be no courtroom retake for actor Wesley Snipes as the Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not give further consideration to an appeal from the Hollywood star who is serving a three-year prison sentence for tax evasion.
Snipes says his constitutional rights were violated when federal prosecutors filed charges in Florida and a judge denied his lawyers a hearing to explain why the venue was inappropriate.
Snipes is housed in a federal prison in Pennsylvania and isn't scheduled for release until 2013.
A jury convicted the actor of failure to file taxes from 1999-2001. Snipes was sentenced to three consecutive one-year terms behind bars.
The defense team argued the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial also requires that the jury be impaneled where the alleged crime took place. That was violated, they claim, because Snipes and his family lived in New York, New Jersey and California when the tax dodge was taking place, thus making a Florida trial impermissible.
Prosecutors pointed out that Snipes had repeatedly renewed his Florida driver's license and noted a Sunshine State address in negotiations over his movie contracts. The government also defended lower court rulings that the venue change hearing request was filed past a 20-day deadline and even if granted said "it is highly improbable" Snipes would have succeeded.