Sunday, April 14, 2019

Obstruction of Justice..or exercising his rights?

There are a couple of things wrong with this meme.

Let's start with the most egregious.

No one has to testify or "cooperate" with an investigation according to the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment.

Here is the Jury Instruction about that:

You may have noticed that the defendant did not testify at this trial. The defendant has an absolute right not to testify, since the entire burden of proof in this case is on the Commonwealth to prove that the defendant is guilty. It is not up to the defendant to prove that he (she) is innocent.

The fact that the defendant did not testify has nothing to do with the question of whether he (she) is guilty or not guilty. You are not to draw any adverse inference against the defendant because he (she) did not testify.

You are not to consider it in any way, or even discuss it in your

You must determine whether the Commonwealth has proved its case against the defendant based solely on the testimony of the witnesses and the exhibits.
Pointing out that a defendant refused to testify is a reversible error.

I'm not going to bother to cite to anything because doing a search on "Defendant not testifying" will turn up a shitload of material to back me up.

Come on, people, haven't you fucking heard of "taking the fifth"?????

And while we are on it. "Hiding tax returns".   Here's what the IRS says about that:
Confidentiality rules apply to all information the IRS has about your tax return, whether that information comes from you or from some other source. ... Unauthorized disclosure of tax information is a felony crime, with a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine and five years in prison.
Yeah, there are ways to have this information disclosed, but the rules are weighed toward the privacy of the individual: whether that person is public or private.

26 U.S. Code §6103 protects taxpayers from forced disclosure and trumps the primary legislation for disclosure, the Freedom of Information Act.  FOIA enables the public to inspect rulings and many other IRS documents, files, and memoranda, but it does not encompass “matters [that are] specifically exempted from disclosure by statute,” IOW 26 U.S. Code §6103. Although some aspects of the statute's meaning remain to be elucidated.

Which would mean a court case that would delay any disclosure until well after Trump is president.

I've heard people say that Congress can request them, but here is Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation reg for doing that (Background Regarding The Confidentiality And Disclosure Of Federal Tax Returns ):

It's a little long.

Toss in that a personal income tax return, Form 1040, without schedules does not disclose that much information. It is an aggregate summary of information. Even with schedules, the returns would not provide very much information about  a candidate who earns income through corporations and/or partnerships, such as a businessman. The income and deduction information derived from those sources appear separately on other forms (for example, 1065 and 1041). Only the taxpayer's share of the net amount passes through or appear as a dividend. Disclosure of those forms would involve violating the privacy rights of the other people (e.g., shareholders and partners), which would require an additional waiver for disclosure.

So, wanting to see a tax return wouldn't tell you that much, unless you are a forensic accountant. And maybe not even then.

And just wanting to see how much someone earns isn't a compelling enough reason to demand their tax returns.

The thing about rights is that they protect even people you consider repugnant. It's when they do that they are the most effective.

I would add that going after someone just because adds to the sense of a witch hunt. which isn't really something the Democratic Party should be doing if they really want to elect someone besides Trump.

See also:

No comments:

Post a Comment