(originally launched into cyberspace on 05/26/2008)
Well, it seems that the federal extortion machine won't be hanging
one of their most prizes trophy heads on the wall just yet. A judge
has just granted Wesley Snipes bail pending appeal, which means he
stays out while his conviction is appealed, which could take a year
or two, or more.
For anyone who doesn't know, Mr. Snipes was convicted of three
misdemeanor "willful failure to file" charges, while being
acquitted of three OTHER failure to file charges, and a couple of
felonies. He was then sentenced to three years in prison--the
maximum he could possibly get for what he was convicted of.
I don't know what the appeal is based upon, but I can think of two
reasons he may have been granted bail pending appeal. The first is
that the judge, having seen a summary of the topics of appeal,
thinks that there is a decent chance that the appeal will be
The second is more complicated. A LOT of people are watching the
Wesley Snipes case. Imagine the reaction if Mr. Snipes had to go to
prison, serves a couple years, or maybe even ALL of his sentence,
only to then have his convictions overturned. Then tens of millions
of people would suddenly learn that if you're convicted and
imprisoned, and then the conviction is overturned, you get NO
compensation of any kind. "Oops, we stole a few years of your life,
based on a bogus conviction. Sorry about that."
If you don't know, my appeal is STILL pending, after I served my
year as a political prisoner, and have been out for well over a
year. If I had been given three years, like Mr. Snipes was, I would
be OUT already (due to "good time" and "halfway house" stuff), and
my appeal still hasn't been ruled on. Now, if that happens to you
or me, the public doesn't hear about it, and doesn't know about it.
But if it happened to Mr. Snipes, you can bet that it would make a
LOT of people pretty darn angry.
I actually hope it's the first reason: that the judge thinks the
chances of a reversal are pretty good. Incidentally, the government
would then have to decide whether to retry him just on those three
misdemeanor counts; because of the "double jeopardy" thing, they
couldn't try again for convictions on the other counts, for which
he was already acquitted.