As I noted , a judge overturned most of the convictions of the members of the Restored Israel of Yahweh who had been prosecuted for their war tax resistance and convicted in .
, they were resentenced on the remaining counts. Attorney Peter Goldberger filed a report, which I excerpt below:
Joe Donato, Inge Donato and Kevin McKee were re-sentenced… following the appellate reversal of twelve counts of employment tax evasion with which they had been charged, and the appellate ruling that Inge was also innocent of the two counts of alleged failure to file personal income tax returns for which the jury convicted her (as she had no taxable income in those years). There is more good news than bad.
Prior to resentencing, the government elected to dismiss the overturned counts, rather than conduct a retrial. Unfortunately, because the Third Circuit appeals court affirmed all three defendants’ convictions for conspiracy to defraud the United States in relation to those same employment taxes, they all ended up convicted of a felony, which in turn supported reimposition of almost the same sentences as originally. All received new prison sentences of the time they had already served following their original sentencings in — 6 months for Inge, 27 months for Joe, and 24 months for Kevin. Although, incredibly, the prosecutor… asked that they be given longer prison terms, the judge gave that thought no consideration at all. However, Judge Simandle did reimpose the same fines ($50,000 on Inge, $5,000 on Joe, and $4,000 on Kevin), all of which had already been paid by their religious society.
On the bright side, however — and most important — the judge modified the terms of all three defendants’ post-incarceration supervised release… which runs for 3 years from their respective release dates. First, even though they are all now “convicted felons,” the judge ruled they can freely associate with one another, which would normally be prohibited. Second, for the express purpose of “accommodating” their religious beliefs, the judge changed the standard requirement of “regular gainful employment” to allow Joe and Kevin to substitute charitable or community service for paid employment, so they can keep their income below the taxable level while under supervision and thus avoid a further conflict with the government. (Inge is disabled from working, so that wasn’t a problem for her.)
Most gratifying, the judge clarified and modified the original special condition that they “fully cooperate with the IRS by filing all returns and paying current and delinquent taxes” to say instead that they must file all delinquent and current returns, to the extent required by law, going back 10 years — but he dropped the specification that they have to pay, so far as the court’s conditions are concerned. That, he expressly left to the IRS and its ordinary administrative remedies. This is what we had requested, and it removed our greatest worry. The RIOY defendants have reconsidered where they draw the line, and are now willing to file, although still not to pay. (The judge actually suggested they consider paying the non-military percentage of their taxes, which he speculated would be “more than 50%.” I didn’t offer him a pie chart.)
The judge came very close to terminating Inge’s supervision entirely as of today, but in the end deferred that until the returns are filed. All three defendants gave very moving statements to the judge prior to sentencing.… All in all, it was not a bad day; we got about 85–90% of what we were hoping for. It is very unlikely there would be any further appeal.