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Copyright © 2004, Jim Carter 




(original version)


After reading the first three Parts of LIBERTY --- YOUR RIGHT TO MAKE A LIVING, interested individuals have inquired how such a defense could be presented to the court. A student of criminal law, familiar with writing and serving motions, might study FEDERAL PROCEDURAL FORMS, LAWYER’S EDITION by Lawyers Cooperative Publishing {KF 8836, F4}. Volume 7 on Criminal Procedure includes §20:212 Defects in the Indictment or Information, §20:217 is Failure to Charge Offense. Volume 9 includes §22:801 regarding citation of laws, §22:927 Defects in the Indictment, and §22:938 Failure to Charge Offense. Conviction of a crime by an indictment that does not charge an offense can be challenged even after completion of sentence. See the above.

Presentation forms are described in West Federal Forms, volume 5 {KF8836 W4}. §7302 is titled Motion by Defendant to Dismiss Indictment. §7308 has a motion for failure to state a crime.

Do not assume that reading the above information, or one or two books on law, will make you a polished lawyer. But then again, with the information readily available, why haven’t professionals used it? The above authorities are mentioned to assist an individual who might be interested in exploring educational information that is available. For legal advice, consult your friendly franchised barrister---and take your checkbook.

Any motion has to be modified to the situation. The following motion was written for a Fifth Circuit post-trial but pre-sentencing case where the defendant was represented by a lawyer. It is not known if the motion was filed nor is it known if the motion has been adapted to any other case and been ruled upon. Feedback from a court denial of a habeas corpus action has generated rebuttal incorporated into subsequent actions. Court rulings will undoubtedly expand the motion.


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The Defendant, by and through his counsel, respectfully Moves this court to Dismiss the Indictment for failure to charge an offense on the following grounds:

1) The failure to identify a lawful duty the defendant has violated is not in accord with adjudication of the Supreme Court of the United States.

2) The failure to identify a lawful duty the defendant has violated fails to comply with Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7 (c](1) requiring the indictment state “the statute, rule, regulation or other provision of law which the defendant is alleged therein to have violated.”

3) The failure to identify a lawful duty the defendant has violated is not in accord with Due Process requirements of the Fifth Amendment to vest jurisdiction in the court.

4) The constructive amendment to the indictment by evidence permitted and denied by the court during trial is a further violation of the Fifth Amendment guarantee to be tried only on charges by a grand jury.

5) The failure to identify a lawful duty the defendant has violated is not in accord with the provision of the Sixth Amendment “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” of a crime to vest jurisdiction in the court.

Signed, dated, served

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Upon review of the superseding Indictment filed December 17, 2003 (Docket No. 221) in accordance with FRCrP 12 (b)(2) and with sufficient time to peruse the individual items and consult creditable reference sources, the Defendant respectfully moves this Court to dismiss the superseding Indictment for failure to charge an offense. “ It is well settled that the entry of a guilty plea does not act as a waiver of jurisdictional defects such as an indictment’s failure to charge an offense and the defendant may raise such failure at ANY time.” US v White, 258 F3d 374, 379 (5th Cir 2001); Kaufman v US, 394 US 217, 222; Machibroda v US, 368 US 487; Waley v Johnston, 316 US 101; US v Osiemi, 980 F2d 344. Emphasis in original, quotes and citations omitted.

The defendant has been convicted of violations related to withholding of various taxes from employees and failure to turn over and account for such taxes to the federal government. Where in the indictment is he charged with these crimes and been confronted with the statutory duties that he has been convicted of violating?

It is observed paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of the initial indictment (Docket #1) declare employers/persons are required/ responsible for doing certain described acts; i.e., pay/collect/account for FICA, income taxes, Medicare taxes, etc. The second superseding indictment (Docket # 221) claims “The Internal Revenue Code requires employers to pay… and… withhold FICA, Medicare, and income taxes” in paragraphs 1 and 2. Where in “The Internal Revenue Code” are any statutory requirements imposed by legislation? The indictment has no answer.

Nowhere is there any statutory authority offered in support for the legal conclusions that the defendant has a requirement to collect taxes from employees or to pay any money to the federal government. It is beyond comprehension to believe the government would rely upon conclusions of law such as this. This court is aware legal conclusions do not have standing even in civil cases. “Conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual conclusions will not suffice to prevent a motion to dismiss.” Fernandez-Montes v Allied Pilots Ass’n, 987 F2d 278 (5th. Cir. 1993); Ryan v Scoggin, 245 F2d 54; Blackburn v Fisk Univ, 443 F2d 121; Pauling v McElroy, 278 F2d 252; Atlanta Gas Light v Southern Natural Gas, 338 FSup 1039; Columbia v Tatum, 58 F3d 1101; Wag-Aero v US, 837 FSup 1479, affm. 35 F3d 569; Sogevalor v Penn Central, 771 FSup 890, 893. Criminal cases are held to a much higher standard than civil actions. Speiser v Randall, 357 US 513, 525. These paragraphs should have been struck from the indictment.

The government has acknowledged that a criminal case requires the defendant be proven to have violated a legal duty. Ref. government’s Brief filed on or about July 14, 2003 (docket #49) citing United States v. Pomponio, 429 US 10 and Cheek v US, 498 US 192. If the government contends that paragraphs 1, 2, or 3 impose some duty upon the defendant, they clearly do not. The defendant does not have to search through Title 26 and assume some statute imposes a duty upon him; the government is required to confront the defendant with the legal duty and to carry the burden of proof of a lawful duty. Cole v Arkansas, 333 US 196. The burden of proof must be on the party levying the tax to comply with due process. Speiser v Randall, 357 US 513, 529 (1958). It is the responsibility of government to prove the existence of a tax; a citizen is not required to prove the nonexistence of a tax. Spreckles Sugar v McClain, 192 US 397. Self-serving conclusions of law do not suffice.

Paragraphs 3 and 4 of the superseding indictment do not identify any statutory duty imposed upon the defendant.

Paragraphs 5 through 16 contain factual allegations about the defendant’s actions. They do not aver any statutory legal duty the defendant has to the government.

On pages 6 and 7 of the Indictment, the government avers in counts 1 through 12 the defendant did “willfully fail to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over to the Internal Revenue Service the federal income taxes, Medicare taxes, and Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes due and owing…All in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7202.” Section 7202 does not mention income, Medicare, or FICA taxes.

The listing of taxes claimed to be “due and owing” is again a legal conclusion. Conclusions of law such as these have no standing in civil or criminal process; they identify no legal duty. NAAP v California Board, 228 F3d 1043; General Contractors v Water District, 159 F3d 1178; Parrino v FHP, 146 F3d 699; Pareto v FDIC, 139 F3d 696; In re Syntex Securities, 95 F3d 922; In re Stac Electronics, 89 F3d 1399; In re DeLorean Motor, 991 F2d 1236; Brown v Hot, Sexy, 68 F3d 525; Leed v Meltz, 85 F3d 51. Scheid v Fanny Farmer Candy, 859 F2d 434, 436; Lewis v ACB Business Services, 135 F3d 389, 406; SmileCare Dental v Delta Dental, 88 F3d 780; Car Carriers v Ford Motor, 745 F2d 1101; In re Plywood Antitrust, 655 F2d 627. There is no statutory duty identified.

The government would have this court conclude 26 USC §7202 imposes the legal duty that was violated by the defendant. In addition to the superseding Indictment relying upon section 7202, the government’s Brief filed on or about July 14, 2003 (docket #49) makes the declaration: “To establish a violation of section 7202...” Perhaps we should examine previous adjudication.

In US v H.J.K. Theatre, 236 F2d 502 (1956), charges were brought under §7202 for violation of an admissions tax. In Townsend v US, 253 F2d 461, charges were brought under §7202 for violation of wagering and occupational taxes in §4401 and §4411.

In Reynolds v US, 288 F2d 78 (1961), the court reviewed a habeas corpus denial for a sentence from convictions of both §7201 and §7202. Mr. Reynolds had been convicted of not paying an excise tax on wagers for the selling of bolita tickets. US v Reynolds, 213 FSup 917.

The history of sections 7201 through 7210 reveals the 1954 rewriting of the 1939 Code collected criminal provisions into Chapter 75 from several different taxes to eliminate repetition. The 1939 provisions included §153 for tax exempt organizations, §340 for foreign personal holding companies, §894 and §937 for the estate tax, §1024 for the gift tax, §1718 for admissions and wagering taxes, §1821 for a stamp tax on stocks, bonds and playing cards, §2557 for opium and coca leaves, §2656 for white prosperous matches, §2707 for pistols and revolvers, §3604 on foreign corporations. Accepting the similar origin of sections 7201 through 7210, it can be observed the statutes have been applied to numerous different taxes.

The government’s Brief (docket #49) in comparing the ‘willful’ element in §7202 with §7201 and §7203, additionally observes the similarity of sections in Chapter 75. The similarity allows flexibility in comparing adjudication of the various sections

Numerous defendants in tax cases prosecuted pursuant to §7201, §7203, or §7206 have read the statutory “Any person required under this title …” and suggested to their court the legal requirement is outside of Chapter 75. The position has not been persuasive in their courts. It is conceded many court opinions include a declaration that defendants in various cases have violated §7201, or §7203, or §7206. It is submitted the conclusion is technically imprecise and legally inaccurate.

In Grosso v US, 390 US 62, the Supreme Court addressed an issue of willful failure to pay wagering tax (IRC §4401) and willful failure to pay an occupational license tax (IRC §4411). Willful failure is not mentioned in either of the two cited statutes. Willful failure came from §7203. “Those liable for payment of that tax are required to submit each month Internal Revenue Service Form 730...failure to pay the excise tax and to file a return are separately punishable under 26 USC §7203.” id 65. Notice should be taken the requirements and liabilities are declared within Chapter 35 (§4401 to §4424) while punishment is under §7203.

In Ingram v US, 360 US 672, the Supreme Court reviewed utilization of §7201 and §7203 to punish violation of §4401, §4411, and §4421 wagering tax provisions. id, Footnote #1.

In Tyler v US, 397 F2d 565, §7203 was used to convict the defendant of willful failure to file excise tax returns on wagers required by §4401 and §4411. The same or similar result is in US v Stavros, 597 F2d 108; Edwards v US, 321 F2d 324; US v Sams, 340 F2d 1014; Scaglione v US, 396 F2d 219; US v Magliano, 336 F2d 817; Rutherford v US, 264 F2d 180; US v Gaydos, 310 F2d 833; US v Sette, 334 F2d 267; US v Simon, 241 F2d 308; US v Wilson, 214 FSup 629.

In US v Menk, 260 FSup 784, §7203 was used for a violation of §4461 coin operated gaming devices.

In US v Willoz, 449 F2d 1321, §7206 was relied upon for a conviction of willfully making a false statement on a wagering form required by §4412 and §4401.

In US v Cook, 412 F2d 293, §7203 and §7206 were used by the court in a prosecution for untaxed distilled spirits. Similar applications are found in US v Champion, 387 F2d 561; Benefield v US, 370 F2d 912; US v Davis, 369 F2d 775; US v Goss, 353 F2d 671; Hyche v US, 286 F2d 248; Ingram v US, 241 F2d 708.

In US v LaHaye, 548 F2d 474, the court declared the required filing of race track forms could have been charged with a misdemeanor under §7203 or a felony under §7206. Similar gambling regulations used the same statute in US v McGee, 572 F2d 1097; US v Snyder, 549 F2d 171; US v Dumaine, 493 F2d 1257; US v Kessler, 449 F2d 1315; US v Haimowitx, 404 F2d 38; US v Salerno, 330 FSup 1401.

In US v Alvere, 470 F2d 981, §7206 was used for violation of a marijuana tax.

Do the above cases evidence all potential uses of Chapter 75 punishments? Of course not. Section 4071 imposes a tax on manufacturing of tires, §4081 imposes a tax on gasoline and diesel fuel production, §4091 imposes a tax on manufacturing aviation fuel, §4121 imposes a tax on coal mining, §4161 imposes a tax on sporting goods, but the entire list would be very lengthy. The statutory provisions in §7201 through §7210 that apply to “Any person required under this title to…” authorizes punishment for violators of sections listed in this paragraph, and other tax violations, or there is otherwise no penalty for such offense---with a few specific exceptions. The criminal penalties of Chapter 75 for the above mentioned taxes may be seldom filed, but if there were no penalties, the manufacturers would surely cease paying the taxes.

The legal duties of a tax are located in the chapters detailing provisions of the tax, and the defendant has not been confronted with any of those statutory legal duties. He has not been charged with violating a law. There has been no crime averred. A defendant cannot violate a punishment provision in Chapter 75. The punishment chapter details no action that would constitute a crime.

It is submitted conclusive evidence has been submitted to this court that the naked citation of §7202 does not identify any tax the defendant has a lawful duty to pay---he has not been charged with violating a lawful duty. A lawful duty is imposed by the provisions of a tax; a criminal punishment is authorized (by Chapter 75) for violation of that lawful duty. A lawful duty is not averred by citing an allowable punishment.

Do the charges in counts 13 through 27 present a different conclusion? The amended indictment avers the defendant presented “false” claims for tax refunds to the United States Treasury Department. The government again makes declarations that FICA, Medicare and income taxes are being pursued. Claims of legal conclusions have no standing in criminal process; they identify no statutory duty. Without establishing a lawful requirement, the term ‘false’ is without a standard of comparison. The required lawful duty is never identified. It is irrational to aver a false claim when an established lawful duty is not identified. With the government’s adamant refusal to identify and expose a specific statutory tax requirement to contestation, the blank tax-forms could be evidence of fraud and extortion by the government. Is there any lawful tax that is due? If so, the government has not averred it. The burden of proof of showing a lawful tax due is upon the government.

The government, in discussing counts 13 through 27, declares it is a violation of 18 USC #287; i.e. “False, fictitious or fraudulent claims.” Ref. Amended Indictment, pages 8 and 9. In addressing an appeal from tax court, the Circuit Court declared: “Fraud is intentional wrongdoing on the part of the taxpayer with the specific intent to avoid a tax known to be owing.“ Estate of Trompeter v CIR, 279 F3d 767, 773; quoting Conforte v Comm’r, 692 F2d 587. The status of whether a tax is ‘owing’ has been recognized by the plaintiff as a major element in question. Even in civil actions, the absence of an essential element being claimed by the petitioner is taken as evidence that the element is non-existent. Scheid v Fanny Farmer, 859 F2d 434, 437; O’Brien v DiGrazia, 544 F2d 543, 546 n.3. Since the government has refused to identify ANY statutory tax claimed to be due and owing, it follows that we should conclude the statute making a tax mandatory does not exist. Only a statutory tax imposes a duty upon a citizen, and no statutory duty is identified in the indictment. Self-serving conclusions of law have no standing in criminal process.

The government has claimed §7201 through §7210 have been violated by defendants facing income tax charges for decades. The statutes are, in reality, authorizations of power/punishment the IRS can utilize to coerce the payment of taxes. They have been confused with the authorized purpose for which the IRS was established; i.e., the collection of taxes. The difference between a power and an authorized purpose was eloquently distinguished in Boyd v US, 116 US 616. The difference between unrestrained power and use of power only for authorized purposes is the difference between tyranny and freedom.

Due process requires the government to affirmatively evidence their authority to tax: "...jurisdiction of the Courts of the United States means a law providing in terms of revenue; that is to say, a law which is directly traceable to the power granted to Congress by Section 8, Article I, of the Constitution, 'to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises.'" US v Hill, 123 US 681, 686 (1887). US v Hill, read simply, declares the court does not have jurisdiction unless the law cited in the indictment reflects a constitutional authorization. In the instant case, there is no law cited that claims to impose statutory responsibility on the defendant, which is far less than the required averment of constitutional authorization.

The Supreme Court nullified the conviction of a crime that was not charged in the indictment. "No principle of procedural due process is more clearly established than that notice of the specific charge, and a chance to be heard in a trial of the issues raised by that charge, if desired, are among the constitutional rights of every accused in a criminal proceeding in all courts, state or federal. If, as the State Supreme Court held, petitioners were charged with a violation of 1 [and convicted of 2], it is doubtful both that the information fairly informed them of that charge and that they sought to defend themselves against such a charge; it is certain that they were not tried for or found guilty of it. It is as much a violation of due process to send an accused to prison following conviction of a charge on which he was never tried as it would be to convict him upon a charge that was never made." Cole v Arkansas, 333 US 196, 201 (1947), citations omitted.

The present situation is not of charging the defendant under one statute and convicting him under another as in the Cole case; it is a situation of convicting him under an unidentified statute---of "a charge that was never made." The IRS has not charged the defendant with being legally responsible for any tax. The present situation is precisely the example envisioned by the court as a most egregious violation of due process. Defendant must be given adequate notice of the offense charged against him and for which he is to be tried. Smith v O’Grady, 312 US 329 (1941). “This Court has repeatedly stated that criminal statutes which fail to give due notice that an act has been made criminal before it is done are unconstitutional deprivations of due process of law.” Jordan v De George, 341 US 223, 230 (1951). Here we are faced with a complete lack of any statute that gives notice of a lawful duty. And again: "Conviction upon a charge not made would be sheer denial of due process." De Jonge v Oregon, 299 US 353, 362. (1937); Dunn v US, 442 US 100, 106; Thornhill v Alabama, 310 US 88, 96.

Would the lack of a statute averring legal liability constitute harmless error? Again, let the Supreme Court address the issue. In Smith v US, 360 US 1, the court held the Fifth Amendment right to an indictment for a capital offense could not be waived by the defendant and that a proceeding in violation of this constitutional requirement negated the jurisdiction of the court. (The Supreme Court could not have returned the case for a new trial if jeopardy had attached in the first trial.) The ruling was incorporated into Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(a). In US v Miller, 471 US 130, at 140, the court quoted approvingly: “Deprivation of such a basic right (to be tried only on charges presented in an indictment) is far too serious to be treated as nothing more than a variance and then dismissed as harmless error.” from Stirone v US, 361 US 212, 217.

Would an individual wish to suggest the contemporary claim that a minor irregularity, in the eye of a skeptic beholder, would not ‘prejudice’ the defendant ? The status of ‘prejudice,’ as an issue relevant to a challenge to jurisdiction, has already been declared a non sequitur. Kelly v US, 29 F3d 1107, 1113-1114; Harris v US, 149 F3d 1304, 1308; Patton v US, 281 US 276, 292.

The constitutional right to be left alone unless charged with violating a law (the essence of due process) is no less a constitutional right than being indicted for an infamous crime as in the Smith case. The Magna Carta’s declaration of protection by “law of the land” (the historic origin of due process) arguably predates the origin of the indictment.

While all legal theory and case history given herein focus on the absence of a law within the indictment, a reflection on the history of the Magna Carta's protection in the frame of the instant application underscores why the safeguard was demanded by the Barons so many years ago. Without a requirement that the law be cited to justify the King's seizure of the peasant's goodies, there can be no meaningful defense to arbitrary confiscation under color of law. If an affirmative declaration of the law imposing the tax is not mandatory, the dispossessed must carry the burden of proof to show the theft is illegal; i.e., that the seizure cannot be justified under some unidentified law. A criminal prosecution involving an unidentified tax is not different. This reversal of our traditional placement of the burden of proof is impossible to overcome; it is impossible to prove that a law does not exist. It is plain that where the burden of proof lies may be decisive of the outcome. Cities Service Oil Co v Dunlap, 308 US 208. It is a violation of due process to require a defendant to prove exclusion from a tax. First Unitarian Church v Los Angeles, 357 US 545. The burden of proof must be on the party levying the tax to comply with due process. Speiser v Randall, 357 US 513, 529 (1958). It is the responsibility of government to prove the existence of a tax; a citizen is not required to prove the nonexistence of a tax. Spreckles Sugar v McClain, 192 US 397.

The court has said it very well: “It is not permissible to shift the burden by arbitrarily making one fact, which has no relevance to guilt of the offense, the occasion of casting on the defendant the obligation of exculpation.” Tot v US, 319 US 463, 469. Applied in the instant case, it could be read: The acknowledgement that the IRS collects taxes cannot be automatically converted into indisputable proof that anyone accused by the IRS is inherently legally responsible for an unidentified tax. “The power to create presumptions is not a means of escape from constitutional restrictions.” Bailey v Alabama, 219 US 219, 239.

In condemning an ambiguous indictment, the court declared: “A cryptic form of indictment in cases of this kind requires the defendant to go to trial with the chief issue undefined. It enables his conviction to rest on one point [law] and the affirmance of the conviction to rest on another. It gives the prosecution free hand on appeal to fill in the gaps of proof [law] by surmise or conjecture. The Court has had occasion before now to condemn just such a practice.” Russell v United States, 369 US 749, 766.

To be denied the opportunity to present a defense to a (supposed) criminal charge is a reversion to the barbaric days of the Salem (and continental) witch trials and the Inquisitions. The IRS has a lengthy and consistent track record of adamant refusal to declare in court documents and in testimony, in correspondence to private citizens, and to members of congress, a law that imposes an income tax and exposing it to a challenge in court while carrying the burden of proof as required by due process. [An income tax may, or may not, be involved in the instant indictment. Discussion of that particular tax is used to show the documented institutional position of the IRS.] The statutes, prior to the 1954 revision, repeatedly required the accused be shown “liable by law.” It is not mere oversight on the part of the IRS to not allege a statute that imposes a legal liability on the citizen. It is a deliberate and premeditated institutional practice of more than 40 years.

Various court opinions and government sources have listed a variety of statutes suggested to impose liability for an income tax. They include IRC §§1, 61, 63, 6011(a), 6012, 6012(a), et seq., 6072(a), and 6151 and even the 16th. Amendment. It is observed that none of these statutes have ever been averred in any complaint, indictment, or information where the government would have to carry the burden of proof and expose the statute to contestation as required by due process. In fact, a senior representative of the IRS declared during a September, 2003 press conference that individuals who demand to know the law that imposes an income tax should expect to face criminal charges. The accused must acquiesce to legal responsibility for any tax conjured by the IRS or face criminal prosecution. It can only be concluded that the deliberate absence from all judicial process is an institutional policy to prevent a challenge to any tax with the requirement the government carry the burden of proof.

"...notice of the specific charge, and a chance to be heard in a trial of the issues raised by that charge, if desired, are among the constitutional rights of every accused..." Cole v Arkansas, id 201, emphasis added. In reflecting on Star Chamber proceedings, the Supreme Court quoted J. Stephen: "There is something specially repugnant to justice in using rules of practice in such a manner as to (prevent a defendant) from defending himself, especially when the professed object of the rules so used is to provide for his defense." Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 822-823 (1975). The object in the instant procedure of the IRS "to prevent a defendant from defending himself " may be even less meritorious: to expedite the confiscation of revenue.

If we were to conclude that no law imposing a tax is required to be averred, with a claim the statute has been violated by the accused, is it not obvious that the need for the unidentified law to exist is superfluous? Is it not apparent that whatever the prosecutor and the magistrate concur should be the duty of the accused then becomes sufficient authority to imprison the accused? Is this not an obvious case of a “government of men” and not a “government of law”?

This nation has had occasion to witness the flagrant violation of procedural safeguards of due process in judicial proceedings. The practice is identified as judicial lynching. In reviewing a case in which a black defendant, to appease a mob of white citizens, was arrested, indicted, convicted, and sentenced to death in less than two days after a young white girl was reportedly raped, the Supreme Court of Appeals for the State of West Virginia declared: “A judicial lynching is a graver and more startling crime than a lynching by the irresponsible rabble. It undermines the foundation of orderly government, and weakens respect for law and order. Much of the success of any form of government depends upon the opinion of those governed, of its power to protect them in the administration of the laws, and in the wisdom and integrity of those who govern. When the courts do not uphold the laws, respect for law and for government ceases. There should be no compromise with the spirit of lynching for any crime.” State v Lattimar, 111 S.E. 510, 90 W.Va. 559. (1922).

Today, the crisis is not between blacks and whites; it has been replaced with the IRS against those who are informed they are taxpayers---but no law will be cited in the indictment by those who so vociferously clamor for the incarceration of the avowed miscreant. And the federal courts are making a standing practice of the lynching.

The ultimate question before this court is whether 800 years advancement of civilized jurisprudence must yield to the whim of the IRS for expedited extortion of revenue under color of law. We cannot use the phrase "collection of taxes" until the citizen is confronted with a statutory duty to pay a tax and an opportunity to challenge that contention. The only difference between organized crime and the IRS is that the IRS has the blessing of the courts.

“The Sixth Amendment requires that an indictment (1) enumerate each prima facie element of the charged offense; (2) fairly inform the defendant of the charges filed against him…The purpose of the indictment is to provide the defendant with notice of the offense with which he is charged.” US v Gaytan, 74 F3d 545, 551-552 (5th. Cir. 1996); US v Cavalier, 17 F3d 90 (5th. Cir 1994). Conformance with these requirements has clearly not been made.

“The starting place for any determination of whether the charged conduct is proscribed by a criminal statute is a reading of the language of the charging instrument and the statute itself…(and if there is) lack of adequate notice of the crime alleged…(then) it is so defective that by any reasonable construction, it fails to charge the offense for which the defendant is convicted (and it must be set aside).” US v White, 258 F3d 374, 381 (5th Cir. 2001). Citations and quotations omitted. Again, the required “criminal statute” has not been found in the instant indictment.

In reviewing an indictment that failed to aver a required statutory element of a crime, the court declared: “Only the appearance in the indictment of all of the offense’s elements meets this (jurisdictional) requirement.” US v Cabrera-Teran, 168 F3d 141, 145 (5th Cir. 1999). The lack of the required element in the indictment required the court to conclude: “Because of this omission, the indictment fails to charge an offense, leaving the district court without jurisdiction.” id. 147. In the instant case, we are not faced with the omission of an element of a crime; we are faced with the lack of notice of any crime.

In US v Haga, 821 F2d 1036 (5th. Cir 1987) the court reviewed an indictment with the declaration: “This is not a case of citing the wrong statute…the indictment…plainly allege one offense, while appellant was convicted of another and different offense.” id 1045-1046. The court reversed the conviction with the declaration: “A conviction for an offense not alleged in the indictment or presented at trial offends the most basic notions of due process. Few constitutional principles are more firmly established than a defendant’s right to be heard on the specific charges of which he is accused.” id. 1046. Citations and quotations omitted. Again, the instant case does not aver violation of any statutory duty.

“The Fifth Amendment guarantees that a criminal defendant will be tried only on charges alleged in a grand jury indictment…the indictment cannot be broadened or altered except by the grand jury…A constructive amendment occurs when the trial court, through its instructions and facts it permits in evidence, allows proof of an essential element of a crime on an alternative basis permitted by the statute but not charged in the indictment …a constructive amendment is considered prejudicial per se and grounds for reversal of a conviction.” US v Threadgill, 173 F3d 357, 370 (5th. Cir 1999).

"…compliance with this constitutional mandate is an essential jurisdictional prerequisite to a federal court’s authority to deprive an accused of his life or liberty. If this requirement of the (Bill of Rights) is not complied with, the court no longer has jurisdiction to proceed. If …petitioner …did not competently and intelligently waive his right to counsel (and was therefore denied a constitutional right), it will follow that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to proceed to judgment and conviction of petitionerThe judgment of conviction pronounced by a court without jurisdiction is void, and one imprisoned thereunder may obtain release by habeas corpus.” Johnson v Zerbst, 304 US 458, 467, 468 (1938). The Fifth Amendment right to be notified of a law allegedly violated and the opportunity to defend against the charge, secured by due process, is of no less constitutional moment than the right to counsel in the Zerbst case.

Judges in their oath of office swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Any act in violation of an oath of office or any act in violation of the law is not an act of government. Any act that violates a fundamental right of the Constitution divests the court of jurisdiction. Johnson v Zerbst, 304 US 458.

Since there is no lawful duty averred in the indictment as required by due process (United States v. Pomponio, 429 US 10), it is conclusive the defendant has not been charged with violating a lawful duty. Since the defendant has not been charged with violating a lawful duty, there has been no crime charged. Since there is no crime charged, there is no criminal case. If there is no criminal case, there is nothing before this court to exercise jurisdiction over and the indictment must be dismissed for failure to charge an offense.

Signed, dated, served


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