USA v. Steirhoff, 08-1183. Selya tries to be dramatic. He says “The tale of how the stalker became the stalked follows.” Anyway, the defendant seems like a bad guy because he talked to the police without a lawyer. And he had about $100,000 in cash lying around. A true American would have the money in CDs or municipal bonds, and only terrorists and furries talk to the police without lawyers. Just like people that try and avoid taxation on their interest income, this defendant said that he didn’t pay taxes and didn’t trust banks. I hate him already.
Anyway, the state called the IRS, and the IRS started investigating him and found out that he wasn’t pulling his weight tax-wise.
Anyway, the legal issues are fairly straight-forward, especially when the defendant is a simpleton. This is absolutely no evidence that he retained a tax lawyer, and, as I said he is the kind of America-hating person that talks to the cops and consents to a search without a lawyer.
So, it should come as no surprise that a search of a briefcase is held to be within the scope of the consent this idiot gave the police. If he was a real American he would not have given the consent, and certainly not on boilerplate forms that say “letters, papers, or other property." The defendant meekly asserted that he meant to consent only to a search of part of his computer for poetry. Ha ha. No cop wants to look for poetry. All they want are looking for his guns, pr0n and cash. Obviously, because Selya sees that this guy isn’t really acting like an American, he sides with the cops. As he usually does. He adds, “A police officer is not required to take a suspect's statements concerning the whereabouts of incriminating evidence at face value.” See, if the defendant was a true American he would have not made a statement.
He also makes some BS argument that he wasn’t subject to the tax code. Obviously this fails. There was no evidence that he had retained a law firm to write him an opinion letter.
There is an interesting Cheek issue regarding “willfullness.” And, in this case, since the defendant had a bunch of aliases, it was enough to infer that he was willfully not paying taxes.
Also, the Selya says that a “summary witness” was okay. Selya let’s it pass by saying that the witness was just adding numbers up.
And, after affirming the sentence, Selya sends the guy that couldn’t be bothered to retain counsel until after he was arrested to jail by saying “For aught that appears, the defendant was fairly tried, justly convicted, and lawfully sentenced.”