Tuesday, February 12, 2008


What with all the overcrowding, and with our awareness of documented disparities in sentencing between black and white defendants, probation seems a suitable sentence than prison for a 66-year-old nonviolent offender convicted of tax evasion. Particularly when the defendant had a stroke only 3 years ago and was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2006.

LOS ANGELES -- Isley Brothers lead singer Ronald Isley has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison for tax evasion.Isley was also ordered to pay $3.1 million in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Conte.

He was convicted last year of five counts of tax evasion and one count of willful failure to file a tax return. During a hearing Friday, defense attorney Anthony Alexander argued that the 65-year-old singer [sic--the sources I've seen say he is 66] should receive probation instead of prison time because of complications from a stroke and a recent bout with kidney cancer. Isley is expected to be sent to a prison hospital facility.

Alexander also pleaded for leniency because Isley had been attempting to pay down his IRS debt.But U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson declined to sentence the R&B singer to less time than called for under federal guidelines."The term serial tax avoider has been used. I think that's appropriate," Pregerson said. Alexander argued during trial that "unfortunate circumstances," such as the deaths of two of Isley's accountants, made him unable to get records together and pay taxes during the years that led to the criminal charges.
This is justice?
In its ruling, the appellate court said the trial judge was correct in sentencing and "best balanced the need to sanction Mr. Isley's `pathological' tax evasion against the need to accommodate Mr. Isley's poor health."

Maybe the persecution of this Black man is not racially motivated. Maybe American judges hate us Geminis.

No comments: