The 24 hours since Wesley Snipes's three-year prison sentence for tax evasion have allowed for some perspective-gathering among the crack legal analysts at Defamer HQ. Sifting through the wreckage, we think we've discovered the key weak spots in the Snipes defense that, if only someone had acted sooner, could have kept our 18th (19th?) favorite action star a free man. Don't let this happen to you; follow the jump for a glimpse at the Chuck Norris factor and other Achilles' heels in Snipes's strategy.
1. Chuck Norris didn't care enough. We already know that Denzel Washington and Woody Harrelson did their parts to reinforce Snipes's character as zero hour. But what did Chuck Norris do besides simply lend his name to his karate-school business partner's half-assed statement of support?
Chuck Norris admires and respects Wesley Snipes which is why he has used him in two of his Total gym infomercials. We, in the martial arts, say making mistakes is how you learn to go forward and be a better person.
It's also how you get your ass kicked in Chuck Norris movies and federal court.
2. Judge Joe Brown is no substitute for sound legal counsel. TV Judge Brown was another of the allies mined for sentencing support, offering to his colleagues on the bench this acknowledgment:
If I might be indulged by pointing this out, your defendant is a person possessed of an enormous appeal to today's youth. In this context, he is uniquely capable of having a very positive impact upon them with the positive message of duty and obligation that he has consistently urged upon and for them. I would propose to you that he should be permitted to persue [sic] such aims with as little penal encumbrances as is [sic] possible and appropriate.
Everybody knows that "today's youth" neither A) watch Wesley Snipes films nor B) pay enough taxes for the IRS to "persue" their own prosecutions. What Snipes needed was a massive fruit basket from Judge Judy and/or a glowing Raymond Burr himfuckingself to come down from heaven and sonorously intone, "Do not imprison this fine, noble, beautiful young man." Now that's a defense.
3. When bribing the judge with $5 million, use small, untraceable bills — not checks. According to a report in the Ocala Star-Banner, defense attorney Daniel Meachum "deposited three envelopes containing $5 million in checks with the judge." The symbolic gesture was meant to suggest Snipes was ready to pay up. Alas, the checks were payable to the US Treasury and not "Hon. William Terrell Hodges." Thus the judge declined, and mere hours later Snipes was up the river for three years. Whatever happened to briefcases full of cash dropped casually in the judge's chambers? I mean, it's Florida — they stole a presidential election. Maybe Snipes needed to be made an example of after all.
- Actor Wesley Snipes sentenced to 3 years in prison [Ocala Star-Banner]