Cryer Wins One… Sort Of

The blogosphere is buzzing this morning about the acquittal of Tommy Cryer, a Louisiana attorney. Tommy Cryer was indicted in October 2006 on tax evasion charges.

Cryer was acquitted by a U.S. District Court jury of failure to file income tax. Prosecutors claimed that Cryer didn’t pay $73,000 of income tax for the taxable years 2000 and 2001. Cryer created a trust to shelter his income and claimed that he did not need to report income paid to the trust. Cryer also popularly claimed that there was no law that required him to file income taxes – an argument that has repeatedly been shot down time after time – including Ed Brown’s recent guilty verdict.

So, what’s different here? My colleague over at Law Prof on the Loose offers some excellent analysis of the case. Specifically, he points out that in a criminal income tax case, “the government has the burden of proving, not only that the defendant didn’t pay his taxes, but that the defendant knew he had to pay his taxes.”

Before you get all excited, you should know that Cryer’s had his share of issues, including an appearance before the bar disciplinary committee for professional neglect. His excuses for his behavior ranged from claiming mental illness to severe financial issues. So, he’s hardly the poster child for an intelligent, well thought out professional tax protest.