An Iowa appeals court this week threw out the conviction of TV-show producer Dennis Brouse on charges arising out of the Iowa film tax credit scandal. The court ruled 2-1 that unclear jury instructions rendered the guilty verdict untenable. From the decision:
After examining the jury instruction and finding it so confusing, we conclude that it was not possible for the jury to find sufficient evidence to convict pursuant to a general verdict that implicated the joint criminal conduct instruction.
The case was remanded to the trial court. I believe the state can appeal this decision to the Iowa Supreme Court. I am not sure whether the state can retry Mr. Brouse if the ruling stands. The reversal would leave Wendy Weiner-Runge as the only person hit with serious prison time in the scandal.
In any case, the real offenders in this case will go free. No charges will be filed against the legislators who voted overwhelmingly to create a cash-filled pinata for out-of-state filmmakers. The Governor who was to oversee the program will never have to answer for appointing a former drugstore film clerk to run it. The clerk’s immediate supervisor faces no charges for letting the clerk run wild, committing taxpayer dollars by the millions virtually without documentation or control.
The real crime is that the 150 legislative supergeniuses feel competent to take money from taxpayers and give it to people who convince them they will use it better.
Other coverage: KCCI.com
Cite: State v. Brouse, No. 12-1076 [3-1192]
Andrew Mitchel, 2014 First Quarter Published Expatriates – Second Highest Ever:
Considering how poorly the U.S. tax system treats Americans abroad, it’s no surprise.
Jason Dinesen, On Tax Refunds and “Not Owing Tax,” Part 1 “Just because you got a refund it doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t owe taxes.”
Kay Bell, Tax moves to make in May 2014
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 358
Russ Fox, Once Again, Bring Me the Usual Suspects: 2014 Small Business Tax Index. Iowa does poorly.
Robert D. Flach brings your Friday Buzz!
Kyle Pomerleau, It Takes 175 hours for a U.S. Business to Comply with U.S. Taxes (Tax Policy Blog). For bigger businesses, that’s way low.
Howard Gleckman, The Tax Extenders: Yes, Virginia, They Really Are Tax Cuts (TaxVox).
Otter: ” But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.”
Senator Ron Wyden: “At the same time, the potential misconduct of a small group of IRS employees should not tarnish the overwhelming majority of hard working agency employees who do play by the rules.”
I did not have tax with that state, New York. Bill Clinton: ‘I Thank God Every Day That Hillary and I Live in NY and Pay the Highest Aggregate Tax Rate in America’ (TaxProf)