United States v. Michael Schlegel


PER CURIAM OPINION FILED - THE COURT: James B. Loken, Duane Benton and Jane Kelly (UNPUBLISHED) [4434983] [15-2124]

Download PDF
United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 15-2124 ___________________________ United States of America lllllllllllllllllllll Plaintiff - Appellee v. Michael Andrew Schlegel lllllllllllllllllllll Defendant - Appellant ____________ Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - St. Paul ____________ Submitted: August 2, 2016 Filed: August 8, 2016 [Unpublished] ____________ Before LOKEN, BENTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges. ____________ PER CURIAM. Michael Andrew Schlegel, a self-described tax protestor, directly appeals the judgment of the district court1 upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of conspiracy to 1 The Honorable Patrick J. Schiltz, United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota. Appellate Case: 15-2124 Page: 1 Date Filed: 08/08/2016 Entry ID: 4434983 defraud the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; attempting to evade or defeat tax, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201; and willful failure to file tax returns, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms. Before and during trial, the district court admonished Schlegel that his advice-of-counsel defense should be premised on the notion that the United States Tax Code was valid and he was required to comply with it. The court also noted that it would sustain objections to irrelevant testimony. For the first time on appeal, Schlegel raises a Sixth Amendment challenge to the limitation on his defense testimony, and the effect of that limitation on his advice-of-counsel defense. Schlegel did not object to the limitation at trial and he has made no showing on appeal that the district court erred. See United States v. Elbert, 561 F.3d 771, 775 (8th Cir. 2009) (evidentiary ruling is reviewed for abuse of discretion, but when party fails to preserve evidentiary issue, appellate review is for plain error); cf. Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192, 205-06 (1991) (describing circumstances where defendant’s views on validity of tax code are irrelevant to issue of willfulness, and need not be heard by jury). Schlegel also argues that the district court exhibited judicial bias during the trial and at sentencing. He did not seek the judge’s recusal or question his impartiality, and he offers no basis for this court to conclude that the judge’s impartiality might reasonably have been questioned. See United States v. Bowie, 618 F.3d 802, 816-17 (8th Cir. 2010) (plain error review); 28 U.S.C. § 455(a); United States v. Prior, 960 F.2d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 1992). Schlegel next raises a claim of selective prosecution—a claim that is waived because it is meritless and was not raised before trial. See United States v. Huber, 404 F.3d 1047, 1054-55 (8th Cir. 2005). This court rejects as frivolous Schlegel’s final argument that Congress lacks authority to enact criminal penalties for tax crimes. See United States v. Drefke, 707 F.2d 978, 980-81 (8th Cir. 1983) (per curiam). -2- Appellate Case: 15-2124 Page: 2 Date Filed: 08/08/2016 Entry ID: 4434983 The judgment is affirmed. _____________________________ -3- Appellate Case: 15-2124 Page: 3 Date Filed: 08/08/2016 Entry ID: 4434983

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?