A federal judge—who apparently still hasn't seen Demolition Man—on Thursday granted Wesley Snipes's request to remain free on bond until his conviction and sentence are reviewed by a higher court, saying that the former action hero turned tax criminal "does not constitute a danger of any kind."
The Court is persuaded by the history of the case and all of the attendant circumstances that the Defendant poses no substantial risk of flight and does not constitute a danger of any kind if he remains at liberty pending appeal.
Obviously, having denied the Defendant's motions asserting the issues he intends to raise on appeal, the Court is dubious as to the "substantiality" of those issues for purposes of appellate review. Nevertheless, the Court recognizes that the offenses of conviction are misdemeanor offenses, not felonies, and that the time required for the disposition of an appeal may well equal—or nearly equal—the length of the term of commitment imposed.
Snipes was sentenced in late April to three years in prison after being convicted of three misdemeanor tax crimes.
The White Collar Crime Prof Blog (.pdf) has an interesting rundown of how other high-profile figures have made out on their bond appeals:
Former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell—no bail pending appeal on a tax case (see here)
Jamie Olis (Dynegy)
Former Tyco executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz (see post here—but they were in the state system)
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby (but sentence was commuted by the president)Granted
Former Adelphia Communications executives John and Timothy Rigas (but now in prison—see here)
Bernie Ebbers (Worldcom) (now in prison—see here)
Martha Stewart (but she elected to go into the prison system sooner and finished her sentence)
Gov. George Ryan (but denied on cert. petition)