Monday, April 5, 2010

I Am Guilty. Where Am I Going?

I am guilty. 

But you knew that.  I am guilty and I intend to tell a federal judge or magistrate that I am guilty.  I am guilty of not filing tax returns and not paying taxes for many years.  This is a fact, and this is the outcome of years of neglect by me--the Bad Lawyer and worst businessman.  I kidded myself that I could just do what I wanted to do or what appealed to me as a lawyer--advocacy; and, the business part, that I hated and which scared me--would take care of itself.  I dreamed that someday I would have enough money to pay everything and everybody I owed.  This did not happen.  The music stopped and I had not planned to find myself where I find myself without a chair.

If you've been following my tale of woe, I made a concentrated effort to bring myself into filing compliance with the untiring assistance and loving support of my professional friends.  I actually did complete this ghastly task of completing a financial autopsy of my law practice, but too late. 

Let me repeat what I siad before: don't do what I did, if you are not in compliance with your tax filing obligations, even if you are afraid you owe money--don't ignore the obligation to file.  I did not do what I was obligated to do, let me serve as your cautionary example. 

I will enter a plea of guilty to a single felony count of willful failure to file my income taxes.  I may go to prison.   I originally planned to write about this a couple of months ago when this outcome seemed certain, but I did not.  Instead I met with the IRS and the assistant US attorney in an effort to see if there was any alternative available to me apart from this criminal outcome.  There is not. 

I intended to end this blawg, at that time, but I did not.  I think being able to write about what I'm going through has helped me manage and cope.  I am trying to be a power of example for my kids, and while I am profoundly depressed--sinking back into alcoholism, or worse--is not a memory I intend to leave them and others.  Oh, sure those thoughts are in there, but that's my ego. 

It is very hard to talk about this, but I hope I will survive my shame and disgrace.  Frankly what I failed to do was shameful and disgraceful--what's happening to me as a legal matter is merely the consequence I so richly deserve. 


  1. Good people sometimes do bad things. Try as we might, it does not make us bad people. We often do a great job, however, convincing ourselves we're bad. In your case, BL, we see through your bad to the abundant good. Even though you've tried mightily to sell us on that Bad Lawyer thing.

  2. Thanks, my friend...I'm gonna try and let it all hang out here on Bad Lawyer. My consequences are tough to digest, but if I can do anything I can leave a record of what this whole awful thing is like. The anxiety has been terrible, so at least some of that has been punctured by this news.

  3. I am very, very sorry to hear about this turn of events. I have become something of a fan of this blog, and by extension, its author.

    On the tax liability issue: please do not concede that what you did in that regard was bad. It was stupid, yes. You need to own the fact that you did a stupid thing and that the thing you did was prohibited by law. But it was not morally bad. The government destroys good people who make the stupid decision to make the government come for its money all the time. The government has options - limitless options - other than destroying people for failure to pay their own taxes. It chooses to destroy, or try to destroy, the people it catches to make examples of them. So it is very stupid not to pay the fed, and it should rightfully be very expensive (financially) when you get caught. But not bad - not normatively wrong.

    You have done a service with this blog. And I very much hope that you keep your wits about you and continue that service by recording and publishing the rest of your journey. In so many ways, your eyes and ears and mind and words can shine light into dark corners for the rest of us, and can also illuminate a better path for those of us who might also be in jeopardy but not know it.

    Please keep up the good fight, and do not let your demons ruin you now that you are battered.

  4. Well spoken, Anon.

    Let me add, BL, that it may take years for you to understand all of the whys that helped lead you to this exalted position. Your strength is that you have embraced your circumstances with remarkable awareness and wisdom. Perhaps, without meaning to, you have transformed what you can of this into a positive experience. For us as well for you.

  5. B.L.

    you know i concurr with anon
    there is nothing i have ever seen in your character that supports you or anyone else hanging the tag bad on you

    it may seem hard with all the weight hung on you at this time to believe you can walk on with pride but eventually you will because there has been some much good done by you and woven into your character for that not to be soon as apparent to you as it is to all of us that

    i always assumed laws were to protect us
    however the I.R.S.uses the law or the claim of a law to destroy more people than any law ever protected

    "the power to tax is the power to destroy"
    don't remember who said it however i know who proved it
    someday soon your smiles

    will again out number your frowns

    the pope
    know and love you

  6. sorry for the poor structure know and love you was supposed to follow ---all of us that

    the illiterate pope

  7. what's up with SMILEY

    the pope

  8. You holiness,

    It's all love for you too, thanks for the wishes, my friend.

    But let me be clear, my fate what ever it may be is a product of my acts and failures to act, no one elses certainly not those of the IRS.

    It does seem to me that a more rational process could come into being for preparing and helping self-employed Americans come into compliance and stay in compliance with the tax laws.