Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Oath

At the Wednesday, noon OurTown Lawyers Assistance Program one of the younger lawyers talked about entering a plea in U.S. District Court to tax evasion.  Many of the lawyers in the room were able to empathize and share their myriad legal burdens and perils both civil and criminal;  some tax-related, some drug or alcohol-related, and others disciplinary.  With my tax plea looming next week, I was in exactly the right place.  I am feeling enormous stress and anxiety mostly abated by the miracle of the love and support from friends and colleagues.

My former colleague and employer, Irv, and his partners "walk the walk--not just talk about charity."  They continue to support and encourage me and provide me with a great place to work, here, in OurTwon.  Irv worked as an AUSA at one point in his career and has offered a key insight about the nature of my wrongdoing in the context of my oath as an attorney.  I believe I've talked about this issue in the past, but Irv has insisted that I think about the implications of my oath as an attorney and my tax offenses. 

If you are not an attorney this may not mean much to you, but you attorneys know precisely what I'm driving at--an attorney takes an oath that says he or she will uphold the constitution and laws of the United States and of OurState.  When a lawyer commits a crime, including not filing their tax returns they violate that oath, that promise that they made.  This is very heavy, and important and one of the dimensions of loss for me, because being a lawyer meant a lot to me.  I understand why my tax offense is worse than say your tax offense assuming you are a non-lawyer. 

I shared this thought at OLAP and I hope it helps me and others to understand that when we became lawyers we were privileged.  I personally deeply regret that I violated my Oath, but I pray with all sincerity that my experience, fatih and hope provides a positive example as I go forward in my life, no matter what the future holds for me. 


  1. one more time you have been duped as was determind in joe banisters tax case there is no law compeling an individual to pay taxes
    i understand the position you find yourself
    and sympythize you know however claiming not filing or not paying taxes WRONG !!! tonight i went to the wake of a very close friend who went through some wars with me and after his release several years ago he proclaimed to his employer and the IRSthat he chosr not to pay taxes and did so through his W4 and never did so again
    just because it is not popular does not make it untrue

    the pope

  2. Your Holiness,
    Like all holy men your view of taxation is naive and unrealistic. So let me tell you that I appreciate your supportive sentiments but I disagree with your point of view. Your friend.