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Fifth Amendment Upheld Against IRS

  • It had to happen sometime: An appellate court has ruled that citzens have Fifth Amendment rights in their dealings with tax collectors despite IRS protests.
By Vance Beaudreau

For years, the IRS has succeeded in persuading judges to allow them to proceed in their prosecutions and audits in spite of defendant's attempts to rely on Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

Under the guise of a supposed "tax crime exception, U.S. attorneys have been defrauding citizens targeted have been defrauding citizens targeted by the IRS for audit. These victims have been denied their Fifth Amendment rights and thus from the protection our forefathers intended for citizens under attack from the government.

The 1993 Troescher case (U.S. v. Loren C. Troescher No. CV-93-5736SVW) was typical of IRS abuse of citizens' constitutional rights in which a client of attorney Joe Izen was denied his right not to testify or furnish evidence against himself.

The U.S. District court for the Central District of California denied Loren Troescher protection under the Fifth Amendment. The court ordered him to comply with IRS demands by producing documents and answer a series of questions for and involving tax years 1986-1991.

The District court's Order to Compel was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (as No. 95-55609) by Izen. The Order to Compel was stayed by the district court pending appeal.

On November 7. 1996 the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Troescher and the Constitution.

  • There is no general 'tax crime" exception to the Fifth Amendment. Troescher's Fifth Amendment claims were not defeated simply because he feared prosecution for tax crimes.
  • Ninth Circuit case law is clear that the Fifth Amendment may be validly invoked when the taxpayer fears prosecution for tax crimes.
  • On remand to the U.S. District court, Judge Stephen V. Wilson went well beyond the court of appeals in detailing the exact meaning of the protection in Troescher's case.

Wilson's order denying the IRS Motion to Compel was not only in compliance with the ruling of the higher court, but the judge rendered specifics of the protection achieved from the Fifth Amendment in the case.

The district court listed 33 questions that were asked by the IRS that Troescher was not required to answer under the protection of the Fifth Amendment.

The decision was filed December 29, 1997 (Troescher v. U.S. No. 93-5783SVW Shxl).

Patriots who read the decision opined that it should bring significant changes in IRS tactics and place much more emphasis on collection of data and evidence by the IRS tactics and place much more emphasis on collection of data and evidence by the IRS prior to proceeding against a taxpayer in court. Even then, convictions can be expected to become more difficult to obtain.

More details are available from Izen's home page on the Internet at