Dean Christensen, unsuccessful candidate in the last election for the Utah Legislature, has been convicted of eight felony and two misdemeanor counts relating to evasion of state income taxes.
Sentencing was set for May 15 by the 6th District Court and he was released on his on recognizance.Christensen was charged with four felony counts of failing to file state income tax returns and four felony counts of failing to pay state income taxes for 1986 through 1989.
The misdemeanor counts were for failure to pay state income taxes for 1984 and 1985.
It isn't the first time Christensen has been in tax trouble. In prosecuting the case, Sevier County attorney Don Brown noted that the defendant was imprisoned by Washington state in 1977 and incarcerated in Utah in 1987 for tax offenses. Personal property was also auctioned a few years ago by the Internal Revenue Service with the proceeds credited toward unpaid federal income taxes.
Christensen, who served as his own attorney even though the state provided him with a public defender, contended that income taxes are not constitutional. In his final argument before the eight member jury, he accused the state of "stealing money" from him.
In bringing arguments before the court about constitutional points of law, Christensen was frequently reminded by Judge Don V. Tibbs that the court would tell the jury about the law and that the defendant's personal interpretations were not at issue.
Christensen attempted to enter 29 documents into evidence supporting his case, most dealing with Supreme Court decisions. The court rejected 18 of them.
Testifying about Utah State Tax Commission dealings with the defendant were Mercia Milligan, compliance auditor, and LeVoy Sorensen, compliance agent.
Brown introduced as evidence for the state income records, state tax commission records, and copies of correspondence between Christensen and the tax commission and county attorney.
The evidence showed Christensen was required to file and pay taxes but didn't do so and therefore, the main issue before the jury was the willfulness of the defendant's refusal to file income tax forms and pay the taxes.