Mistrial in religious objection to filing tax returns case
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A mistrial was declared in the federal prosecution of a Columbia City man accused of willfully failing to file income tax returns from 2011 and 2014. Michael E. Bowman said he objected to funding Planned Parenthood and paying for abortion and withheld his taxes on religious grounds.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the jury, made up of eight women and four men, couldn’t come to a consensus this week after deliberating over two days. They were stuck on the key question of whether Bowman intentionally failed to follow the law.
To prove willfulness, prosecutors had to show that Bowman deliberately didn’t file tax returns even though he knew it was against the law.
Bowman and his lawyer, Matthew Schindler, argued Bowman held a “good faith belief” that the First Amendment, the Oregon Constitution and the federal Religious Freedom Reformation Act permitted his religious objection.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com