Wesley Snipes is in court as I write this to be sentenced on his conviction of multiple counts of failing to file income tax returns. All of this stems out of a highly publicized trial in which Federal Prosecutors hoped to land a more serious conviction of conspiracy to avoid paying income taxes and tax fraud which are felonies. To show just how much more serious, his co-defendants were convicted on the more serious charges and are facing ten years in prison.
The lessor conviction at the times seemed like a major victory for Snipes but the true scope will be seen today as prosecutors argue that Snipes as a high profile tax scofflaw should be made and example of and be given the maximum sentence of three years in prison. Hard, real life prison time. Not a stay at “The Rules Don’t Apply To Me” rehab Hilton.
As expected there was a long line of celebrity friends who submitted letters to the court on Snipes behalf attesting to his “good character”. The list includes Woody Harrelson, Goldie Hawn, etc etc. All saying what a great friend and great guy Snipes is. This is not unusual. Whenever someone faces sentencing on a serious crime, there are often letters submitted to the court on that persons behalf in the hope of convincing the judge to hand down the most lenient sentence possible. I would probably do the same if one of my friends were standing tall before the man….
I just have to ask though if we sacrifice our own character when we step forward and ignore the very morals and “character” which we hope to possess and instill in our children. It is one thing to step forward and say your sorry for what you did but how can you step forward and in face of a verdict saying this guy is a liar and a cheat “but besides that he has “great character”…….. When we step forward for Wesley and those similarly situated are we sacrificing our own character in doing so?
It reminds me of a case here in Dallas about two years ago. A former Dallas pastor by the name of Terry Hornbuckle was accused of the rape of several of his parishioners. During trial it was made public that former Dallas Cowboys and NFL Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders both sent letters to the grand jury basically stating what a great guy Pastor Hornbuckle was and what a great influence he was on their families. When I read about these letters, I was frankly shocked that both Emmitt and Deion would put themselves out there like that when this guy is charged with multiple counts of rape. Vouching for this guys “character”.
Pastor Hornbuckle was convicted and is currently serving 15 years. Do you think Emmitt and Deion sent letters to the judge at sentencing. I may be wrong but I doubt it.
This is not a criticism of Emmitt or Deion. If he was my friend, I may have done the same.
It is just an observation on the word “character” . We throw it out there as it suits us. We define it to best self-promote our interests. We dilute it, abuse it, throw it , toss it, stomp it, kick it…. Whenever and whearever it lands, it always seems to be worth a little bit less…..