Wayne Wojtas’ “Reliance” on Benson (1985)
By: Bill E. Branscum
Copyrights 2003

The Wojtas case, decided May 10, 1985, by the United States District Court For The Northern District Of Illinois, Eastern Division, Case No. 85 CR 48, cited as United States Of America, Plaintiff, v. Wayne Wojtas, Defendant, and reported at 611 F. Supp. 118, is particularly interesting in that Wayne Wojtas was not a pro se appellant – he was represented by Andrew B. Spiegel, the attorney lauded by William J. Benson in the book The Law That Never Was.

Also note, that this is the same Atty. Spiegel who represented Benson in previous litigation and is alleged to have paid him in excess of $100K in "under the table" cash that Benson was convicted of neglecting to pay tax on.

In this tax evasion case, Wayne Wojtas moved to dismiss the indictment charging him with three counts of willful failure to file income tax returns in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203. In support thereof, Wojtas argued that the Sixteenth Amendment was not validly ratified, so that the present Internal Revenue Code was unlawful, and any indictment brought under the Code was invalid.

As evidence, Attorney Andrew Spiegel submitted his Memorandum of Law as well as three large volumes including: The Law That Never Was by Bill Benson and M. J. "Red" Beckman, and two loose-leaf binders containing certified copies of the documents referred to in the book.

In this 1985 case, the Court received and reviewed Benson’s “evidence” as presented by Atty. Spiegel according to the published Opinion, in which they state:

“The Court This Court has read all the introductory and concluding materials in the Benson-Beckman volume, particularly including the February 15, 1913, memorandum (the "Opinion") by the Solicitor of the Department of State (that Department's general counsel, with responsibility for furnishing legal opinions to the Secretary of State) -- a document characterized by Messrs. Benson and Beckman as their "Golden Key" that "unlocks a Pandora's box of criminal fraud perpetrated by public servants, who betrayed the trust of their masters."

The Court went on to say:

"Spiegel argues for Wojtas that Secretary of State Philander Knox committed fraud -- a violation of the criminal statutes of the United States -- in certifying the adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment. But Wojtas' counsel is no different from most persons who essay revisionist history: He prefers to ignore what he cannot explain away. [C]ompliance with Article V's requirements are within the sole province of Congress and not the courts -- in the language that has come to characterize such issues, they are "political" (that is, nonjusticiable) questions.

Wojtas' counsel simply refuses to recognize the impact of Field (let alone Leser) on his arguments "an amendment has been completed and become a part of the Constitution," and as to that the "Congressional determination ... is final and removed from examination by the courts."

Despite Wojtas' counsel's efforts to distinguish away controlling Supreme Court authority, the principles announced in Leser, Field and Coleman are dispositive. Secretary Knox's certification and Congress' determination as to the adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment are not judicially reviewable. [my emphasis]

Further, as if the spanking they gave Benson's 16th Amendment argument wasn't enough, the Court saw fit to include an Appendix to their decision providing a forum for them to express ther comments related to Atty. Spiegel.

One kind of extraordinary irony is posed by the motion dealt with in the body of this opinion. Wojtas' counsel Spiegel, apparently imbued with the same fervor that marks his clients' beliefs, makes a number of references to asserted misrepresentations and false representations by government counsel (in that respect Spiegel would do well to read ABA Code of Professional Responsibility EC 7-37). Yet he fails to recognize the lack of candor in one of his own fundamental contentions, on which it is worth spending a moment.

But the point here is not whether counsel is right in contending that the proper test for his clients' criminal intent is a subjective one, but rather whether counsel is forthright in simultaneously urging a sharply different standard for "criminality" of the long-deceased former Secretary of State.

This is not a case where "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." Counsel's responsibilities to the adversary system deserve better.

Rather than expect your Clients to accept your word for it, you can let them read the Decision, Order and Appendix for themselves. See Exhibit.

I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.

© Copyright 2002 - Bill E. Branscum. All Rights Reserved.