Faculty Scholarship & Activities

Published: March 31st, 2014

Category: News

Bob Dekle
Master Lecturer; Director, Criminal Prosecution Clinic; Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Center

“Marissa Alexander’s sentence could triple in ‘warning-shot’ case” (March 1, 2014, Florida Times-Union)

Dekle commented on this article about a woman who could be sentenced to 60 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her estranged husband. Her original conviction of serving three 20-year sentences concurrently was thrown out and she will go to trial again in July.

From the article:
George “Bob” Dekle, a retired prosecutor who is now a law professor at the University of Florida, said if Alexander is convicted again the issue of whether she should get 60 years in prison could end up going to the Supreme Court.

If a sentence increases on a retrial, the law considers that vindictive unless there’s a good reason for the increased sentence, Dekle said.

“Prosecutors will say it’s not vindictive, it’s what the case law now says you have to do,” Dekle said. “It will be up to the judge to decide if he agrees with that.”

If Daniel agrees with prosecutors and sentences Alexander to 60 years in prison, an appeal is almost certain. But if Daniel sentences her to 20 years the issue is probably done.

“I can tell you as a retired prosecutor you (the state) almost never win appeals on issues like this,” Dekle said.

But Dekle cautioned that the issue is fluid, since multiple Florida appellate courts have ruled on this issue, and some of those rulings conflict with each other.

Omri Marian
Assistant Professor of Law

Marian was one of the go-to sources when the IRS released its guidance on how to handle bitcoins – a relatively new digital exchange method of purchasing goods or services. The IRS determined that bitcoin is not a currency for tax purposes, but will be treated as property. Below is a partial list of the articles in which Marian appears, including an op-ed piece on TaxProfBlog.

“Marian: Bitcoin and Notice 2014-21 op-ed (March 26, 2014, TaxProfBlog)

Excerpt from op-ed:
The Notice “describes how existing general tax principles apply to transactions using virtual currency.” Indeed, the IRS should not be expected to do more than interpreting existing law as applicable to the new technology. It is useful to separate the notice into two main components: substantive part (i.e., how Bitcoin transactions should be taxed), and information reporting part (i.e., how income on Bitcoin transactions should be reported and how tax can be collected). In terms of substance, the Notice does an excellent job explaining how transactions involving Bitcoin are taxed. I also believe that IRS got all of the substantive issues right. In the context of information reporting, however, the Notice exposes the limitations of current tax law when it comes to collecting tax on Bitcoin transactions. While the IRS got the information reporting part right as well, the practical ability of the IRS to enforce such requirements may be limited in certain contexts. Below I separately address substance, information reporting, and some issues that are left unaddressed.

“Taxes Won’t Kill Bitcoin, but Tax Reporting Might” (March 26, 2014, The New York Times)

“Say goodbye to tax-free bitcoins in the U.S.” (March 25, 2014, Politico)

“IRS Says Bitcoin Is Property, Not Currency” (March 25, 2014, The Wall Street Journal)

“IRS Bitcoin Decision Spells Trouble For Retail Use” (March 26, 2014, Law360.com)

Martin McMahon, Jr.
James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar in Taxation and Professor of Law

McMahon published “Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation: The Year 2013,” in 15 Florida Tax Review 233 (2014) (with Ira B. Shepard & Daniel L. Simmons).

McMahon also published “When Subchapter S Meets Subchapter C,” 67 The Tax Lawyer 231 (2014) (with Daniel L. Simmons).

McMahon presented “Reforming the Taxation of Privately Held Businesses” at Duke University Law School Tax Policy Seminar on March 19.

Elizabeth Rowe
UFRF Professor of Law; Feldman Gale Term Professor in Intellectual Property Law; and Director, Program in Intellectual Property Law

Rowe was named to the Lawyers of Color’s 50 Under 50 list — “a comprehensive catalog of minority law professors making an impact in legal education.” The list will be published in the Law School Diversity Issue on April 7.

About Lawyers of Color, from the release: “Lawyers of Color was initially founded as On Being A Black Lawyer but now also produces publications for lawyers of South Asian American, Pacific Asian American, Hispanic, and Native American heritage. LOC has been recognized by the American Bar Association, National Black Law Students Association, and National Association of Black Journalists. Our company provides research, career development, and brand marketing opportunities to our clients. With a core readership of 35,000, nearly 200,000 unique blog visitors, and nearly 4,000 followers and fans, we have the largest social media presence of any minority legal organization.”