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United States v. Westbrooks

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 13, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Petitioner - Appellee,
v.
TAMNY WESTBROOKS, Respondent - Appellant

Argued December 9, 2014.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. (3:09-mc-00191-RJC-1). Robert J. Conrad, Jr., District Judge.

ARGUED:

Brian D. Boone, ALSTON & BIRD LLP, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellant.

William Michael Miller, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Ross Hall Richardson, Acting Executive Director, Joshua B. Carpenter, FEDERAL DEFENDERS OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA, INC., Asheville, North Carolina; E. Bowen Reichert Shoemaker, ALSTON & BIRD LLP, Atlanta, Georgia, for Appellant.

Anne M. Tompkins, United States Attorney, Amy E. Ray, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Asheville, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Before TRAXLER, Chief Judge, and GREGORY and AGEE, Circuit Judges. Judge Gregory wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Traxler and Judge Agee joined.

OPINION

Page 594

GREGORY, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Tamny Westbrooks appeals her criminal contempt conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 401(3) for failure to comply with a grand jury subpoena. Westbrooks contends that the district court violated her due process rights by requiring her to prove her advice-of-counsel defense. Because we find that the court did not impermissibly shift the burden of proof to Westbrooks, we affirm Westbrooks's conviction.

I.

In the fall of 2008, the Internal Revenue Service (" IRS" ) issued summonses to Westbrooks and " Jane Doe" [1] as part of an administrative tax investigation of " the Business." Both Westbrooks and Doe had filed tax returns representing themselves as the owner of the Business. When Westbrooks and Doe declined to provide any records, lead investigator Special Agent William Quattlebaum obtained a search warrant for the Business's premises. The warrant allowed agents to seize general business records and certain clients' tax returns and tax-related information, ...


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