Douglas Bruce loses another round in court


Douglas Bruce, the father of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights who was convicted of tax evasion in 2011 for filing false tax returns and failure to pay taxes, lost another legal round this week, this time at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A two-judge appeals court panel on Thursday denied Bruce’s request for an appeal of his 2012 convictions.

Bruce was sentenced to two consecutive 90-day prison terms on the two convictions (filing a false tax return and attempting to influence a public servant) and six years probation on all counts, with sentences to run concurrently. Bruce initially served 104 days in jail.

In 2016, he was found guilty of violating probation and served another 180 days of a two-year sentence. At the time of the March 11, 2016, sentencing he told Denver District Judge Sheila Rappaport, “I have no remorse because I’m not guilty.”

Bruce sang a different tune six months later when he sought parole. “I accept responsibility for all my actions. I deeply regret them. It will never happen again,” he told the state parole board.

The Court of Appeals decision said Bruce had “utterly failed to make the showing of actual innocence necessary to establish a fundamental miscarriage of justice that would excuse the procedural default.” The court ruling said such a showing would have to be based on new evidence not presented at trial.

Bruce has had a checkered history since voters approved his constitutional amendment in 1992. He served one term as an El Paso County commissioner, from 2005 to 2008. After two failed attempts to win election to the state Senate, he was appointed to fill a House vacancy just before the start of the 2008 session. His first day as a lawmaker, he kicked a Rocky Mountain News photographer, earning a first-ever censure by the House. He lost a bid to keep that House seat the following November.

Bruce could not be reached for comment.

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