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U.S. v. Ruffin

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Citation Edit

United States v. Ruffin, 575 F.2d 346 (2d Cir. 1978) (full-text).

Overview Edit

Ruffin was convicted on several counts of federal income tax evasion for filing false and fraudulent personal and corporate income tax returns.

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

On appeal, Ruffin urged, inter alia, that the district court erred in admitting into evidence an IRS computer printout, which allegedly contained a coded notation that Ruffin had, at some indefinite time in the past, contacted the IRS and stated to some unidentified IRS official that his business, Rugore Associates, was not required to file a corporate income tax return for 1972.

During the trial, Ruffin objected to the introduction of the printout only on the basis of irrelevancy. On appeal, Ruffin claimed as a ground for error that the proffered evidence was hearsay. Although Ruffin did not assert this "specific ground of objection" at trial, the appellate court stated that the IRS computer printout could not fit within any of the hearsay exceptions, and was therefore inadmissible against Ruffin in a criminal proceeding.

The court found, however, that under the circumstances, the admission of the printout was harmless error because the printout was introduced solely to show that a corporate tax return for Rugore Associates had not been filed, and Ruffin was not convicted of failing to file such a return.

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