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Wesley Snipes' Appeal: Can he Get his Case to U.S. Supreme Court?

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on December 27, 2010 8:45 AM

Does Wesley Snipes really have a shot at getting his tax evasion conviction before the U.S. Supreme Court? It's not an easy path to argue before the Justices at the High Court, after all.

A quick recap: Wesley Snipes was convicted of tax evasion and other crimes in November 2008. He has been appealing the conviction ever since and was recently began serving his time. Snipes was initially denied his request for a new trial based on arguments that his conviction rested on a prejudiced jury. Snipes was also denied his request to remain out of prison on bail while he appealed the conviction.

Although it may seem like the end of the road for the 48-year-old actor, he is hoping to take his case to the top. And by top he means the U.S. Supreme Court. Snipes has served just over a week of his three year sentence and at this point his legal team has filed a new appeal asking for his denied bail to be reversed in order to take his case to the Supreme Court, according to Gather.

So can Snipes actually get his case to the U.S. Supreme Court? To begin, just because a party wants to appeal a case all the way to the Supreme Court does not mean it will ever get there. The Supreme Court hears very few cases a year as most cases are resolved in the lower courts.

The first step in Snipes' quest for Supreme Court review will be to file a writ of certiorari with the Court, which is essentially a petition for review. The Supreme Court Justices also conduct their own screening process which requires a majority vote to hear a case.

The Court receives close to 10,000 petitions a year, of which only 150 cases will actually be selected for review. The Supreme Court selects cases on a range of topics, including celebrity tax evasion. But the Justices work to choose cases of national interest that require a final resolution.

Whether Snipes will fall into this highly selective category will essentially require the star to win the judiciary lottery. And a persuasive legal team always helps too.

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