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TABOR author Douglas Bruce loses bid to appeal convictions that sent him to jail

By: Marianne Goodland ColoradoPolitics.com
January 12, 2018 Updated: January 13, 2018 at 7:18 am
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Doug Bruce in court Wednesday. The jury found the anti-tax advocate guilty on all counts Wednesday of tax evasion. Photo by Scott Rappold, The Gazette

Douglas Bruce, the author 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.

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 jail terms on the two convictions - filing a false tax return and attempting to influence a public servant - and six years of probation, 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 prison 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 was contrite 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 from the Delta Correctional Center.

The Court of Appeals 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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