Hamline University law professor charged with state income-tax evasion
Hamline University Law School associate professor Robin K. Magee, an expert in criminal law and a frequent critic and commentator on police and justice issues, has allegedly run afoul of the law herself.
Magee, 46, of St. Paul, has been charged in Ramsey County District Court with 11 felony charges of state income-tax evasion, including failure to pay taxes, failure to file tax returns and filing a false or fraudulent tax return, during the tax years 2004-2007.
According to the criminal complaint, a Minnesota Department of Revenue investigation found that Magee filed her Minnesota income-tax return on time only once in the period from 1991 to 2003 and that she failed to timely file returns for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
In those four years, Magee's wages from Hamline University ranged from $86,872.83 to $112,217.51 a year, according to the complaint.
The amount of taxes owed to the state for 2004-2007, not including penalty and interest, was estimated at $4,938, according to the complaint.
When Magee did file returns, she omitted interest, dividend, capital gains and pension income in the years of 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003, the complaint says.
The complaint also says Magee claimed eight exemptions on her W-4 form, even though she is single and has no dependents.
Magee could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Magee told Revenue Department staff that she has due refunds from overpaid taxes.
But Revenue Department records showed that Magee owed taxes most years, according to the complaint.
On Nov. 25, 2008, Magee faxed a message to the Revenue Department saying she would submit her 2004-2007 returns in a week to 10 days, according to the complaint.
The Revenue Department received faxed copies of Magee's 2004 and 2005 returns Jan. 15 and the 2006 return Feb. 23, according to the complaint. But the returns failed to report income from capital gains, dividend and interest and claimed unsubstantiated business expenses that had been previously disallowed, the complaint said.
The complaint states that the 2007 return remains unfiled.
The charges filed against Magee allege she failed to file tax returns in a timely manner and failed to pay taxes owed for the tax years of 2004-2007. She is also charged with filing a false or fraudulent tax return for the tax years of 2004, 2005 and 2006 because of failure to report income and because of falsely claimed losses from previously disallowed business expenses.
Phillip Prokopowicz, chief deputy attorney in the Dakota County attorney's office, which is handling the case, said he is not aware of any investigation of Magee for federal tax evasion.
The Dakota County attorney's office is handling the case instead of the Ramsey County attorney's office because of a potential conflict of interest because Magee has been a critic of the handling of criminal cases in Ramsey County.
For example, in an opinion piece that appeared in the Pioneer Press in 2007, she criticized the handling of allegations that a juror in the trial of the man accused of killing St. Paul police Sgt. Gerald Vick made racist statements.
The opinion piece sparked angry responses from St. Paul police.
Over the years, Magee has been frequently quoted in newspaper stories about criminal issues and has written opinion pieces on topics including the Rodney King verdict, the O.J. Simpson trial and Tasers carried by St. Paul police in schools.
According to her Web site biography, she was involved in the Committee Seeking Equal Justice for the Minnesota Eight, a support group for the defendants charged with the murders of Minneapolis police officer Jerome Haaf, a Minneapolis police officer who was ambushed by members of a street gang and shot to death on a coffee break in 1992, and Vice Lords member Ed Harris, who was seen talking to Minneapolis police investigators about the Haaf slaying.
A law review article by Magee cited in the bio is called, "The Myth of the Good Cop and the Inadequacy of Fourth Amendment Remedies for Black Men: Contrasting Presumptions of Innocence and Guilt."
The bio also includes a quote from Magee that reads: "I believe, as the founders of this country espoused, that the greatest threat to law and order, peace and liberty is tyranny, not crime. I, therefore, believe that the highest calling of the lawyer is the call to fight against tyranny and government-sponsored or tolerated oppression."
Hamline University spokeswoman Jacqui Getty said Magee is teaching a criminal-law class and a race and law seminar this fall.
Of the tax evasion charges, Getty said, "We feel that this is a personal issue and it wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment on this at this time."
Richard Chin can be reached at 651-228-5560worked at Hamline University for 17 years as a law professor but is not familiar