Tax protester Rulon DeYoung has been sentenced to up to 15 years in the state prison.
"I must stand up and uphold what rights I have," DeYoung, 56, said during a 3rd District Court sentencing hearing Monday.Judge Anne Stirba said, "There is nothing noble nor courageous in simply refusing to contribute your appropriate share (of taxes) as required by law.
"You can believe whatever you want, but your conduct has been criminal - and for that you are going to prison," she said.
A jury convicted DeYoung last month of refusing to pay state taxes since 1990. It found the former Granite School District bus driver guilty of six counts each of second-degree-felony tax evasion and third-degree-felony failure to file a proper tax return.
The judge said she will recommend DeYoung be paroled as soon as he files proper tax returns and pays the $2,800 he owes in back taxes.
Defense attorney Robin Ljung-berg said he hopes to convince DeYoung to do just that. "I think he's proven his point," Ljungberg said.
Assistant Utah attorney general Wade Winegar believes DeYoung will remain stubborn. Two previous stints in jail did not convince him to pay his taxes. Those terms - totaling 37 days behind bars - were for contempt of court in civil tax suits.
"The state is trying to put Mr. DeYoung's head on a pike and parade it down Main Street to frighten others into paying their taxes," Ljungberg said. "To come in hard and vicious and club people down feeds into the belief that government is not acting responsibly."
Ljungberg said he also was concerned as a taxpayer that the government would spend thousands of dollars to prosecute DeYoung.