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Court of Appeals to decide if man can use RFRA as defense for tax evasion

Posted at 2:50 PM, Nov 22, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Court of Appeals will now decide whether an Indianapolis man can use the state's religious freedom law as a defense for evading taxes.

Rodney Tyms-Bey faces three counts of tax evasion. Prosecutors say Tyms-Bey fraudulently used tax credits and owes more than $1000.

Tyms-Bey says he doesn't have to pay taxes because of his religion and that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects him. 

Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Tim Delaney says the RFRA law should be fixed in the upcoming legislature.

"These kind of defenses coming out of the woodwork one after another and courts being burdened with sorting it out in every kind of case. We've seen them in battery cases we've seen them in drug cases.  There needs to be some clarity that criminal laws are criminal laws and that's just what we do here in this state is prosecute crimes. We don't have to get into this matter every time someone raises a defense," said Delaney.

This is the second time RFRA has been used as a criminal defense.

A Burmese woman, who was arrested after beating her seven-year-old child with a plastic coat hanger, says RFRA allowed her to discipline her child as she saw fit.

Kin Park Thiang pleaded guilty in October.

A judge agreed to drop a neglect charge in exchange for 364 days probation and a day credit for time already served.