Mr. Kuniansky first began handling criminal tax cases as an Assistant United States Attorney in Atlanta, GA in 1980. From 1980-1987, he prosecuted a variety of criminal tax cases including tax evasion, failure to file, tax protesters and what was then the largest bribery case in the history of the IRS. From 1987-1992, Mr. Kuniansky worked at a premier large downtown Houston law firm defending clients charged with tax evasion and failure to file tax returns. In 1992, Mr. Kuniansky started his own law firm, and from 1992 to present has defended virtually every type of criminal tax case imaginable.
There is a built in defense to every criminal tax case. In Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192 (1991), the United States Supreme Court held that due to the complexities of tax laws, a Defendant does not act willfully if he believes in good faith that his actions comport with the law. Moreover, if the Defendant honestly held a belief that his actions did not violate the tax laws, the jury must acquit, even if that belief was unreasonable or irrational. As a result of this Supreme Court case, a jury instruction emerged, called a Cheek instruction , setting forth this principle. In a case Mr. Kuniansky recently argued before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court held for the first time that it is error to fail to give this instruction in a criminal tax case upon defense request. United States v. Montgomery, 747 F.3d 303 (5th Cir. 2014).