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1979 OK 172
604 P.2d 377
Decided: 12/18/1979
Supreme Court of Oklahoma


Original Proceeding for Assumption of Original Jurisdiction and for Writ of Prohibition.

¶0 Petitioner seeks assumption of original jurisdiction and petitions for writ of prohibition to prevent the assessment of taxes by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The petitioner completed all blanks on his return with the comment, "Object Self-Incrimination." He asserts that he was denied due process because he was not afforded a jury trial.



Edward Hamil, pro se.

Oklahoma Tax Commission Marjorie Patmon, Gen. Counsel and Thomas G. Ferguson, Jr., Oklahoma City, for respondent.

HODGES, Justice.

¶1 Edward Hamil, a recalcitrant taxpayer, asserts that the Oklahoma Tax Commission violated his constitutional rights. He alleges that the Commission denied him due process of law as mandated by the Okla. Const. art. 2, § 7 ,

¶2 When the taxpayer filed his tax return with the Oklahoma Tax Commission [Commission] for the year 1977, he completed all the blanks with the comment, "Object Self-Incrimination." After consideration of the return, and in conformity with 68 O.S. 1971 § 221 (a),


¶3 The right to trial by jury declared inviolate by the Okla.Const. art. 2, § 19 refers to the right as it existed in the Territories at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. It is based on the right as guaranteed under the United States Constitution, and according to common law.

¶4 No one has a vested right in any mode of procedure as long as a substantial and efficient remedy is provided.

¶5 Original Jurisdiction Assumed. Writ of Prohibition Denied.

¶6 All the Justices concur.


1 The Okla.Const. art. 2, § 7 provides:

"No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." See also § 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

2 The Seventh Amendment of The United States Constitution states in pertinent part:

"In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved."

See also Okla.Const. art. 2, § 19 which provides:

"The right of trial by jury shall be and remain inviolate except in civil cases wherein the amount in controversy does not exceed one hundred dollars . . ."

3 It is provided by 68 O.S. 1971 § 221 (a) in pertinent part:

"If any taxpayer shall fail to make any report or return as required by any State tax law, the Tax Commission, from any information in its possession or obtainable by it, may determine the correct amount of tax for the taxable period. If a report or return has been filed, the Tax Commission shall examine such report or return and make such audit or investigation as it may deem necessary. If, in cases where no report or return has been filed, the Tax Commission determines that there is a tax due for the taxable period, or if, in cases where a report or return has been filed, the Tax Commission shall determine that the tax disclosed by such report or return is less than the tax disclosed by its examination, it shall in writing propose the assessment of taxes or additional taxes, as the case may be, and shall mail a copy of the proposed assessment to the taxpayer at his last known address."

4 Title 68 O.S.Supp. 1978 § 226 (b) states in part:

"Within thirty (30) days from the date of mailing to the taxpayer of the order, ruling or finding of the Tax Commission, any such taxpayer shall pay the tax to the Tax Commission, and at the time of making such payment shall give notice to the Tax Commission of his intention to file suit for recovery of such tax."

5 Keeter v. State, 82 Okl. 89, 198 P. 866, 869, 17 A.L.R. 557 (1921). See also J.V. v. State, 572 P.2d 1283, 1285 (Okl. 1978).

6 See also United States v. Anderson, 584 F.2d 369, 373 (10th Cir. 1978), holding that because an action to collect taxes was an action for debt at common law, the taxpayer's right to a jury trial was preserved by the Seventh Amendment.

7 Crane v. Hahlo, 258 U.S. 142, 147, 42 S. Ct. 214, 66 L. Ed. 514 (1922); Martin v. Harrah Inc. Schl. Dist., 543 P.2d 1370, 1375 (1976).

8 Mathes v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 576 F.2d 70 (2nd Cir. 1978). See also Flora v. United States, 357 U.S. 63, 78 S. Ct. 1079, 2 L. Ed. 2d 1165 (1958).