The Mongols Nation Case has been continued yet again.
A jury trial to determine whether the Mongols Motorcycle Club is guilty of racketeering and conspiracy to racketeer was most recently scheduled to begin in about two weeks on September 30. The trial had previously been scheduled to begin on September 24, 2013 and March 25, 2014. Now the trial is scheduled to begin March 24, 2015.
Federal District Judge Otis D. Wright will preside. The Mongols lawyer, Joseph A. Yanny, had tried to have Wright removed from the case because Wright is practically the prosecution’s head coach, but this summer a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals told the Mongols to raise the issue again on direct appeal if they lose at trial.
Seizing The Patch
A federal grand jury accused the Mongols of being racketeers in February 2013. The case is actually a do-over of the patch forfeiture part of the 2008 case US v. Cavazos et al. What the Department of Justice wants is the power to outlaw motorcycle clubs, and other collective membership associations, by seizing those associations’ names and insignia. The theory is that motorcycle club patches, rather than the men who wear them, scare people. Consequently, the theory continues, if the government can simply outlaw the wearing of patches, witnesses will no longer be intimidated, assaults will no longer occur and the scourge of illegal drugs will vanish.
Or, as Judge Wright put it, “…you are saying that it is no different than them having perhaps having been Lutheran and they are of doing all these criminal things and it is just coincidental that some of them were Lutheran; right? It is not the same thing, is it? They are operating under the banner of the Mongols. It is that name, that reputation, that intimidation factor which enables them to do what they do, isn’t it?”
The Australian State of Queensland recently criminalized wearing motorcycle club patches in bars and other public places and forbid more than two people wearing patches from standing next to each other but in the United States there are constitutional protections against totalitarianism.
Prosecution As Punishment
Even though the Mongols, just like the Iron Order, don’t need anybody’s permission to wear a sign on their back, it only takes one stupid and arrogant judge to abrogate the Constitution. Wright doesn’t seem to be a wise, learned or thoughtful man, so there is a good chance that a jury will rule against the Mongols whenever this case is finally tried. And the government will absolutely lose on appeal. Nobody is going to permanently take the Mongols patch away until the Constitution is amended to allow that.
But the point here has never been a disagreement about the law. The point is to punish the Mongols by making the club defend itself over and over. And the club is going to have to continue to do that at least through next spring.