Cue The Clown

December 22, 2014

All Posts, News

There was a half day of testimony last Friday in the Lake County, California trial of three Hells Angels named Timothy R. Bianchi, Nicholas F. Carrillo and Josh L. Johnson. The three men are accused of beating a Vago named Michael Anthony Burns at a tattoo convention in Lakeport, California in June 2011. The fight lasted about a minute.

The jury heard from two witnesses. The first was an emergency room physician named Steve Schifflett who testified that Burns had facial bruises, a cut lip and a possible broken nose. Burns declined to have his nose X-rayed. Someone had already stitched his lip by the time Schifflett saw him.

Burns has always maintained that he suffered the injuries in a fall. He refused to testify during a pretrial hearing.


The second witness was Burns himself and he refused to testify again. That was prosecutor Art Grothe’s only point.

Grothe told the jury the Vago would refuse to testify and then he showed them the Vago not testifying. Burns doesn’t have a lawyer and he has refused to invoke his Fifth Amenment right against self incrimination. All he said Friday was, “I refuse to answer that question.”

The third time Burns said that, after Grothe’s third question, the prosecutor told the jury, “I think we’ve established a pattern here.”

When the trial next resumes, the prosecution will call self styled biker authority Jorge Gil-Blanco to the stand. Gil-Blanco, a San Mateo County Deputy Sheriff who may or may not know where the start button is on a Harley, has somehow made a career out of testifying about the styles, mores and alleged criminality of motorcycle clubs. He is expected to testify that outlaw motorcycle club members never testify for the prosecution  – even against their assailants. Jurors may have to guess the logical implications of that beyond the fact that many motorcycle club members are cynical about the criminal justice industry. The point of the trial seems to be to put on an expensive show that in and of itself will punish the three Hells Angels for being Hells Angels.

A defense attorney named Michael Clough called Grothe’s examination of Burns “a charade.”

Gil-Blanco will begin his testimony January 7 and he may testify for up to a week.

The Show Must Go On

The decision to prosecute the three defendants seems to have more to do with attention whoring by a local sheriff named Francisco Rivero and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation than with public safety or the righting of any wrong.

The case against the three Angels was initially investigated by a Lake County Sheriff’s Sergeant named Gary Frace. Frace didn’t think there was much to prosecute and he closed the case. That prompted Rivero to reopen the “investigation” and order his internal affairs unit to investigate Frace.

Eventually, after a federal investigation that lasted more than a year, Bianchi, Carrillo and Johnson were charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon and a “gang enhancement.”

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25 Responses to “Cue The Clown”

  1. Philo Greenwood Says:

    I recently saw a discussion somewhere here on the jury nullification process. One of the posters wished for a national movement that would let jurors know that jury nullification is a valid response if a juror feels that a law, or the prosecution, is unjust. In practice, juries are usually told that they must convict if a defendant is guilty, regardless of how they feel about the fairness of the law which was broken, or the techniques of the prosecution.

    There is a national movement that has received a bit of publicity in the fight for marijuana legalization. The “Fully Informed Jury Association” advocates for the creation of laws which require that the judge tell the jury that nullification is possible, and they have a right to do so if they feel that is the best outcome.

    This is the last thing that judges and prosecuting lawyers want a jury to hear, and they have fought tooth-and-nail against FIJA. But with all the bad publicity cops are getting in the mainstream press due to their incessant killing of unarmed black men, this might be a time for the movement to gain some traction.

    One can learn a lot by googling “fully informed jury amendment” and going to the website.

    Much respect to all you guys. I’m new here … been reading for about half a year. I’m an old guy who has ridden dirt bikes all my life, but not too long ago felt the deep rumble of a H-D stiring in my guts and the highway calling real hard. I’m on a smaller metric cruiser now, but it is about to grow up into a Sportster … while I take my time building an fxr and then maybe finding and restoring an older Indian.

    And thanks to Rebel and the regular posters for the most interesting and intriguing reading I have enjoyed in a long long time. It sure would be nice to have an “aging rebel run” sometime where riders could meet the people they have gotten to know oh so damn well thru their writing here.

    Much honor and respect for Rebel and his regulars. You know who you are!

    Philo Greenwood

  2. BMW Says:

    The actions of leo, in this case, make it clear that all cops are expected to lie and fabricate evidence, or else they will be investigated for possible wrong-doing.

    The case also makes it clear that leo will say ANYTHING to get a conviction. If one cop refuses to perjure himself, there are others that will step up.

    I think that this also applies to the premeditated murder of Zach Tipton…


  3. Road Whore Says:

    Gang enhancement my ass. Fuck a bunch of gang enhancement. Soon there will be enhancements for everything: a ticket for a traffic infraction with a tire tread depth warning enhancement. Fuck me naked, running backwards with high heels on.

    Ride Free

  4. Tooj Says:

    Unless there is a complainant, the rest of this is just conjecture. Red & Gold has a good point about congratulating anyone for anything. Anybody know if there WAS a dustup between Angels and a Vago? All I’ve read is that some cop thinks there was one and we know cops lie. Who’s business is it to guess here? Or to corroborate the bullshit cops are trying to sell through their comments?

    Mr. Burns said nothing happened aside from taking a spill, so nothing else happened. I’m not sure how listing what he had fixed from the fall is even material. It only serves to further embarrass him for being clumsy. I know I always feel a bit foolish when I hurt myself in that manner.

    To top it off, they drag this guy into court and basically call him a liar by continuing to question him after providing a context that his testimony is some sort of “code of honor” and proves guilt. And an additional three lives are affected. AND since investigators are now being investigated for poor fabrication performance, this smells of…

    Horseshit. He said he fell.

    Membership in a 1% MC means that nothing you say is true? Is that what these assholes (cops) are trying to prove? And who gets punished other than anyone wearing a diamond?

    And for what?

    Being noticed in the proximity (at any time) of a person who suffered injuries in a fall? Isn’t this the very same sort of thing the bikies in OZ are dealing with? Isn’t this the same as their BS bikie laws against congregating? Careful what you go to the hospital to get treated for…someone may want to make more of it than it is…yup, that’s horseshit.

  5. old_boy Says:

    What deadly weapon? It’s incredible, the initial investigator’s finding is all there is, and he became the subject of an IA investigation? So, are all the feds going to be investigated as well? Short of fabricating evidence, I can’t see how they came up with a charge, except the deadly weapon thing,which appears to be based on a guy having a fat lip.

  6. ipsick Says:

    Seems the locals need to be reminded of this fiasco around election time. You waste our tax money, you go home.

  7. Red&Gold Says:

    Guys… 1st, I do not know what happened and if I did I still wouldn’t make it my business to talk about, and am not speaking about specifics…in reality, this is not my business, any more than it is the courts business, so I am not addressing other clubs business here…

    I just need to say, while Respect IS owed, so no disrespect intended, it is EXPECTED that a true “outlaw” clubber, (let alone a 1%ER ) doesn’t testify, and tries to never make a statement, or speak to the law at all…It is what it is. (I would be surprised if I ever read comments on here from any of you who know me, that seemed to indicate you might expect me to behave any other way! Dig?) everybody knows that we do not testify…even the prosecutors, ex and current sheriff’s, and others humping this case to try to produce a little more cash flow for the machine…. So while he indeed does deserve ones Respect, it is because he lives who he is, by a code that demands certain core values… It’s as if one should be surprised that a tiger has stripes…what is shocking , is when one doesn’t!

    EVERYDAY across this country clubbers “refuse to testify”… seems to me the most telling point of this is how “gang enhancement” laws are used to make what would normally be considered A bunch of the boys whooping it up in the Malamute saloon, into a crime that can really get some press, and bring some serious time against a member or members of clubs that live lives in a way they just plain do not like or want around… What next? Gang Enhancements for traffic infractions?

  8. popeye Says:

    Mr Burns responded correctly to the questions asked on the stand Salinas vs texas

  9. Paladin Says:

    “The case against the three Angels was initially investigated by a Lake County Sheriff’s Sergeant named Gary Frace. Frace didn’t think there was much to prosecute and he closed the case. That prompted Rivero to reopen the “investigation” and order his internal affairs unit to investigate Frace.”

    Even when the cops do the right thing, by not “towing the line”, they run the risk of getting screwed over by other cops. Catching an IA investigation is what can happen when a cop takes a practical approach to law enforcement. Good on Sgt. Frace for being old school.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  10. Viking 1%er Says:

    Vago Burns exemplifies how MEN in our world should deal with LEO. I carry a card I had made concerning my rights with me at all times it reads.
    I have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
    Anything I do say may be used against me in a court of law.
    I have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
    If I cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for me before any questioning if I wish.
    If I decide to answer questions now without an attorney present I will still have the right to stop answering at any time until I talk to an attorney.
    And furthermore I AINT SAYING A FUCKING THING!!!!!!!!

    Nuff said

    Respect to those that earn it Vago Burns you sir have earned it in spades I am sure your Brothers are proud. L,H&R

  11. John Deaux Says:

    No victim, no crime.
    Utmost respect for Vago Burns.

  12. bcnasty Says:

    Jorge Gil-dildo going to educate the jury ? Shit, I would almost pay to see that comedy. What could he testify to? The Two clubs do not get along? When you fight an Angel you fight them all? This entire trial seems almost to stupid to be actually happening. I thought witch hunts ending in Salem many years ago.Three Angels pummeled the man and he got a split lip, facial bruises and a broke nose to me means Burns can hold his own. Burns not taking the fifth most likely so the DA could not do the ” he is in fear for his Life ” bullshit they would have used if he did. Smart move on his part. Not to mention his Honor can never be suspected. My sincere hope this turns out to a positive outcome for those being wrongly charged.Following this one with great interest as the outcome will be a barometer for the future.
    Respects to men of Honor

  13. panamaa Says:


    Spot on…

    As always, Respects…

  14. Paladin Says:

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  15. DocHoliday Says:

    T-Hell nailed it…
    For the mentaly challanged I’ll elaborate… Think about it, where have we heard, “multiple attackers on one victim” & victim suffered “facial bruises and a possible or slight fractured nose” ? Oh yeah, Mr. Pissypants…
    Hey all you urine order skid marks, Rebels USA and their cheerleaders, take note of this story! Take note on how Vago Burns handled this possible event… This is how a man who actually lives the life you imitate handles such a situation. This is just one of many differences between you posers and the real… He doesn’t piss himself, he doesn’t talk to the cops, he didn’t pull a gun and he sure as hell doesn’t testify even against his enemies!
    Respect Vago Burns!


  16. JMacK Says:

    Firstly, clowns have no business on a good ol biker page. Sorry Tooj.

    Secondly, it sure sounds like a bullshit trial like this would be better served putting the money to feeding some hungry folk or making sure some kids get presents or something. Fucking garbage.

    Much respect for Vago Burns.


  17. tj Says:

    T Hell, well said.

  18. Rebel Says:

    Dear CJ,

    Yeah I know. Rivero, however, will testify at this trial.


  19. cj Says:

    You realize that Rivero is no longer the Sheriff there right and the DA hated him?

  20. Tooj Says:

    Why pick on clowns? There are a lot of hard working ethical type clowns that entertain and all that. It’s a ‘bit’ unfair to bring them into this dog and pony show by way of reporting about cops. Clowns sit so much higher on the strata than is appropriate for this bullshit.

    This cop has a hard-on for Angels since so many of them were able to vanish under his ever watchful eye. He even posted snipers (several reported that they briefly saw motorcycles but they “just seemed to vanish into the trees; the movement wasn’t natural”). That doesn’t happen every day unless you’re dealing with one of those Ancient Alien Sasquatch Bikers that Steve and Mike Cook keep looking for; the trail of clues is growing.

  21. CN Says:

    T Hell : Seconded. Were that all who talk the talk would walk the walk. The Vagos have reason to be proud.

  22. FF Says:

    “emergency room physician named Steve Schifflett who testified that Burns had facial bruises, a cut lip and a possible broken nose.”

    Shit, that was a typical Friday night for me on Elmora Avenue or down by the Bayway Circle in Elizabeth NJ back when I was a bachelor.

  23. T Hell Says:

    Many could learn much from Vago Burns


  24. popeye Says:

    What could gil-blanco possible have to testify about for a week at a trial where no crime was committed or witnessed . Maybe he’ll show movies for the jury and make them sit through all 6 seasons of sons on anarchy claiming they’re documentaries. Shit I’d convict my own mother after that.

  25. tommy Says:

    What a waste of tax payer dollars….The idiots trying this should be sued for wasting funds

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