Outlaws Indicia Hearing

February 18, 2015

All Posts, News

The American Outlaws Association is contesting the forfeiture of three club owned, cutoff vests as part of an assault case in McHenry County, Illinois. McHenry County is northwest of Chicago and east of Rockford. The cuts were seized during early morning raids on January 31, 2013 along with five handguns, five rifles, ammunition, brass knuckles, two switch blade knives, a black jack , a quarter ounce of marijuana, a gram of cocaine, a very small spoon and some rolling papers.

The case started when five men wearing Outlaws indicia (which is the legal term for indicators that the men were club members) and a woman wering a “property of” patch walked into a bar called the Lizard Lounge in unincorporated Wonder Lake, Illinois on November 30, 2012. In a press release, announcing the arrests, McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said the “motorcycle club members went to the tavern looking for a specific person.”

According to testimony in the forfeiture hearing last Friday, a half dozen mellow people were in the bar at the time, singing along with a karaoke machine, dancing and getting pleasantly numb. The Outlaws entered and were belligerant. Two men were punched, knocked down and kicked. The woman who accompanied the five men allegedly spat beer in another woman’s face and threw her across a bar.

The woman and the five Outlaws were charged with felony aggravated battery and mob action. The legal question is whether the bar invasion had anything to do with the Outlaws club.

Street Gang

Two local prosecutors named Randi Freeze and Robert Zalud argue that the club was involved in the assaults, if only symbolically. The state lawyers put a succession of biker experts on the witness to tell the judge, an elected official named Sharon L. Prather, that this sort of thing is the reason the AOA exists. A local deputy named Kyle Mandernack testified that “The vests are directly related to facilitate street gang-related crime.”

A motorcycle gang expert named James Duffy, who is also an investigator for the State’s Attorney’s Office in neighboring DuPage County, said the men were acting on behalf of a “gang” that was guilty of “criminal activity.” He said the reason the defendants wore their Outlaws patches was to intimidate their alleged victims.

Duffy had a unique interpretation of the flair the defendants wore on their vests. For example, he told Judge Prather that the one percenter patch indicates an allegiance to gangs that engage in criminal activity.

Big Issue

Joel Rabb, the lawyer representing the AOA, told the judge that it isn’t a crime to belong to the motorcycle club and that what the defendants were wearing the night of the assaults is irrelevant.

The case isn’t big but the issue is. The prosecutors in McHenry County are trying to make the same argument federal prosecutors are trying to make against the Mongols Motorcycle Club in Los Angeles: That motorcycle clubs are basically criminal enterprises; that intimidation is a key to their criminality; and that the patches they wear are fundamental to that intimidation. No patch, no intimidation. No intimidation, no crime. The argument rests on the assumption that public safety trumps the right to dress as you please.

No matter what Judge Prather rules when the forfeiture hearing resumes March 6, many appeals courts have already ruled that wearing a club patch is a form of Constitutionally protected expression. The prosecutors and their experts should already know that but they are fighting for the forfeiture anyway.

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14 Responses to “Outlaws Indicia Hearing”

  1. Eochaidh CuChulainn OghaChruithne Says:


    Tartan and the Dress Act of 1746

    “What was it about tartan that so infuriated, or frightened, the Hanoverian government that it made the wearing of it, by males in the Highlands, a criminal offence in the aftermath of the ‘Forty-Five Rebellion ? Tartan having been worn, not only by Jacobite rebels, but also by clansmen who had fought for the government, it might appear an ill-considered and politically unsound measure which indiscriminately punished rebel and loyalist alike.”

    “It is unwise, however, to consider the Dress Act of 1746 in isolation as a unique political, legal and cultural phenomenon. In reality it was the culmination of a thirty-year process, the dual-purpose of which was to eradicate the military threat, to the British government, of the Jacobite Highland clans, and to eliminate the culturally separate identity of the Highland people.”

    1. Disarming Act of 1716

    “In the year 1715, the throne of the United Kingdom was occupied by George I of Hanover. The Earl of Mar (nicknamed “Bobbing John” because of his record of changing political parties) raised the Jacobite standard at Braemar, and over 12,000 Highland clansmen took up arms in order to gain the crown for James Edward Stuart (VIII & III).”

    “In 1716 reprisals were stern. Two Jacobite leaders were executed (the others having fled into exile), estates were forfeited and rank and file Jacobite clansmen were sent as slaves to the plantations. Government attempts at this time to disarm the clans were largely unsuccessful. Jacobites simply handed in old, rusted and useless weapons, while putting more effective arms into hiding.”

    “It is greatly for the interest of Scotland that the Highland Clans be encouraged and kept up, and their whole people armed… there may be easily fifteen or sixteen thousand of them modelled into regiments, if commanded by their different chiefs… To be cloathed in the Highland habit with plaids, westcoats, and treus in winter, which may be of different colours and different marks on their targets, as their chiefs shall think fitt, to distinguish what regiment they belong to.”

    “(Dare we imagine that this implies clan tartans ?)”

    2. Disarming Act of 1725

    There was a further unsuccessful Jacobite uprising in 1719. The Earl of Seaforth and other Jacobite chiefs, supported by a body of Spanish soldiers, were defeated by General Wightman and the Royal Navy. This affair led to more determined legislation.

    “An Act for more effectual Disarming of the Highlands in that part of Great Britain called Scotland, and for better Securing the Peace and Quiet of that Part of the Kingdom… ”

    by which the men of the clans were required to surrender their –

    “…Broad Swords, Targets, Poynards, Whingers or Durks, Side Pistol or Side Pistols Guns or any other Warlike Weapon.”

    “(As yet there was still no legislation relating to clothing or to tartan.)”

    “We are most fortunate in having a clear insight as to the attitude of the English outsider toward the Highland people and their culture at this time in the writings of Captain Edmund Burt, a government engineer, who wrote his “Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland” in the 1730s. Burt was recording first-hand experiences of his time with Wade in the Highlands. Regarding the traditional clothing of the people he has this to say -”

    “Various reasons are given both for and against the Highland dress. It is urged against it, that it distinguishes the natives as a body of people distinct and separate from the rest of the subjects of Great Britain, and thereby is one cause of their narrow adherence among themselves, to the exclusion of all the rest of the kingdom…”

    “Here we most certainly have a harbinger of what, in our own time, might be considered racial and cultural intolerance, which would, in the years to come, be expressed by the legislation against Highland clothing. Burt continues -”

    “…but the part of the habit chiefly objected to is the plaid (or mantle), which they say, is calculated for the encouragement of an idle life in lying about upon the heath, in the daytime, instead of following some lawful employment; that it serves to cover them in the night when they lie in wait among the mountains, to commit their robberies and depredations; and is composed of such colours as altogether, in the mass, so nearly resemble the heath on which they lie, that it is hardly to be distinguished from it until one is so near them as to be within their power, if they have evil intention…”

    “The reader might be forgiven for suspecting an implication that, south of the Highland Line, among folk who were properly dressed, there was an absence of idleness and criminality. Burt leads on to the political dimension of the matter -”

    “…that it renders them ready at a moment’s warning, to join in any rebellion, as they carry continually their tents about them.”

    “We need not doubt that there is in all of this an element of racial prejudice. Burt himself alerts us to it in his first letter -”

    “…yet there are some among our countrymen [the English] who are so prejudiced, that they will not allow (or not own) there is anything good on this side of the Tweed.”

    3. Dress Act of 1746

    “On the 2nd of August 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, eldest son of James (VIII & III – the “Old Pretender”), landed on the isle of Eriskay with seven companions. When the standard of Royal House of Stuart was raised at Glenfinnan, Highland clans rallied to the cause. The subsequent course of the ‘Forty-Five Rebellion has been so oft recorded, and is so well known, that suffice it to say, the army of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” looked for a time set to victory, with the Jacobites reaching Derby by December.”


    “As Commander-in-Chief, Cumberland must take responsibility for the many atrocities committed in the aftermath of the Rising, for he instigated them, but he was probably no worse than his Generals – Hawley in particular – and junior officers, whose brutish behaviour, especially when, as they frequently were, in their cups, is well documented. This was an era when murder, pillage and burning were the normal lot of the losing side in any fight but, even so, the reprisals against the ordinary Highland people were, to any normal mind, excessive and left an evil memory, distorted by time and politics.”

    “(“The Highland People” James D. Scarlett)”

    “This was the mood against which the Dress Act of 1746 was drafted and passed by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.”

    “From and after the first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and forty seven, no Man or Boy, within that part of Great Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers in His Majesty’s Forces, shall, on any pretence whatsoever wear or put on the Clothes commonly called Highland Clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder Belts, or any part whatsoever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no Tartan, or party-coloured Plaid or Stuff shall be used for Great Coats, or for Upper Coats; and if any such Person shall presume after the first day of August, to wear or put on the aforesaid Garments, or any part of them, every such Person so offending, being convicted thereof by the Oath of One or more credible Witness or Witnesses before any Court of Justiciary or any one or more Justices of the Peace for the Shire or Stewartry, or Judge Ordinary of the Place where such Offence shall be committed, shall suffer imprisonment, without Bail, during the space of Six Months, and no longer, and that being convicted for a second Offence before a Court of Justiciary, or at the Circuits, shall be liable to be transported to any of His Majesty’s Plantations beyond the Seas, there to remain for the space of Seven Years.”

    “(It will be noted that the Act is not worded in such a way as to apply to tartan.”

    “Perhaps surprisingly, there was a precedent. Burt, Wade’s officer of engineers, when describing the antipathy of his government towards the Highlanders’ plaid, went on to add intriguingly -”

    “…it was thought necessary, in Ireland, to suppress that habit by Act of Parliament, for the above reasons, and no complaint for the want of it now remains among the mountaineers of that country.”

    “The redcoat was evidently referring to legislation imposed on the Irish in the 16th century. Among other affronts, during the reign of Henry VIII, it was enacted that, after the 1st of May 1539 -”

    “…no person or persons, of what estate, condition or degree they be, shall use, or weare any mantles, cote, or hood, made after the Irish fashion.”

    “As in the case of the Scots Highlanders some two centuries later, here was a London parliament, with breathtaking arrogance, literally laying down the law about how a race of Gaels might clothe themselves in their own land. As might be expected, in each instance the law was treated, in large part, with the contempt it deserved.”

    “In 1782, thanks largely to the efforts of the Duke of Montrose, the 18th century Dress Act was repealed. In the 19th century tartan-clad soldiers of the Highland regiments contributed much in blood and gallantry to the creation and defence of the British Empire. In our own day tartan is loved throughout the world… and, indeed, beyond!”

    “There is perhaps no better illustration of the enduring power of tartan to inspire, than the story of the “Moon Tartan”. On November 19th 1969, Commander Alan Bean of the Apollo 12 Mission, became the fourth man to walk on the surface of the moon. So proud was the astronaut of his Scots ancestry that he carried with him, on that historic landing, a piece of the Clan MacBean tartan. Earlier this year Commander Bean generously gifted a part of that very piece of tartan to the Scottish Tartans Authority. Aye, tartan may be said to have gone a long way since Alan Bean’s ancestors fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie on Culloden Moor.”


    When will a club retain a lawyer who knows about outlawing clothing? Why does it matter? A lot, a very lot, way too many cops are Irish and Scottish, especially Scottish. They know.


  2. Invader Crash Says:

    While I certainly doubt the collective intelligence of the mainstream public, I do hope that everyone sees the potential for just this thing being used against bowling teams, collegiate sporting teams (even overly boisterous groups of sports fans), Shriners, and any and all other groups of collectively dressed civilians. Hell even our military can and will eventually fall under a feasible category. Just look at RICO, Patriot Act, even speed limits, etc. Once our govt./lawmakers are given an inch they will run for a mile and use any and all legislation to their full and self serving advantage.


  3. CN Says:

    The two most visable groups who display their identity are Motorcycle Clubs and Law Enforcement. Sure others do but nobody tells their buddies about seeing a bunch of Masons riding down the Highway. If it can be said that Motorcycle Clubs fly their Colors to intimidate then it can also be said that Law Enforcement who has a larger number of Law Breakers per the capita does as well. The same RICO type treatment the Clubs are subjected to applies to Law Enforcement but there’s a double standard where group sex is concerned. There is no way Law Enforcement can make the claim that their blue wind breakers with huge yellow letters aren’t intimidating to the general public not to mention SWAT Team gear which also displays the flavor of the pork. Law Enforcement is playing with fire more and more and that won’t be as tolerated by the general public as much as they appear to believe. A day of reckoning is fast approaching for Law Enforcement, not from the Clubs or the Urban Protesters but from the white bread middle class who daily are losing faith in Officer Friendly.

  4. T Hell Says:

    The legal interpretation that is under question here is simple, does the wearing of an AO patch constitute being a member of a criminal enterprise and the answer is unquestionably NO. This is a cut and dried free speech issue, if I put on a KISS Tee shirt does it make me a member of the band? FTF, FTP

  5. popeye Says:

    Since this case hasnt come to trial yet I figure the feds will argue that the vests are evidence. Then after the trial its seems a lot of stuff goes missing or into some d-bag feds trophy case.

  6. namemaker Says:

    Let’s imagine this.Six Shriner’s who rode their dressers in a parade,get involved in an altercation in a a bar.They are wearing their Fez and Shrine vests.The police arrive. The outcome: nothing. The Shriners are doctors lawyers politicians………….. They are not prosecuted because they aren’t a threat to the community, they were just provoked. This would be construed under any police intervention as Motorcycle Gang related, they had identifiers of a club. This scene is the same just change the names,but motorcycle gangs get bigger press and make the citizens feel that law enforcement is protecting them.
    Well who is protecting us? We are the same citizen,except we belong to a different club.We have always been outside the main stream,but we make better press.It never changes.
    When we do good no one remembers,when we do bad no one forgets.

  7. Shovelhead Says:

    Just curious why these so called Motorcycle Gang Experts are never charged with lying under oath?
    They just make shit up all the time on the stand, not much of anything they say is true!
    If all that’s allowed, why can’t we hire “crooked Cop Experts” to get up there and say cops are violent bullies, crooks and abuse their power. Lie on police reports, plant evidence etc.
    Of course to be a crooked Cop Expert, you don’t have to be a cop or ever been a cop. But if you watched “The Shield” You’re all set. But really, These experts just repeat bullshit propaganda and foolish juries believe them most of the time.

  8. Ride On Says:

    IMO, It’s only a matter of time before there will be a generalized federal law that makes it illegal to wear club logos of any kind. It’s beginning against MC’s to set precedence in order to generalize some sort of future logo law. What the American people don’t understand and don’t care to understand is that in the long term what started with the MC’s will eventually filter down to their bowling clubs, rodeo clubs, car clubs, and whatever kind of club they are involved with. Then it only takes one person in that club of theirs to do something illegal for LE to cite them all for possible criminality and financially ruin them with frivolous ongoing charges. This will also give LE another reason to exist. The public is blind to it at this point because it doesn’t affect them. The modern Americans motto is “If it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care”. Someday the public will be affected and then it will be too late. While Americas are busy not caring, law makers are working hard to ease in every law they can to further initiate public control measures.

    Can you imagine the enormous amount of money from fines and attorney fees that could be made if a professional football player for example got busted doing something illegal while wearing their team jersey under a Logo Law? The entire team, which is nothing more than a money making corporation, could then be dragged into court as being a criminal organization and faced with the same bizarre scenarios MC’s are going through right now. The payoffs, bribes, attorney fees, court costs, etc. would be unimaginable considering the wealth of sports corporations.

    Some may be thinking that’s just conspiracy theory crap. Is it? People in power are focused on two specific items of note: Control and Money. They understand that law is power, power is control, and control leads to money. MC’s are a stepping stone because people don’t care about them which makes it easier to begin making laws they can eventually use against any kind of organization.

  9. Road Whore Says:

    Re: Sons Of Anarchy Patch Set video above…

    fake colors…I don’t get it. Wouldn’t even make a good Halloween costume.

    Hope the Outlaws have good luck with this bogus charge against them.

    Ride Free

  10. WARTHOG Says:

    “Duffy had a unique interpretation of the flair the defendants wore on their vests. For example, he told Judge Prather that the one percenter patch indicates an allegiance to gangs that engage in criminal activity.”

    Yeah, a real expert. Fuck ’em.




  11. swampy Says:

    “A motorcycle gang expert named James Duffy,…”

    Here we go again with the use of the word, “expert.” I find myself pondering that word a lot lately. Expert on/of exactly what?! Why not use the word,…professional? Oh yeah, that’s right, the “expert” would have to know what he’s talking about and conduct himself with “professionalism.” Respects to the AOA and good luck with this.

  12. Wiscokid Says:

    Here we go again right in my backyard. Wearing your cut always brings attention from other wannabee tuff guys and public gapers. I can not for the life of me picture a couple patch holders just walking in an establishment punching and kicking people without being provoked in some way. Every human being makes there own individual decisions, no club or group can act as a whole or patrol or influence others to commit any crime. Now there gonna blame a little cat fight on the patch?! McHenry county Illinois is another place where the police are in great excess and run around acting like the Wild West. They shoot first and don’t ask questions. I’ve lost 2 brothers to cop killings in this county. I hope they really lawyer up, because judge Prather is a feminazzi man hating left wing nut. She has a homosexual son and is out to spew her hate filled agenda againt men. I can just see her now licking her carpet munching chops to make a real name for herself with this case. In all my years being in front of many different judges this cunt scares me the most. God help us all. Respect to the deserving

  13. los Says:

    Some people are intimidated by a large, bearded man wearing a H-D t-shirt. Does that mean that the t-shirt is meant to intimidate and that Harley Davidson is perpetuating a crime by making and marketing such garb? Doubt it. These cases have no merit whatsoever.

  14. Phuquehed Says:

    The cock-sucking, inept, insecure DA’s persecuting those people are doing it because they know it’ll cost money and be hard on the defendants no matter the outcome. The fucktard DA’s don’t have to worry about money spent because it’s coming from the deep-pocketed sheeple (who aren’t told about these things in-depth by the lamestream media asshats) will pay for it all and not say anything.

    Rope. Tree. Crooked DA’s, judges, law-makers and law-enforcers.

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