The Mongols Nation case, which may be the government’s last, best chance to seize the Mongols Motorcycle Club’s patch, may be drawing to a conclusion. The case is currently assigned to District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt – who seems not to be thrilled with the assignment. Judge Otis D. Wright had presided over the case for almost two years before he quit in shame on May 26.
At a hearing on June 4, prosecutor Christopher Brunwin and Mongols’ attorneys Joe Yanny and Elliot H. Min told Kronstadt they would need about nine weeks to try the case. Mongols Nation has always been a do-over of a racketeering case called United States versus Cavazos et al. That case never went to trial. The government tried to seize the Mongols patch in Cavazos and two judges told them they could not do that.
Last week Yanny and Min filed a motion that brought Cavazos and another case titled Ramon Rivera v. Ronnie A. Carter, et al. to Kronstadt’s attention. Rivera is pertinent because two judges ruled that the government could not take the patch from a Mongol in San Diego who had broken no laws and who had done nothing wrong. As Min explains it, “the Government has already attempted to strip innocent third parties, persons who never had their day in court, of their right to wear the Mongols patch, and were not only denied but sanctioned by Judge David O. Carter to the tune of a quarter million dollars for making an innocent citizen bring a baseless lawsuit.”
Both Cavazos and Rivera were originally assigned to the late Honorable Florence Marie Cooper. When Judge Cooper died in December 2009 her case load in Cavazos was split between Wright and Carter. Carter was assigned to preside over Rivera and he ruled the government could not seize the Mongols patch.
The motion filed last week accuses Brunwin of “judge shopping” when the case was assigned to Wright and asks Judge Kronstadt to turn the Mongols Nation case over to Carter. “Judge Carter has extensive experience and is extremely familiar with the
facts, defendants, witnesses, and even the parties in this designated complex case dating back as far as January 2010. Assigning the instant case to Judge Carter would be in the best interest of the accused, the parties, and judicial economy.”
It seems likely that Kronstadt would be delighted to pass the case to Carter. And, it seems unlikely that Carter would reverse himself if he does get the case.
The Mongols, in other words, may be just a motion or two and a judge away from winning.