Outlaws Patch Case

January 28, 2016

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Outlaws Patch Case

The state of Illinois and the American Outlaws Association are locked into a bizarre dispute. The Outlaws say their patches are private property. The state contends they are contraband.

Case law and the Constitution are on the Outlaws side but the case isn’t really about the rule of law. This case is about the state using the judicial process to punish people for something that isn’t actually a crime – their personal associations.

The Fight

The case began with a bar brawl. Five men wearing cut-off jackets or vests with patches on the back that identified them as Outlaws and a woman wearing a “property of” patch walked into a bar called the Lizard Lounge in unincorporated Wonder Lake, Illinois looking, according to the local Sheriff, “for a specific person.” Police say the Outlaws punched a couple of patrons and the woman who came with them spat beer in another woman’s face.

The alleged assaults took place on November 30, 2012. Police wrote a list, procured warrants, executed raids and seized five handguns, five rifles, ammunition, brass knuckles, two switchblade knives, a black jack, seven grams of marijuana, a gram of cocaine, what was described as drug paraphernalia and three cuts with three sets of patches. Six people were arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery and mob action. Four of them negotiated plea deals and as part of those deals they agreed to forfeit their vests with the Outlaws patches attached.

Contraband

Technically, as most readers here already know, the patches were the legal property of the AOA and they were only on loan to the accused. Virtually every motorcycle club in the world has this policy.

But local prosecutors Randi Freeze and Robert Zalud argued that the AOA was symbolically responsible for the bar invasion so the patches were forfeitable. Their implied argument was that the five men and the woman would never have behaved the way they did if they had left their Outlaws insignia at home. Rather than the man making the patch something admirable, they argued, the patch made men criminals.

A hearing was held on whether the government could keep the vests or was compelled to return them to the club. Various biker experts were called to testify. A biker expert and local deputy named Kyle Mandernack told Judge Sharon L. Prather that,  “The vests are directly related to facilitate street gang-related crime.”

The United States Supreme Court, in a case called Roberts v. United States, had already laid down the general ground rules about which symbols are legal: “An individual’s freedom to speak, to worship, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances could not be vigorously protected from interference by the State unless a correlative freedom to engage in group effort toward those ends were not also guaranteed. According protection to collective effort on behalf of shared goals is especially important in preserving political and cultural diversity and in shielding dissident expression from suppression by the majority. Consequently, we have long understood as implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.”

The AOA was represented by an attorney named Joel Rabb who argued that no matter what the people wearing them did, the patches were still the property of the motorcycle club and they should be returned to their rightful owner.

Prather disagreed and last April she ruled that it was legal for police to steal and keep the vests.

Appeal

The Outlaws Motorcycle Club appealed and this Tuesday Rabb told the Second District Appellate Court in Elgin, Illinois that the confiscation was a Constitutional issue. He said, “Wearing the vest in and of itself is not a crime,”

When the judges asked Assistant State’s Attorney Jana Blake Dickson why the state wanted to keep the patches, she replied, “I imagine getting the patches off the street” would make “it harder to use (them) as a threat.”

The case is currently under advisement. The time it takes Illinois appeals courts to issue decisions after hearing oral arguments varies wildly. In 2014, for example, the appeals courts decided some cases in as little as eight days but another case took the court 13 months to decide.

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17 Responses to “Outlaws Patch Case”

  1. Lady Says:

    Sort of makes you wonder when the good old U.S. plays keep away with a Clubs vest and another Country actually goes on the hunt and places a dollar value on three vests that were stolen from a Club. Now I’m not saying those boys down under aren’t some really cool guys but the dollar amount on those vests leads me to believe that they are some damn flashy dressers..lmao.My point is, regardless of the vest, it is just an article of clothing. It can not cause,create or do anything. It has no mind or will, thus can not impose anything on anyone that does have a mind and will. It may be considered trendy, flashy, new, old, tattered and numerous other ways but in and of itself, it is still just an object. Our Court system needs a severe wake-up call over what they need to be spending tax dollars on, but until the People say enough it will not stop.

    Just my .02,
    Lady

  2. Kurn Says:

    What I really wonder about is four(!) guys giving up their patches for a plea deal….

  3. BMW Says:

    First, I hope that the motorcycle club is successful in recovering the club’s stolen property. The LEO are just looking for a trophy to hang on their wall, like any caveman might hang a bearskin. (Although the comparison probably insults the cavemen…)

    There is in most states, including the People’s Republic of Illinois, a specific statute that forbids the tort of “conversion of property”. This is usually a civil matter, settled by a civil lawsuit — although it may also be, as in the current discussion, a Constitutional right to use and display insignia that demonstrates membership or support without interference or persecution by the government. And there
    are also criminal statutes, such as conspiracy, racketeering, grand theft and possession of stolen property. Here is a good example of “conversion”:

    Elements of Conversion (from the Digital Media Law Project) http://www.dmlp.org (a very good resource for starting to understand various elements of the law)(material covered by a Copyright 2007-13 Digital Media Law Project and respective authors. Except where otherwise noted,
    content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License)

    “Conversion is a tort that exposes you to liability for damages in a civil lawsuit. It applies when someone intentionally interferes with personal property belonging to another person. To make out a conversion claim, a plaintiff must establish four elements:

    “First, that the plaintiff owns or has the right to possess the personal property in question at the time of the interference;
    S
    Elements of Conversion

    Conversion is a tort that exposes you to liability for damages in a civil lawsuit. It applies when someone intentionally interferes with personal property belonging to another person. To make out a conversion claim, a plaintiff must establish four elements:

    First, that the plaintiff owns or has the right to possess the personal property in question at the time of the interference;
    Second, that the defendant intentionally interfered with the plaintiff’s personal property (sometimes also described as exercising “dominion and control” over it);
    Third, that the interference deprived the plaintiff of possession or use of the personal property in question; and
    Fourth, that the interference caused damages to the plaintiff.
    The most direct and obvious way to commit conversion is by taking personal property that belongs to someone else without permission. For example, if you take a framed photograph from the wall of a local restaurant or a document from someone’s desk, you may be held liable for conversion, assuming you retain the property for a substantial period of time and thereby interfere with the rightful owner’s use and possession of it. It does not matter whether you intend to publish the information, photos, or other content.

    …See Harper & Row Pubs. v. Nation Enters., 723 F.2d 195, 201 (2nd Cir. 1983) (“Conversion requires not merely temporary interference with property rights, but the exercise of unauthorized dominion and control to the complete exclusion of the rightful possessor.”). You should be aware that taking property from someone can also expose you to criminal liability under state laws.

    You can also commit conversion by receiving and retaining property from someone who does not have the right to give the property away…;
    “Third, that the interference deprived the plaintiff of possession or use of the personal property in question; and
    “Fourth, that the interference caused damages to the plaintiff….

    “The most direct and obvious way to commit conversion is by taking personal property that belongs to someone else without permission. For example, if you take a framed photograph from the wall of a local restaurant or a document from someone’s desk, you may be held liable for conversion, assuming you retain the property for a substantial period of time and thereby interfere with the rightful owner’s use and possession of it. It does not matter whether you intend to publish the information, photos, or other content.

    ” You should be aware that taking property from someone can also expose you to criminal liability under state laws…

    You can also commit conversion by receiving and retaining property from someone who does not have the right to give the property away…

    The authorities in the Injustice Industry of Illinois are absolutely aware that the defendants did not own the property. They are also aware that the defendants are not permitted to sell or trade the property. The use of colors is conditional on retaining membership in the organization, which not only owns the intellectual property rights on the colors, but also owns the colors themselves. The defendants own the vest, and may own certain patches on the vest, but the club owns the colors. These are the same rules that apply to the local fraternal organizations, or even the police themselves. Should every crooked cop not also need to return his badge and elements of the uniform? You bet your ass that a cop giving his badge to somebody else, or selling it would be charged with conversion of property. Any subsequent possessor of the cop badge would also be charged with possessing stolen property.

  4. Troll1% Says:

    Rebel,wanted to give you a P/M part humorous,re;R.Yager AOA and myself PMC .Two stories both yesterday.couldn’t get thru on the contact # You got my address.lets do it quiet and you decide what to print and where.thanks again for all you do for our world.Troll1%

  5. FF Says:

    2016 Off To A Bloody Start as Shootings Double: 42 People Killed, 210 Hurt

    By Kelly Bauer | January 27, 2016 8:23am | Updated on January 28, 2016 9:53am
    @bauerjournalism

    CHICAGO — Forty-two people have been killed and 210 wounded so far in January, almost doubling last year’s numbers.

    It was the most violent January in years, according to DNAinfo Chicago data: In all, there were 199 shootings Jan. 1-25, while there were just 100 shootings over the same period last year. The data doesn’t include the victims of violence from Tuesday into Wednesday, when three people were killed and another wounded.

    Through early Tuesday, 42 people had been shot dead and 210 wounded, while last January saw 22 people dead and 98 wounded in shootings. On Monday alone, five people were shot and killed in just 11 hours.

    Here’s how this January compares to the past (data is for Jan 1-25 of each year listed):

    Total shootings People killed People wounded
    January 2016 199 42 210
    January 2015 100 22 98
    January 2014 70 16 63
    January 2013 131 25 127
    January 2012 116 28 107
    January 2011 118 15 125
    January 2010 82 12 90

    The month of soaring shooting numbers follows a rise in gun violence throughout all of 2015. Last year saw 2,427 shootings and 468 homicides, the highest those numbers have been since 2012, when the city had 2,451 shootings and 506 homicides.

    ###############################################

    It’s good to see the state of Illinois has it’s priorities in order

  6. Lunchbox Says:

    This has been tried already, and the government has been shut down! Kind of seems similar to the feds trying to take the Mongols patch. This shit is so bogus.

  7. Ken the Citizen Says:

    America land of the free home of the brave. The Constitution guarantees this. Dressing any way you like seems to be a given right. Illegal search and seizure is not a right.

    Respect to those who deserve it.
    Ride free and proud forever America

  8. popeye Says:

    Just another case of public servants, who took an oath to defend the constitution,pissing all over it.

  9. Road Whore Says:

    There is no real and honest law…there is only a ravenous fedbeast illegally devouring the rights of a country’s citizens.

    Ride Free

  10. david Says:

    Sieg, with respect,thanks. It IS unlawful to give someone’s private property to another without their permission. Four of the six chose to in signed plea agreements with the State of Illinois.True also, courts either follow the rule of law, or they operate as “a law unto themselves”, as McClennen Co., TX does.

    AOA’s private property ownership right is being asserted again now, at the State Appellate level, demanding return of its property. Remains to be heard if this court will follow the rule of law, or not. If not, the State Supreme Court may hear the demand. The appeal MIGHT have been heard by the highest State court directly from the lower court, without wasting time in the Elgin Appellate.

    Maybe the first appellate court will not consider assistant persecutor Jana Dickson’s IMAGINATION as fact, and follow the rule of law.

  11. Bone Head Says:

    I said “Indiana” above. I should have typed “Illinois”.

  12. Bone Head Says:

    Good luck to the AOA. I believe Indiana is eventually going to choke on it’s interpretation of The Constitution and it’s own laws.

    Respects…

  13. cookie Says:

    Being Illinois I can’t believe any states attorney fights anything. Atleast here in the central part of the state everything is pleaded or dropped. The only way they take it to trial is if it’s a open and shut case.

  14. Sieg Says:

    david, an illegal agreement can’t be enforced in ANY court. At least not one bound by law. I can’t agree to surrender YOUR property as part of a plea-agreement, even if you had lent it to me.

    FTF/FTP
    SYLO

  15. Sieg Says:

    the biggest question here is how anyone was even able to convince the pigs to arrest anyone.

    Wonder Lake, known colloquially as “Scum Lake”, or “Wondertucky”, is not exactly a protected yuppie enclave, and bar-fights don’t typically end in arrests. I’d hazard a guess that someone provoked this, and did so with every intention of getting the local 5-0 involved.

    Of course, since it is in Illinois, there is no “rule of law”, per se, only the rule of “how much you got”. The judges may decide to uphold the Constitution, stranger things have happened, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    Best of luck to the AOA and their attorneys, they’ll need it. And best of luck to those who surrendered Club property to the pigs…something tells me that if they end up in an Illinois joint, they’ll need it.

    FTF/FTP
    SYLO

  16. david Says:

    The first question, “How enforceable, contractually or otherwise, are property forfeiture agreements in a negotiated plea deal?”, needs to be asked and answered in this case, before all other questions.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Rogue Goverment Vs Outlaws Mc – Twisted Throttle Lifestyle - February 8, 2016

    […] Now the Outlaws MC have the Constitution and case law on their side .The United States Supreme Court, in a case called Roberts v. United States, had already laid down the general ground rules about which symbols are legal: “An individual’s freedom to speak, to worship, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances could not be vigorously protected from interference by the State unless a correlative freedom to engage in group effort toward those ends were not also guaranteed. According protection to collective effort on behalf of shared goals is especially important in preserving political and cultural diversity and in shielding dissident expression from suppression by the majority. Consequently, we have long understood as implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.” (Source the Aging Rebel) […]

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