Court Calls Cuts Contraband

February 26, 2016

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Court Calls Cuts Contraband

The Second District Appellate Court of Illinois ruled Tuesday that three “Black in Color Leather Vests With Attached Outlaws Motorcycle Club Patches” were a kind of contraband called “derivative contraband” and could be seized by the state.

The ruling affirmed a decision by lower court judge Sharon L. Prather. Her decision had been appealed by the AOA15 Civic Organization, Inc., a legal entity that is closely associated with the motorcycle club. The Outlaws had contended that their patches are private property that belonged to the club and should not be seized.

Plea Deals

The case began with a bar brawl on November 30, 2012. Five men and a woman wearing cut-off jackets or vests with patches on the back that identified them as members of, or a consort of, the Outlaws walked into a bar called the Lizard Lounge in unincorporated Wonder Lake, Illinois. They were looking, according to the local Sheriff, “for a specific person.”

The appeals court noted that a witness named “Ashley Chovanec testified that she was at the Lizard Lounge when the defendants entered, wearing their vests with Outlaws’ patches. She stated that ‘the bar got quiet’ and ‘people got uncomfortable.’ She further stated that everyone else in the bar felt intimidated. Molly M’Gonigle, Robert Borta, and Cody Hutt testified similarly as to the effect the defendants’ entrance had on the atmosphere of the bar.” According to police two patrons were punched and a woman had beer spat in her face.

Four defendants, Robert Bellmore, Luciano Flores, Michael Blumer, and Kathleen McKevitt, negotiated plea deals. Three of them agreed to forfeit their vests and forfeiture proceedings began. Only three vests were subject to forfeiture because the local Sheriff misplaced Blumer’s vest. Since it wasn’t part of the forfeiture case it was returned to after the police found it.


During a forfeiture hearing two “motorcycle gang experts” testified “that the Outlaws were a commonly recognized gang and that the black leather vests, worn by the defendants during the commission of the crimes charged, were used directly or indirectly to facilitate street-gang activity. As such, the vests were subject to forfeiture.” The two experts were James Duffy, an investigator with the Du Page County State’s Attorney’s office, and Detective Kyle Mandernack.

Duffy testified “that the Outlaws gang members use the Outlaws’ patches on their vests to portray ‘violent intimidation.’ He stated that the intimidation factor of the patches is ‘cultivated through violence’ and that it is ‘systematically approved through their hierarchy.’ He testified that the Outlaws’ patches signify membership in a one-percenter gang, meaning a group that willfully engages in criminal activity. He testified that the vests were used to facilitate street-gang activity.”

Mandernack, “testified that the Outlaws gain their reputation, influence, and membership through ‘violence and intimidation.’ He testified that the vests and patches facilitate street-gang-related activity by identifying Outlaw members to others. He further stated that the vests and patches facilitate street-gang-related activity by creating the impression of dominance and revenge, which warns others of the consequences of ‘messing with’ Outlaws members.”

Illinois Law

The appeals court thought Duffy and Mandernack’s testimony was compelling and cited an Illinois law that says: “The following are declared to be contraband and no person shall have a property interest in them…any property that is directly or indirectly used or intended for use in any manner to facilitate street gang related activity.” The court noted “that there are two categories of contraband. Contraband per se consists of those items whose possession alone constitutes a criminal offense, and such articles need not be returned even if improperly seized…. Derivative contraband consists of articles that are not inherently illegal but were used in an unlawful manner.”

Derivative contraband is analogous to a category of crimes that are malum prohibitum – which is to say, crimes that are crimes not because they are traditional or obvious evils but because a lobbyist has written a new law which invents a new crime. In this case, the Illinois appeals court seems to have made a crime of Constitutionally protected expression based on the testimony of two police appointed “experts.”

The court concluded, based on the testimony of the “experts,” that “wearing the vests facilitated the defendants’ goal, to be achieved by violent means if necessary, to show their dominance to others. Based on this testimony, the trial court could reasonably determine that the Outlaws’ vests and patches facilitated the defendants’ violent actions at the Lizard Lounge. Accordingly, the trial court’s determination that the vests and patches were derivative contraband subject to forfeiture is not against the manifest weight of the evidence.” The vests, the learned justices decided, did not “cause” the violence at the Lizard Lounge but did “facilitate” it.

Joel Rabb, the attorney representing the AOA15 Civic Organization in this case told the Chicago Tribune, “Obviously, we are disappointed with the court’s determination.”


66 Responses to “Court Calls Cuts Contraband”

  1. Legggggs Says:

    Brothers, tell your lawyer to use precedent and follow the law….don’t re-invent the wheel when this issue has already been argued and established. I can quote probably 20 more case law pertaining to this issue to base their argument on….get new counsel! “A recent federal decision agrees. “There is “no evidence that by merely wearing [motorcycle club] `colors,” an individual is “involved in or associated with the alleged violent or criminal activity of other [motorcycle club] members. It is a fundamental principle that the government may not impose restrictions on an individual ‘merely because an individual belong[s] to a group, some members of which committed acts of violence.” In fact, the Supreme Court has long “disapproved governmental action … denying rights and privileges solely because of a citizen’s association with an unpopular organization.” Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 185-86 (1972) (See Coles v. Carlini, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Civil No. 10-6132, Opinion, 9/30/2015, p.28). Also, the property in question is not that of the individual,but the MC……have your NEW counsel look outside of the box at copyright laws, etc…even though this is a constitutional issue….sometimes you have to argue another angle to be successful. Good luck.

  2. Jim666 Says:

    RE: fake iron on patches from websites.
    As countless P/H`s among others above have so eloquently stated it is not a very smart move to purchess and or wear such a thing if you are not a member/ patch holder of a real m/c.
    This may be a good deterrence as to why ,?,?,?see below.

    “VICTORVILLE-( Two Victorville men are behind bars after a robbery investigation led deputies to a home in the 14800 block of Luna Road. The investigation began when there was a 911 call on March 2nd reporting a 31-year-old Victorville man who was assaulted and robbed.

    Deputies responded to the location at Mojave and La Paz Drives. Upon arrival, they determined that the victim was walking on Mojave drive when a male in a Chevy Suburban stopped the vehicle to approach the victim. The suspect later identified as 37-year-old Timothy Rico asked the victim about a leather vest he was wearing and about his affiliation with a club.

    According to San Bernardino County officials, the suspect told Rico that he did not belong to a club. The suspect punched the victim in his face, took the vest and fled the scene. The victim was treated at a local hospital for his injuries sustained during the assault.”

    The above was taken from an article in the “Victor Valley news.”link to complete article below.
    read complete article here

  3. John Says:

    When reading about this case and the attempt to take the Mongols colors makes me wonder how this would work against law enforcement. Think of the the Rampart scandals in the LAPD. We know that the badge an uniform is regularly used to intimidate and create fear. Could RICO be used against a entire police department. It is the same, start prosecuting chiefs more officer misconduct take their uniforms, badges and names. Sure would be interesting.

  4. Sieg Says:

    You need to remember that McHenry County is totally, hopelessly corrupt. I can’t speak for right now, today, but I can say with some certainty that until quite recently, it was pretty much a wholly-owned subsidiary of a certain well-known Italo-American enterprise. The pigs do what they are told by their owners, and they wouldn’t have rolled on the O’s out there without a push form someone.

    Not to say there is any relation-I’m out of the loop on that one, but there is a hot-shot captain on the sheriff’s out there that was a shot-caller in what is known now as a “street-gang”, (we called ’em clubs) that is aligned with the Folk Nation. I’d have to take a wild guess that there are reasons they might involve themselves in this.

    Second thing to know is that Wonder-tucky, or Scum Lake, as the area is known by locals, is not exactly high-end territory, and a bar fight? Forget it…be lucky to have the pigs roll the next day to ask the bartender if he saw anyone he wanted to fuck over.

    Pretty sure the whole thing was a set-up, and I’m pretty sure that giving up your Patch in a plea-deal is NOT the best way to win friends and influence people. Especially in Illinois, where it’s SO difficult to get to someone in the Joint.

    Lastly, looks like the Boys are going to take this all the way up to the Supreme Court-hope they kick some ass, maybe they can get a few McHenry County or Wonder Lake pig uniforms to hang on their ceiling.


  5. Jim666 Says:

    @ Base.
    Her testimony does sound like something from a vampire novel. lmao………

  6. Base's Says:


    Keen eye,

    something else I grabbed out of her statement, she could not have known how others felt about patches entering the bar. It is not uncommon for people in a bar to stop talking or the noise level to drop if nothing else but to see who just walked in., my point is it looked and comes across as scripted.

    The bar fell silent, light filled the room, a low level mist creeped from under the bar, then like the rushing wind “they” were among us!

    Eye on your 6.

  7. Shovelhead Says:

    T hell
    And how the fuck does she know what everyone in the bar was feeling? How does she know everyone was intimidated? Is she psychic?
    Just because she has issues with Bikers, doesn’t mean everyone has issues with Bikers. I thought speculation wasn’t allowed in testimony!

  8. T Hell Says:

    “The appeals court noted that a witness named “Ashley Chovanec testified that she was at the Lizard Lounge when the defendants entered, wearing their vests with Outlaws’ patches. She stated that ‘the bar got quiet’ and ‘people got uncomfortable.’ She further stated that everyone else in the bar felt intimidated.”

    Was Ms. Chovanec’s anxiety factually attributed to the patches belonging to members of the Outlaws, or would she have felt as uncomfortable had a group of Blue Nights sauntered into the bar? Was her anguish due to personal experiences or was it due to the constant barrage of fear mongering and stereotypes put into the public mind by an overzealous ATF and local LE? Could it be that her fears were exasperated not by bikers but by television shows such as SOA?


  9. Nihilist Says:

    Jay, I’ve heard those things too, stuff gets grabbed up like trophies.

  10. Jay Says:

    They don’t want to give them back because they more than likely don’t have them any more. Patches and other club items get used and traded among cops. They use patches and other property as tools in their teaching of OMG’s to other cops. Patches along with other property is supposed to be destroyed by cops ! I have a cousin thats married to a cop. Thats what I was told. I hope all clubs get their property back !!!!!

  11. Jim666 Says:

    The problem is the federal govt. use`s the Constitution as a welcome mat.

  12. Richie Saurkraut Says:

    Regarding the latest legal assault against patches— Let us consider possible new pseudo legal statements against us…
    1)Symbols of threat and intimidation.
    2) NAZI like intimidation techniques.
    Now let us consider our rebuttal —-
    a) which INCLUDES–FREEDOM OF SPEECH— settled law states that this includes the display of ANY SYMBOL, no matter how offensive or repugnant.
    b) FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION —which means we can gather with anyone, anywhere, at any time for any lawful reason.
    c) FREEDOM TO ASSEMBLE— which means the government cannot prevent those with whom we chose to ASSOCIATE to gather in a group.



  13. Road Whore Says:

    Illinois has problems. Hang in, Outlaws!

    Ride Free

  14. Steel Says:

    @LostCause, I was thinking the same thing. The Chicago cops have been corrupt and criminal so why are their uniforms and badges considered the same way? Simple answer is, of course, they are a protected species by the politicians. MCs are the endangered species in the eyes of politicians and cops but the reality is that MCs keep getting stronger.



  15. Parsifal Says:

    Don’t feed the Trolls….. I’m totally Bummed out. No troll bashing. Oh woe is me. Guess I’ll just go and ride my motorcycle. {the bright spot on my non-troll bashing day.} ;)


  16. Shovelhead Says:

    Damn what an ego you must have Clue. You really think what you say matters to anyone?

    You could come here every day and tell everyone from a safe distance behind your computer, how much you hate 1%ers. Guess what? No one will care!!

    So go ahead, insult away, won’t change a thing. Click on the ads and donate button on your way out.

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