Stealing Outlaws Patches

August 30, 2016

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Stealing Outlaws Patches

The American Outlaws Association in the upper Midwest has been fighting a couple of  cases in which police have seized and kept the cutoff vests of club members.

In a case in McHenry County, Illinois police seized five vests, including a woman’s vest, that bore the Outlaws’ insignia. The accused later agreed to forfeit the vests to the state as a condition of their plea deals.

A separate case in Indiana grew out of raids on Outlaws’ clubhouses in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne and several individual residences. The Indiana case was adjudicated in federal court. As is usual, 18 of 19 defendants took plea deals and those deals included a provision in which the accused surrendered their Outlaws paraphernalia including “vests, patches, shirts, hats, belt buckles, signs, mirrors, flags, calendars, books, and pictures.”

In both cases, the AOA has argued that the patches and other items bearing the club’s name and insignia belonged to the club and were only on loan to the defendants. Therefore, they were not the defendant’s to bargain away.

Different From Mongols Case

The legal issue of who owns an individual patch or belt buckle has become separate and distinct from the legal issue of who owns the trademark of a club’s insignia. Motorcycle club insignias are collective membership marks owned by the collective membership of the club. There is a growing body of case law that says the government cannot seize the collective membership marks of a motorcycle club as a whole.

The government has been trying to steal the Mongols Motorcycle Club’s indicia, or indicators of membership, for eight years. The issue was settled seven years ago but the government keeps pursuing the case as a way of punishing the Mongols with legal fees. The government has also threatened to steal the indicia of the Pagans and more recently the Devils Diciples and dropped both of those forfeiture attempts.

But the issue of banning or outlawing motorcycle club insignia has been conflated, both in back water courts and in the public mind, with the issue of seizing individual patches. In the Illinois case, an outlaw biker expert named Kyle Mandernack told an ignorant local judge named Sharon L. Prather that, “The (Outlaws) vests are directly related to facilitate street gang-related crime,” and Prather believed him.

The Australian State of Queensland currently bans the display of motorcycle club insignia in bars, restaurants and hotels and will soon ban the display of motorcycle club patches in any public place. The government can’t do that here, because the United States has a Bill of Rights.

Ownership Of Individual Patches

But the ability of a motorcycle club to assert its ownership of individual patches took a big hit a week ago with the publication of a decision by the United States Seventh Circuit of Appeals in a case formally titled Joshua N. Bowser, et al, Defendants. Appeal of Bradley W. Carlson.

All members of the club understand that the club as a whole owns their patches and other indicia. Club representative Bradley Carlson, submitted to the court an affidavit of his membership which stated “every member of the AOA is informed and agrees, that a member can only surrender, transfer or forfeit indicia of the AOA to another member in good standing, therefore all property bearing the markings of the AOA is the property of the AOA as a whole, not the individual.” The affidavit concluded with the sentence, “I also know and agree that by becoming a member of the AOA it is not, nor has ever been a criminal enterprise.”

But the appeals court didn’t think either of the declarations meant much of anything. Justice Ilana Kara Diamond Rovner wrote that the statements in the affidavit reflected “a legal conclusion, with no factual basis whatsoever, which appears to be designed to subvert law enforcement efforts. The statement that it was not a criminal enterprise is belied by the RICO charges and convictions as to all members of the Indianapolis chapter in the underlying criminal action here, and the statement concerning the ownership interest fares no better.The affidavit statements do not provide any basis for the court to identify what legal interest the Outlaws have in the property, and certainly would not put the government on notice that the ‘collective membership’ possessed a legal ownership interest in the property.”

Belief Is Not Ownership

The court called the contention that the Outlaws own their indicia a belief “Outlaws members share” but not a legally definable form of ownership like, to cite one of the court’s example, “a bailment.” A bailment is a legal term whose definition takes up almost a full page in Black’s Law Dictionary, can be briefly described as a change of possession of something without a change in its ownership.

Judge Rovner wrote: “In his initial brief to this court, Carlson appeared to assert a bailment relationship, wherein the property would be possessed by the Outlaws members only as bailees with the Outlaws organization presumably the bailor, but he affirmatively denied any such argument in his reply brief and on appeal. Bailment, at least, is a recognized property interest, although appropriately abandoned given the absence of evidence that this was in fact a bailment relationship. He relies instead only on an argument that his legal interest is as an agent of the Outlaws and that his agency interests are a legally recognized interest. But an agent can possess only the interest of his principal, and Carlson has not alleged what legally protected interest the principal – the Outlaws – has in the property.”

The court also noticed that “among the forfeitures challenged by Carlson are those of three persons who were former members of the Outlaws, yet still in possession of such paraphernalia, and at least one person who was never an Outlaws member.”

“In fact,” the court argued, “Outlaws also purport to require members to color over tattoos containing Outlaws symbols if they leave the Outlaws, but that does not suggest ownership of the tattoos. The attempt to control member behavior and the use of symbols is prevalent in many organizations – criminal or otherwise – but does not in itself establish a lawful property interest. In short, it is not enough to merely assert that the Outlaws members understand that Outlaws insignia can only be possessed and exhibited by Outlaws members, or even to assert their ‘agreement’ that the items are owned by the collective membership not the individuals.”

It is an opinion that is likely to be quoted over and over in cases where motorcycle clubs try to prevent the seizure of patches worn by individual members.

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26 Responses to “Stealing Outlaws Patches”

  1. Dan-O Says:

    Justice remains the tool of a few powerful interests; legal interpretations will continue to be made to suit the convenience of the oppressor powers.

    I don’t agree with everything the guy said, did, and stood for, but the above quote, as Rebel has used before, hits the nail square on the head. Legal interpretation in this country, like many countries whether we like to believe it or not, is no longer anything more than false, hollow ideas enforced at the will of those who hold the power to do so for the purpose of their own power and profit.

  2. IronRider Says:

    And another ruling that further muddies up the water. So we have rulings now that say confiscating patches are a constitutional violation and this ruling that say’s it inst so.

    So look for this to yet move up the appeal chain. I liken this to the rulings on whether the US Govt can spy on it’s own citizens legally. There have been rulings handed down both ways, and those ruling have done nothing to clarify the issue of Goverment surveillance against US citizens at home.

    Today’s ruling by this appellate court is more of the same, One court rules one way another rules another way. The fact that the court discarded a signed document from the Outlaws that the member had to sign stating the vest was club property boggles the mind.

    Judges disavowing the document just goes to show that even in the face of documentation, judges will still overlook admitted evidence to further the Govt’s agenda. Anyone with a half a brain that belongs to an MC knows that once your out of the club, the patch goes back! It isn’t a souvenir.

    The US Govt and state Law Enforcement love to charge MC’s and try to make a case yo take their patches, and club houses because it looks good for the TV Camera’s. The patches and vest look great on the camera’s when the cops want to show how those millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent.

    Ever wonder why they like picking on the MC’s? Because when you bust Mob guys and the gangbangers in the neighborhood, it’s just faces and a name that the new viewer will forget 5 minutes later and Law Enforcement sure doesnt get the headlines and impact they can scare the public with.

    Now if it is an MC member or club, well all of a sudden there is an image of that MC vest to parade on TV and a place to point out where all the evil was going on where that club house was and how it was effecting the neighborhood that the people were living in and how danger everyone was in and how the cops saved the day!

    It’s all a dog and pony show, that is it. Look how many mob guys that belonged to big time crime families got popped in the last while? Do you even recall hearing about it? No, didnt think so..Why might that be you ask? Because most people dont even know the mob exists anymore , there is no big time Al Capone characters running around all visible and in the headlines.

    Outside of cities where the mob still has a big presence and influence, those are the cities wher ethe people know of the mob and maybe see some of them out and about , but outside of those places most people have no clue the mob is even still active, and most of the media outside of those cities barely give it a blurb in the news.

    MC’s and their members are a different story though, out and about on their rides, a vest with the MC name. A group not hidden from public view, and one where if busted by the cops you can thrown that vest on the table and point to it as the boogeyman is amongst the citizenry and everyone should be afraid and this is how law enforcement is winning the war… and of course it’s a great sound bite on the news.

    This is why I say it is a dog and pony show nothing else. Honestly how often do you hear about biker busts, not too fucking often, the little gangbangers get busted a helluva lot more, but the lil gangbangers dont make headlines on the news or bring a vision to the public, it looks like what it is some snot nosed kids that want to play drug dealer and be bad asses…. but it sure doesnt resonate with the public for long, hence why the cops love the MC’s they can point at the vest and say “look what we did ma!”

    As much as the Govt would love to wrap RICO around the clubs more often than not the shit doesnt stick. While in this case the Judges have decided that the constitution doesnt seem to apply here, we have seen other courst that have said it does. This will be appealed and the govt will waste even more taxpayer dollars for what will be a hollow victory even if they win every appeal down the line.

    Does teh Govt really believe that by taking these patches that will be the death knell of the Outlaws or any other MC? Maybe they have that wet dream, but outside of that the MC and the members wont fade away. You can’t kill a brotherhood that goes back many years just by taking it’s name, that’s just the plain truth.

  3. Sieg Says:

    Basically agree with what IronRider has written, but I’d go a step further in describing why the FedCoats don’t go after, say, MS-13, or the GDN as much as they do MC’s.

    It’s really pretty simple. Most all “investigations” into MC activity can be conducted with little or no risk. There are no huge shoot-outs, or bombs going off under cop cars, nothing like that. They do their little wiretap thing, pop a snitch here and there and get them to roll on the former Brothers, and thus justify their grossly inflated salaries and endless regime-supplied perqs.

    Now what happens when the FedCoats decide to take down, say, the entire membership of the Gangster Disciple Nation? Again, simple. Dead agents, dead suspects, blown-up cars, buildings, and so forth. In short, it gets dangerous, and hell, they might even mess their suits up.

    On top of that, once an MC member is popped, that’s pretty much it. He takes his hit, the lawyers do their thing, and it’s all wrapped up in time for the cameras. In the case of an entity like the GDN, the FedCoat Prostitutor, the judge, everyone involved, is at risk of sudden death.

    There is no percentage in them chasing after real, live, actual criminals, that have no compunction about shooting back. In Chicago, there has been judges shot on the street, Prostitutors blown-up, all that good stuff. Way too scary for the hardcore FedCoats.


  4. JonyRR Says:

    America as we knew it (or believed we knew it) is over, dead and buried by truly dark forces indistinguishable from the bolsheviks and nazis…hell, the nazis were better.
    This nation went into some alternate dimension while it’s citizens were distracted by smoke-and-mirrors ‘terrorists’, while the real ones (FBI, DHS, CIA, ETC) ran amok. Somewhere Lenin is laughing his ass off.
    In 300 years, a cut from a major MC is gonna be worth a ton of wampum on antique roadshow.

  5. Paladin Says:

    Sieg Says:
    August 30, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    “Way too scary for the hardcore FedCoats.”


    There are no such thing as hardcore “fedCoats”. The fact that they stay away from groups of stone killers is all one really needs to understand about the Feds. If an individual is psychologically predisposed to surrender, then almost anyone can have there way with that individual.

    With a plan and a proper mindset, an individual or group of individuals can be one hell of a force to have to reckon with. Bottom line? One has to kill enough of the enemy so the enemy would rather leave you alone. MS13 and others learned this lesson long ago.

    And as always, long may you ride.


  6. El Gringo Says:

    if you cant argue both sides dont argue at all. simple. dont like a lot of things happening in this country but god damn, i aint so naive to not understand that the older generations as well the younger allowed this. quit the one sides shit look at the bigger picture lets find a way to fix it!

  7. Nuke n' Pave Dave Says:

    That ruling is actually pretty well written but it won’t do one bit of good. There are too many contrary rulings already out there. So what happens from here? Every circuit will have their own say so until It goes to the Supreme Court. And it’ll only go there if someone has the pockets to instigate the fight. Until then, welcome to the clusterfuuck…

  8. Paladin Says:

    “The legal issue of who owns an individual patch or belt buckle has become separate and distinct from the legal issue of who owns the trademark of a club’s insignia. Motorcycle club insignias are collective membership marks owned by the collective membership of the club. There is a growing body of case law that says the government cannot seize the collective membership marks of a motorcycle club as a whole.”

    To put this in simple terms: Most if not all sports teams have trademarked their logos. A fan can possess a copy of a teams logo (patch), as seen on merchandise such as caps, jerseys, jackets, etc. However, no one other than the owner or owners of that sports team’s trademarked logo may use or control it without the express permission from its owner of owners. As an example: Individuals could legally own trademarked copies of the Oakland Raiders patch / logo, but could not collectively use that patch / logo as an identifier for a club, MC or otherwise without the express permission from those that control the patch by way of a trademark.

    The case involving the Mongols MC is about the government taking control of the collective ownership of a trademarked identifier (logo / patch). The case involving the Outlaws MC is not about taking control of a trademarked identifier, but the confiscation of the trademarked identifier (logo / patch) itself.

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


  9. DocB Says:

    My club found a way to deal with the “Bailment ” issue. Each member signs an “Agreement of Bailment” document, witnessed and signed by a club officer. It’s a legal document written by a lawyer and has stood the test in court. If some backwater ignorant judge wants to do the wrong thing he will proly do it anyway regardless of what kind of paperwork “proof” you have, and you’ll have to appeal or drop it. And all this court shit costs money!

  10. Phuquehed Says:

    And another corrupt skank whore of a ‘judge’, dumber than dog shit, more ignorant of the law(s) she’s supposed to be upholding than a Pet Rock, and a sight to make eyes sore, speaks up and proves that ‘Stupid should hurt’.

  11. Sieg Says:

    Paladin, by “harcore FedCoats” I didn’t mean to imply any degree of badassery, quite the opposite, I meant it as in “hardcore bureaucrats”!


  12. Paul Says:

    By this train of thought, any employer who provides uniforms to an employee may expect that when that employee quits they must return the uniforms but that expectation gives them no legal right to get it back.I’d like to see how some large corporations feel about that!

  13. Big Ang Diamondback Says:

    So as I sit here watching the video of the Feds demolish the AOA’s perfectly habitable Almost mansion sized clubhouse, I shake my head in disbelief. It’s enough to make an arrest, kick the club out, but go the extra step of taking colors and demolishing the entire clubhouse to the dirt in front of the whole neighborhood. That’s disgraceful. The size of that clubhouse could’ve easily housed 3 or 4 homeless or poor families , maybe even club family members that aren’t doing too well financially, but the Feds knocked it down just to prove a point.

    Did anyone listen to the interviews? The news crews were trying to get negative reactions from people in the neighborhood but all of the neighbors kept saying they were great people that kept the criminals and scum out of the neighborhood and kept all the neighborhood children safe. They even said the club never did Anything that would jeapordize the innocence of children outside of the house. Meaning they partied indoors, I mean wtf more can you ask??

  14. Vogs Says:

    I live just outside of Mchenry IL and have had my own dealings with the courts in IL it’s all a joke. Constitution, Bill of Rights has basically been set aside and trampled under foot of the most crooked and corrupt state in the Union. They go out of their way to not only financially ruin you but also publicly humiliate you. Shit! I live in Crook County and you see what our President who is from here thinks and feels about those sacred documents would you expect anything less from the courts? It’s a sad time in our once Great Nation. Hope the A.O.A fights on and is handed a victory in one of if not the most corrupt state in the union

  15. slo joe Says:

    They voluntarily surrendered their cuts… WTF

  16. david Says:

    The Federal Court case with Indiana Outlaws as Defendants, involved plea “agreements”, signed agreements with the court, which 18 of 19 Defendants signed agreeing to all terms contained therein.

    The bull-shit gov. included the vests and patches in the forfeiture agreement when it dangled the carrot of a lesser offence charge “deal” in front of all the defendants. Apparently, one of the 19 Defendants did not accept the carrot since no signed agreement exists.

    In the Ill-Noise case, ALL the Defendants agreed by signature to forfeit cuts, the fact which gov. persecutors have probably been shouting in court, in the judge’s chambers not in the public courtroom.

    Begs the obvious questions, How can Carlson, who is an attorney required to know law, NOT know of relevant prior signed agreements by the Defendants?

    And, Is Carlson the set-up man attorney to raise the numerous other issues which the bull-shit gov. desires favorable rulings on?

    All attorneys are twisting “officers of the Court”, both persecutors and defense.

  17. Sticker Says:

    This isn’t about patches or vests or any of that bullshit. This is about the government outspending the clubs. Government lawyers doing government business vs. private lawyers doing business for $100 an hour minimum. Drain ’em dry. The Gubberment is in this for the long game. Gotta start thinking outside the boxes.

  18. BMW Says:

    Clubs may (if they choose) execute a notarized lease agreement covering the club insignia when a new member first joins a club. Back it up with a “UCC” filing at the local courthouse.

    Each organization, no matter the “Outlaws” or the FOP, has to decide what level of protection to provide for their intellectual and personal property. It all depends on costs and organizational objectives. Leases ARE enforceable.

    There is no reason for a club of any sort to allow corrupt law enforcement to hang club property on a wall like a Moosehead. However, protecting intellectual property or personal property from theft takes planning and consistent rule enforcement.


  19. Not Surprised Says:

    If this somehow succeeds, they will go after tattoos next.

  20. DocB Says:

    Hit the Nail on the head

    @Not Surprised
    LOL.. Torch, Knife, or cover up.
    good to see a post from you sir

  21. Jim Denny Says:

    Most clubs have a one-time lease agreement when patching out.
    To get past the bailment issue without paying a lawyer for drawing up the document could a club designate member dues as rent of the logo, patches and indicia to prove that the items do not belong to the individual and so they are not theirs to give away?
    This might establish the indicia are club property protected by previous Bill of Rights decisions.
    It won’t stop the rounding up of people for just wearing anything the same color as any club the feds happen to be harassing as we saw in Waco and probably won’t stop the Feds from confiscating patches and indicia for the TV show they make of everything but at least the clubs would get all items back.


  22. Catfish Says:

    Sieg, you just typed everything I would have. Slippery slope to totalitarianism.

  23. Mercyful Fate Says:

    So targeting old, fat, white men with club indicia is easy. I get that. I’m old, fat, and white. However, I also make enough money per year to defend myself if the need arises. I keep extra in a savings account just for this purpose though my current legal situation is draining said account. I get that not everybody has the luxury of being able to lawyer up.

    This is somewhat off-topic but related. For the few that read these comments: the DEA is now supporting the concept of marijuana growth for “research”. The DEA is more corrupt than Hillary if that’s even possible. The regulars that read these pages knows exactly what’s going to occur with this windfall.

    It’s a shame that the sheeple are never going to understand it. And really, that is the crux of the issue, that the media feeds them what the government wants them to hear so they are onboard and compliant.

    It sickens me to death knowing I served my country (I’m an ex-Navy vet) and what this country has become. I can’t even begin to imagine what the Vietnam Vets go through (as that was before my time). Thank God (yes, I said GOD, if you don’t like it, then fuck you anyways) that there are people (although our numbers diminish daily it seems) that want to restore this country to what it’s true purpose is: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Apologies to the reals for this rant. But I feel better now having typed it out.
    Rebel does tend to bring that out of me every once in a while.

  24. Jim Bob Says:

    Just watched the video of them demolishing the club house… You could clearly tell the neighbors loved having them there! They didn’t see them as criminals at all. They appreciated having em there because they knew no one would cause trouble in their area and people loved that!. You could though that they HAD to find at least one person to put the club down and say he was glad that they were “getting the criminals out of the area” just so they had at least one negative thing being said about the club by a local…..the woman talking about how she was glad they were there and having them there made her feel safe having her kids in the neighborhood should say it all…but if it doesn’t the guy who said, “I feel like the Oakland Raiders are being kicked out” really nails it home.

  25. Whitepride Says:

    @Jim Bob. I don’t know where you are from but it’s the same here in the Northeast. Our neighbors love having us in the neighborhood. Nobody screws around and there aren’t breakins. The commercial properties that abut our house look at us as free nighttime security. But yet according to the Feds we are the bad guy.

  26. Jim Bob Says:

    @Whitepride. I’m in the Northeast, Vermont to be more specific. My state though is mainly cop clubs. We have the Urin Order, the Shamrocks (which used to be a club of strictly federal cops but they relaxed their membership requirements and made it open to any LEO), the Vermont Road Dawgs (another cop club), the Red Knights (which is a fire fighters club), and a couple other clubs that aren’t necessarily cop clubs but they allow cops into em. So I never really got to see any other type of MC’s in my area.

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