Mongols Bill Of Attainder

October 3, 2009

All Posts, News

Two more plea deals in the Mongols case were published yesterday (Friday) afternoon.

These deals tend to appear on Friday afternoons when the fewest people are looking for them. Like forty-one previous defendants in this case, Paul Cordova and Luis Padilla pled guilty to Count One of the Mongols indictment, which is the count that labels the Mongols Motorcycle Club a “criminal enterprise.”

Cordova was a member “of the Mongols gang” known as “Chopper.” He admitted that on December 1, 2006 he sold 246 grams of old school to one of the ATF Under Cover Agents who created this case and, further, that on February 10, 2007 he “sold approximately 493.5 grams of cocaine to a UC.”

Cordova “further agrees that these acts were related to his role as a member of the Mongols Gang and were committed in furtherance of the criminal enterprise and knowing that its members and associates, including defendant, would commit racketeering offenses, including drug trafficking. The drug trafficking and other crimes of the Mongols organization are offenses which have an effect on interstate commerce.” Or, so the plea claims.

Cordova faces a probable prison term of six years that he will serve concurrently with sentence in Colorado.

Padilla pled guilty to the same “crime” and to the two “predicate crimes” of possessing “34 grams of actual methamphetamine…as well as Mongols paraphernalia.” He faces a probable sentence of between 46 and 63 months in prison.


The Mongols case now exemplifies what law and order apostates William L. Anderson and Candice Jackson have called “The federalization of crime and the criminalization of everything.” The case also epitomizes the use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute by tyrannical prosecutors and federal police agencies to nullify the Constitution.

RICO (named for the character in the movie still above) was conceived during the late 1960s culture wars. The original intent of the law was to prohibit “racketeer infiltration of legitimate business.” In other words it was designed to prevent “the mob” from going legitimate. In 1981, in the case United States v. Turkette, the Supreme Court broadened the law by redefining the phrase “enterprise.” While the authors of the law intended “enterprise” to mean the legitimate bar or bowling alley that had been corrupted by “the mob” Turkette reinterpreted “enterprise” to mean “the mob” itself.”

For almost a decade, thoughtful people of all political persuasions were outraged by the constitutional implications of Turkette. In May 1987, the Columbia Law Review called RICO “The Crime of Being a Criminal.”

On August 16, 1989, the Los Angeles Times editorialized:

“A good law has several essential attributes: It is clear; it addresses itself to a specific and clearly defined form of illicit conduct; it prescribes a remedy or punishment proportionate to the damage done by the offense. Statutes that fail to meet these tests are enacted not in the cause of justice, but for the convenience of the state. RICO, in fact, is one of the latter.

“RICO originally was directed against the conspiratorial activities of so-called mob families. However, the law is so loosely worded that any two instances of illegal conduct within a 10-year period – even if relatively trivial – can, if they involve use of the mail or telephone, be prosecuted as a ‘pattern of racketeering activity.'”

Unfortunately, in this new and shinier millennium, news outlets no longer see themselves as guardians of freedom. News outlets now survive by whipping up hysteria over the most bizarre, distracting and telegenic crimes. News outlets now implicitly conspire with all the usual dark and sinister powers to “manage public perception.”

Bill Of Attainder

In the Mongols case, the government is clearly and irrefutably using its RICO prosecution of the motorcycle club to enforce a de facto “Bill of Attainder.”

Bills, sometimes the word is “writs,” of Attainder are specifically prohibited by Article One, Clause three of the Constitution. This prohibition appears so early in the principal American law because it was one of the “rights” for which the revolutionaries fought and died. In brief this clause – which it appears that none of the prosecutors, defense attorneys nor Judge Florence-Marie Cooper has ever read – explicitly forbids outlawing “membership” in any organization.

Even today, in what is left of this democratic republic, it is not illegal to belong to Al Qaeda, the Nazi party, the Ku Klux Klan, The Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, the Communist party or even a motorcycle club. In a case named Uphaus v Wyman in 1959, the Supreme Court called guilt by association “a thoroughly discredited doctrine.”

So it is not unreasonable to wonder out loud how “possessing Mongols paraphernalia” can be construed as one of a Luis Padilla’s “predicate crimes.”

RICO Prosecutions

RICO, as it has evolved, is not intended to punish what most people consider to be crimes: Which is to say actions like murder, robbery or what Roman Polanski did to that 13-year-old girl – what lawyers call malum in se. RICO is designed to punish crimes that lawyers call malum prohibitum: Which is to say actions that are illegal because they are illegal – like possessing illegal intoxicants or talking on the telephone about illegal intoxicants or smoking in a public place or having a loud and embarrassingly ugly argument with your old lady on a Saturday night.

RICO ignores malum in se, what you have always thought to be a “crime.” The predicate crimes that RICO exploits are always state crimes that until 1970 would always have been prosecuted in state courts.

There are a couple of obvious reasons for the federal prosecution of these state crimes. First, RICO allows the investigation of these local crimes by vast police bureaucracies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF.) These bureaucracies are self perpetuating and have virtually unlimited resources. All they need to persist are crimes to investigate and RICO provides that. Secondly, RICO allows federal prosecutors a legal fiction that can be used to connect what are actually, in reality, unconnected crimes into a vast, imaginary, criminal conspiracy.

Additionally, RICO prosecutors do not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants actually committed the “predicate crimes” of which they are accused. State prosecutors do but RICO allows federal prosecutors to prove crimes by the civil standard which is a “preponderance of the evidence.”

So the former Mongols are being prosecuted in Federal Court under RICO.

What Does The Government Want

What is radical and new in the Mongols case, however, is the way the government is using RICO to coerce confessions.

RICO is usually the most serious “crime” with much a criminal defendant is charged. RICO usually carries a 20-year-prison sentence. So prosecutors usually trade a guilty plea to a predicate charge for the dismissal of the RICO count.

But the Mongols case turns that strategy on its head. In the current case, defendants are being rewarded for pleading guilty to racketeering. And, that raises several obvious questions. What does the government want? Why is the government trying to avoid a trial? And, what is the government hiding?

Or possibly more to the point, what is the ATF hiding?

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10 Responses to “Mongols Bill Of Attainder”

  1. Not Surprised Says:

    Rebel, this is just my opinion. Though key leaders in various 1% clubs have been jailed for maximum sentences, the rank and file are left unscathed to rebuild.

    Both DOJ and BATFE want to totally disband a major 1% club to set precedent. You have already stated that membership and association in and of itself does not constitute a crime, but if an entire organization can be labeled a criminal enterprise in a Federal court by admission of its members, it is a slam dunk.

    Unlike traditional organized crime “families” which RICO was designed to target, 1% clubs have a public presence, a “brand” or trademark, by laws and are for the most part, legally incorporated.

    RICO cannot make it illegal to be an Italian American. La Cosa Nostra targets individuals within a select target group. A 1% club however, really IS a club, and not all of its members join for the sole purpose of committing crimes.

    If successful (and but for the astute work of some very good attorneys it almost happened here), the Government wants to control the future of The Mongols MC, disband it as a public entity and disallow membership, public recognition, etc.

    Traditonally, RICO does not fair well at trial unless numerous defendants have already made the assertion their actions were done at the behest of and for the furtherance of a criminal enterprise. That this has been done here will make the remaining defendants cases more difficult to defend. Each person who alleged his actions were done on behalf of or for the benefit of a criminal organization has also signed, as part of the plea agreement, to be available to testify to that effect against the “hold out” defendants.

    Just my take, Rebel. It looks as if this case is the ultimate test case for future prosecutions of other 1% clubs.

  2. DOC Says:

    I’m thinking there is a weekness in their position. I have thought so for awhile now. No idea what it might be, but when prosecutors make upside down deals it’s not ’cause they’re great guys. They probably don’t want their case to see the light of day.
    Prosecutors are bulleys and usually carry a lot of bluff. They play on your worst fears and hope for a deal. If it’s not a bluff you’re fucked.

    I’m also thinking it might take a few things comming together to force this weekness out into the open.
    1) An indicted biker who doesn’t have shit to loose, and absolutely doesn’t give a shit weather the sun comes up tomorrow or not, and is willing to take a chance on spending the rest of his life behind bars
    2) A law firm who’s willing to take this thing to court, dig, dig, dig, and probably loose, and spend years in apeals courts, taking the case as far as possible in the hopes of a landmark decission, and probably loosing.
    3) A truck load of money to pay for all this shit.
    Who knows, they might get lucky and change things some.

    I’m thinking the play here is to force the other party to give up the high ground, show what they really have and beat them to death down here in the mud with the rest of us. The stakes are high and the chances of winning aren’t good. It’s also easy to stand on the sidelines as an unindited nobody and watch this whole thing unfold.
    I’m not giving advice here, just wondering out loud.

    What really bothers me about all this shit is “The federalization of crime and the criminalization of everything.”
    the doctor

  3. Nookster Says:

    Another great piece Rebel, and I agree with Doc. When you have 5 or 6 defendants rolling over and spilling thier guts about everything they know and even making up even more shit the other defendants have serious problems. On top of that you have law enforcement embelishing the truth and down right lying. In a RICO trial, prosecutors don’t need any physical evidence, like for instance the actual drugs that were sold. All they need is a chain of snitches and cops saying it happened and making the jury believe it. Thats it! Also you basically have two types of pleas. One,where a defendant is ratting too get his own sentenced reduced. This “shit sack” will be testifing for the prosecution and against the other defendants in the trial, and the other plea is where a defendant is pleaing guilty to a crime and then being sentenced to the specific crimes guidelines. This plea does not require that you testify against anyone. They do require whats called “acceptance of responsibility”, where a defendant is saying “yes I did it”. However, it doesn’t mean you have to cooperate with the prosecution and snitch on your fellow defendants in a trial. But after saying this, in some instances it doesn’t help other defendants who are going to take it all the way and go to trial either. The more defendants that “cave in” make the prosecutors job alot easier getting convictions of the remaining defendants going to trial. Anyway, thanks agian for the comprehensive articles you write. Everything helps when the government is being exposed as the “real” criminal organization in this land.

  4. Rebel Says:

    Hey Ciccone,

    Isn’t this usually about the time when the ATF starts trotting out their heroes for a press conference? Where are they? Didn’t the public get to meet Jay-Bird and Billy Slow Brain within a year of the arrests? What up?

    The ATF was proud of Billy Queen and Jay Dobyns. How come the government isn’t proud of Darrin Koslowski, Greg Gaioni, John Carr and Secret Agent Number Four? How come you ain’t proud of the four women?

    Where the press conference at? Can I come? Can I ask questions? Can I get interviews? Will there be a calendar featuring photos of the heros? How you going to spin this? People want to know.

    Come on, man. I can make you look good. Don’t you want me to make you look good? Drop me a line.

    Your pal,

  5. FTF Says:


    The latter of the plea deals is also called “dry snitching”. It’s where one accepts responsibility to the crimes himself and his co-defendants are accused of, but in doing so has ultimately in a round about way stated in writing via his plea agreement that his co-defendents also were a part of those same crimes, organization, etc. as per the original indictment.

  6. Rebel Says:

    Dear Not Surprised,

    I think RICO is an outstanding way to get an indictment. I think I am agreeing with you on that. Right?

    I think what the DOJ and the ATF like about RICO the most is that RICO is an arcane law. It is hard to understand. It leads to specious indictments that seem reasonable when you read them real fast. It also leads to big, impossibly huge piles of evidence and it leads to cases that are so complicated that it is difficult for individual, indigent defendants to defend themselves.

    I was disappointed to see that Judge Cooper refused Harry Reynolds motion to sever his case from the racketeering indictment. All this ever really was, was about 80 state cases. The government should have to try 80 cases instead of just one.

    I think that is the real problem defendants have in RICO cases. One minute you are smoking a joint with some guy, shooting your handguns, talking about that arson you got away with five years ago, and the next minute that guy, who you thought was your friend, wants to make you prove you are not Don Corleone. I think the way to attack RICO is to attack the connections.

    As I think I said, RICO just looks to me to be a way to perpetuate big, federal police bureaucracies. The ATF doesn’t really want to outlaw, or destroy the Mongols or any other club. The ATF wants mo money, mo money, mo money! More television glory! More appearances on America’s Most Wanted! More written commendations! Higher salaries! More book and movie deals!

    And some guys, who have given over their lives to being clerk cops, like to go out sometimes and pretend to be motorcycle outlaws. They play pretend for a year or two. It must be exciting for them and I doubt they want to give it up.

    Definitely, these guys don’t want to win. These are petty bureaucrats man. They are all beautiful losers. They want their home and security AND they want to live like a sailor at sea.

    You know what the ATF would be without motorcycle outlaws? The fireworks police.

    Always nice to hear from you.

    your pal,

  7. Nookster Says:

    FTF, your right, I’m with you and it is “Dry Snitching”, when a defendant pleas and leaves mutiple co-defendants hanging in that type of situation. Only if ALL the defendants collectively agree to plea together and at the same time, without cooperating with the prosecution in any form or fashion would it not be considered that. Also “what” defendants plea “too” in a case could also have residual and future effects on undicted brothers on the street. It’s fucking brutal all away around.

  8. Bystander Says:

    Just curious as to why you refer to them as “former mongols”. Word is as long as they don’t roll, they are still members. Great site, by the way, I enjoy all the articles.


  9. Rebel Says:

    Dear Bystander,

    I am trying to be both correct and polite.

    If you plead guilty you are a former Mongol. Pleading guilty in this case disqualifies you from membership in the Mongols Motorcycle Club. Whether you are reinstated or not and when and under what conditions is the club’s business, not mine. If you have been charged but have not pled guilty, as I understand it, you are suspended from the club. If you have been charged but have not been found guilty or pled guilty you are presumed to be innocent.

    As far as I know, it is provably true that the Mongols Motorcycle Club Corporation is completely innocent of the crimes to which some former members have confessed. And, a standard condition in all of the sentences is a non-association clause. So anyone who has been found guilty of being a conspirator in the “racket” the government keeps ranting and raving about is legally forbidden to see any of his friends and brothers.

    And, I believe it is also provably true that not a single former Mongol who has been released has violated that condition. Perfect non-association. No former Mongol has ever run into any current Mongol at the grocery store or anything like that. Ever. That is a legal fact.

    Thanks for your kind words, too, by the way. I appreciate them

    your pal,


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