In the last year, at least two active duty ATF Agents involved in the continuing prosecution of the Mongols Motorcycle Club have made provocative, sometimes vulgar and in some instances inflammatory comments about the Mongols case on this site.
Last week for example, ATF Special Agent John Ciccone posted comments on this site from his Blackberry in Glendale, California over the Cingular Wireless Network. Ciccone wrote:
Attention Mongols Defense Attorneys
“Obviously I have made some pretty dangerous statements in my posts and if I was Ciccone and you actually COULD (sic) prove I was Ciccone you could become legend (sic) in the club world as being the man that cost Ciccone his job. Hell, I fully encourage you to send my posts to the DOJ and ATF with a nice little letter claiming they were written by Ciccone or even an unknown ATF agent and lets (sic) see what happens. You’ll probably make the excuse that you dont (sic) want to cost yourself a source. But you and your source can’t prove shit, which is exactly (sic) why you havn’t (sic) posted shit for evidence, instead choosing to attack my use of punctuation and claim to have a ‘confidential source’. (sic)”
Ciccone then went on to state:
“Well I have a reliable source and they (sic) say that you’re a convicted pedophile (you’re not the only one who knows how to do some research) who can’t get a real job because of his convictin (sic) so you sit at home on the Internet writing this blog and trying to pick up little boys on MYSpace.
“Well I heard sled tramp invited you over this weekend to suck his cock and skull fuck that new grandson of his while you wear your Sons of Anarchy cuts. You two have fun!”
Some readers may still be wondering what all the fuss is about. After all, don’t all ATF Agents talk this way?
But, at least as they relate to the Mongols case, the public comments of ATF Agents represent much more than “intelligence gathering,” propagandizing or the paronomasia of cops who simply want to have fun by fantasying about the molestation of a newborn.
The comments ATF Agents have made here, in fact, are pertinent to both the legal credibility of those Agents and the ethical discovery of evidence in the case by the prosecution as a whole.
The prosecution in the Mongols case, fifteen months after the indictment was returned by the Grand Jury, has still not yet presented any of the defense attorneys in the case with a witness list. Defense attorneys have also been denied access to transcripts of the Grand Jury testimony which is the foundation for this prosecution. Prosecutors have stated in public documents that witnesses who testified before the Grand Jury will not be called to testify at any future, possible, trial.
Which may be a good thing for the ATF Agents who have talked trash here because under the Federal Rules of Evidence, specifically Rules 608 and 1007, the comments they have made here may be examined for evidence of their character and their credibility.
Internet trash talk is a new issue in police investigations but it did not just pop up last week. In an article last May in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Newsletter an anonymous cop warned: “In life, there are often second chances; in law enforcement, there are none when it comes to integrity. As a peace officer, malicious statements, even in jest, can be used against you. Contemplate the tactical significance of your comments before you hit the [enter] button and preserve them on a digital server for all of eternity.”
If nothing else, the ATF Agents who have posted here have accomplished something the Los Angeles Sheriff’s have been unable to do for decades: Which is make the LA Sheriff’s look good.
Even if the Agents who have commented here never have to testify those comments still represent a potentially career ending ethical breach for government lawyers.
Prosecutors, as part of the standards of their profession, have a duty to their clients, like the ATF, and equally to the more important goal of blind, fearsome, incorruptible justice. The prosecutors in the Mongols case have a professional duty to actively seek and disclose evidence that is favorable to the defense.
The obligation for government attorneys to discover evidence that both helps and hinders their cases was institutionalized in a ruling called Brady v. Maryland.
In discovery motions, this sort of evidence is routinely called “Brady material.” Relevant Brady materials in the Mongols case would include any evidence that law enforcement officers or officials involved in this case have a “sustained record for knowingly lying in an official capacity.”
So the relevance of the comments ATF Agents have made on this site might boil down to whether those Agents made their comments here during their normal business hours as part of their official duties.
Soon, the man who dared this page to prove that he is Ciccone may be explaining that he only made these comments during his coffee break for fun. Maybe he will get an opportunity to explain this to a judge.