The RICO Defense Laboratory

March 24, 2010

All Posts, News

The Pagans Motorcycle Club case in Charleston, West Virginia has become a laboratory of ways to defend motorcycle clubs against racketeering prosecutions.

A small, hard core of defense lawyers in the case have been fighting the fundamental assumption that underlies these cases: Which is, briefly stated, that police bureaucracies want motorcycle clubs portrayed as criminal rackets; so media sensationalists who depend on police cooperation have obligingly portrayed motorcycle clubs in that way; so everybody knows that motorcycle clubs are rackets; so they must be; so motorcycle clubs have no right to cower behind legal technicalities like the Constitution in trying to assert their innocence.

Even when they do not advance this story, some of the arguments these lawyers have raised are eloquent and true and you should hear them anyway. You won’t hear them on television. A guy named Andrew Clevenger has been doing a much better than average job of covering this case for the Charleston Gazette but you will not read them there either. So if you are going to hear them at all you are stuck with this page.

On Indicia Warrants

An attorney named Thomas J. Gillooly who represents a defendant named Sergio Velez Cuevas has been thundering like a travelling evangelist about indicia warrants for weeks.

“The Government’s argument (for these warrants),” Gillooly argues, “amounts to an assertion of the power to issue a general warrant. The Fourth Amendment was adopted to do away with general warrants.”

“The Government, as represented in this prosecution, apparently believes that if it has established probable cause for some criminal violation, by someone, it may search for contraband or evidence of anything it pleases. The Government’s misunderstanding (or worse) of its proper role under the Constitution, as evidenced by the warrant and search in this case, is reiterated in its Response to Defendant’s Motion to Suppress.”

“It was in enforcing the laws licensing the publication of literature and, later, in prosecutions for seditious libel that general warrants were systematically used in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In Tudor England officers of the Crown were given roving commissions to search where they pleased in order to suppress and destroy the literature of dissent, both Catholic and Puritan. In later years warrants were sometimes more specific in content, but they typically authorized the arrest and search of the premises of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel, or the arrest and seizure of all the papers of a named person thought to be connected with a libel.”

“The Government’s actions in this case, and its arguments in defense of what it has done,” Gillooly concludes, “are repugnant to the Constitution and must be rejected.”

And On Surplusage

Meanwhile, an attorney named Deirdre Purdy who represents a defendant named Richard Timothy Weaver has been attacking the inflammatory and prejudicial language in both the original and the superseding indictments. This language, as in most of these indictments is very unfair and besides the point. The legal term for these words is surplusage.

“The Government cannot successfully charge these defendants as criminals, simply because they are Pagans Motorcycle Club members,” Purdy wrote last week. “There could not be a more prejudicial statement in an indictment than that the defendants are criminals, by virtue of membership in the Pagans Motorcycle Club and that their every act as Pagans members is a criminal act. That is not just a charge of a violation of the law, but a statement that guilt is a foregone conclusion, based solely on these defendants’ organizational association.”

The trial is scheduled to begin next month.

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10 Responses to “The RICO Defense Laboratory”

  1. BigV Says:

    Awesome reporting.

    Continue to stand tall Pagans.

    White Bear, Bart, and all the rest: stay strong and hand the Feds a huge defeat.

    -BigV in Bama

  2. Ride Says:

    Just to clear this up for me: under current indicia “rules”, if I have a support sticker on my bike, or have support t-shirts in my home, I could be charged if they apply to a club that is being prosecuted?

    Pretty scary stuff…

  3. DirtyBruin Says:

    It’s unfortunate that I’m pleasantly surprised to see defense attorneys actually challenging this crap instead of cowering in a corner and essentially telling their client(s) to beg for mercy in the form of a plea deal. [I say it’s an unfortunate pleasant surprise because lawyers actually presenting a vigorous defense should be what happens all the time….]

  4. Detroit Dutch Says:

    This shit is all just a smoke screen for that they did to Sgt Hale!

    Muddy up the waters so much that when the case of Sgt Hale comes to court the name Pagans MC will be so dirty it won’t matter what the fucking cops did to this American Hero.

    Justice for Sgt Hale!


  5. RVN69 Says:

    I don’t know if the west coast feds are more competent at creating entrapment than their east coast partners in crime, or the West Va. attorneys are just more interested in their clients rights, but this is good news for the Pagan’s Nation. I hope that all the federally fabricated crimes are dismissed, and maybe a precedent set that will hinder any future attempts by the feds to do what they do.
    Dutch, while I think that they will use this arrest and any convictions they might obtain in their defense in the civil trial for the murder of Derek Hale, I don’t think that was their motivation. I believe the cops that Murdered Derek are confident that they have the State of Delaware sewed up, look how fast the shooting was declared to be a legal use of force. With Biden as the AG I think they already have all the cover they need. My most sincere wish is that the family of Derek Hale be awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in a judgement against the PD and the state of DE, so much money that the voters realize the incompetence of the people they have in those jobs and kick them out, possibly investigating them and placing them in jail. That is what I wish, but I seriously doubt any such thing will happen. The cops will protect themselves and the murders of Derek Hale, James Hicks and Charles Nicols will never be avenged.
    Respect to all that have earned it
    Si vis Pacem, Parabellum.

  6. Rock Says:

    Many of us have been victims of lazy ass attorneys just interested in the money. Most attorneys are deathly afraid of the feds. They have advised us to plead guilty, sometimes to charges of which we were innocent. All this to be able to cop a plea instead of risking decades in prison. The stacking of charges make all this possible and they can stack ’em on anybody. Hell, you’re glad to take five when you’re fucking facing forty years of bullshit charges. It’s just real hard to spin the jury wheel and see how it all shakes out when you’re facing multiple decades working at UNICOR. Some will know what I mean.

    In today’s world the alphabet agencies rule the country. They seem to be invincible, at least personally. There have been sweeps set up to catch local sheriffs committing various crimes. The same holds true for congressmen,senators, and judges. My question is: Who holds these amoral pricks accountable? Since the end justifies the means, there is nothing these zealots won’t do to advance their careers. Is the entire nest of them without sin? Are there not lawbreakers in their midst? Are they a special race of human that rise above the frailties of mere mortals?

    BULLSHIT! There is a special place in hell for agents that abuse their power and ruin people’s lives in the process. Ditto for prosecutors that ignore questionable tactics and charges. I love hearing that the Pagan lawyers are fighting for their clients. I hope they get a honorable jury if they take it to trial. Spin the wheel.


  7. JAMES Says:

    I believe the PAGANS LAWYERS have learned a lot by the MONGOLS trials and the ways of not taking pleas and I do believe a LAWYER needs to be behind his client 100% and argue for right not just cower down so as not to make an enemy out of the JUDGE who is supposed to be impartial and follow the laws of our country and not what a man may or may not be associated with or who he is, seems as though at times these so called JUDGES have their minds made up before anything is even brought before them. But we should still beware as for one I think both sides are going to continue to test until it is set into stone just how far LE is allowed to go, GOOD LUCK TO PAGANS M.C..

  8. Apple Pie Says:

    I’m just wondering…I am aware that at least 2 of the attorneys are actually fighting for their clients and their rights AND they are doing a bang up job of it so far. At least they got the judge to think twice about accepting one pleas because there was no evidence…if they get those charges dropped will others facing the same charge on the same so called evidence have theirs dropped too?…Much love and respect to WB, Bart and all the Pagan Nation

  9. Matt (the NJ lawyer) Says:

    Echoing love and respect to my friends in NJ and the entire Pagan Nation, wish I could be in WV for this important fight for America too. To the local legal team there – bravo, best of the American legal tradition hard at work! Atticus Finch would be proud.

    Keep both legands alive ’till Ragnarok.

    “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” — Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence

  10. Daddyo Says:

    The current militarized-ninja-wannabe-paratrooper cop “us vs. them” mentality runs very deep, the leo world will push and push and push and there is no end in sight. It’s a deep seated craving for powers that the founding fathers revolted against and paid in blood to defeat.
    They “might” be happy when it reaches the point that your beloved old lady has to ask “which panties to wear today”? but probably not. Think 1930’s Germany, “show me your papers, why are you in this neighborhood”? Answer- I’m an American, free to travel this land with or without a reason. Or with a reason that only makes sense to me.
    They (and I mean most of the leo community) consider the Constitution a hindrence, an impediment to their ability to just do whats right for society, rights be damned. And “what’s right” is what THEY think at a particular moment in time, plus whatever it takes to increase their budget. Budget = Power in civil servant land.
    ONLY when people in position to do so… be they voters, lawyers or city council/state reps or heaven forbid fed legislaters step into thier little leo terror roadway and say stop (with the stroke to back it up) do the cops stop infringing on the God given rights of free men.
    So I say good on the WV lawyers and why oh why did it take this long?
    More of this will turn the tide. The American people have more power at their fingertips than they realize.
    Put the jack booted thugs back into their narrowly defined place.


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