In reply to a brief announcement about federal inmate Dave Burgess yesterday, Just A Question wrote:
Wow, Cavazo’s snitch unit is Having a Christmas competition with Burgess’ molester unit. I wonder who will get to eat Bologna sandwiches first.
I’m sure his whole “Christmas request” is in some code, which deciphered reads: IT’S ME DAVE, SEND POST CARDS OF NUDE YOUNG BOYS A.S.A.P .
Worse of all, the HA had no idea of this dudes preoccupation with young boys. The Angels love to do community service. I just hope, coach Burgess wasn’t pulling down little johnnies shorts on the basketball court after practice. I’m pretty sure there were some red flags. I don’t think it’s normal for a grown man to use photos of boy’s genitalia as a stocking stuffer. Better yet, maybe Burgesses insistence to be the first pant-less Santa Claus raised a red flag. Or Maybe, the children that sat on Santa Burgess lap, complained that a bulge made them uncomfortable.
I just thought we all needed a good laugh on such a serious topic. But really, stop laughing, Dave Burgess is innocent.
The Aging Rebel Replies
Burgess is stained with the label of kiddie porn for the rest of his life. It is not inconceivable that a member of a major club could be a child porn enthusiast. A couple of years ago, a member of the Mongols was busted on a similar morals charge.
After all the hyperbole was stripped away, the charges against Burgess boiled down to about a half dozen provocative, nude or semi-nude photos of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter. I don’t know anything about any photos of boys. The photos of the girl had provocative captions, like, “Boy, I sure am a pervert,” or something like that.
Burgess has said that the captions were generated with software he did not own and never used. He has also said that the portable drives that contained the photos were identical to ones he had purchased in Reno except the drives entered into evidence were purchased in Vegas. And, several people with knowledge of the case think it is somewhere between plausible and likely that the girl, or a friend of hers, took the photos using Burgess’ camera and Burgess never saw them until after he was arrested.
The charges culminated 40 years of antagonism between Burgess and members of his family and federal police. It goes back to the old days when Nixon decided that the Mustang Ranch must be closed at all costs. I think Hoover was still running the FBI at the time. This antagonism resulted in several clear injustices against Burgess and particularly against people close to him.
I think it is incontrovertible that the traffic stop that eventually led to the child porn charges was a premeditated, coordinated, federal attempt to get something on Burgess. Just something. Anything. And also to gather “gang intelligence” on the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. I think all that context immediately raises the reasonable possibility that Burgess might have been framed.
There is also a vital constitutional issue in the case that has been absolutely ignored in the mainstream press. The issue is, how private should the information on your computer be? Both the Obama and the Bush Administrations have argued that none of the information on your “personal” computer should be private because if it is the terrorists win.
Last year, after Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, most of the public discussion about her qualifications centered around whether she was straight or gay. Nobody ever mentioned that one of her highlight issues was her advocacy of unlimited searches of personal computers under what is called the “plain sight doctrine.”
The Ninth Circuit ruled that there is some expectation of privacy on a PC in the BALCO case. And, in most cases where a computer is searched the search is conducted by non-police who must ignore all data that is irrelevant to the items specified in the search warrant. That is because most computer searches apply to financial crimes like tax evasion. I think the same search rules should have applied in the Burgess case.
Who Is Next
I think the same rules should apply to my computer when Ciccone or somebody decides to trump up a drug dealing or gun dealing charge against me, seizes all my hardware to see who I might have been talking to, and about what and when, stores my hardware in a child porn warehouse and then four months later discovers “65,000 images of child exploitation” on my computer and drives. I expect that would pretty much ruin any little credibility I have. It would certainly bring a screeching halt to really annoying headlines like “Government Loses Mongols Case.” That would be one way to shut me up.
You know that when I started nosing around the Mongols case the ATF tried to spread the rumor that I was a convicted child molester? That was why I had time to work on the case. Because I was a child molester who couldn’t get a job so I worked on a book about the Mongols case instead. You know that, right? Ciccone didn’t just say that on this site. That was out there for awhile.
I don’t think the Burgess case is about the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club except to the extent that the charges against Burgess have been used to smear that club and to the extent that many of Burgess’ club brothers just assumed the guy must be guilty. I think what happened to Burgess could just as easily have happened to a Mongol, a Vago, Bandido, Son, Gypsy Joker, Henchman, Highwayman, Pagan or Outlaw. What happened to Burgess has nothing to do with club politics.
I suspect that part of getting Burgess was that the federal police wanted to work out a set of procedures to similarly smear Mongols, Vagos, Bandidos, Sons, Gypsy Jokers, Henchmen, Highwaymen, Pagans, Outlaws, Vietnam Vets, Rough Riders, Set free Soldiers, Occupy Wall Streeters, Tea Partiers, Fundamentalist Mormons, militiamen, and other “gang” members. I think that for democracy to survive justice must at least appear to be just and in this case nobody even tried to make the prosecution of Burgess appear fair.
I know I am not blankly objective about the feds. After staring at the Mongols case for two or three years, I can’t hear about a car to car shooting in Washington, DC or an “elder militia” bust in Idaho without immediately wondering how the ATF is in that mix and who are they trying to set-up.
I knew who Burgess was before his child porn charge. We weren’t friends. We did not know each other but I had met the guy in Reno. I had read what he posted on Dave’s World 81.
I was very surprised when he picked up the kiddie porn charge. I sat on the Burgess story for six months before I first wrote about it because I assumed Burgess was guilty. I kept holding my nose and peeking at the case, feeling ashamed for the guy and still peeking a the case. I kept peeking because I just always had the impression that Dave Burgess was protective of children. I think my first reaction was like, “Hell, you just never know!”
Then, eventually when the facts started to soften my gut reaction, I became convinced that the guy was framed. JAQ, if it happened to you and I thought you were framed I would say something about it too.
Lynching Bad Guys
I think Burgess was metaphorically lynched. There is a long history of lynching child molesters in this country.
I once saw my great-grandfather’s face in the middle of an old photo of the lynching of a child molester. According to the news account, there were 5,000 people in that lynch mob. In the photo, most of them were laughing and were probably drunk. In that time and place, I probably would have been in that lynch mob, too. Nobody likes child molesters or the people who look at pictures of kids being molested and who take pleasure from that.
That is why child porn cases are such slam dunk convictions. And, that is one reason why all computers and drives seized in biker related indicia searches are routinely searched. The investigators hope to find child porn. I think that in Burgess’ case the search just took one extra step.
I think the child porn charge against him was an excuse to lynch Burgess and for the federal police to make an example out of Dave Burgess once and for all. And, even I am aware that I could be wrong. I still think, “You just never know.” And, that is the real damage the case has done to Burgess and everybody who cares about him. His conviction could be overturned tomorrow and still the accusations made against him will never go away.
If I am right and Burgess was framed, it was a very foul injustice. If he was framed, the men who did it to him should get a taste of their own medicine.