A RICO Primer

July 21, 2012

All Posts, Editorials, Features

Many readers, including defense attorneys, continue to seem confused by RICO. The usual response to a RICO charge is, “How can they do this?” The following passages, from the book Out Bad, might help clear up some confusion.

From Out Bad

RICO was the centerpiece of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. The law was written by a Senatorial aide named G. Robert Blakey, who is now the William and Dorothy O’Neill Professor of Law at Notre Dame. And, it is named for the fictional character Rico “Little Caesar” Bandello who was inhabited on film by Edward G. Robinson.

Robinson’s Rico character, in turn, was a parody of a notorious entrepreneur named Alphonse Gabriel “Scarface” Capone. “Every time a boy falls off a tricycle,” Capone once lamented, “every time a black cat has gray kittens, every time someone stubs a toe, every time there’s a murder or a fire or the Marines land in Nicaragua, the police and the newspapers holler ‘get Capone.’”

Capone regretted his reputation as a criminal. Starting in 1926 he tried to diversify into legitimate businesses. Eventually he discovered milk. “Honest to God, we’ve been in the wrong racket right along,” Capone exclaimed when he discovered that the profit margins were higher in milk than in whiskey. In February 1932, three months before he went to prison, Capone invested $50,000 in a legitimate business named Meadowmoor Dairies. In the 1960s the descendants of Capone liked to invest in bowling alleys because they were a good way to explain where the money came from. The upshot of that was that the main supplier of automatic pin setting machines, the AMF company, became prosperous enough to buy, and almost ruin, the Harley-Davidson company.

The original intent of the RICO statute – at least by the Congressmen who voted for it – was to protect legitimate dairies, bowling alleys and other businesses, from investment by thugs like Al Capone. That did not work because the threat posed to the nation by the Italian-American Mafia was always overblown and because as years went by the very same acts the Mafia had always been condemned for doing began to be accepted as standard business practice. The Mafia used to sell sin. The gangsters profited from gambling, usury, prostitution, liquor, drugs and theft. Now states, the nation, Indian tribes, rural counties in Nevada, credit card brands, mortgage lenders, banks in general and asset confiscating police all profit from exactly the same sins.

This may or may not be a good thing. It is certainly not something new in the American pageant. Wyatt Earp enforced the law for big banks and mining companies. Before that he was “muscle.” Before that he was a pimp. Honore de Balzac said, “Behind every great fortune there is a crime.” Crime used to be understood as a kind of cheating for personal gain. Now a crime is anything. Racketeering is anything. The point is to find an excuse to make people suffer.

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 – crimes that lawyers call malum in se. RICO is designed to punish crimes lawyers call malum prohibitum which is Latin for 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 wife on a Saturday night.

RICO prosecutions virtually ignore malum in se crimes, the actions you have always thought to be a “crime,” although at least a dozen of those did occur or emerge during the Mongols investigation. The predicate crimes that RICO exploits are often trivial and are always state crimes that until 1982 would have been prosecuted in state courts. For example, after the Labor Day Murders, none of the Hells Angels who were charged were ever found guilty of the murders. They confessed to talking about the murders. They confessed to hating Mongols.


Then, almost five years later, on June 17, 1981 the law changed. Congress did not write a new law. The United States Supreme Court did. In a case called United States v Turkette, the Supreme Court changed the meaning of an existing law, called the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations law, or RICO. The decision wasn’t even close. Conservatives and liberals agreed.

Turkette opened a philosophical and legal Pandora’s Box that redefined the meaning of words like “crime” and “racket;” and redefined whatever separation or connection might once have existed or not existed between local, state and federal crimes. Today a federal prosecutor can federalize virtually any crime he wants federalized. Under federal law punching somebody in the nose can be a “predicate crime.” This evolution of federal law also created a special circumstance under which defendants can be denied a presumption of innocence.

The Turkette decision changed the meaning of “criminal enterprise” away from a legitimate bar, bowling alley or labor union that had been corrupted by “the mob.” The Scheidler decision a decade later decreed that the “criminal enterprise” no longer had to exist for the purpose of making money. After Turkette and Scheidler, a class reunion could be a criminal enterprise. A federal prosecutor only had to imagine it.


National Organization of Women, Inc. v Scheidler was a civil RICO case brought on behalf of abortion providers against a political organization called Operation Rescue. Joseph Scheidler, for whom the decision is named was one of the leaders of Operation Rescue. Members believed that first-term abortion was morally wrong and should be legally prohibited. They protested outside abortion clinics and harassed and intimidated the women who tried to enter. There was a national consensus that members of Operation Rescue were loutish, cruel and unreasonable. The National Organization of Women accused them of being a racket.

“’We cannot tolerate the use of threats and force by one group to impose its views on others,’” NOW’s lawyer. Fay Clayton explained.

A Federal District judge, dismissed the case on the grounds that RICO could only be applied to “enterprises” motivated by financial gain. The Supreme Court overruled him. A racket could then be any group who members were contemptuous of the law. It was a great victory for federal policemen and prosecutors.

Professor G. Robert Blakely, who wrote the RICO Act and gave it its ironic name, lamented that he had never meant for his law to be applied to political and fraternal groups. He said he was “concerned” that after Scheidler RICO might be used against labor unions and other fringe groups like gay rights activists. Since Scheidler, RICO has been most commonly used a basis for the prosecution of outlaw motorcycle clubs.

RICO Praxis

There are several obvious reasons for the federal prosecution of state crimes. First, RICO allows the investigation of these local crimes by vast police bureaucracies like the 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.” Finally, RICO provides a nice, secure, recession proof way for many lawyers, policemen, and prison guards to make a good living.

Under RICO, if Barack Obama, Henry Louis Gates and Angelina Jolie all like to attend an annual seminar together, and if three people at the seminar have committed two or more criminal predicates, like making a false statement to a federal official or shoplifting, they may be collectively and individually charged with racketeering. They could all be convicted of “the affecting interstate commerce” clause in the RICO law if they sent each other Christmas cards. And the penalty for that racketeering is twenty years in a federal prison.

Many bright and cynical people who should know better still blindly assume that what police do is investigate and solve real crimes. The opposite is true in racketeering investigations. What the ATF, particularly in biker investigations, does is find a way to tie crimes to many related individuals and then create crimes that can be used to prosecute them all. This law enforcement approach is called the “Enterprise Theory of Investigation” and it has a long and twisted history.

A sociologist named Edwin Sutherland coined the term “white collar crime” in the 1930s and wrote a book on the subject in 1949. Sutherland in essence, believed that all businessmen were criminals. With all the best of intentions, after the heartbreak of the Great Depression, Sutherland thought unethical businessmen should be treated worse than murderers. He thought they should be punished for their economic crimes so he advocated that a “person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation” should be presumed guilty until proven innocent. Sutherland also attacked the legal concept of mens rea, or guilty mind, which states that a person cannot be guilty of a crime unless he intends to commit a crime. Sutherland’s theories became popular in two seemingly disparate communities – academia and the FBI.

A Sutherland protégé named Donald Cressey created the “enterprise” concept that quickly became the Enterprise Theory of Investigation. Cressey was particularly not talking about bands of anti-materialistic, socially alienated bikers. He intended to oppose what he saw as social injustice. “The people of the business world are probably more criminalistic than the people of the slums,” he wrote in a book he co-authored with Sutherland. The idea of factoring wealth and privilege into the criminal justice equation was attractive to intellectuals. The federal police liked the parts that made prosecutions easier. Of course, in the manner of police bureaucracies everywhere, lest the amateurs know what the professionals are talking about, the Enterprise Theory of Investigation has become simply the ETI.

“The ETI has become the standard investigative model that the FBI employs in conducting investigations against major criminal organizations,” an FBI author explains. “Unlike traditional investigative theory, which relies on law enforcement’s ability to react to a previously committed crime, the ETI encourages a proactive attack on the structure of the criminal enterprise. Rather than viewing criminal acts as isolated crimes, the ETI attempts to show that individuals commit crimes in furtherance of the criminal enterprise itself. In other words, individuals commit criminal acts solely to benefit their criminal enterprise.”

The current idea of the criminal enterprise is very close to what Hannah Arendt meant when she wrote, “Classical totalitarianism predicts possible crimes on the basis of one’s status as an ‘objective enemy.’”

By “criminal enterprise,” the FBI author means any group any Federal Prosecutor decides to prosecute. The Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America have not yet been prosecuted as rackets because to do so would create a terrible public backlash. But there is no backlash when the organization is an outlaw motorcycle club. The Scheidler decision completed the legal magic trick by making the “financial motive” disappear.

In motorcycle club cases, in general and against the Mongols in particular, the government uses RICO 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. Technically, in America it is not illegal to belong to Al Qaeda, the Nazi party, the Ku Klux Klan, 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.”

But RICO allows prosecutors to turn that ruling on its head. It is the same when mass media leads the general public to believe that motorcycle clubs, right wing militias and “cults” are criminal.

Motorcycle clubs are particularly prone to prosecution under RICO because that are so blatantly “organizations” and because their members tend to believe, as Harley-Davidson’s ad agency put it, “in bucking the system that’s built to smash individuals like bugs on a windshield.” More than tribes, more than thugs, motorcycle clubs are an American ideology. And, also for better or worse, a national consensus seems to be building that America is better for renouncing this ideology.

Under RICO, state crimes punishable by months or a year in jail can be punished like murders. RICO also allows the seizure of assets like motorcycles because, the indictments always allege, no motorcycles no motorcycle gang. The enterprise theory also allows indicia searches, which are searches for proof that someone actually belongs to a motorcycle club. In effect, these searches are house wrecking parties. They are inevitably very terrible. Doors and windows are blown open with explosives. Threats like pets are eliminated. Men are beaten and sometimes executed. Wives and children are roughed up. Much glass is broken. Family photo albums, computers and mementos are confiscated.

The nature and practice of modern policing and particularly of racketeering law may help readers understand the trivial nature of many of the charges made in the indictment against the Mongols. The fact that the Mongols are a gossipy family also worked against them because the men who infiltrated the club wrote down all of the gossip. The “preponderance of evidence” rule in RICO cases made that gossip more damning than it would ever be in an ordinary criminal case. The fact that club members often disagreed about Doc Cavazos gave undercover investigators an excuse to get members talking. And, in the end RICO meant that prosecutors didn’t have to use any of the mountains of “evidence” they had collected. They only had to threaten defendants with it. Actually, in many cases they didn’t even show defendants the “evidence.” In many cases prosecutors only alluded to the “evidence” or spread their arms wide and told public defenders the evidence was in two boxes “this big.”

Summing Up

Most of the nonsense that is written about motorcycle outlaws, that they are “international crime empires” and all of that, is based on an amalgamation of sixty years of American history and on a conflation of what most people understand to be the definition of racketeering with the technical, legal definition of racketeering. Most people understand racketeering, a term coined in the 1920s, to refer to something like “protection rackets” or corrupt labor unions, fixed horse races, loan sharking or the Countrywide Home Loan racket. But the Scheidler decision four years before had made it possible to convict almost any fringe group of racketeering.

Depending on where you draw the lines, there were at least four Mongols racketeering cases although subsequent RICO cases against the Pagans and the Outlaws resulted from the same investigation. The main case which began in one Los Angeles courtroom and eventually spread to another Los Angeles courtroom and a courtroom in Orange County, was named United States versus Cavazos and Others. A much smaller case called US versus Maestas and Others was adjudicated in Denver. The smallest racketeering case, against a lone Mongol, is called US versus Christopher Ablett and years after the Mongols bust it is still being contested in Oakland. The fourth case, a civil case over the matter of whether any cop can simply seize what he believes to be “Mongols paraphernalia” when he sees it, was called Ramon Rivera versus Ronnie A. Carter, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Los Angeles Field Division; and Eric H. Holder, United States Attorney General.

The obvious clumsiness of even naming the main court cases hints at, but does not begin to explain, why so little was written about the Mongols after the raids in October 2008. None of the usual biker experts has written about the investigation. The prosecution has been, for all practical purposes, secret. But the case is still important enough that even people who detest the Mongols and “their ilk” should know about it because it is a bright marker on the road of flight from the old to the new and improved America.

The point of Operation Black Rain was to put every outlaw in America out bad – to seize his cut, his motorcycle and his memorabilia, to rough him up, wreck his home, scare him and tell him “don’t come around this club no more.” It was, simultaneously emotionally, financially and legally devastating for the men involved. The point of the “enforcement effort” described in this book was never to punish “criminals.” The point was to crush a set of seductive, romantic, dangerous, and maybe obsolete, ideas.


31 Responses to “A RICO Primer”

  1. Dan the Man Says:

    “Point being John had big money to pay big lawyers to prove he wasn’t committing big crimes.(which he was.)”

    Welcome to America, innocent and guilty in a court of law is how much you pay for lawyers and public relations goons.

    This system is kept it place to keep celebrities, politicians, and corporate officer’s crimes under wraps, while prosecuting use “plebeians”, to give the illusion statistically they are less criminal.

    Ironicly, it makes a system were money rules, and there is no question of how its obtained, only how its spent, on lawyers.

    most politicians are lawyers, so this gives them most of the power. The rest of us are rated on how useful we are to serving them.

  2. Junior Says:

    Chip said: “That bottle of Jim Beam I keep chilled in the refrigerator should be replaced by a carton of Silk.”

    You got a problem with Silk? huh tuff guy? ;)

    Silk tastes like shit, although I’ll drink it when I get the munchies….but hell, I’ll eat dog shit on toast when I got the munchies, …which is almost daily. I buy it for one of my daughters. Not everyone with Silk in their fridge is a far-leftist. ;)

    That last paragraph was enjoyable! -Junior

  3. Bear Says:

    Just wanted to say I just got both of your books in the mail from Amazon and have just started enjoying them. Good stuff.
    Bear, VP, Piratas MC, Alameda Co., CA

  4. RK Says:

    Even the Coast Guard is getting into the act. While they are a military branch, they are only called from DOT/Treasury/ or DHS (wherever the budget has them housed) to the DOD by presidential order. During the past five years the CG has stood up their DOG (deployable operations group) which is composed of several MSST’s (marine safety & security teams) and one MSRT (marine security response team) which is essentially the Coast Guard swat team. They train for both international and domestic deployment. Also in 2010 the CG created a new rating, the ME which are to serve as Maritime Law Enforcement officers and be the Coast Guards police officers.
    The Coast Guard has many missions, but are taking new direction and focusing on domestic law enforcement.

  5. Chip Says:

    RICO does what it’s designed to do, namely, to cause me to sleep in my recliner fully dressed from the previous day just in case someone I know and/or love has been accused of and arrested for something I’m unaware of and uninvolved with but am “guilty by association” with because we are friends/brothers/etc. It isn’t the incarceration or the food during the incarceration or the accomodations during incarceration that really bug me, it’s being rousted out of bed in little to no clothing and being paraded around the neighborhood with either a blanket draped over my back or less while the media roll their footage which will be seen in a few hours right after the weather report. RICO is also designed to get every member of whatever housing I’m at to be rousted out of bed and made to sit on the sofa while they absolutely tear apart my home or the home of whomever I’m at looking for God only knows what that makes me more associated with the afore mentioned friends/brothers/etc. These are terroristic tactics designed to do about the same thing as a stun granade/ flash bang device. It wasn’t always like this though.

    I clearly remember back in the late 70’s and early to mid 80’s when all my “mobbed up” friends had fixed addresses mostly in the suburbs, kept well trimmed yards, wore very nice suits, drove detailed clean cars, had kids in the local school system who played football or were cheer leaders. The difference was that the parents didn’t work for KODAK or XEROX and were seeminly night shift workers who dressed better than their KODAKIAN counterparts. The cops knew exactly where they were because in most cases their cars were parked in the driveways in front of their houses. They would call the target’s lawyer and tell them to contact their client as there was going to be a visit later that day. Believe it or not, everything usually went according to script without flash bangs and attracting very much attention. A few crown Vics would pull up and the target would be escorted into the back seat and off they would go. Most times the kids waiting for the school bus were within eye shot as they waited for that large yellow bus to pull up. “Where’s your Daddy going with those men”? “Downtown again”. By dinner time these same men were home for dinner after being released and were scheduled for another trip which for the most part they made themselves by being dropped off by somebody else’s car or a taxi. It wasn’t rocket surgury. There were no SWAT teams, helocoptors, attack dogs, blocked off streets, yellow crime scene tape, it was just business as usual and everyone pretty much knew the drill. It was part of the life and came with the territory. They were no less armed or very much different than the present day Biker except in how they dressed, all cultural stuff. All the new and improved tactical drama is designed to enhance law enforcment budgets. That chopper hovering over my house with the fellow leaning out of it with the telephoto lense is replaceable by that same fellow shooting the same footage from an unmarked car in the street in front of my house. Most of us don’t have long and high privacy fences which cost a fortune and look really ugly to boot. There’s a reason for that too, most of us aren’t wealthy as one might be lead to believe from what one reads in the “SEALED” indictments which surface during the subsequent process which is nothing more than guilty until proven inocent. They throw as much crap against the wall as is humanly possible and go with whatever sticks and the wall sometimes seems to be covered with super glue. The result is a lengthy stay in the County lock up awaiting a court calendar which resembles a “speedy trial” like a Honda 50 resembles a Corvette. More drama and sensationalism and more fodder for the thing that comes after the weather report. The formerly undisturbed house is left in shambles tapped off in yellow ribbon and resembles what it would have looked like after a tornado had made a direct hit. The kids are traumatised as are the remaining family members if they aren’t also locked up as leverage to make the target just throw in the towel and plead out. I know of a Biker who decided to get back with his Club and went down to the local Sheriff’s Office and told him he was doing so, that his house was clean and that if they needed him for anything to just call and he’s drop whatever he was doing and report at once. “There is no need to blow up my house and scare my wife and kids, I won’t resist”. It worked!

    RICO is and shall remain unconstitutional on several levels but then the constitution was neutered long ago. Post 9/11 everyone who doesn’t drive a flex fuel SUV, and show up for every Rotarian function is basically fair game. What they got is a way to blame the Chinese for what the Japanese just did because they both look a lot alike and come from the same area. It saves the cops tons of man hours they should be using to gather real evidence and serves to fatten their already bloated pockets, it’s a shell game and they know it but when you get to play by different rules and the goal is to win at all costs, it serves it’s purpose. Nobody names their kid Katrina in New Orleans and nobody names their kid Rico everywhere else. The real winners are the folks who make recliners that recline into a flat position so one can sleep there fully dressed. Perhaps RICO will someday be seen for what it truly is, a way to help my Wife say “Why the Hell are you still dressed and why don’t you ever sleep with me anymore”?

    I guess I could trade in my motorcycle and pick up truck for a Volt, wear polo shirts and dockers and hang out with the Rotarians, and spend my nights voting on America’s Got Talent. I should block out the Speed Channel and Spike and join the Mormon Church. That bottle of Jim Beam I keep chilled in the refrigerator should be replaced by a carton of Silk. I could plan a once a year vacation to Branson and rent an RV. My largest complaint could be how well the national anthum is sung at major sporting events. I could join the Marine Corps League and wear a funny red piss cutter (although that battalion thing has me spooked). As my loving Wife always says, “It’s all your own fault asshole. I love you, good night and come to bed”.

  6. IO Says:

    I am not to sure about the Gotti trial being the best example of a defense against a RICO case because it later came out that people associated with Gotti had bought off a jury member and later Gotti’s lawyer was not allowed to represent Gotti in further cases due to some “unethical” actions and being caught on tape actually partaking in some “conspiracy”.

    Now of course, buying off a jury member or bribing the judge is a sure fired way of getting a not guilty verdict but that usually happened in 1920-80s Manhattan or the movies, more so than as standard practice.

    Hypothetically, in response to how dirty the feds play that might be your best bet, hypothetically that is…

    I think the best RICO cases victories against the government are the ones that are won through trial and procedure and then sets up new precedent for other people stuck in the same shitty position to use as legal ammo against the fed prosecutor.

    But ya, Gotti’s lawyer has some amazing quotes!

  7. sled tramp Says:

    Big V,
    Better than lock up.Good to hear it’s as well as it probably could be.I once did some of the same for something I wasn’t actually involved with. Your situation to cover for a brother and I was a year into it when the PO told me,”Fuck it,don’t bother to come in,I’ll send you a letter when you’re done”.BTW, for some reason,I’ve never seen “Breaking Bad” until I caught the first season last night on disc.Very interesting show, Ill be watching the rest.As regards losing gun rights…don’t matter which party gets the next top job,our guns are gone within 2 years anyway.

  8. Not Surprised Says:

    Big V

    Fuck ’em. With your intellect, you’ll bounce back. Fuck your ex employer too

  9. RVN69 Says:

    I appreciate your dilemma, forced to plead to something you didn’t do to avoid major time from our corrupt system. I”m glad to hear that you got the deal you did and as KK said it will be over before you know it. As a friend said when sentenced to 2 years probation “Hell I can do two years standing on my head”

    “I am not an angel, nor am I the devil, I am the bastard stepchild of both.”

  10. KK Says:

    MsOrnery: Thanks for your support, many woman do.

    BigV: Two years will be over before you know it man. Glad to hear it’s over & done, you can put that to rest in your head.


  11. Junior Says:

    In my years of studying law and Constitution I am very familiar with PROBLEM, REACTION, SOLUTION and believe it is used against the masses very frequently.

    Basically, the ruling class has a goal, and the way they accomplish their goal is to use PROBLEM, REACTION, SOLUTION to achieve their desired outcome which is determined beforehand, before the “problem” phase.

    Historically, a problem is created for the purpose of causing a reaction. Once the reaction has taken place the same folks that created the problem then step forward and offer their solution which the sheeple accept blindly, usually out of fear. The solution is then implemented and is nothing more than what the ruling class individuals wanted all along. (e.g. civil war, federal reserve act, new deal, patriot act, on and on).

    I believe the international banker types are the puppeteers pulling the strings of executives and legislator types all around the globe, just recently heard on NPR (National Public Radio) that international bankers are bailing out another country in “trouble”. I can only imagine what legislation the international bankers want passed in this country in exchange for this “bail-out”, probably something akin to the U.S. Federal Reserve act (which mostly isn’t “federal” and has no “Reserve” yeah, they lick their own stamps! and they aren’t listed in Title 31 as a govt agency either) where they receive a percentage of every note printed in the form of something of true value. Yes, they give us paper in exchange for our silver & gold, now isn’t that nice of them? Ft. Knox has been empty for decades, but we can’t shut it down because that’s an admission that it’s empty.

    Thanks to these guys, we now circulate debt amongst ourselves and are stupid enough to think our debt instruments are actually assets, when in reality they are liabilities. Yes folks, your Federal Reserve Notes are debt instruments, they are liabilities and you trade debt on a daily basis and it never occurs to you that you are simply conveying debt when “paying” someone what you owe. What happens when Federal Reserve Notes are declared VOID??? Better get ready to Barter! TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION ISN’T IT. -Junior

  12. BigV Says:

    I wanted to say thank you to the people who supported me on here while I was whining about my legal woes. I am on misdemeanor paper for the next two years.

    I could not trust my attorney to do the right thing, he would not fight for me, and as far as he was concerned I was the main character from Breaking Bad.

    In addition, I had had three newspaper articles written about me which I believe would have made my case very difficult to win in front of a jury.

    I hated to plea out on something I did not do, I hate to be on paper for the next two years. But, it’s better than being a felon and no gun rights. I think.

    Thank you for the support and well wishes.

  13. Izzy Wildheart Says:

    In reality, RICO acts as an arbitrary penalty enhancer and prosecutorial bargaining tool. A violation of RICO is a crime of convenience—for prosecutors, that is. In the hope that a defendant, charged with a predicate act carrying a potential sentence of a few years, would refuse to bargain with a prosecutor who says, “I’ll take the RICO charge with its mandatory twenty-year sentence off the table if you plead guilty to the predicate offense”? If this tactical weapon fails, a prosecutor faced with a resolute defendant determined to roll the dice at trial can still rest easy, knowing that RICO has stockpiled new procedural weapons in the prosecutor’s war chest. For example, RICO allows the government to join into a single prosecution widely diverse defendants and crimes that, absent RICO, would be too disjointed to be allowed in the same trial under the rules of evidence and criminal procedure.
    RICO gives the government sweeping powers, including the power to freeze a defendant’s assets at the time of indictment and confiscate them after conviction. Traditionally, criminal defendants are presumed to be innocent and face punishment only after conviction. RICO, by allowing the government to seize entire businesses connected even indirectly with a defendant at the time of indictment, before any proof of guilt, is a major exception to this general principle. The government is authorized, in effect, to act as prosecutor, judge, and jury in the same case. The government under RICO is also able to make it more difficult for the accused to wage a defense by, for example, seizing the funds that a defendant would have used to hire an attorney….as we all know.
    Patriot Act II, coupled with the Patriot Act I and RICO,
    creates the legal architecture for a police state in the United States.
    The purpose of this legislation is to allow for US global expansion
    unhindered by organized domestic opposition. These laws and
    legislations are clearly intended to prevent resistance to US
    corporate control and allow preemptive attacks on those organizations and individuals the government considers a threat, and designed to supress resistance of any kind.

    PROBLEM:Problems are engineered to provoke fear and outcry.
    REACTION:The sheeple’s shock and outrage is channelled through media control.
    SOLUTION:The sheeple willingly and unquestionigly accept the solution.
    A well planned ,orchestrated but legal systematic fucking!

  14. IO Says:

    The feds are pretty slow at releasing the discovery to defendants and that is totally a tactic of the feds to insure and prolong the mental suffering of people indicted, plus it is within the discovery where you find out who are your friends, loved ones, and/or federal informants and snitches. The catch-22 trick that the feds have up there sleeves is that the “crimes” and overt acts within the indictment itself are usually damning enough to scare most people into thinking that their investigation and grand jury has uncovered some real connection between loosely related “overt acts”, usually just meaning that the people on the indictment know each other. Its the wording and how the feds connect and write the indictment that makes anyone or any organization look like, The Godfather Trilogy, whether or not they really are.

    One guy asks to buy some guns and another guy sell those guns, gun running or two good old boys at a gun show selling their guns to each other? We know the difference, the feds know the difference, but that don’t stop them from inserting ridiculous “over acts” that are not illegal, then reword the event in order to make it seem as something it’s not.

    Plus, how the feds guarantee a conviction, as Rebel points out in Out Bad, its doesn’t matter if these anyone or any group violate RICO because the jury, citizens, and media already believe they are criminals and criminals don’t deserve anything anway.

  15. RLG Says:

    Imagine what would happen to the criminal justice system if shot callers decided plea bargaining was no longer a stand-up thing to do.

  16. Screwdriver Says:

    CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marine Corps creates law enforcement battalions, W.T.F. Think NDAA. Shouldn’t be long now.
    Associated Press
    The Marine Corps has created its first law enforcement battalions – a lean, specialized force of military police officers that it hopes can quickly deploy worldwide to help investigate crimes from terrorism to drug trafficking and train fledgling security forces in allied nations.
    The Corps activated three such battalions last month. Each is made up of roughly 500 military police officers and dozens of dogs. The Marine Corps has had police battalions off and on since World War II but they were primarily focused on providing security, such as accompanying fuel convoys or guarding generals on visits to dangerous areas, said Maj. Jan Durham, commander of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion at Camp Pendleton.
    The idea behind the law enforcement battalions is to consolidate the military police and capitalize on their investigative skills and police training, he said. The new additions come as every branch in the military is trying to show its flexibility and resourcefulness amid defense cuts.
    Marines have been increasingly taking on the role of a street cop along with their combat duties over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have been in charge of training both countries’ security forces. Those skills now can be used as a permanent part of the Marine Corps, Durham said.
    The war on terror has also taught troops the importance of learning how to gather intelligence, secure evidence and assist local authorities in building cases to take down criminal networks. Troops have gotten better at combing raid sites for clues to help them track insurgents.
    They also have changed their approach, realizing that marching into towns to show force alienates communities. Instead, they are being taught to fan out with interpreters to strike up conversations with truck drivers, money exchangers, cellphone sellers and others. The rapport building can net valuable information that could even alert troops about potential attacks.
    But no group of Marines is better at that kind of work than the Corps’ military police, who graduate from academies just like civilian cops, Durham said. He said the image of military police patrolling base to ticket Marines for speeding or drinking has limited their use in the Corps. He hopes the creation of the battalions will change that, although analysts say only the future will tell whether the move is more than just a rebranding of what already existed within the Corps.
    The battalions will be capable of helping control civil disturbances, handling detainees, carrying out forensic work, and using biometrics to identify suspects. Durham said they could assist local authorities in allied countries in securing crime scenes and building cases so criminals end up behind bars and not back out on the streets because of mistakes.
    “Over the past 11 years of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, some lessons learned painfully, there has been a growing appreciation and a demand for, on the part of the warfighter, the unique skills and capabilities that MPs bring to the fight,” Durham said. “We do enforce traffic laws and we do write reports and tickets, and that’s good, but we do so much more than that.”
    Durham said the Marine Corps plans to show off its new battalions in Miami later this month at a conference put on by the Southern Command and that is expected to be attended by government officials from Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize.
    Defense analyst Loren Thompson said the battalions make sense given the nature of today’s global threats, which include powerful drug cartels and other criminal gangs that often mix with religious and political extremists, who use the profits to buy their weaponry.
    “This is a smart idea because the biggest single problem the Marines have in dealing with low-intensity types of threats is that they basically are trained to kill people,” he said. “It’s good for the Marines to have skills that allow them to contain threats without creating casualties.”
    Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge who teaches law of war at Georgetown University, said Marines have already been doing this kind of work for years but now that it has been made more formal by the creation of the battalions, it could raise a host of questions, especially on the use of force. The law of war allows for fighters to use deadly force as a first resort, while police officers use it as a last resort.
    If Marines are sent in to do law enforcement but are attacked, will they go back to being warfighters? And if so, what are the implications? Solis asked.
    “Am I a Marine or a cop? Can I be both?” he said. “Cops apply human rights law and Marines apply the law of war. Now that it’s blended, it makes it tougher for the young men and women who have to make the decision as to when deadly force is not appropriate.”
    Durham said that military police understand that better than any Marine since they are trained in both.
    “They are very comfortable with the escalation of force,” he said. “MPs get that. It’s fundamental to what we do.”

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/22/4648966/marine-corps-creates-law-enforcement.html#storylink=cpy

  17. MsOrnery Says:

    Fuk the PAGAN’s !!! Enough Said….

  18. Hey, yo Says:

    Not a biker or motorcycle club member. Just happened across this site and saw the post regarding the best defended RICO case. I personally feel the best defended RICO case was the case prosecuted by Diane Giacalone against John Gotti in Manhattan. Sure, Gotti was guilty as shit, but with the evidence Giacalone provided and the witnesses who testified on behalf of the prosecution, Bruce Cutler, Gotti’s lawyer proved that the indictment “still stinks, still make you want to wretch and vomit despite being covered on a fancy dressing called RICO.” Then he threw the indictment in the trash and told the jury that’s where it belongs.

    Point being, Giacalone thought she could get 20 bad guys together and have them point a finger at John and say “He’s the boss of the Gambino family.” Ok. Great. Now prove it. She couldn’t. All the wiretaps, all the photos, all the witnesses couldn’t convince a jury John Gotti was the boss of a criminal enterprise. While I don’t know much about motorcycle clubs I know they’re not a criminal enterprise, most certainly not on the level of the mob or drug cartels. It takes big lawyers to prove that in big courts and motorcycle guys don’t make big money to pay big lawyers because they’re not committing “big crimes.” THEY’RE MOTORCYCLE GUYS.

    Point being John had big money to pay big lawyers to prove he wasn’t committing big crimes.(which he was.) The bikers don’t have that money and end up getting the shaft as a result. Bikers are the new “mob”. Easy to go after for the Feds and ATF and therefore easy to get kudos for by the big wigs that hand out the money. (government assholes.) I guess the difference between the wiseguys and the bikers is the bikers aren’t out to make a buck any which way they can and wear what they are on their backs as opposed to making a buck any which way they can and hiding within society. Weird, right?

  19. Phuquehed Says:

    @sled tramp – Damned straight they want a new-style police force. Since the pigs of *any* persuasion will be able to walk around with weapons and have access to them far better and easier than your standard soldier/Marine on a non-combat base, the pigs will be able to be the first force to try to stop all the decent Marines/Soldiers/military people who are going to fight the ‘change’ of our government and the overthrow of the Constitution. Our guys will have one fuck of a time fighting at first and will only be able to win a first conflict by sheer numbers.

  20. Rebel Says:

    Dear RLG,

    The best defended RICO case I have seen in the last few years was United States of America versus Barbeito et al. which was the Pagans case in West Virginia. Deirdre Purdy and Tom Gilooly were two public defenders who did excellent work in that case. The defenders attacked everything in that case beginning with the perjorative wording in the indictment. The weakness in every RICO case is what the term “criminal enterprise” means legally. Although it was not used as part of the defense in the Pagans case, I have been told that the best way to defend a RICO case is to bribe the judge. You can look up the cases to see what I am talking about.


  21. Rebel Says:

    Dear calexpat,

    Some federal jurisdictions have local rules of procedure that require an open evidence file and evidence is discovered to each side almost immediately. In most federal jurisdictions, the prosecution is not required to turn over all the evidence against a defendant — which includes evidence the prosecution may hold that the defendant is “actually innocent” — until seven to 10 days before the start of trial. Since there are rarely trials there is never full discovery. If a prosecutor knows that a defendant is actually innocent and withholds that evidence from the defense nobody can or will do shit about it until after a conviction in a trial. Then, if he wants to piss off his friend and colleague the prosecutor, a defender can raise the issue in an appeal. That never happens. There is never a trial. Federal judges detest trials because trials put those judges on a spot and trials are very expensive. Most judges seem to think a jury trial is a waste of taxpayer money that could be better used to overpay more policemen. Prosecutors simply use the threat of what they might know and who might be snitching to coerce plea deals. Racketeering cases always implicate the maximum number of defendants in order to force defenders to read through all that evidence against all those defendants to find out what in it pertains to their clients. And, it is all complicated by the fact that most of a federal racketeering investigation does not really begin until after the defendants have been arrested and have already been punished by Swat raid, total asset forfeiture, public shaming and imprisonment. After about a year, most guys just want to get it over with and get on with their lives.


  22. calexpat Says:

    Somethings occurs to me on this entirely too early to be awake Sunday morning. As I under stand the alleged rights of a defendant, one is supposed to have a right to see the evidence against them right? That being said, what the state has a tendency to do is dump a huge pile of shyte on the defences table and say, ” here ya go….” .thus overwhelming them with all of the detritis of their case to obscure the pertinent information. This works because the state has VAST resources of money, time and man power. Could not one argue that in the interest of providing adequate defence the courts must allow an equal amount of man hours time investigate the claims and evience? ( I know long winded… Sorry) Also shouldn’t you be able to question a judges impartiality if the have a history of strong supper or having worked for the prosecutors?

    I know I am being naively utopian here but hey, coffee, niccotine and a warm sunny morning makes me think….

    It makes me think I need a twelve step program for it. Which would probably involve way too much watching mindless television ; American Jersey Wife Pickers Cop Dangerous Job Ride Wars on Inside Fox Discovers History News channel. It probably won’t work for me because I already work a shyte program for my other sick and twisted issues. C’est l’vie….


  23. BigV Says:

    Starting with Lincoln we’ve had kings for nearly 150 years. Nothing will change this. We are too few. The consequences are too dire for most to deal with. Remember the old men in Toccoa GA who were in their 70’s and they were supposedly terrorists ? That had nothing to do with terrorism. That was an object lesson that the US State and Federal governments will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who is not part of the Pro-State, Pro-Groupthink Agenda.

    We’re fucked.

  24. Bill Says:

    Law enforcement seems to ‘evolve’ like Western medicine, a steady stream of newer and more dangerous treatments whose anticipated failures beget ever stronger, and more profitable, ‘cures’. If RICO can’t do the job, it’s proof that something better needs to be brought online.

  25. Trappedonrr Says:

    So far, I have been pissed!! I ride with some decent people. I don’t care what they do outside of the ride. I don’t care about their patches. I am a free rider, citizen, or what ever you wish to call me. All I care about is riding, drinking, and boobs. and usually in that order.

    The last ride I went on, many patched members rode with me. I saw so many cameras i thought I was with the SOA members.

    Bottom line is. You don’t hurt me, my family, or my friends then you are ok. RICO should not be used on people who deal inter club polotics and hurt none of the public, except for a few loudmouths in the bars.

  26. Phuquehed Says:

    I can’t wait for the brains of this nation who also have the backbone, to finally start to get together to plan to ‘fix’ this fucked-up useless government that’s eroding to nothing but a ‘haves’ vs ‘have nots’…there’ll be a king within the next 50 years, you watch and see. Our forefathers had to sneak around and plan and debate whether it was getting to the point of necessity of a war to ‘fix’ the shit the ‘king’ at the time was giving them. It’s what we need now and once they do start to gather and plan, I hope I’m around to be able to at least be one of the minutemen of the next revolution that is becoming an absolute necessity.

    The cunts who are our present law enforcement have no clue how to think like a normal person. They’re too fucking stupid and too fucking gutless and too fucking greedy to tell ‘those in charge’ that this shit is just wrong and we’re not going to follow these dumbshit orders until they (the orders and laws) get back to some semblance of *sane*. It’ll be these fucktard faggots who will be the ‘military’ for the government during the next revolution, not those in the regular military, though of course there will be those in the military also who will stay on the government’s side because they’re just as pussy as the pigs are, but the majority of people will be on our side. The problem we’ll have is facing our need for high technology equipment to aid us. The government will have all they want and it’ll make things tough as hell for us.

    The fucking feds and prosecutors should be the first to be run-up on poles and drawn and quartered for their horrific abuses of our laws just to get a notch on their fucking belts and a promotion.

  27. RLG Says:

    Excellent writeup, thank you!

    It seems that RICO + PATRIOT ACT = we’re screwed
    (drugs funding terrorism blurs the line between national security and law enforcement)

    Rebel, are there any common threads to past defenses against RICO? I imagine the feds fail in court from time to time.

    In closing, this is a sad reminder to never talk to government agents since one can not know what is illegal in their view. Just give them name, rank, and serial number.

  28. Rebel Says:

    Dear IO,

    The Supremes revisions of Scheidler in 2003 and 2006 stated, briefly, that there had to be an economic motive for there to be racketeering. On the surface it looks like a repeal of the original ruling. However, what I have found is that the 2003 and 2006 rulings are easy for prosecutors to get around. What you see now is that motorcycle club patch holders are frequently described as “employees of the enterprise.” Secondly, the Hobbs act has been cited an awful lot lately. The “employee” contrivance and the Hobbs Act contrivance have popped up in the recent filings against the AOA in Indianapolis and the DDMC case in Detroit. The prosecution of George Christie is a Hobbs Act case. The Pagans case in West Virginia described numerous Pagans as “employees.”

    I think the 2003 and 2006 revisitations of Scheidler provided a technical exception to the first ruling. The DOJ quickly found technical exceptions to the exception.

    Thanks for raising the subject.


  29. IO Says:

    Rebel wrote,

    ” And, in the end RICO meant that prosecutors didn’t have to use any of the mountains of “evidence” they had collected. They only had to threaten defendants with it. Actually, in many cases they didn’t even show defendants the “evidence.” In many cases prosecutors only alluded to the “evidence” or spread their arms wide and told public defenders the evidence was in two boxes “this big.””

    Yes, this is the Feds biggest weapon against people wanting to fight for their rights, their day in court, and “justice”. Pleading and cooperation is built into the system and the Feds know that, sooner or later someone will feel like the evidence against them will crush them. That is what the Feds are banking on, they want people to feel like their only way out is to cooperate or plea out and just do the time.

    I know its pretty unrealistic to believe that everyone won’t cooperate or plea out but just think if every one of these RICO indictments didn’t get pleaded out and everyone, or atleast the men on top, took it to trial. So much of the bullshit evidence that the grand jury indictment claims as “overt acts” would have to be proved, and the Feds would have to provide evidence for it in order for those “overt acts” make it to trial. The odds are stacked against anyone but men like Diamond Dan who have landed at the top of the indictment have everything to win by fighting this!

    Rebel, I was wondering if you have any info or know the implications of NOW v. Schiedler 1994 even though the Supreme Court reversed the decision in Schiedler v. NOW 2003 and 2006? Does the economic motive still stand because the Supreme Court decision in 2003 and 06 or can different circuit courts still use the 1994 ruling and interpret that organizations do not have to have an economic motive to be guilty of violating RICO?

  30. Tooj Says:

    “’We cannot tolerate the use of threats and force by one group to impose its views on others,’” (yep, does that include the government?)

    Rebel, thanks for this explanation. It’s always important to define the terms, agree on the meanings and stick to them when discussing matters of such import.

    My overall impression is that the RICO statutes are an example of Malleable Law. As in: “I can change the definition of this statute to fit that which I wish to apply it to.”

    We’re still bogged in the mire of law versus right and wrong versus human freedom. What a childish concept that if I can get a law passed I have defined what is “right”.

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