The Mongols case may never end. They should teach it in law school. It should be a required course. They should call it Introduction to Zombie Prosecutions.
It isn’t even a case. It is a keepsake box of cases including U.S. v. Cavazos et al.; Ramon Rivera v Kenneth E. Melson, Actiong Director, Bureau of alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge ATF Los Angeles Field Division, Eric H. Holder, United States Attorney General et al. and United States of America v. Assorted Firearms, Motorcycles and Other Personal Property.
The case officially began four years ago on October 9, 2008 when an Assistant United States Attorney named Christopher Brunwin gave a federal grand jury an indictment to return. Coincidentally this was a few mere hours after a Mongol named Manuel Vincent “Hitman” Martin was shot off his motorcycle on the Glendale Freeway. This murder, anyone who does not work for the ATF might agree, was suspicious.
The indictment was proceeded by an ATF investigation that lasted at least three years and that involved the fulltime efforts of at least 13 undercover ATF agents, an unknown number greater than eight of paid confidential informants, numerous Tactical Field Officers, many Sources of Information. Then there were the wiretaps, the stand-by Swat Teams, the Mission Impossible gadgets and the prostitution of the American press. The case sprawled like Kudzu and became a model for additional cases against the Pagans Motorcycle Club and the American Outlaws Association. As most readers here know, a tiny fraction of this made it into a slim book called Out Bad.
The idea of the Mongols case was to work out a portfolio of procedures, protocols and precedents that would make it possible to outlaw outlaw motorcycle clubs. It almost worked. In Russia or China or Syria the case would have died of shame by now but the United States Department of Justice has no shame. And so today, day 1462, this case is still making news.
Paying The Lawyers
The press release that announced the beginning of the Mongols case asserted “If any law enforcement officer sees a Mongol wearing his patch, he will be authorized to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back.” And, this claim was true although the keyword in this pronouncement was “authorized” and the press release did not go on to explain that these assaults and thefts were authorized by the poltergeist of Joseph Stalin. Several federal judges eventually noticed that the criminalization of the Mongols symbols was unconstitutional but the key case was brought by an humble, stolid and unprepossessing Mongol in San Diego named Ramon Rivera.
Rivera was represented in his lawsuit against all the bastards by David Blair-Loy of the American Civil Liberties Union. Rivera and Loy won the case. An Assistant U.S. Attorney named Steven R. Welk who is the Chief of the Los Angeles area Asset Forfeiture Division lost. A Federal District judge named David O. Carter, who fears neither anti-Obama birthers nor conmen like Welk, declared the Mongols’ victory on January 4, 2011. “What they (meaning Welk, Brunwin and their associates) did was an outrageous violation of the First Amendment, and an absolute abuse of forfeiture and trademark laws,” Blair-Loy told Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers for a story published today.
Welk appealed. Thirteen months later, on February 12, 2012 Carter wrote a 15-page memo that among other things ordered the United States to pay Blair-Loy, another attorney named Alan Mansfield and an unnamed paralegal $243,824 in professional fees, $8,642 in additional fees and $740.78 in costs. “They fought us tooth and nail, every step of the way,” Loy told Doyle, “and they forced us to work all those hours and incur all those costs.” You can read Doyle’s article here.
Welk was at it again this morning in the Assorted Firearms, Motorcycles and Other Personal Property case before Judge Carter in the Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana. The theory of that case, simply stated, is that Welk may steal the personal belongings of innocent and uncharged citizens if they happen to belong to the Mongols Motorcycle Club or if they know or are related to someone who is a Mongol.
Last May 16, Carter told all the attorneys involved in the case to settle it before today but it remains on the docket.
There have been a flurry of filings leading up to this trial including “the Declaration of AUSA Steven R. Welk in support of the government’s request.” Apparently Welk knows so many state secrets about the undercover investigation of and the operation of the Mongols Motorcycle Club that ATF agents would have no choice but to put Welk on a motorcycle and shoot him if he let the American people know what he knows.
There were also filings by former Mongol indictee Alfonso Solis. Solis spent 14 months in jail on a variety of trumped-up charges related to him riding with the Mongols.
He prevailed in his case by firing his lawyer and using the money to hire a private detective to reinvestigate the charges against him. One by one the accusations against Solis crumbled like sand castles but the government, in this case Chris Brunwin, refused to give up for reasons that might best be understood by a professional psychotherapist. Eventually Solis made a back room deal with Brunwin to plead guilty to possession of about eight grams of marijuana just to end the ordeal.
Solis avoided a felony conviction but Welk kept his “Harley Davidson motorcycle, license number 16S9100,” “$2380.00 in U.S. currency,” Solis’ “Leather vest with club insignia,” “Several personal photographs” and “Miscellaneous personal items.”
Solis wants his property back. So do other Mongols. It has been four years. Welk never learned to play fair. America has fallen into the hands of grown men who never learned to play fair. So the Mongols case continues.