There is still no justice in the federal racketeering case in South Carolina titled US v Bifield et al. but the North Korean style soap opera continues. Bifield and his fellow defendants are all members or in some way associated with the Hells Angels or Red Devils Motorcycle Clubs and as is typical in federal biker cases, the prosecution has proclaimed the defendants guilty and proceeded to punish them.
A month long trial is not scheduled to begin until February 11, 2013. But, the accused have all been punished, often severely, since June 7 when they were rounded up like Polish Jews. Late last week the presiding judge of this inquisition, Cameron McGowan Currie, ordered the Department of Justice to tell the defense lawyers by Pearl Harbor Day what they know about the two snitches who made the government’s case. For the time being, the court adheres rigidly to the North Korean interpretation of the common law rule that citizens have the right to confront their accusers.
Even the names of the accusers in the case still remain officially secret. Their names are Joe Dillulio and Marty “Cowboy” Deloach. No paper in South Carolina will report them. Both men’s motives have been carefully obscured. The 54-year-old Dillulio did owe $1 million in penalties to the government. Deloach, who did most of his mischief with the Red Devils, may not have had much more of a motive than an identification with and an admiration of the police.
The point of punishing federal defendants while they are still, technically, innocent is to inflate prosecutors’ batting averages. One way to accomplish that is to continues to elaborate and embellish the charges against the defendants while they are locked up. The original indictment in this case was returned May 17. A 97 page superseding indictment was filed September 19. Deloach appears to be a key source in a rumored, pending second superseding indictment that is somehow, secretly, connected to an existing secret indictment in neighboring North Carolina. That indictment is officially called Case 3:12-mj-186 WDNC. It is anybody’s guess if and when the government will pull that fresh, new portfolio of accusations out of its shiny, carpetbagger top hat.
The week before Halloween the government issued “Sealed Proposed Plea Agreement(s)” to defendants Daniel Eugene Bifield, Mark William Baker, David Channing Oiler, Bruce James Long, Richard Thrower, Robert David Pryor, Frederick Keach, Jr., Frank Enriquez, Jr., Donald Boersma, Lisa Ellen Bifield, Johanna Looper, Kerry Chitwood, Carlos Hernandez, Ronald Dean Byrum, Jr., James Rhodus, Bruce Ranson Wilson, Thomas McManus Plyler, Jamie Hobbs Long, Somying Anderson and Trent Allen Brown.
The deals are sealed in order to pressure defendants into incriminating one another and particularly lead defendant Diamond Dan Bifield. The written deals all ask defendants to substantiate the accusations against their co-defendants for sentences that may be as little as time served or as much as 20 years in prison depending on whether their attorneys are good or bad horse traders. Dan Bifield was offered 20 years in prison for a guilty plea to count two of the indictment. His faces an additional five years in prison if he goes to trial and loses. So far, none of the defendants has been desperate enough to snatch the bait.
The idea is to prevent a public trial. Federal defendants are fish in a barrel. At least 93 percent of federal defendants are coerced into forgoing a trial by a jury of their peers. The odds are so stacked against these people that nine out of 10 can expect to be convicted and punished severely for inconveniencing the federal courts if they do demand a trial.
Bifield Locked Down
In the meantime the lead defendant is in solitary confinement 23 hours a day. He has virtually no human contact. It is not unusual for technically innocent, federal prisoners to be treated like this. Bifield, by all accounts, seems to endure this deprivation stoically. But it is also not unusual for jailers to routinely begin administering anti-psychotic drugs to prisoners who have been kept in solitary as long as Bifield has. No one seems to think any of this is cruel or unusual.
Eleven days ago Bifield’s government appointed attorney, Allen B. Burnside, petitioned the court to allow the lead defendant “access to any co-defendants who want to participate in a common and mutual defense. In support of this motion, the defendant would show the following: (1) That since his arrest he has been kept separated from all of his co-defendants, including his wife, Lisa Bifield; (2) The defendant submits that he and many of the co-defendants desire to present a common defense; and (3) In order to present a common defense, the defendants need to be allowed to meet with each other to discuss strategy and to test their recollection of shared events.”
Burnside told the judge “that complete denial of all access to his codefendants would deprive him of his due process rights under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.”
Judge Currie has not yet ruled on that motion.