Federal justice is an oxymoron. That might be most obvious in the federal war against motorcycle clubs – which is really a war on the American working class and a war on social dissent.
“I have no use for the government nor do I respect them,” the Hells Angel prisoner Daniel Bifield writes from his cell. “For real, they are the organized crime in this world! They don’t care if you are guilty or not. They just want the win and they don’t care how they get it, who they hurt or use or the families and lives they ruin and destroy! They would sell out their own if they had to. It reminds me of the movie Braveheart. I’m sure if they could they would cut me up in pieces and spread me all over the place. It’s all about the power and money.”
Guantanamo South Carolina
If Bifield exaggerates, he does so only slightly. For months, the lead defendant in the racketeering case U.S. v. Bifield et al. has been begging United States Marshalls for contact with his fellow defendants including his wife Lisa Bifield. Bifield has had to beg Marshals to be granted access to the massive library of evidence prosecutors say will prove him and the other defendants guilty of racketeering. He has had to beg to use a telephone. He has had to file formal requests to shave, shower and change clothes.
The defendants in this case, including the female defendants, have been singled out for the sort of punitive cell searches that anybody who has ever seen a bad prison movie would recognize.
Much of the discovery in the case, the terabytes of documents, reports and electronic surveillance through which defendants and their attorneys must search to find the actual evidence against them, is unintelligible and mislabeled.
The ongoing pettiness is epitomized in the response to a grievance Bifield filed on November 14. Bifield asked “For an extra blanket according to South Carolina rules and regulations: Chapter 5, Article I, General Provisions § 25-5-80 Blankets for Winter Season. Please provide blanket as soon as possible. Thank you. Daniel Bifield.”
The next day a jailor named Taylor scrawled on the bottom of the request, “This is not a grievance. Winter does not begin until December 21.”
Bill Of Particulars
The day before Thanksgiving, Bifield’s lawyers filed a Motion for a Bill of Particulars for two of the broader and more jeopardous charges in the indictment that led to the imprisonment of the presumably innocent defendants.
One count accuses Dan Bifield, his wife Lisa and Bruce Long of attempting and conspiring “to take controlled substances from individuals they believed to be engaged in narcotics trafficking by means of actual and threatened force, violence and fear of injury to said Individuals…. In and around July 2011 through November 2011.” The accusation neglects to name who was threatened, what they were selling, whether the defendants are being charged with attempting to steal or conspiring to steal and when specifically this alleged crime occurred. The motion also states: “The defendant submits that the evidence will show that the government informant is the only individual to propose a robbery and it is not legally possible to conspire with a government agent.”
Another count in the indictment alleges that Bifield and his wife, Long and Robert David Pryor “knowingly did carry a firearm during, and in relation to, and did possess the firearm in furtherance of, a drug trafficking crime and a crime of violence.” Or in other words, sometime during the nine months “between July 2011 through March 2012,” these four defendants carried some gun somewhere and committed either an unspecified drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence.
At the end of the motion defense attorney Allen Burnside puts forth the radical argument that, “An indictment should provide sufficient specificity to allow a defendant to know what charge he is being called on to defend. If the charge is not specific, it will be impossible for the court to consider any future challenge based on double jeopardy. Lastly, ambiguous charges give the government an unfair advantage at trial because they can constantly change their theory of prosecution to fit whatever facts come out at trial.”
In other words Burnside wants the government to play fair. The judge will probably not rule on the motion for another ten days.