When Everything May Be Used Against You

December 18, 2012

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The way federal racketeering cases against motorcycle clubs typically proceed is by first accusing the defendants of everything and then using everything as evidence against them. The current case against the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Club illustrates the way the Department of Justice uses confusion, chaos and the threat of punishment to punish presumably innocent defendants before they are tried.

The Case

The Devils Diciples case is called United States v. Scott William Sutherland, et al. It began in March 2011 and has been engorged by superseding indictments in May 2011 and last July and by two related cases called United States v. Jeff Garvin Smith, et al. and United States v. Smiley Villa.

It is impossible to describe what this endlessly metastasizing case is actually about without being rude. Rudely put, it is about total victory by effete government bureaucrats over the alpha males of the DD. The government argues that in the last 50 years members of the club have murdered; beaten the disabled; produced, consumed and sold drugs; gotten in fights; lied to the police; participated in non-government sponsored lotteries; owned functioning slot machines without a casino license; bribed corrupt judges and cops; managed strippers; beaten their wives and girlfriends; belonged to the Devils Diciples; and ridden “powerful Harley-Davidson” motorcycles all on behalf of the Devils Diciples “racket.” There are 38 counts in all.

The charges against the defendants are so disparate and unrelated that the government has assigned all the defendants to one of four “groupings.” If you have a friend or relative caught up in the case you will want to know who is in which “group.” So:

Group One includes Jeff Smith, Paul Darrah, Cary Vandiver, Michael Mastromatteo, Vernon Rich, Victor Castano, Michael Rich, Dean Jakiel, Edward Taylor, William Lonsby and Keith McFadden.

Group Two includes Scott Sutherland, Ronald Roberts, David Roberts, Patrick McKeoun, Vincent Witort, John Riede, Gary Nelson, Raymond Melioli, Timothy Downs and Tony Kitchens.

Group Three includes David Drozdowski, Smiley Villa, Slyvester Wesaw, Howard Quant, Scott Perkins, Clifford Rhodes, Christopher Cook, Jason Cook, Salvatore Battaglia and Wayne Werth.

Group Four includes Ronald Preletz, David Delong, Michael Palazzola, Danny Burby, Ronald Lambert, Lauri Ledford, Jennifer Cicola, Dean Tagliavia, Alexis May, Paula Friscioni and John Scudder.

The prosecution has blatantly divided the “case” into four pieces in preparation for four sequential trials. It has nothing to do with seeking justice. It simply increases the odds that the government will win. It is like buying four lottery tickets instead of just one. The judge has not yet decided whether he will allow the defendants to be tried by group. He will decide that after the defendants eventually see the evidence the government will use against them.

In one procedural memorandum, attorneys wrote the judge, “the responses of Group 3 are limited by their lack of understanding of the criteria by which the Government has assigned defendants to the four groups.”

Discovery

Five months after the third indictment was unsealed there is still no agreement on the volume of the evidence the government has against the defendants, let alone what that evidence actually is. One good estimate of the volume of that evidence is: 111 gigabytes of recorded conversations and other wiretaps; 3,000 pages of requests for wiretaps; 12,000 pages of search warrant affidavits and inventories; 500 pages of laboratory reports; 5,000 pages of “Grand Jury Subpoena related documents and testimony;” and 13,000 pages of investigative reports and other gossip.

Defense attorneys can only guess at the volume of information because none of them have yet seen any of it. The defenders are so overwhelmed by all this information and noise that they convinced the judge, Robert H. Cleland, to appoint a New York lawyer named Emma M. Greenwood as “Coordinating Discovery Attorney for the defendants.” Greenwood’s job will be to hire her own staff to organize and oversee the distribution of all of the potential evidence in an “effective and cost-efficient manner.”

There is still no trial date for the case. The next status conference is scheduled for January 7, 2013.

 

 

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12 Responses to “When Everything May Be Used Against You”

  1. darlene Says:

    wayne werth…been looking for u..take care of yourself

  2. Johnny Says:

    The worst part is that this kind of crap has been going on for a long time. The only difference is the technology. The evidence tactic is an old one, you produce tons of paperwork and dump it on the defense. Then proceed to a speedy trial while defense has to dig through all the useless info to find the real documents. The plan is to swamp or break the defendants, leave them unprepared for trial.

  3. Cap'n Bill Says:

    The other day I was searching for something on my smart ass phone. A few hours later, I was search for something completely unrelated to the previous search and the ads for the 1st searched items kept popping up. I know about cookies and all that BUT I don’t believe it’s that difficult for anyone to be tracked.

  4. Philo Says:

    RE: Cell Phones,
    Any and all forms of electronic comms can be intercepted – there are no exceptions. Cell phone data can and is vacuumed up en masses just like computer comms are. They still need a warrant to tap your phones, just like they do to intercept your internet; just because you’re using a wireless medium doesn’t mean you have a lesser expectation of privacy, from a legal standpoint. That being said, the warrant system is so rigged that they might as well not be required to get one.

    If you have something to say to someone and you don’t want to share it, write it on a single sheet of paper, let them read it, then burn the paper to ashes. Cause that’s about the only way you can comm with someone without easdropping :-/

    ~Philo

  5. Philo Says:

    Thanks Rebel.

    There’s a lot of good folks who are gonna get jammed up badly over nothing here. It just blows my mind how far we sunk and how fast we did it as a nation. There’s nothing going on in this case that you won’t find in damn near every household in America – the only difference being the patch. But maybe that’s the point. If you can throw someone in prison for twenty years for some bullshit like calling a buddy and asking them for a little dope just because they’re in a club together, how long until you can throw anybody in prison for twenty years for doing the same thing sans club? There’s dark, dark days ahead for us me thinks. Dark days.

    ~Philo

  6. Ronbo Says:

    Man I heard and asuemed that cells were extremely hard and extremely expensive to tap. But I did hear they don’t need a court order because your signal is on public airwaves. Better living through modern technolegy I guess. Like I put on my last jury duty form under years of education
    56 years 6 months. still learning.
    Be safe all and Happy holidays

    Ronbo

  7. rollinnorth Says:

    Sieg:
    “Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.”
    Advice by veteran ward boss Martin Lomasney to young James Michael Curley.

  8. Rebel Says:

    Dear Ronbo,

    In Los Angeles the police tap cell phones just for fun. Google Triggerfish.

    Merry Christmas,
    Rebel

  9. RVN69 Says:

    “Sieg Says: Given that, it doesn’t really matter if the Feds have you on tape, or if they have pix, or video…or nothing at all.

    If they want you badly enough, they will manufacture a crime, manufacture evidence, and produce some scumbag snitch that needs to earn with them to swear you did whatever they tell him.”

    EXACTLY! FTF, FTP

    Potius Mori Quam Foedari

  10. Sieg Says:

    Just about every cellphone call, and for sure every text message and e-mail are intercepted and stored for future analysis. That said, you shouldn’t be saying or writing ANYTHING where it can be heard.

    There are some things you can say sitting in a bar, talking to the guy next to you.

    There are some things you should only talk about in whipsers while the juke is blasting.

    There are some things you should walk around the block and whisper about while you’re walking.

    Given that, it doesn’t really matter if the Feds have you on tape, or if they have pix, or video…or nothing at all.

    If they want you badly enough, they will manufacture a crime, manufacture evidence, and produce some scumbag snitch that needs to earn with them to swear you did whatever they tell him.

    FTF / FTP
    TOSIAR

  11. PigPen Says:

    i have said it before. one day, i would love to see the police get charged with RICO. the nest time one of these pricks with a badge gets caught stealing from the evidence room, drinking on the job, screwing hookers in the squad car on duty, hiding or planting evidence etc etc, i’d love to see a RICO charge hit the whole department.
    they are all wearing the same uniform, they are all in ca hoots with each other, surely his partner knew what he was into, extra charge, surely the captain know what was going, he must be getting a cut of the profits all under the same blue uniform, additional charge. but no, it never seems to work out that way. but for some reason, those of us with a patch, can get hit with a RICO, because a club member 300 miles away got busted with a joint in his cut. Somehow I knew all about that joint from here because we have the same “uniform” on. and what is worse, some of those charges listed above, sound like a frat party that went wild. wow a slot machine, or hosting a raffle for items that have been donated, or taking a $2 DONATION for a beer that i happily give away to my Brothers.
    Man, next time I host a BBQ at my house, I will make sure everyone brings there own beer, because I will not be giving any out of my own fridge. fuck me.

  12. Ronbo Says:

    these Wire taps and recorded conversations can that be done to someone on a cell phone? just curious.. What a bunch of crap as usual.

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