There was a hearing in Columbia, South Carolina for most of the defendants in the Rock Hell Nomads Hells Angels case and Judge Cameron McGowan Currie mostly ruled against the defense. When she dies and goes to Hell she will be endlessly tried for racketeering.
Much of the case against the defendants remains secret – or at least secret for all practical purposes. Earlier this month prosecutors hit defendants with an “evidence dump.” Evidence dumps do not lead to justice but they do lead to convictions and plea deals. One defense attorney described the discovery in the case as “so massive as almost to be beyond description.”
Defenders in U.S. v. Bifield et al. were already confronted with two terabytes of discovery and the lawyer quoted above complained that his staff “has not yet finished an initial review.” Then two weeks ago, on December 4, “the government completed another massive evidence disclosure that included 5,882 photographs, 137 audio clips and 20,851 pages of phone records.” The point of these dumps is to twist the concept of pretrial discovery into a prosecutorial weapon. The government’s case is now a leaf hidden in a forest.
The lead defendant in the case, Dan Bifield, tried to separate the relevant evidence from the irrelevant with a “Motion for a Bill of Particulars” on two of the charges in the current indictment. Bifield and his wife Lisa, Bruce Long and David Pryor appear to have been entrapped by one or more of the snitches in the case. There were an unfathomable number of informants including a CHS-1, what seems to be two CHS-4s and “an individual described as the ‘girlfriend’ of CHS-4.” “The two primary confidential informants used during the investigation” are identified as “CHS-3, a/k/a Midas: and CHS-2, a/k/a RD.” Those two are also known as Joe Dillulio and Marty “Cowboy” Deloach. Bifield’s motion argued that “the government informant is the only individual to propose a robbery and it is not legally possible to conspire with a government agent.” Yesterday, Judge Currie disagreed.
Motion For Continuance
Because the evidence against the defendants is maliciously “massive” Bifield’s main defender, Allen B. Burnside, asked Currie to delay the trial by two months. Some people would consider that to be a reasonable request.
In a comparable case in Detroit, titled United States v. Scott William Sutherland, et al., a more rational judge appointed a “Coordinating Discovery Attorney for the defendants” to assist defenders comprehend a smaller volume of evidence than defenders must now analyze in the South Carolina case. The Detroit case has been unfolding since May 2011. The third indictment in that case was voted out about the same time the Bifield defendants were being rounded up. There is still no trial date in Detroit although there is a status conference scheduled for January 7.
But Currie has been in a rush to get on with her sentencing since the case began six months ago. She acts like a woman who is afraid she’ll miss her pre-paid honeymoon. She made a couple of decisions on scheduling yesterday. In one ruling she allowed defendants an extra month, until January 16 at 4 p.m., to take the government’s offer of reduced punishment in return for pleading guilty. In the other ruling she refused to reschedule the trial. Jury selection will still begin in five weeks and the trial will begin on February 11.
As for the mysterious CHS-4 (or CHS-4s if it turns out one of them is a top secret clone) and what kind of deal he made to betray his friends: “Materials concerning this individual shall be produced by the Government to defense counsel five (5) business days prior to the individual being called as a witness in the trial of this matter.”
First Guilty Plea
Currie also accepted the first guilty plea in this case yesterday. Trent Allen Brown, who pled not guilty on October 12 to a charge of conspiring with “others” to possess and distribute old school, new school, oxycodone and clonazepam pled guilty to a “lesser included charge” contained somewhere in the accusation about drug dealing.
Brown and his attorney will now have until 4 p.m. on January 16 to work out the details of his plea and sentencing agreement with prosecutors. Then the next morning he, and anyone else who sees no way out but to make a deal, will stand up and lie to the judge that they pled guilty of his their free wills in a vcuum without promises or duress from their accusers. The formal acceptance of a plea deal is one of the most cynical rituals in federal court. After you witness a few dozen of the things you can almost smell the fire and brimstone.