The zombie obstruction of justice case in Georgia against three motorcycle club members who took non-violent steps to protect themselves from being entrapped by an undercover cop and a snitch staggers on.
The three men are Larry “Mack” McDaniel who at the time of his arrest was the Regional President of Outlaws chapters in Georgia and Alabama; Sean King, an Outlaw from Gordon, Georgia and Howard Brown who at the time of his arrest was the Georgia President of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club. The three men learned that a member of the Georgia Black Pistons, identified in public documents as D.B.S., was a paid confidential informant working for the FBI and that an undercover cop named Michael “Griff” Griffin had also infiltrated that club. The Black Pistons maintain cordial relations with the American Outlaws Association.
To the surprise of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, McDaniel was unenthusiastic about being set up for a long prison term. According to the FBI, “on or about July 12, 2012” McDaniel told Brown and King to “shutdown” the Black Pistons’ Cleveland, Georgia. They did and they also collected “all Black Pistons and Outlaw Motorcycle Club vests, known as ‘cuts,’ patches, belts, rings, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia identified with the Black Pistons and Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs from those present at the clubhouse.”
The enraged feds replied with a media friendly bust on August 16, 2012 and arrested twenty-three people, most but not all of whom had some connection to the Outlaws, Black Pistons, Southern Knights and Hoodlums Motorcycle Clubs.
The Department of Justice then took a federal grand jury by the hand, showed the jurors some reality television productions and a few old episodes of Sons of Anarchy, and the jury said thanks for the popcorn by voting out an indictment against McDaniel, King and Brown that was filed on September 4, 2012. The indictment charged the three with obstructing “’the due and proper administration of the law under which a proceeding was pending before the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an agency of the United States,’ by influencing, obstructing, and impeding, and attempting to influence, obstruct, and impede, ‘an investigation being conducted by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in which D.B.S. was acting as a confidential informant.’”
A central question in the case is whether a federal, undercover investigation is a “federal proceeding” like a trial or a Congressional hearing. And, that question seemed to have been settled when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled that an undercover investigation is not a proceeding. The Aging Rebel briefly covered that decision August 16 in a story slugged “Investigations, Proceedings And SOA.” This page foolishly stated “Presumably, the charges against those three men (McDaniel, Brown and King) will now be dropped.” Citing the Ninth Circuit decision and other case law precedents attorneys for the three men moved to dismiss the indictment.
Not So Fast
The charges would have been dropped in a less sadistic federal court system. However, in a turgid and pedantic ruling Tuesday, United States Magistrate Judge J. Clay Fuller ruled that most of the year old indictment against the three men should stand.
Fuller ruled that the men could not be charged with impeding the investigation and dropped one of the three counts. But using logic reminiscent of medieval metaphysicians, Fuller ruled that the attempted undercover entrapment was part of a grand jury investigation, that impeding the undercover shenanigans was tantamount to impeding the business of a grand jury, and so the men will have to endure the financial ordeal known as a jury trial.
It is the sort of ruling that twists the meaning of the common word justice into something grotesque and that would make citizens cynical about the judicial process if anyone in the mainstream press ever revealed what actually happens in federal courthouses.