Mongol Nation Case Goes To Ninth Circuit

March 31, 2014

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The Mongols Nation case is on its way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the indictment on which the case rests, the government argues that the entire Mongols Motorcycle Club is a racketeering enterprise. The point of the accusation is to create a pretext that will allow the Department of Justice to seize the Mongols name and patch.

Club lawyer Joe Yanny filed a Writ of Mandamus with the appeals court last Friday. A Writ of Mandamus is a request for intervention by a superior court in the business of a lower court in the interests of justice. The Mongols are asking that Judge Otis D. Wright, who appears to be the most incompetent judge in the federal Central District of California, be recused from judging the Mongols.

It is the second time the motorcycle club has tried to get Wright booted off the case. In February the question of Wright’s impartiality was referred to yet another piece of work, Judge Manuel L. Real. Real, who is famous for his reprehensible courtroom manner and his unique ethical standards ruled “A reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would not conclude that Judge Wright’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” It was an indefensibly stupid decision and Yanny wants the Ninth Circuit to reverse it.

The 38 page writ and more than one hundred pages of attached exhibits also suggests that the office of the United States Attorney for Los Angeles steered this case to these two clown judges in order to frustrate justice.

Yanny characterizes the Mongol Nation case as a “wasteful and repetitive duplication of legal proceedings (which) will irreparably erode the public’s confidence in the judicial system, will involve unnecessary expenditure of a criminal defendant’s resources, and will be wasteful of assets of U.S. taxpayers.”

The Infinite Prosecution

Two other district judges, Florence-Marie Cooper and David O. Carter have already ruled that the Department of Justice cannot seize the Mongols name and insignia. The current case was actually suggested to the prosecuting attorneys by Judge Wright as a way to punish the Mongols. Yanny writes, “the government’s entire theory of the instant case was Judge Wright’s brainchild.”

What the government proposes to do in U.S. v. Mongol Nation is expel all current members of the club because about 80 members were coerced into pleading guilty to racketeering during a case called U.S. v. Cavazos et al. As part of his plea deal, former club president Ruben “Doc” Cavazos both claimed ownership of the Mongols name and insignia and agreed to forfeit those to the government. Legally, Cavazos never owned the Mongols trademarks. By lying to the late Judge Cooper, prosecutors obtained an order from her that prevented the transfer or sale of those marks. Cooper later explained that the intent of her order was simply to freeze the assets of a racketeering defendant. But prosecutors interpreted Cooper’s order to authorize the seizure of Mongols items like bandannas, calendars and tee shirts from innocent people.

It may say something about even the best federal judges that Cooper remained ignorant of the government’s blatantly illegal actions for nine months. And when she realized how her order had been misconstrued she was furious.


Cooper also presided over a related civil case filed by a San Diego Mongol named Ramon Rivera. Rivera, who was not indicted, objected to being punished because some of his club brothers had been. Rivera’s suit complained: “Plaintiff has often worn a jacket or shirt displaying the collective membership mark, both at Club activities and elsewhere. To Rivera, his display of the mark affirms his membership in the Club, and symbolizes unity and brotherhood with his friends and fellow Club members. Plaintiff has personal knowledge that if law enforcement officers saw him wearing items displaying the Mongols mark, the officers would confiscate those items. Due to the Government’s threat of seizing items displaying the mark, and its actual seizure of such items, Plaintiff is chilled and deterred from publicly wearing or displaying any item bearing the mark and is currently refraining from doing so.”

When she reviewed the Rivera suit, Cooper learned for the first time that the Mongols’ logo was a special kind of trademark called a “collective membership mark.” She wrote, “The Mongol Nation and Mongols Nation, Inc, by virtue of having used the collective membership mark since 1969, having registered the mark in 2005, and having continued to use of the mark to identify members of the club, have acquired and maintained exclusive ownership in the collective membership mark at issue…even if the Court were to assume that the collective membership mark is subject to forfeiture, the Court finds no statutory authority to seize property bearing the mark from third parties…. only defendants’ interests in the RICO enterprise and the proceeds from their racketeering activity are subject to forfeiture.”

What Cooper Ruled

In July 2009, Cooper wrote: “At the June 22 hearing the Government revealed for the first time that the mark it sought to forfeit was a collective membership mark. Previously, in its Ex Parte Application for Post-Indictment Restraining Order, the Government (in this case ATF Case Agent John Ciccone) referred to the mark simply as a trademark, which was ‘purportedly for use in commerce in connection with promoting the interests of persons interested in the recreation of riding motorcycles.’ In contrast to commercial trademarks, which are used in commerce and generally not entitled to full First Amendment protections, collective membership marks are used by members of an organization to ‘indicate membership in a union, an association, or other organization.’ The use and display of collective membership marks therefore directly implicate the First Amendment’s right to freedom of association. The Supreme Court has recognized that ‘implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment’ is ‘a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.’ This right is crucial in preventing the majority from imposing its views on groups that would rather express other, perhaps unpopular, ideas.’ Furthermore, clothing identifying one’s association with an organization is generally considered expressive conduct entitled to First Amendment protection…. If speech is noncommercial in nature, it is entitled to full First Amendment protection, which prohibits the prior restraint and seizure of speech-related materials without a judicial determination that the speech is harmful, unprotected, or otherwise illegal.

“Prohibiting speech of this nature constitutes an attack on a particular viewpoint. In Sammartano (v. First Judicial District Court, in and for the County of Carson City) the Carson City courthouse enacted a rule to prohibit admission of those with ‘clothing, attire or colors which have symbols, markings or words indicating an affiliation with street gangs, biker or similar organizations,’ because ‘such clothing or attire can be extremely disruptive and intimidating, especially when members of different groups are in the building at the same time.’ The Ninth Circuit reasoned that the rule singles out bikers and similar organizations for the message their clothing is presumed to convey, and held that the rule impermissibly discriminates against a particular point of view – the view of biker clubs as opposed to garden clubs and gun clubs. In this case, the Government targets an even narrower group of individuals, a single motorcycle club. In addition, the Government has been seizing property, which imposes a greater restriction on individual rights than the denial of access to a public facility. Accordingly, the seizure of property bearing a Mongols membership mark should be considered viewpoint-discriminatory. The Government’s ability to seize property bearing the trademark acts as a prior restraint and cannot stand without a judicial determination that the speech is harmful, unprotected, or otherwise illegal. No such determination was ever sought by the Government, and no such determination was ever made by the Court.”

Welk And Brunwin

After Judge Cooper died and the resultant celebration at the ATF’s Los Angeles headquarters finally died down, the Cavazos case was split between Judges Wright and Carter. Carter inherited the Rivera case. He ruled in Rivera that the government’s stance on the Mongols marks was “contrary to established First Amendment and trademark law” and not authorized by statute.

But prosecutors Steven Welk and Christopher Brunwin simply looked for another judge, which was how Wright became involved in the fight over the Mongols name and logo. The Mongols Motorcycle Club, which was never indicted in the Cavazos case, was forced to litigate the same forfeiture issues in an ancillary proceeding before Judge Wright. Wright ruled in the club’s favor but was openly disappointed that he had to follow the law. “Stated as succinctly as possible,” he wrote, “the court regrettably must conclude that it must grant the petition to Vacate or Amend the Preliminary Order of Forfeiture….”

Thirteen months ago, Welk and Brunwin indicted the entire Mongols Motorcycle Club for the same charges filed in the Cavazos case with the goal of pissing on the Constitution and seizing the Mongols’ collective marks. The government also filed a Notice To Court of Related Criminal Case which listed Wright as the sole judge in Cavazos and so the Mongols Nation case was assigned to him. The Notice was a cynical example of the games prosecutors play.

Wright Leads The Lynching

None of this litigation is cheap. The government has unlimited funds but the Mongols must hunt for the money to defend themselves. Mongols Nation epitomizes prosecution as a form on unconstitutional punishment.

The Mongols tried to stop this corruption of justice. The club filed a civil suit to dismiss the current racketeering indictment against the club but Wright dismissed that civil suit last October. In that motion hearing, Wright described Mongols club rules prohibiting illegal conduct among members as “laughable.”

“Those bylaws are a joke, and you know it,” Wright told the Mongols lawyer. “I am surprised you even mentioned it. This is a criminal enterprise as evidenced by the admissions of same by no fewer than 40 people who appeared before me. I can’t speak to the other 40 who appeared before Judge Carter. This is a dangerous enterprise.”

Wright went on to scold the attorney, “…you are saying that it is no different than them having perhaps having been Lutheran and they are of doing all these criminal things and it is just coincidental that some of them were Lutheran; right? It is not the same thing, is it? They are operating under the banner of the Mongols. It is that name, that reputation, that intimidation factor which enables them to do what they do, isn’t it?”

The writ Yanny filed last week argues that “If Judge Wright is not disqualified, petitioner will suffer irreparable damage that cannot be corrected on appeal.”

If the Ninth Circuit doesn’t remove Wright from this case it will send a clear message that there is no longer any justice in America.




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57 Responses to “Mongol Nation Case Goes To Ninth Circuit”

  1. Dave Says:

    Some people see this battle as good (the govt) vs evil (a biker gang). If you hear them talking about it, it pisses you off because they have zero clue.

    Ok.. I know the Mongols aren’t pristine fellas who do saintly acts every day for their dear old mums… But this whole thing, to me, is just another try by the govt to see where it can reach and what it can do with that reach.

    Every time I turn around, the government is trying to push it’s LEGAL limits and do something else that it has no power to do. If the government wants to go after the Mongols from criminal activity, go for it. Take the shot. But this type of thing is just the beginning of the government telling ANY group “You’re closed”. Another step in total control of everything we are allowed to do, think, or say. And it’s no longer just liberals or mainly liberals, there’s conservatives jumping onto the wagon and raising hype about perceived threats to society. Just think about this; the government is already pressing the Boy Scouts over that organization’s founding principles. It’s the Boy Scouts… FFS… Their reaching in on hunters, bikers, farmers… Everything…

    While they do this, they forget how to take care of our vets, promise to take care of everyone else but our vets, and lead more sheep to the Kool-Aid with shiny cellphones and EBT cards!

    Which is why when you start telling people that the government is truly evil, they think you’re crazy. They don’t understand how slavery begins in the modern age.

    -Give them food
    -Give them money
    -Give them things
    -Give them healthcare

    Now they must do as told or we take it away.

    And the sheep can’t see it…

    If I could prospect a club, I would. I’m already an outlaw due to my belief in free will, free speech, and freedom. I might as well stand with those who think the same.

  2. Stalemate Says:

    Just a thought. Maybe we should stop fucking with each other, (different patches and MC’s), and stand united against this government take over. I mean, I learned a long time ago that if you keep the masses (little folk), at each others throats, then folks on top can do anything they please. A common enemy for a common cause. Think about the power of millions of bikers from all over this country coming together to stand against this illegal act.

  3. Justin Says:

    I can’t stand this blatant display of social and political injustice. These “so called” judges have no right passing judgement on other people when they are so incompetent that in any other case, they would be brought up on charges.

    Just because we wear patches and ride motorcycles does not make us all criminals. The NYPD all wear uniforms and symbols of their “Solidarity”, and there have been THOUSANDS of cases of criminal behavior for their organization. Brutality, Coercion, False Arrest, Murder, Theft, Drug Abuse, Distributing Drugs, etc, under these ridiculous laws, the NYPD should be brought up on a RICO (Racketeering) charge and the whole lot of them should be arrested, have their uniforms seized and be demanded to disband.

    It’s this type of blanked stupidity that is causing the people of our great nation to become mindless sheeple, doing what they are told and hunkering in fear of the masters whip. The truth is that WE THE PEOPLE have the power, authority and right to make the government accountable for these reprehensible actions.

    I am a motorcycle enthusiast, Harley Davidson rider, civil rights activist and documentary/film maker. This combination makes the corrupt officials hate the things I do and the things I say. Right now, I’m trying to find funding for a documentary about the Motorcycle Club life and the real impact that it has on society. I know that the MC I belong to does no criminal activity, but we are harassed whenever we ride in numbers.

    Remember the old saying “United We Stand”.

  4. ghost Says:

    a little off subject but it still applies to this thread, I am currently in Greensboro, N.C. and I am watching the local news and what comes on but a story about a local hero named billy the fuck stain queen//st john. the breathing turd that infiltrated the mongols back in the day.. I had to laugh they called him the real life jack bauer from the show 24.. anyway the story told what a hero he is and stated several times that LOCAL HERO BILLY QUEEN LIVES IN THE TRIAD AREA OF NORTH CAROLINA, HOPEFULLY A MONGOL IN A SEMI RUNS HIM OVER!!!

  5. Triple O.G Says:

    @Og your not much of an Og if you don’t understand how the system works.Of course it gave them some leverage that’s why they blackmailed the members to sign that paper that claims there a criminal enterprise,even though it’s all bullshit.I dont care who you are if you happened to get picked up in a Rico sweep and they tell u plead guilty to the fact that your a criminal enterprise and u can go home today or go to jury trial an risk getting 20yrs,guilty or not guilty your gonna sign that piece of paper so u can go home with your kids and not lose your job..They have no proof the Mongols are nothing more then a club if they did the wouldnt have to use these kind of tactics.In this case speaking from an outsiders point of view the atf has stooped so low that they think there above the law and they can just throw the constitution out the window even people that may not even care for 1%er clubs are stepping up and saying the government is going to far!Your average person is stepping up and saying this has nothing to do with protecting the people this falls in the catagory of the patriot act,the government tries to scare the shit out of everyone and then say here pass this law and eveything will be hunky dorey well not this time dickheads.Common sense tells us the Mongols will simply change there logo,simple.Everyone will still know who they are so if its not going to change nothing like that pocketsize atf agent Ciccone claims then it has to be personal.That is all it is the atf hates losing and even with all there dirty tactics the loss and will lose again.

  6. Tooj Says:

    Dear Rebel, I could not agree more. The simple fact that “Judge” Wright would use those convictions garnered through such means to state:

    “This is a criminal enterprise as evidenced by the admissions of same by no fewer than 40 people who appeared before me. I can’t speak to the other 40 who appeared before Judge Carter. This is a dangerous enterprise.”

    shows just how self-deluded the system truly is. There is a synergy of government provided education, public numbing and this sort of abhorrent application of “law” that is coming to some sort of tipping point.

  7. Rebel Says:

    Dear OG,

    Guys make plea bargains because they are blackmailed into the deals. You can either insist on a trial with a jury of morons who a) are too stupid to get out of jury duty and b) think Sons of Anarchy and the The Devils Ride are real and risk life in prison or you can take the deal and get a much lesser sentence, in some cases time served. Very many guys charged in the 2008 Mongols case broke no laws and pled guilty to “RICO.” Often, the predicate “racketeering acts” were being a chapter officer, or legally owning a legal gun, or being in possession of a lot of bullets or in one case having appeared in a photograph in Doc Cavazos’ book.

    There is nothing Constitutional about the current practice of federal justice. It is a national shame and it should be exposed.


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