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Friday, April 30, 2010


Today a club member called seeking help with police harassment. This biker was stopped and harassed twice in 2 days in Rancho Cordova. This is a little community just outside of Sacramento. It is the same police department that gave Mark a helmet ticket. In Marks case though, when the cop found out about Marks reputation, the officer became too ill to make it to court (twice).

This biker was stopped for non EPA pipes, his vest confiscated (for evidence); charged with a felony (concealed weapon, a knife on his belt) and was told to remove his DOT (store bought) helmet. This particular biker had heard Mark and me speak on several occasions...but this is how he decided to come to B.O.L.T. : Upon being harassed by the officer, the biker pulled from his wallet the infamous “AIM” card, you know “in case you ever get stopped show this to the cops”. The cop laughed, handcuffed the guy and through him in jail, charged him with a misdemeanor on the pipes (not a fix it ticket). Upon his release the biker immediately contacted his local MMA rep, who said “call B.O.L.T.” I forgot to mention his bike was impounded due to no M1 license

One thing about this guy, he isn’t asking B.O.L.T to fight on his behalf; he wants to learn how to fight back, not defensively but offensively.

Mac Henderson

Who doesn’t tell the Motorcycle Helmet Story–the manufacturers

Who doesn't tell the Motorcycle Helmet Story–the manufacturers
There's two groups that don't tell the Helmet Story, and I don't mean the rabid anti-helmet folks.
No, one group is the helmet manufacturers themselves. And my next guess is that many of you are strenuously objecting right now—so let's take a look at the most popular helmets in the USA (in no particular order).
First of all, all helmets sold in the USA have to meet, at minimum, DOT standards—and that information is available on the sites. But, we'll take a look at standards in another entry.
Arai "You could go through a bunch of cheaper helmets in the lifespan of just a single 5-year-warranty Arai – and wind up spending more in the long run. Worse, you'd miss out on Arai's legendary comfort, fit, features, and feeling of confidence along the way. A helmet is something you're going to spend too much time and too many miles in to not ensure that every bit of it is a pleasure. So compromise somewhere else."[i]
Iow Arai takes the same approach L'Oreal hair color took with women: yes it's more expensive, but you're "worth it." But nothing in the manufacturer's site says safety is what the rider is buying.
Shoei doesn't say it's reduces injuries or prevents death either: In the section "Inside A Shoei Helmet" there's a subsection, "SHOEI ACTIVE SAFETY": "As opposed to "passive safety" that is ensured by compliance with Snell and DOT safety standards, "active safety" defines the further improvements made by SHOEI to ensure that maximum comfort is achieved, allowing the rider to devote all of his or her focus to riding. Advanced helmet features such as our anatomically-shaped comfort liner for optimum helmet fitment, lowest possible weight to reduce stress on the neck muscles, and effective ventilation system for temperature regulation and reduction in wind noises all serve to further improve the safety of the rider. Further development and continued improvement in the areas of safety and comfort technology are SHOEI's primary goals."
Shoei implies that safety is synonymous with comfort and that's "active" safety. Safety is defined as the rider paying more attention, having a cooler head (which is only hot because they're wearing a helmet) and is quieter (though the helmet itself is causing much of the noise which Shoei then dampens). All that is a limited truth because comfort can just as easily led to inattention. But that's not why we buy helmets.[ii]
HJC doesn't claim its helmets do anything either: "With the addition of the helmet models mentioned above, it is clear that HJC continues to be a brand that is friendly to motorcyclists around the world providing safe, comfortable, stylish and affordable helmets."
In the section "Helmet Usage" HJC comes the closet to claiming that its helmet will reduce injury or death: "To reduce the risk of serious injury or death…" "and to help prevent damage to your helmet" …"always use your helmet correctly." However, this doesn't say the helmet reduces the risk. Rather, its what the rider does that will reduce the risk.
But that's a half-truth. A rider can vastly reduce the risk of a crash by what he or she does (and that includes using the helmet correctly) but once the crash occurs, the rider can't reduce the risk of injury or death—that's exactly what a helmet is supposed to do. But that's not what HJC claims.
Nolan Helmets has a truly ridiculous claim: "…since the early 1970′s, Nolan began using sophisticated materials to bring optimum performance to motorcycle riders at a competitive price." Iow, it's not skill or judgment that makes a rider perform as best (but not necessarily safely) as they can. Iow, helmets are like tires or a trellis frame or a few hundred extra cc's. Safety—or even comfort—aren't appeals that Nolan uses in its advertising.
KBC comes the closest to referencing safety in terms of helmets with its slogan: "Ride Long. Ride Hard. Ride Safe." It's also the only manufacturer that states a direct though somewhat ambiguous warning on its website: "PLEASE NOTE: A. No helmet can protect the user against all foreseeable impacts."
Scorpion has a section on safety but it doesn't say its helmets will protect you. Instead it references MSF training (without saying that will keep you safe), has a link to the MSF's .pdf on helmets and directs readers to the Snell Foundation.
Safety seems to be the last thing on Icon's mind—as does grammar and coherent thought. Rather, Icon courts and encourages both risk and violence: For example, it describes its new "Airframe Sacrifice" helmet as: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Some will thrive whilst others wither. The Airframe Sacrifice is the former. A warrior's helm. A leader destined for glory amongst the disposable ranks. Legions of weaker willed troops will break upon it's chromed brow. There will be no legends passed down to glorify their sacrifice. Only this single heroic helmet and magnificent crest will remain."
The Airframe Predator is described as: "When this bird shows up, trust us, it's no party. This foul predator eats your dog's food, craps over the driveway and one day will probably carry off the cat. We've seen it a thousand times." And the Airframe Death or Glory as: "Some live their life in moderation – a careful balancing act devoid of excess. And that's fine, the world needs those people. Then there are those who are destined to leave their mark on history's pages. Those courageous (or stupid) souls who know no such balance. For those few it's all or nothing. A pure digital lifestyle – Zero or One, Black or White, Death or Glory."
Icon, though, does have a section called "Survivors" where Icon purchasers relate their various crashes and attribute their well-being to Icon.
Only one manufacturer claims that its helmet saved a life—while Bell also advertises its helmets in terms of ventilation, weight and price it's the only manufacturer that directly claims that once a helmet saved someone's life: "In 1955 a guy named Cal Niday plowed into the retaining wall during the Indianapolis 500 and the first Bell comeback was officially underway. The impact fractured his skull, but one of our helmets saved his life."
But from that point on it uses euphemisms to imply it saves lives without directly claiming they do: "Cal returned to racing a few months later. We've been engineering spectacular comebacks ever since….Bell was there when the world's best riders went down. And with innovations like energy-absorbing liners, the first full-face motorcycle helmet, and more design patents than any helmet company in history, we've always been there to help them get back up again. Over the years we earned enough trust to make our name synonymous with motorcycle helmets."
Iow, if one didn't know the Helmet Story one would never ever guess from what those who make them that the primary purpose of helmets is to reduce injuries and prevent deaths. But then we do know the Helmet Story thanks to NHTSA and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, which is one of two organizational sister corporations to the Motorcycle Industry Council—to which all the helmet manufacturers belong.
The easy answer is that helmet manufacturers don't say a helmet can save your life because of fear of liability suits—if they say it, and someone is hurt or dies, then they'll get sued.
So let's look at life jacket/vest manufacturers as a comparison. Certainly their products also are supposed to save lives and if they failed, they, too could be sued.
Like helmet manufacturers every one states their products meet standards—but, unlike helmet manufacturers they don't stop there:
The Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association is a trade group like MIC and states on its homepage, "Most drowning victims had access to a Personal Flotation Device, but did not wear it. A wearable PFD can save your life – if you wear it!"
Float-Tech "Safety in the water is something we should all take seriously. One of the easiest things we can do is wear our life preserver, a habit that would have a significant impact on annual drowning."
Jim Buoy "Model #SO-1 – Features Jim Buoy's remarkable new LIFE-SAVING design that enables an unconscious person to roll over, face-up, with their mouth more than 4 3/4″ above the water in LESS THAN 5 SECONDS!"
Or this from manufacturer Extrasports, "Wherever safety is needed most, rescue experts turn to Extrasport® Swiftwater® rescue PFDs. The right equipment can mean the difference between success and failure, life and death. Our accomplished Swiftwater® rescue line is often called to unexpected places and dangerous water conditions."
Or Mustang Survival Company that states, "For more than 40 years, Mustang Survival has been committed to providing lifesaving solutions for people exposed to the most hazardous environments. Through constant innovation and application of new technologies we have established ourselves as a leading supplier of survival solutions to the most demanding military, professional, and recreational users."
The difference between helmet manufacturers and personal flotation device manufacturers could not be more pronounced. And the latter aren't afraid to mention the elephant in the room—that their products are meant to be used in terrible times. They aren't afraid to say that their products can mean the difference between living and dying. In fact, they flaunt it.
Nor do they try to justify the purchase by waxing on about comfort or how side effects will make the boater safer. They know why their consumers buy their products and that's what they sell: we save lives for a living.
The helmet manufacturers sell comfort, ventilation, comparative weight, graphics and swappable faceshields. Notice the difference?
Or how about the opposite side of the spectrum—not preventing death but preventing unwanted life? Durex condoms advertises "Durex condoms …they're not just about protection against sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. They're designed to excite and enhance."
Or Trojan: "TROJAN® Ultra Thin Spermicidal Lubricant Condoms…
Thinnest TROJAN® Latex Condom-Designed for ultra sensation
The Strength of a Regular TROJAN® Latex Condom
Made from Premium Quality Latex-To help reduce the risk
Nonoxynol-9 Spermicide Is On This Condom for extra protection against pregnancy ONLY – NOT for extra protection against AIDS and other STDs
Special Reservoir End – For extra safety
Each Condom is Electronically Tested – To ensure reliability
CAUTION: Spermicidal lubricants are for extra protection against pregnancy. Spermicidal lubricants are not for rectal use or more-than-once-a-day vaginal use."
Or, on the feminine side of sexual protection, here's what Meyer Labs says about Today's Sponge: "Today Sponge provides effective birth control without "pill" side effects. It is a proven contraceptive with over 150 million sponges sold…"
So if it's liability that's the concern, there's a far greater chance that pregnancy or disease would result trip for trip, so to speak, than a rider has of sustaining a head injury or dying from one. Yet there's absolutely no doubt about what condom manufacturers are selling—and it's not reduction but prevention. Comfort and pleasure are added values and not the main benefit when it comes to birth control.
To put this into perspective, then, if helmet manufacturers advertised condoms, it would be all about comfort and pleasure they give without the slightest hint that they're supposed to prevent pregnancy or disease. Iow, rather like Arai and Shoei advertise helmets. Personally, I doubt comfort or pleasure are why people buy condoms.
Yet we've certainly heard of situations where condoms break or were defective and pregnancy or disease resulted yet that doesn't stop these manufacturers from stating what their products are meant to do.
Iow, while fear of consumer liability lawsuits is a reasonable explanation for the startling omission of any reference to what helmets are supposed to do, it's not a very good answer.
Or maybe it's just a different type lawsuit they fear. Stay tuned…

[i] Arai really does spend a great deal of time justifying its cost: "In the end, what are your comfort and confidence are worth to you? Can you really put a "price" on them? An Arai helmet isn't inexpensive. It isn't made to be." "And when you wear one, it isn't made to feel good for just an hour or two. It's made to feel good all day, every day – and to keep feeling good for years, long after cheap helmets have become loose and shabby (and probably had to be replaced more than once)." Notice that the only benefits Arai claims have to do with comfort and not safety:" "You can't always see the reasons why an Arai feels better, but they're there: lower weight from aerospace fiberglass-based construction; a lower center of gravity for better balance and less strain; softer single-piece multiple-density liners (whose technology still hasn't been able to be copied in almost 20 years). Ventilation systems that work in the real world, not just in drawings. A helmet with no "minor" parts. And the result is major: you just feel good. You want to keep riding."
"That's why we build our helmets the way we do. Because it's not about what you pay, it's about what you get." "Few of us can afford to own the very best of most things. But with an Arai helmet, you truly can own the very best of something."
[ii] However, Shoei disagrees with the true experts in helmet's effectiveness like the late Harry Hurt: "Very thick, soft padding provided good wearing comfort, but it did not hold well at high speeds, leading to helmet buffeting and instability." Hurt, the foremost advocate of helmets and truly effective standards, was very clear: very thick soft padding absorbs more kinetic energy and is thus safer for the reason we wear helmets: reducing injuries and preventing deaths.

Latest on Vertical License Plate in Florida

We continually get told by ABATE of Florida that they have the situation pertaining to the vertical license tag solved.
Well here it is again.
I just received this from on of the motorcycle riding attorneys.
Please pay attention to it and if you have any questions contact.

Andrew Godfrey
Business Manager
Sinclair Law Offices
(321) 253-4200 - phone
(321) 253-4400 – fax



We have received numerous inquiries over the past few months concerning the legality of the use of vertical tags/license plates on motorcycles. This has been an extremely confusing subject for many around the state due to inconsistencies in the statutes regarding this matter.
Governor Charlie Crist signed an amended bill (SB 1100) apparently restoring the legality of the use of a vertical tag/vertical license plate for motorcycles and mopeds. The new law went into effect on June 16, 2009.
Prior to the change, Florida Statute 316.2085(3) stated: "The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed horizontally to the ground and may not be adjusted or capable of being flipped up."
The new law amended Florida Statute 316.2085(3) to now state: "The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed to the vehicle and may not be adjusted or capable of being flipped up. No device for or method of concealing or obscuring the legibility of the license tag of a motorcycle shall be installed or used." The language requiring a motorcycle license plate be affixed horizontally was deleted.

Now here comes the tricky part. We have heard from some of you that certain law enforcement agencies are issuing citations for Vertical Tags by using a loophole by citing FL Statute 316.605 which states in part "Vehicle license plates shall be affixed and displayed in such a manner that the letters and numerals shall be read from left to right parallel to the ground."

A new bill being proposed in the Senate as we speak is Senate Bill 2400. At first glance it looked like the intent was to fix the loophole in FL Statute 316.605 as it pertains to Vertical License Plates for motorcycles. They have added language that says "Except as provided in FL Statute 316.2085(3)." Sounds great right? WRONG!

Here is the additional language being proposed to FL Statute 316.2085:

"The license tag of a motorcycle or moped may be affixed and displayed parallel to the ground in a manner that the numbers and letters read from left to right. Alternatively, a license tag for a motorcycle or moped may be affixed and displayed perpendicularly to the ground in a manner that the numbers and letters read from top to bottom, if the registered owner of the motorcycle or moped maintains a prepaid toll account in good standing and a transponder associated with the prepaid toll account is affixed to the motorcycle or moped."

BOTTOM LINE: If this new law passes, a Vertical License Plate on a motorcycle or moped will be illegal unless you have a transponder ON your motorcycle or moped.

CALL TO ACTION: Please call your local representatives and senators and voice your opinion about this unfriendly bill which affects the motorcycle community.

Motorcycle Training Bill Is Approved By The Senate

Motorcycle Training Bill Is Approved By The Senate By Amanda Falcone on April 27, 2010 6:48 PM State senators unanimously supported a bill Tuesday that would require anyone seeking a motorcycle license endorsement to take a $200 novice training course.
Currently, only licensed drivers under 18 are required to take the class.
The mandate would apply to all new endorsement applicants and to motorcyclists who let their endorsements lapse for at least two years. It would not apply to those who already have an endorsement in Connecticut or in another state.
A motorcycle endorsement is designated by the letter "M" on a driver's license. Anyone wishing to drive a motorcycle must have a valid driver's license and a valid motorcycle endorsement or permit.
If a person successfully completes a motorcycle training course, the Department of Motor Vehicles, by law, can waive the on-road portion of the "endorsement" application process.
Rep. Timothy Larson, D-East Hartford, proposed the motorcycle training bill after talking with East Hartford resident, Stephanie Pelletier. Pelletier's 19-year-old son, Nicholas Cohen, died in a 2008 motorcycle accident.
"For me, this is Nick's bill," said Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford.
A few lawmakers had concerns about how the state would pay for an increase in demand for the Department of Transportation's Connecticut Rider Education Program. The Office of Fiscal Analysis says the bill, which would go into effect Oct. 1, would result in a $100,000 cost to the DOT. The legislature's budget office says the initial costs would be covered by a federal grant, but lawmakers say they are worried about future costs.
Tuesday, the bill was amended. The mandatory motorcycle training would now be contingent on the availability of federal funding. The amendment eased some fears, but Republican lawmakers reminded their colleagues that relying on federal funding is always a risky endeavor.


Lake Elsinore police crack down on motorcycle safety During Friday's crackdown, 12 motorcyclists were cited for equipment or moving violations; nine motorists were cited for a variety of moving violations. Three motorcycles and three cars were towed or impounded for driving without a valid license or registration. By Toni McAllister, SWRNN Saturday, April 24, 2010 print page email share this comment bookmark text size vote nowBuzz up! Officers from the Lake Elsinore Police Department conducted motorcycle safety enforcement patrols across the city on Friday as part of the department’s efforts to crack down on motorcycle related collisions, drunk driving and other violations made by all vehicle operators that lead to motorcycle collisions, injuries and fatalities.
According to the the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, in 2008, 37 percent of motorcycle operators killed were not properly licensed — up from 36 percent in 2007.
During Friday’s crackdown, 12 motorcyclists were cited for equipment or moving violations; nine motorists were cited for a variety of moving violations. Three motorcycles and three cars were towed or impounded for driving without a valid license or registration.
The Lake Elsinore Police Department is encouraging new riders who are purchasing motorcycles to buy a bike that is appropriate for their skill and experience level. The department also urges riders to be properly licensed and to seek out professional training that includes risk awareness and risk management.
Rider’s can get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, and information is available at or 1-877 RIDE 411 or 1-877-743-3411.
Funding for the patrol was provided through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A Complaint about a cop

Whenever I put out a complaint about a cop, or help someone with same, I always send a complaint letter for the chief or superindent of police or whomever is running that force asking for an investigation into my allegations.

Then I cc the complaint to my state senator, state rep, and the mayor & city coucilor(s) of the municipality where the transgression happened. Of course I'm registered to vote. So my elected officials almost always send a letter to the PD Boss demanding that this investigation be thorough and that they be informed of the out come.

This puts so much political pressure on the cop & his commanders that he knows better than to fuck with me again. These letters of complaint follow the cop in his employment jacket and hurt his chances for raises, promotions, etc--- no municipal employee wants negative letters in thier employment file.

A couple of years back I got jumped by the FBI because I was the only rider left in a cemetary after a memorial service for some patchholders. (I was busy putting my cameras away & figured I could ride on my own to the party destination). Well these feds wanted to act like schoolyard bullies & had their hands ful with me. Yet the worst part for them was the letters from Senators Kennedy(RIP), Kerry and Congressman Delahunt that are following them in their employment files--- for jumping a constituent in a cemetary following a memorial service. That never can be justified & the Feds had to take their lumps.

They wanna play dirty, let your politicians throw more dirt on them. Works great every time.


ABATE of Florida Elections


The State of Florida ABATE motorcycle organization is preparing to have elections for state officers.

For many years Doc Reichenbach has been the president of the organization.

He is a very controversial person and has ruled with an iron hand and there have been numerous accusations of his treatment of those who have spoken out against him.

He gets his expenses paid for that position and it is not clear exactly what those expenses are. I and other members have asked to be given a copy of these and to date that has never happened. He is also the lobbyist for the organization and gets paid $50,000.00 dollars for that. He answers to the president of ABATE that being himself.

During his time as president there have been many laws that have passed that affect motorcyclist. Many of them not good and or costing the motorcyclist and tax payers money.

The fee for a motorcycle license has increases, motorcycle schools have become mandatory and on and on.

He has stated and was shown in a photograph accepting a check from the State of Florida for (1) one million dollars after he and the organization pushed for the passage of doubling the fine for running a red light. That law made a bunch of money for the state and ABATE as well.

ABATE has been questioned by numerous sources what was done with that money and to the best of my knowledge the question has never been answered to the satisfaction of the riders of Florida.

He and the organization will try to make a big deal out of passing legislation that allows some riders in Florida to ride without a motorcycle helmet if they have enough medical insurance. It should be noted that this was a compromise and not a good one.

Some years before the current helmet law the Florida Legislature passed a full un-conditional helmet law repeal only to have it vetoed by then Governor Bob Graham. Prior to the bill being passed in the legislature Governor Graham stated publically he would not sign the law into affect should it make it to his desk but Would Not Veto It Either. He Lied.

In my opinion ABATE should have had protests like other parts of the country used to get repeals.

It appears they took a different approach and wanted to be buddies with the legislature and make deals that affected all those who ride motorcycles in the State of Florida. They have a right to do that.

It appears to not be working to well.

There are many people in ABATE of Florida that do not agree with Doc and the way he runs things. They are entitled to that opinion as well. Some people have resigned and others say they were forced out of the organization because they want to make changes.

Over the years the membership has declined and even though new riders do join and replace some of the leaving the numbers still go down.

That indicates there is a problem in the leadership of the organization.

Finally after many years there is some one running against Doc for the position of President.

Frankie Kennedy for President of ABATE of Florida
Frankie Kennedy is currently the President of the South West Chapter of ABATE of Florida. To find out more about him you may want to check out the chapter website at

Frankie Kennedy attended the monthly meeting of the Independence Chapter of ABATE of Florida on 4/27/2010 in Melbourne Florida. This is my home chapter and I was present. I had some questions for him when he finished his presentation. He answered them to my satisfaction. I also had a private discussion with him at the end of the meeting.

I have decided to endorse him for President of ABATE of Florida.

I would like to suggest others contact him and ask him what ever questions you may have. There is contact information on the chapter web site.

I feel that the current president of ABATE of Florida Doc Reichenbach is not doing a good job of representing the motorcyclist of the state.

ABATE of Florida is a bad word among many of the people and organizations that fight for motorcyclist rights. By voting for Frankie here is a chance to change that. I believe in time ABATE of Florida can once again become an organization that people can be proud to be a member of.

In my opinion Doc Reichenbach has been in office to long and continues to serve his own interests above the motorcycle riders of Florida.

I am requesting that everyone in ABATE of Florida take this election of your future leadership Very Serious.

Listen to what the candidates say, but also what others say and then decide who you want to lead the organization into the future.

Let the officers of your chapter know how you want in office!


New Arizona immigration law and ID demands

I suggest we file it under "right to travel.

New Arizona immigration law and ID demands
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the new Arizona “immigration” law, S.B. 1070.
As we read the text (pdf) of the law, it imposes no new requirement to show ID credentials or other evidence of identity. On the contrary, it gives people even more reasons to invoke their right to remain silent, never voluntarily to provide any evidence (including ID credentials or other evidence of identity) that might be used against them, and never to consent to any search (including searches for ID credentials or other evidence of identity).
The portion of the new law relevant to requests or demands for ID is as follows:For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person… A person is presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:
1. A valid Arizona driver license.
2. A valid Arizona nonoperating identification license.
3. A valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification.
4. If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid United States federal, state or local government issued identification.
So the police officer is required, if (1) they are in lawful contact with you and (2) they have “reasonable suspicion”, to “attempt… to determine” your immigration status. But that obligation is on the officer, not on you. Nothing in this section purports to create any obligation on you to assist in that “attempt .. to determine” your status, to answer any questions, to carry or produce or display ID, or to consent to a search for evidence of identity or immigration status.
Since the police are under this obligation only when they are in “lawful contact” with you, the first thing you can do is not to consent to any contact with law enforcement officers, and to terminate any such contact as soon as possible by walking away immediately unless you are expressly forbidden or physically restrained from doing so. Once you are no longer in lawful contact with an officer, they need a new lawful basis to establish any new contact.
Most of the misunderstanding of the law comes from the provision quoted above that “A person is presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following” identity credentials.
That language is deceptive. Under the law, to be “an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States” is a crime. Under the U.S. Constitution, you are already entitled to a presumption of innocence of any crime.
The obligation on the police to determine your immigration status is limited to those cases in which they already have a “reasonable suspicion” that you are “an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.”, and there is no guarantee (as there would be if the presumption clause were proceeded by, “Notwithstanding any basis for such reasonable suspicion”) that the presumption won’t be overcome by whatever provided the basis for that suspicion.
So under this law, showing satisfactory ID serves only to entitle you to a presumption to which you are already Constitutionally entitled, may not be sufficient to overcome whatever provided the basis for the “reasonable suspicion” that led to the attempt to determine your status — and may itself provide further evidence against you, if for example the name on your ID matches the name of a person previously found to be an illegal alien. Under this law, there is nothing to be gained, and much potentially to be lost, by voluntarily showing ID, even valid ID, or answering any questions.
The bottom line is what the police will say in a Miranda warning, after they arrest you: “Anything you say can and will be used against you.”
Of course, if everyone law-abiding voluntarily waives their rights, answers questions about their immigration status, consents to searches (for ID or anything else), or shows ID to police on request, they may come to consider declining to do so as, in itself, a reasonable basis for suspicion. So the best way to defend your rights is to use them: Don’t talk to police about your immigration status or anything else, terminate any police encounter as soon as possible, never consent to any search, and assert your right to remain silent and to consult a lawyer.
This isn’t limited, unfortunately, to Arizona. In a growing number of places — we’ve heard most recently from activists in Moreno Valley, Riverside County, CA — local law enforcement agencies are using funds from the Department of Homeland Security or state agencies, ostensibly for purposes such as drunk-driving checkpoints, to set up checkpoints used as immigration and general law enforcement dragnets.
For more on your rights if you are stopped or questioned by police, see the excellent “10 Rules for Dealing With Police” video from video, which includes optional Spanish subtitles and additional features for non-US citizens on the DVD.
For specific information about highway checkpoints in Arizona, visit Arizona-based and their Roadblock Revelations blog.
Heightened penalties like these, imposed on the basis of ID-based status determinations, highlight the danger that any kind of checkpoint can be converted overnight from a “mere” ID check to an ID-based control point. In effect, these checkpoints and ID checks are the germ of a new, virtual Berlin Wall, a new “Silicon Curtain”, to divide place from place, person from person, and family member from family member. The earlier we resist these incursions against our rights, the more effectively we can do so. We all can help by saying, “no” to ID requests, warrantless questioning, and requests to consent to searches for ID or anything else, whether at home, on the street, or at the airport.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 3:47 pm and is filed under Freedom To Travel, Papers, Please. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

An Applicable Perspective

from An Indian's Views of Indian Affairs
Chief Joseph
. . . I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Words do not pay for my dead people. They do not pay for my country, now overrun by white men. They do not protect my father's grave. They do not pay for all my horses and cattle. Good words will not give me back my children. Good words will not make good the promise of your war chief General Miles. Good words will not give my people good health and stop them from dying. Good words will not get my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves.

I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk. Too many misrepresentations have been made, too many misunderstandings have come up between the white men about the Indians.
If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace. There need be no trouble. Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.
You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect he will grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me.
I only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated. If I cannot go to my own home, let me have a home in some country where my people will not die so fast. . . .
When I think of our condition, my heart is heavy. I see men of my race treated as outlaws and driven from country to country or shot down like animals.
I know that my race must change. We cannot hold our own with white men as we are. We ask only an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. We ask that the same law shall work alike on all men. If the Indian breaks the law, punish him by the law. If the white man breaks the law, punish him also.
Let me be a free man—free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself—and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.
Whenever white men treat Indians as they treat each other, then we will have no more wars. We shall all be alike—brothers of one father and one mother, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers' hands from the face of the earth.
For this time the Indian race is waiting and praying. I hope that no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above and that all people may be one people.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sask. government revising gang colour ban

Off the Wire
Biker Rights Issues

The Saskatchewan government is amending a law that prohibits the displaying of gang colours in bars.

The move follows a Dec. 17, 2009 court decision where a charge under The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act was dismissed.

A man whom police said wore a Hells Angels vest to a Saskatoon bar in 2007 was ticketed, but the provincial court judge said the section of the law covering gang colours was vague, flawed in various ways and unconstitutional. The judge dismissed the charge.

The provincial government could have appealed the decision, but has opted instead to change its legislation to make it more specific.

Corrections, Public Safety and Policing Minister Yogi Huyghebaert said Monday the government will now name the specific gangs which cannot display their colours or symbols — on anything from a coat to a tattoo.

Those gangs have not yet been listed, but the government says it will put together that list soon, in regulations that will be attached to the amended law.

original article

Hells Angels bike blessing

Lisa Petrocelli
The Hells Angels Nomads NY held their 4th annual Bike Blessing on Saturday, April 24 this year. A bike blessing is a wonderful way to start the riding season and if you’ve never been to one, it is also an interesting experience. Literally hundreds of bikers participate (which means hundreds of bikes) and that alone is a beautiful sight.

The weather was perfect this year, unlike last year’s scorching temps of 90+, this year the bikers enjoyed 65-70 degree temps. Before leaving the Sawmill, several ministers (in this case from the Melchizedeks MC) moved up and down the line of bikes, sprinkling holy water and reciting a few short prayers for the bikers. The ride began at the Sawmill in Schenectady and proceeded through several Schenectady neighborhoods to the HA clubhouse in Troy.

Waiting at the clubhouse was a buffet of hot dogs, hamburgers, and various side salad dishes. Guests were also welcome to mingle in the clubhouse if they wished and meet their hosts. There were representatives from clubs across the state as well as independent riders enjoying the band and the company. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and anticipation to mark the launch of 2010’s “season of the bike.” One of the highlights of the day was when HA members presented New York Rider Magazine staff members with gold necklaces designed with “81 Supports You” in the center. These were presented as a thank-you and recognition to NYR and its staff for their efforts in supporting the biker community, especially the clubs.

Mark your calendars now for the next event sponsored by the Hells Angels Nomads NY: May 21-23, “Jammin’ with 81,” in Schaghticoke, NY, info 518-271-8972 (vendors are wanted for this event).

Thanks to the Hells Angels Nomads NY chapter for the hospitality and for another great run !

original article

Early motorcycle season concerns police

Off the Wire
News The motorcycle season in Maine typically starts when the snow melts away, and this year it was gone early. With more time on the streets, there are more opportunities for people to get into crashes, Stephen McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman, said recently.

“We’re coming off a very bad year and hope not to repeat it,” he said.

The number of motorcycle deaths in Maine increased from 18 in 2008 to 22 last year, Michelle Ward, Bureau of Highway Safety fatal accident system analyst, said recently.

The number of motorcycle fatalities in 2007 was 21. In 2006 there were 23 motorcycle deaths, compared with 15 in 2005.

Maine had its first motorcycle death of the year on April 12.

China resident Melinda Paradis, 34, had earned her license the week before her bike crossed the centerline on a road in Albion and struck an oncoming pickup truck, McCausland wrote in his weekly news release, The Communicator.

“This was her first ride,” he said of the mother of three. She was riding with her husband and brother-in-law. All three were wearing helmets. Residents in the area say there was manure from a nearby farm on the roadway, which may have contributed to the collision.

In the years 2005 through 2009 a total of 99 people died on Maine roads in motorcycle-related crashes, and only four were women drivers. All four died in 2008. Two women died in 2009, but both were passengers, the data show.

The youngest driver to die on a motorcycle in 2009 was 19, and the oldest was 71. The average age of those who died last year was 46, according to Highway Safety data. Baby boomers, who often have disposable income and can buy bigger, faster bikes, are more likely to die than teenagers on sport bikes, according to police.

“That older trend has been fairly consistent in recent years,” McCausland said. “A lot of baby boomers … [have] decided they want to get back on a bike.”

In Maine, once a person earns a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license, it lasts a lifetime.

McCausland said drivers who have not been on a bike in years might want to practice a little before heading out onto roadways.

“We encourage that older cyclist, who may be getting back on a bike, to take a refresher course,” he said. “And get familiar with your machine before you get on the road.”

Chief Deputy Troy Morton of the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department, a 20-year motorcycle enthusiast, said riders should also “buy a motorcycle that fits them.”

A bike that is too big will be hard to control, he said.

In addition to safety gear, “the biggest precaution you need to take is to watch out for other people,” Morton warned motorcycle drivers. “They tend not to see you.”

Morton rides a 2008 Harley-Davidson Street Glide, but started riding dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles in his youth.

High speeds and no helmet use are tied with many of the Maine motorcycle fatalities, and use of alcohol or drugs and inexperienced drivers also are factors, Wade said.

“For 2009, we had 22 fatalities and 17 were not wearing helmets,” she said. “It’s not good. In 2008, we had 18 fatalities, and 14 with no helmets.” Wearing a motorcycle helmet is not a requirement in Maine, unless you are under 18 or driving on a permit, but it is recommended for safety.

While fatalities have increased over the last year, they have not kept pace with the number of registered motorcycles in Maine, which has doubled in the last decade, from 25,604 in 1998 to 51,414 in 2008, according to figures from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced in June 2009 that “motorcycle deaths increased for the 11th straight year and now account for 14 percent of all highway fatalities” in the nation.

With the warm spring, motorcyclists are already commonplace. Many riders will remain on the street until roadways begin to ice over this fall, McCausland said.

“The season is definitely going to be long [this year] because of the early spring,” he said.

original article

Rogue endorses Frankie Kennedy for President of ABATE of Florida

On April 28, 2010, Rogue issued a statement endorsing Frankie Kennedy to become president of ABATE of Florida.
Rogue is one of the most highly regarded figures in the biker rights movement, and a well-known biker who frequently rides across America, making this endorsement very significant. Here are some excerpts from the endorsement:

Frankie Kennedy for President of ABATE of Florida
Frankie Kennedy is currently the president of the South West Chapter of ABATE of Florida. To find out more about him you may want to check out the chapter web site at
Frankie Kennedy attended the monthly meeting of the Independence Chapter of ABATE of Florida on (4/27/10) in Melbourne Florida. This is my home chapter, and I was present. I had some questions for him when he finished his presentation. He answered them to my satisfaction. I also had a private discussion with him at the end of the meeting. I have decided to endorse him for president of ABATE of Florida, and will do what I can to help him win this position. I suggest others contact him and ask any questions they may have of him. There is contact information on the web site.
It is no secret that many people in the organization are unhappy with how things are now being run and members continue to drop out at a very high rate. I feel that the current president of ABATE of Florida is not doing a good job of representing the motorcyclist of the state. ABATE of Florida is a bad word among many of the people and organizations that fight for motorcycle rights. Here is a chance to change all that and make ABATE of Florida once again a organization that people can be proud to belong to.In my opinion he has been in office to long and continues to serve his own interests above the motorcyclist of Florida. There is sure to be a fight for this position. I suspect the current president will continue to use the many stories he has through the years, and also continue to blame others for his many failures.
I am requesting that everyone in ABATE of Florida take this election of your future leadership serious, listen to what candidates say, and then decide who you want to lead this organization into the future.


ASMI’s Road Guardian Program creates “Thrash”

Recently I read an article where actor Ashton Kutcher talked about a term he coined “thrash”. He said that thrash, while sometimes uncomfortable, is necessary to bring about change. He likened thrash to the turbulence created when a propeller churns water. A boat in water will lazily drift along with the current and is unlikely to take you where you want to go. Thrash, on the other hand, creates momentum. Of course the boat needs to be steered and you need to know what direction you are going but thrash is necessary for change to effectively take place.
Accident Scene Management, Inc. (ASMI) recently created thrash with their new Road Guardian (RG) Program. RGs is a new, more comprehensive way of looking at motorcycle safety. So why rock the boat? Motorcycle fatalities continue to rise while car related deaths continue to decrease. The reasons for this are tossed around like a ship at sea but one this is for sure, the negative attention is not good for motorcycling! Solutions that have been proposed by government agencies and the general public have ranged from mandatory apparel to outlawing motorcycles all together! The Road Guardian Program is an appeal to motorcyclists and to the motorcycle industry to get involved in reducing injuries and fatalities through education and awareness. It is in our own best interest to personally do everything we can to reduce injuries and fatalities.
Not only does ASMI wish to broaden the term “motorcycle safety” to mean more than rider education and apparel but we want to create a culture of life long learning for motorcyclists. In order to do this we created a program to encourage and reward people who choose to get involved by providing:
· Resources
· Rewards
· Recognition
Resources: As we looked at organizing “motorcycle safety” we turned to a document that was developed in 1999 called the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety (NAMS). NAMS was funded by NHTSA and created over a two year period by a team of researchers who visited every state in the USA to interview people in each state who were considered stakeholders re: what they were doing for motorcycle safety and what they thought was important. The result was a document that contains six educational topics: Rider Education, Apparel, Motorist Awareness (conspicuity), Anti-impaired Riding, Laws/Govt. & First Response. Next, our RG volunteer researchers scoured the web looking for programs in each of these six areas in every state. Starting with 17 million resources they had a daunting task. The end result was a map of the USA with 6 categories. Some states have resources in all areas and many do not. This means that either there is room for improvement in educational offerings in that state or that we (RGs) missed a resource. Missing resources are easily corrected by the website visitor who simply recommends a resource. While we do not claim to have found every resource available, we can confidently say that we have the most organized and comprehensive motorcycle safety resource on the web!
Additional resources were created by developing conferences called “Biker’s Betterment Conferences” or BBCs. Our first BBC was held in Chicago March 26-27, 2010 and was a great success! 140 people attended from 19 states. National experts spoke on all 6 safety topics.
Rewards: ASMI trained students are eligible to join the annual membership Road Guardian Program. The RG member is entitled to secure access to virtually another website! In that secure area the member will find rewards for taking the time to get trained. Discounts on additional training as well as every day discounts, discounts on events, ride planners, personal safety and ride logs and access to RG merchandise are all available. 1300 discounts are currently offered with that number continuing to grow as we add new partners. $2500.00 of accidental death and disability insurance is also free to RG members and along with that a discount medical card for additional benefits through American Life.
Recognition: RG members receive a patch as part of their membership but those who go the extra mile and meet certain criteria can become a “certified” Road Guardian (CRG)! This achievement is thought of as being similar to an Iron Butt in Education. CRGs have to submit documentation proving that they are currently certified in ASMI basic, ASMI advanced and CPR. They must also show proof of M endorsement on their driver’s license and completion of a rider education class.
If you are thinking, WOW, this is HUGE!!! We agree. We wanted to create thrash, momentum that would change the way we see motorcycle safety. We hope that all motorcyclists will sit up and take notice. We can provide the resources and incentives but it is up to each and every motorcyclist who cares about either their sport or their way of life to reduce injuries and fatalities through education.
Visit: or

Owner latest arrested after pizzeria brawl

Off the Wire
MCs in the News

MANCHESTER – A pizzeria owner was arrested Saturday for allegedly firing his gun in a parking lot after a fight among rival motorcycle gangs that started inside his restaurant spilled outside.

"If you have 25 people storming the place, what would you do?" said Petros Kostakis, co-owner of Luigi's Pizza Bar & Grille on Valley Street. "Fear for my employees and me -- that's what I did."

Police Saturday charged Kostakis, 52, of 626 Cohas Ave., Manchester, with reckless conduct. He was released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail and faces arraignment May 14 in Manchester District Court.

Police said he fired his gun in a parking lot while others were nearby during the April 16 incident.

"Trying to scare the bad guys here and maybe get the police to get here faster," Kostakis said in an interview after his arrest. "If you're scared for your life in your own house, what would you do?"

A witness told a New Hampshire Union Leader reporter last week that Kostakis fired several rounds from a handgun once Hell's Angels members moved to a parking lot. "I think he did it because he got scared," the man said.

A customer waiting to pick up a pizza, Manchester Memorial High School senior Jared Pellerin, was struck in the hand by pellets from a .20-gauge shotgun allegedly fired by a Londonderry man, police said. A person answering the phone at Pellerin's house Saturday said the teenager had returned home from the hospital.

Two days before his arrest, Kostakis recounted how tensions built once about 20 members of the Hell's Angels and another motorcycle gang, Milford & Co., some wearing colors, simultaneously stepped through the front and rear entrances.

"You could feel it in the air," said Kostakis, who said he has no explanation for why the gangs chose his place for a brawl.

Their target was Fernando Daraujo, a 40-year-old who was wearing a shirt displaying the name of a third motorcycle gang, the Outlaws, according to a friend of Daraujo. Although the Hell's Angels and Outlaws have a historic rivalry, the friend said, Daraujo might be the only Outlaw in the city of Manchester.

"Basically, (the Hell's Angels) said, 'You guys need to come outside or it's going to happen right here in the bar,'" said the friend, who contacted the New Hampshire Union Leader about the incident but asked he not be identified.

Next, Daraujo's friend said, one of the people with the Hell's Angels threw a punch, and pandemonium followed.

"Nobody knew what was going on. There were things flying everywhere, people flying everywhere," the man said.

"I was scared for my life, scared for my employees," said Kostakis, who noted that his business has suffered since the fight.

Both men spoke to the Union Leader last week. Kostakis wanted to let people know his sports bar/restaurant is not a biker hangout and said the "bizarre" event is a one-time occurrence.

He has since posted a sign on his door saying that anyone wearing gang colors insignia will not be served. "As far as I know, this wasn't labeled as a gang hangout. Everybody's money is just as green as everyone else's," Kostakis said.

The man who contacted the Union Leader said he wants the entire truth to come out. Police verified most of the man's statements but declined comment on others.

Three other people have been arrested since the confrontation.

Kristofer Haken, 31, of Londonderry, whom police have described as an Outlaws affiliate, has been charged with first-degree assault and felony reckless conduct in Pellerin's shooting. Haken's girlfriend, Alisha Cote, 24, is charged with hindering apprehension and falsifying physical evidence.

Daraujo faces two outstanding charges of cocaine sales that are not related to the brawl, police said.

Daraujo's friend said Haken is a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Police confirmed that Haken served in the military but said they are unaware of details of his service.

About seven people were sitting at a table with Daraujo, making no trouble, when a Hell's Angels member left the bar, Daraujo's friend said. Five minutes later, 20 members of Hell's Angels and Milford & Co. were at the doors, he said.

"The Outlaws really didn't start fighting. They were edgy but did not start the fight," Kostakis said. Kostakis said the fight started inside, but then moved outside.

Kostakis said the shotgun blast that injured Pellerin took place as Hell's Angels were leaving the parking lot. He said a total of two shotgun blasts and a couple of handgun rounds were fired.

Daraujo's friend also said the Hell's Angels tried to stab one person during the fight.

Detective Sgt. John Patti last week wouldn't say if other weapons were involved.

Patti said Kostakis has cooperated with police and turned over surveillance-camera videos of the bar and the back parking lot.

Police still are trying to identify everyone in the videos and Patti predicted more arrests.

"The videos show just about everything," he said. "There's plenty of camera angles."

Kostakis said Saturday that he didn't know whether he was on any video showing him in the parking lot with his gun.

original article

Motorcyclists challenge seizure of alleged illegal helmets

Off the Wire
Biker Rights Issues

Motorcyclists are ticked off with the enforcement actions of the Adrian police — and they are taking their fight to court.

The Adrian Daily Telegram reports that the issue came to the forefront last week when at least eight riders were pulled over, ticketed and their helmets confiscated by Adrian Police Sgt. Lynn Courington. The tickets and confiscation were because the helmets allegedly do not meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards. Adrian Police Chief Terry Collins has since decided to return the helmets.

Here’s how the Telegram reported Courington’s actions last week:

Adrian police shift commander Sgt. Lynn Courington is on the lookout for helmets that don’t meet federal Department of Transportation standards. And riders using helmets without the required padding are easy to spot, he said.

“If they get stopped, they’re going to get a ticket,” said Courington.

Tuesday, motorcycle supporters flooded the Lenawee County Court house to support one man, out of what the Telegram reports were more than a dozen hit with the tickets. Ryan Hildebrand, 26, is fighting the charge and is being represented by a lawyer from the national motorcycle rights groups’ local affiliate, ABATE of Michigan.

The Telegram reports the challenge is based on a federal court case ABATE is currently litigating in the Federal District Court Western District in Grand Rapids.

ABATE currently has a lawsuit pending in United State District Court in Grand Rapids, challenging the state’s DOT helmet rule.

Parts of the lawsuit were dismissed in an opinion issued April 16 by Judge Robert Holmes Bell. But the court rejected a state police motion to dismiss part of the complaint that deals with the enforcement issues Katkowsky said he plans to raise in Lenawee County District Court.

Bell’s opinion stated Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rulings require probable cause to justify a traffic stop on a civil infraction. ABATE claims in the lawsuit that police have to look inside a helmet to determine if it meets DOT standards, and therefore cannot claim plain sight evidence to justify a traffic stop and request to inspect a helmet.

A hearing on the case has been scheduled for June 29.

original article

Alleged Angel jailed on gun, drug charges

Off the Wire
MCs in the News

One of seven alleged members of the Hells Angels nabbed in pre-dawn raids by the Ontario Provincial Police in December was handed a six-year prison sentence yesterday after pleading guilty to trafficking in hashish and offering to trade a high-powered assault rifle.

Luis Barberiz, 41, of Hamilton, who was injured in a car crash in November and remains in a wheelchair, was given the standard double credit for six months of pretrial custody by Superior Court Justice Nick Borkovich.

His lawyer Jaime Stephenson said the sentence included one count of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking for which Barberiz had been previously charged. He also entered guilty pleas to one count of trafficking in hashish and another of offering for trade a prohibited AK-47 assault rifle.

Project Manchester, led by the OPP's joint forces biker enforcement unit, employed an undercover operative who infiltrated the outlaw biker's organization. The project targeted nine homes and commercial properties. Six of the nine raids were in Hamilton and other raids were carried out in Cambridge and Nanticoke.

original article

Harley-Davidson has brought back some workers to Northland plant

Off the Wire
Harley-Davidson Inc.’s first-quarter earnings and revenues were down, but some analysts see signs of a turnaround.

What does the company’s recent performance mean for Harley’s plant in Kansas City, which received a huge setback when 458 factory workers were laid off in the second half of 2009?

A union official said that more than 300 of those production workers were recalled in January when production resumed on all three models built at the Northland plant.

Currently, 341 of the 458 people laid off last year have returned while the remainder stay on a recall list, said Tony Wilson, president of Machinists Local Lodge 176. The Machinists and Steelworkers unions represent about 700 production employees at the plant.

Wilson said it was uncertain whether the 117 employees who remain on layoff will return soon.

“You don’t want to create any false expectations,” he said. “What we’ve communicated to everyone who went on layoff is to do what they need to in terms of finding another job, and they’ll stay on the recall list. Hopefully, we’ll eventually get everybody back.”

Harley’s first-quarter sales were down 19 percent, and earnings were well below the same period last year. However, one analyst said retail sales appeared to have bottomed out and production cuts from last year had reduced inventory.

“More bikes are selling at (or) above MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) as supply gets tighter,” analyst Craig Kennison of Robert W. Baird & Co. said in a recent report. “We see a compelling turnaround story led by a credible CEO (Keith Wandell) with extensive automotive background.”

During last week’s conference call, an analyst asked whether Harley was looking to cut additional costs at its plants, such as the one in Kansas City. In December, the company and the union at Harley’s biggest plant in York, Pa., agreed to job cuts of nearly 50 percent, more flexible work rules and an unusually long seven-year contract.

The York agreement also allows for the use of “casual” employees who work on an as-needed basis at wages 30 percent less than full-time workers. Eventually, 25 percent of York’s hourly work force could be made up of casual workers.

The Kansas City plant’s bargaining agreement with the two unions does not expire until July 31, 2012. Wandell said last week that the York contract would be used as a benchmark in terms of establishing work rules and more flexibility companywide.

Meanwhile, production at the local Harley plant resumed Sunday evening after a temporary shutdown over concerns about benzene levels within the plant. Air-quality testing showed that only low levels of benzene existed, well within industry safety guidelines, a company spokesman said.

original article

New Study: Motorcycle Deaths Down Dramatically in 2009

Off the Wire
Biker Rights Issues

Fatalities Decline at Least 10%; First Drop in 12 Years

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2010; A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety ssociation (GHSA) reveals that motorcycle fatalities declined in 2009 by at least ten percent. Based on preliminary data, GHSA is projecting that motorcycle fatalities declined from 5,290 in 2008 to 4,762 or less in 2009. The projection is based on data from 50 states and the District of Columbia. The declines come on the heels of 11 straight years of dramatic increases in motorcyclist deaths.

The new report -- the first state-by-state look at motorcycle fatalities in 2009 -- was completed by Dr. James Hedlund of Highway Safety North. Dr. Hedlund surveyed GHSA members, who reported fatality numbers for every state. While data are still preliminary, most states have quite complete fatality counts for at least nine months, making GHSA confident to forecast that deaths are down at least ten percent for the full year.

GHSA is projecting declines in approximately three-fourths of states. The declines are notable in many states and in every region of the country. In California, for example, based on data for the first nine months, motorcycle deaths are predicted to be down 29 percent, while Florida and New York are down 27 and 16 percent, respectively.

As part of the report, GHSA members were asked to suggest reasons for the decline. States offered several reasons, including: less motorcycle travel due to the economy, fewer beginning motorcyclists, increased state attention to motorcycle safety programs, and poor cycling weather in some areas. According to GHSA Chairman Vernon Betkey, "Clearly the economy played a large role in motorcycle deaths declining in 2009. Less disposable income translates into fewer leisure riders, and we suspect that the trend of inexperienced baby boomers buying bikes may have subsided."

Betkey notes that, as with decreases in the overall highway fatality rate, progress with motorcyclist deaths can be attributed to more than just the economy. According to Betkey, "Multiple states indicated that because of the increases in motorcyclist deaths from 1997-2008, addressing this area has been a priority for state highway safety programs." As more than half of motorcycle fatal crashes do not involve another vehicle, states have been increasingly funding targeted enforcement to ensure that motorcyclists are in compliance with laws regarding endorsements, required insurance and helmet usage. State and federal governments also have stepped up efforts to address drunk motorcyclists.

GHSA cautions that the declines in 2009, while significant and noteworthy after 11 years of increases, represent only one year of data, and much more work needs to be done to continue to achieve declines. According to Chairman Betkey, "We will need to see three to five years of decline before we are ready to say that a positive trend has developed." The new report notes that motorcycle fatalities have significantly decreased in the past, only to rise again. For example, from 1980-1997, motorcyclist deaths dropped almost 60 percent. Sadly, those gains were wiped out during the period of 1997-2008.

To continue progress, the report notes that states need to support efforts that do the following:

-- Increase Helmet Use: The most recent data indicated that 41 percent of fatally-injured riders were not wearing helmets despite their proven effectiveness. Thirty states still do not have helmet laws covering all riders. -- Reduce Alcohol Impairment: Highly visible drunk driving enforcement that includes motorcyclists should be encouraged as should be training efforts that help police identify impaired motorcyclists. -- Reduce Speeding: According to the most recent data, 35 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding. More than half of all motorcycle fatal crashes did not involve another vehicle, and speeding likely contributed to many of these. -- Provide Motorcycle Operator Training to All Who Need or Seek It: While all states currently conduct training courses, some areas may not provide enough course openings at the places and times when riders wish to be trained.Preliminary data from 39 states that provided monthly totals are included in the report. Eleven other states and D.C. provided the researcher with preliminary annual totals; this information is available from GHSA.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit

original article

Street brawl points to new outlaw motorcycle gang rivalry in Santa Cruz County

Off the Wire
MCs in the News

SANTA CRUZ - Rival motorcycle gangs may be fighting it out to claim Santa Cruz County, a battle that played out on a downtown Santa Cruz sidewalk three months ago.

Early this year, a small group of Vagos Motorcycle Club members started a chapter in Santa Cruz County, an area long claimed by Hells Angels.

About 10 days later, two suspected Hells Angels ran after two Vagos members on motorcycles. The Vagos sped off and the Hells Angels gave up the chase - one armed with a hammer tossed the weapon - but a third Vago in driving behind the motorcyclists in a van allegedly went after the Hells Angels, according to testimony from Santa Cruz police officers during the preliminary hearing Monday for the third Vago, Thomas Froberg, 37.

Froberg, a Live Oak resident, was arrested at Mike Fox Park shortly after the brawl on suspicion of gang participation and fighting in public. Both the Vagos and Hells Angels are considered "outlaw gangs" by law enforcement.

Monday, Judge Robert Atack ruled there was enough evidence to hold Froberg for a trial on the charges, which could send him to state prison if he's convicted.

Froberg, who is free on bail, declined to comment after the hearing.

Froberg, a heavy-set man with a shaved head and goatee, told police he was the "road captain," one of several offices in a Vagos organization, for the newly formed Santa Cruz chapter, according to Santa Cruz police officer Mike Bailey.

The afternoon of Jan. 27, Froberg was trailing two other members as they rode from downtown to a friend's shop in Pleasure Point when the two men ran after the motorcyclists, witnesses told police. Froberg, whose white Chevy Astro van was a couple cars behind the bikers, honked to get their attention, then allegedly pulled across three lanes of traffic on Front Street to cut off the runners near Soquel Avenue, police testified in court.

Froberg jumped out of the van wearing a black T-shirt with a green Vagos insignia on it, according to police. From there, it's unclear who confronted whom and which side was responsible for the first punch.

Froberg ended up on the ground with his shirt ripped off fighting for control of a hammer that was being used against him, police testified. As many as five people were attacking him until the two other Vagos returned and broke up the fight, police testified.

Some of the attackers wore red and white - the colors of Hells Angels - and one wore a "fully cut" vest, meaning he was a Hells Angel member, according to police testimony about Froberg's statements.

Froberg's attorney, Michelle Lipperd, repeatedly asked police if Froberg had a right to defend himself. Later, his County Jail mug shot would show a boot print bruise on Froberg's forehead.

A new motorcycle gang would want to prove itself by not running away from a fight, according to Jorge Gil-Blanco, a retired cop who's now an outlaw motorcycle gang expert with the Western States Information Network, a federally funded law enforcement program.

"They're expected to stand up and take care of business because you don't want to back down to a rival," Gil-Blanco said.

The Vagos held a grand opening at the Brookdale Inn and Spa 10 days before the downtown fight, Bailey said, testifying about his conversation with Froberg after the fight. Several Hells Angels members were in attendance and supportive of the new club, Froberg reportedly told police.

When contacted Monday, a Brookdale Inn and Spa employee said the Vagos had made a reservation but the San Lorenzo Valley lodge never hosted the event.

Gil-Blanco testified that it would be unusual for the Hells Angels to welcome another motorcycle gang into the club's territory. However, he did note that there are areas, such as San Jose, where the Vagos and Hells Angels co-exist peacefully.

Froberg told police the new club was a clean and sober organization with about seven members, Bailey testified. Some, like Froberg, were from the Sacramento area.

"He related it to a motorcycle club of the '60s and '70s," Bailey testified Monday, "which meant family, extended family. They were not into any type of criminal activity."

The Vagos evolved from the Psychos Motorcycle Club in Southern California in 1965. The gang associates with the color green, the No. 22 and Loki, the mythical god of mischief, Gil-Blanco said.

For years, the Vagos were a small group in San Bernardino County, but in the past decade the club has grown substantially. They now boast about 30 chapters and 300 to 400 members worldwide. Most groups are based on the West Coast, including California, Arizona, Oregon and Hawaii, Gil-Blanco said.

On a national scale, Vagos are involved in methamphetamine production, sales and transportation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

During Froberg's hearing, prosecutor Alex Byers also introduced information about two assault cases involving Vagos members in Southern California to support the gang allegations, charges that typically are used only on Latino street gang members in Santa Cruz County. Froberg was not involved in either incident, Gil-Blanco noted.

No other motorcycle club members have been arrested on suspicion of gang activity since the downtown fight.

"I don't know any recent activity," said Sgt. Dan Campos of the Sheriff's Office though he said deputies have been on "high alert" since the fight.

However, three days after the street brawl an off-duty sheriff's deputy called Scotts Valley police when he saw Vagos members gassing up at a Scotts Valley Drive gas station, according to Scotts Valley police Lt. John Wilson. Police followed the group down Highway 17 to Ocean Street in Santa Cruz, but no one was stopped and no arrests were made.

"They didn't do anything illegal," Wilson said. "There wasn't an actual incident. They were just maybe rolling through our city getting gas."

original article

Bikers ride to support abused children

Off the Wire
Motorcyclists from around Kansas gathered to ride en masse on Saturday to call attention to child abuse and the need to put it to an end.

Members of Bikers Against Child Abuse stopped in Emporia as part of an annual ride done on the last Saturday in April — National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

BACA International secretary Lucy Villa and Lane “Joker” Ferraro of the Southeast Kansas BACA Chapter were among about 40 riders who pulled in late Saturday morning at Golden Corral, where other motorcyclists were scheduled to join them later for the Annual 100-Mile Ride.

“That’s what it’s called,” Villa said. “We usually end up riding about 300 miles.”

Villa and Ferraro talked about the organization’s work to put an end to child abuse, and to work with and help protect children who already have been abused.

The organization was founded in 1995 by John Paul “Chief” Lilly, a licensed clinical social worker, registered play therapist/supervisor, and part-time faculty member at Brigham Young University.

Most of Lilly’s professional life had been spent treating abused children.

According to materials provided by Villa and Ferraro, Lilly realized that the system offered much to help a child’s healing process, but shortcoming and limitations remained in keeping the children safe.

original article

‘Web of deceit’ deserves stiff penalty: Crown

Off the Wire
MCs in the News

Hells Angels poseur a high risk to reoffend, court hears

By Andrew Seymour, The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — A man whose “web of deceit” included telling girlfriends he was a member of the Hells Angels so they wouldn’t report it when he beat and raped them should be sentenced to spend nearly four more years behind bars, a prosecutor argued Tuesday.

Assistant Crown attorney Marie Dufort argued Peter Guido deserves the prison sentence after meeting women online and then using lies and the threat of violence to manipulate and deceive them into complying with his demands for money and sex.

A psychiatrist found Guido “did impress as significantly psychopathic” and was a high risk to reoffend violently, Dufort added.

Guido, 31, who pleaded guilty to 15 charges in February, admitted he pretended to be a member of the elite Hells Angels Nomads, including going so far as to tell one woman he was the nephew of the group’s president, Paul “Sasquatch” Porter, and had spent time in prison for murder.

In a victim-impact statement, one of his victims said she felt “fear, anxiety and helplessness” after Guido “hijacked” the lives of her and her three children.

Guido pulled out a clump of her hair and punched her repeatedly in the head during one argument, and assaulted her then-15-year-old son during another, court heard. Guido told her if she reported the incident, the Hells Angels “have a way of making bodies disappear.” When she broke up with him, Guido went to her home and forced himself on her, pulling off her pants and having sex with her.

“I had to explain to my youngest son, who was 12 at the time, that he had to worry about men coming to our house to hurt us,” wrote the woman, who sat quietly dabbing her eyes with a tissue as Dufort read her statement. “I was led to believe I had to look over my shoulder when out of the house and peeking through blinds when home in fear of Hells Angels outside.”

The woman, who lost $23,000 to Guido, wrote that she couldn’t believe the “cruelty” of knowing that it was “all coldly staged” for his personal gain.

But Guido’s lawyer, Paul Lewandowski, argued the public would be better protected if Guido were sentenced to a further two years less a day in jail, followed by three years of community supervision under the “watchful eye” of the probation office. That sentence would take into account two-for-one credit for the 16 months Guido has spent in custody since his arrest.

Lewandowski argued Guido pleaded guilty to the offences and willingly participated in psychiatric assessments which are now like an “axe hanging over his head” should he ever get in trouble again.

But Dufort argued that Guido should receive only partial two-for-one credit since his original plea had to be struck after he denied committing some of the acts. During the second psychiatric assessment, Guido again attempted to minimize his involvement and present himself in the best possible light, said Dufort, who is seeking a further three years and 11 months in prison for him.

Guido is to be sentenced May 31.

original article

Sask. government revising gang colour ban

Off the Wire
Biker Rights Issues

The Saskatchewan government is amending a law that prohibits the displaying of gang colours in bars.

The move follows a Dec. 17, 2009 court decision where a charge under The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act was dismissed.

A man whom police said wore a Hells Angels vest to a Saskatoon bar in 2007 was ticketed, but the provincial court judge said the section of the law covering gang colours was vague, flawed in various ways and unconstitutional. The judge dismissed the charge.

The provincial government could have appealed the decision, but has opted instead to change its legislation to make it more specific.

Corrections, Public Safety and Policing Minister Yogi Huyghebaert said Monday the government will now name the specific gangs which cannot display their colours or symbols — on anything from a coat to a tattoo.

Those gangs have not yet been listed, but the government says it will put together that list soon, in regulations that will be attached to the amended law.

original article

Hells Angels clubhouse days numbered?

Off the Wire
News - MCs in the News

It only took a couple of minutes in a committee room at the back of legislative building, but it was enough.

And if the Hells Angels were listening, the smartest thing they could do is put their clubhouse at 2679 Scotia St. up for sale.

Get out while the getting's good.

Progressive Conservative Justice Critic Kelvin Goertzen, during a recent budget-estimates meeting, asked Attorney General Andrew Swan why the province hadn't moved yet to seize the biker's clubhouse, which the gang moved into in 2001.

Goertzen said other Canadian jurisdictions have seized Hells Angels clubhouse without much difficulty. The Hells Angels clubhouse in Oshawa was recently demolished after being seized by authorities and the HA's clubhouse in Nanaimo was seized a couple of years ago. HA clubhouses in London, Thunder Bay and Welland have also been seized.

Why can't Manitoba do the same thing, Goertzen asked.

It's no secret the Hells Angels have been the most-favourite target of police over the past three years. Three separate investigations, using inside informants, have pretty much locked up many gang members and their underlings, most recently the entire Zig Zag Crew.

Heck, Stony Mountain Institution has in effect become their new clubhouse.

Manitoba over the past few years has brought in a few pieces of legislation aimed at the gang, like banning the wearing of gang colours in bars and banning fortified buildings.

There's also The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, which holds property owners accountable for threatening or disturbing activities that regularly take place on their property; stuff like drug use, prostitution, unlawful sale of liquor and possession or storage of an unlawful firearm, weapon or explosive.

Now, no one is accusing the Hells Angels of allowing any of these activities to happen on their riverbank property.

But, given what's happened in Ontario and B.C., authorities don't need to.

The Selinger government is well on its way to passing a new law that will no doubt allow cabinet to brand the Hells Angels a criminal organization, much in the same way Ottawa and other countries outlaw terrorist groups like al-Qa'ida.

When that happens, and it will happen soon, it'll give the province the power to seize homes and other buildings used by convicted criminals.

Anyway, when Goertzen asked Swan about why the custom-built Scotia Street (the proposed 2010 assessment value is $357,000) was still in the hands of Hells Angels, Swan didn't have much to say.

He at first huddled with the province's director of criminal property forfeiture Gord Schumacher. Schumacher is a former superintendent with the Winnipeg Police Service and is a lawyer.

Then Swan said: "I can't speak to the member's questions, because we're -- I'm not going to reveal any particular plans or any particular ideas that the Public Safety Investigation Unit has for the future."

And that was that.

"Well, we look forward, then, to its imminent closure and the sale of the Hells Angels' clubhouse," Goertzen said before moving on to another topic.

So then, whoever calls the shots now for the Manitoba chapter of the Hells Angels, consider yourself warned.

There's no time like the present to put up the for-sale sign.

From what I've seen of the outside -- I've only seen photos of the inside -- it'd be a shame to knock it down.

UPDATE: A response from Rick Ciarniello from Hells Angels' Vancouver chapter.

Mr. Owen,

The Hells Angels, Nanaimo club house was seized. It has not yet been forfeit. From the time it was seized, a case has been winding its way through the court system. It is not the strongest case they have ever launched and, at this time, to believe the BC Government will win is, at best, a giant leap of faith.

Rick Ciarniello
Hells Angels, Vancouver

original article

Wednesday, April 28, 2010



You've been getting other WELCOME messages but haven't seen them yet, because they were sent to our members only email distribution list and you weren't on it yet.

I issued you an invite to it a minute ago, so if you see a strange message from yahoo, there should be a button you can click on to join the list. There's a way for you to just receive emails without having to log in, or you can choose to log in and see archived messages. Paul and Bill can help you get settled in with B.O.L.T. of Massachusetts and help you get used to the B.O.L.T. nation. If there are any specific questions I can help you with, I've been doing most of the information systems duties.

It's great to have another sister in the family to contend with all the knuckle draggers.
(It's a term of endearment that they seem to respond to with beating their chests and great pride).

Again welcome!
jan wrote:
Wow thank you... ALL!
It is with pride and with honor to be inducted into B.O.L.T.
I look forward to working along side you all, and to stand diligently beside Bill, Paul and others here to take up the battle in Massachusetts.

Betsy (Gypsy)
You've been getting other WELCOME messages but haven't seen them yet, because they were sent to our members only email distribution list and you weren't on it yet.

I issued you an invite to it a minute ago, so if you see a strange message from yahoo, there should be a button you can click on to join the list. There's a way for you to just receive emails without having to log in, or you can choose to log in and see archived messages. Paul and Bill can help you get settled in with B.O.L.T. of Massachusetts and help you get used to the B.O.L.T. nation. If there are any specific questions I can help you with, I've been doing most of the information systems duties.

It's great to have another sister in the family to contend with all the knuckle draggers.
(It's a term of endearment that they seem to respond to with beating their chests and great pride).

Again welcome!
JAN wrote:
Wow thank you... ALL!
It is with pride and with honor to be inducted into B.O.L.T.
I look forward to working along side you all, and to stand diligently beside Bill, Paul and others here to take up the battle in Massachusetts.

Betsy (Gypsy)

The Gorilla Story or What is wrong with MRO's

The Gorilla Story

This story starts with a cage containing five gorillas and a large bunch of bananas
hanging above some stairs in the center of the cage. Before long, a gorilla goes to
the stairs and starts to climb toward the bananas. As soon as he touches the stairs,
all the gorillas are sprayed with cold water.

After a while, another gorilla makes an attempt and gets the same result—all the gorillas are sprayed with cold water.
Every time a gorilla attempts to retrieve the bananas, the others are sprayed.
Eventually, they quit trying and leave the bananas alone.

One of the original gorillas is removed from the cage and replaced with a new one.
The new gorilla sees the bananas and starts to climb the stairs. To his horror, all the
other gorillas attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries
to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, the second of the original five gorillas is replaced with a new one.
The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The
previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Next the third original gorilla is replaced with a new one. The new one goes for the
stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four gorillas that beat him have no idea
why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the
beating of the newest gorilla.

After the fourth and fifth original gorillas have been replaced, all the gorillas that
were sprayed with cold water are gone. Nevertheless, no gorilla will ever again
approach the stairs. Why not?

“Because that’s the way it has always been done.”

Mongols Patch Case

Government Loses Mongols MC Case
Club Wins Trademark Issue, United States Attorney Loses
By the aging Rebel
The Mongols Motorcycle Club has won the fight over the seizure of its trademarks. United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien has lost his case. The club continues to own its name and its patch and has a constitutionally protected right to continue to exist.

Last October 21st, a brash press release announced the unsealing of a “racketeering indictment that (charged) 79 defendants” associated with “the violent Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang.” The headline grabbing news in the release was that “The racketeering indictment seeks the forfeiture of the trademarked ‘Mongols’ name, which is part of the ‘patch’ members wear on their motorcycle jackets.”

“In addition to pursuing the criminal charges set forth in the indictment, for the first time ever, we are seeking to forfeit the intellectual property of a gang,” O’Brien bragged. “The name ‘Mongols,’ which is part of the gang’s ‘patch’ that members wear on their motorcycle jackets, was trademarked by the gang. The indictment alleges that this trademark is subject to forfeiture. We have filed papers seeking a court order that will prevent gang members from using or displaying the name ‘Mongols.’ If the court grants our request for this order, then if any law enforcement officer sees a Mongol wearing his patch, he will be authorized to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back.”

Bad Cops

Pulling the Mongols patch was unequivocally the principal point of the indictment. The indictment culminated a three year-long domestic spying operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives called “Operation Black Rain.” As of this writing, at least 25 former members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club have pled guilty to Count One of the indictment. That count alleges that the Club is a murdering, drug dealing criminal enterprise. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the government coerced those defendants into making those racketeering pleas in order to build its case against the club as a whole.

Among the confessed criminal conspirators was former club President Ruben “Doc” Cavazos who claimed ownership of the club’s trademarks and attempted to forfeit them to the government as part of his plea deal.

For at least six weeks, unrestrained and gloating ATF storm troopers and other police officials have been harassing American citizens simply because they are or may be or may have at one time been Mongols. Government agents have been invading people’s homes and breaking into their cars in order to steal their personal property.

In two rulings, on July 31st and August 6th, Federal District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper has now put a stop to this.

No Donut

In the case Ramon Rivera versus Ronnie A. Carter, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Los Angeles Field Division; and Eric H. Holder, United States Attorney General Judge Cooper enjoined “…the Government, its officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and anyone in active concert or participation with any of the foregoing persons, from seizing, or asking or directing any other person or entity to seize, from Plaintiff any property or item bearing or displaying all or part of the collective membership mark at issue in (the case) United States v. Cavazos.”

A week later Judge Cooper denied “the Government’s Application for Entry of Preliminary Order of Forfeiture as to Registered Trademarks, Pursuant to Guilty Plea of Ruben Cavazos.” In the same ruling Cooper also denied “the Government’s Motion for an Order Striking Motion by Movant Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club, Inc. For Amendment of Post-Indictment Restraining Order.”

The issue of the forfeiture of the Mongols trademarks has not yet been formally decided. However, it is clear from the judge’s discussion in Rivera that she has already made up her mind.

The Mongols Marks

The government has sought to destroy the identity of the Mongols Motorcycle Club by seizing two registered trademarks. The “verbal mark,” is the word “Mongols” when used to mean a particular motorcycle club. The “visual mark” is a black and white drawing that depicts a Mongol with a top knot, bell bottoms and cowboy boots, riding a rigid framed motorcycle and brandishing a scimitar.

The government rationalized this seizure with the argument that Cavazos “has admitted as part of his plea (and the undisputed evidence conclusively confirms) that the Mongols Registered Trademarks were acquired and maintained by defendant (Doc Cavazos) during and in the course of the operation of the RICO enterprise.” And, the argument was bolstered by more than a score of guilty pleas that supported Cavazos admission.

Cavazos’ “admissions also establish that the Mongols Registered Trademarks afforded a source of influence over the RICO enterprise that (the) defendant admits he established, operated, controlled, conducted and participated in the conduct of, rendering the marks subject to forfeiture.”

Chain Of Ownership

While he was running the club, Cavazos transferred ownership of the trademarks to a corporation he owned called Shotgun Productions. Last August, his successor as Mongols President, Hector “Largo” Gonzalez, transferred ownership of those marks back to an unincorporated association named Mongols Nation. Then Gonzalez transferred the marks in January 2009 to a newly-formed corporation called Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club, Inc.

The government built its case for forfeiture on this complicated chain of ownership. The Mongols Corporation, the government argued, had no standing to claim ownership of the trademarks because it did not exist until this year. The unincorporated association had no standing because it had relinquished its ownership of the marks. Cavazos, the government’s reasoning went, had stolen ownership of the trademarks when he put them in the name of Shotgun Productions. And at the moment of that theft the club became his criminal enterprise.

Until the middle of June Judge Cooper seemed to agree with the government’s argument. This month the lady changed her mind and blew the government’s arguments to smithereens. The key decision came in the Rivera Suit.

The Rivera Suit

Ramon Rivera is a Mongols patch holder who was not charged in the case United States versus Cavazos. In Judge Cooper’s words, “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.”

So, with the assistance of the San Diego office of the American Civil Liberties Union, Ramon Rivera sued the bastards.

Rivera’s Standing

The government sought to dismiss Rivera’s suit on the grounds that he had no standing. It is the same argument the government has used against the Mongols corporation. And, Judge Cooper rejected that argument like this:

“…the Government acknowledges Plaintiff will be unable to participate in any post-forfeiture ancillary proceeding because he claims no interest in the collective membership mark. If Plaintiff were denied standing for having no interest in the mark, Plaintiff would be denied any opportunity to challenge the potential seizure of his property and the governmental intrusion upon his rights. Plaintiff cannot be left without any remedy and must, therefore, have standing to pursue his claims in this case.”

The Government Cannot Seize The Patch

Then the Judge went on to completely demolish the government’s attempt to seize the Mongols trademarks.

“Even if the Court were to accept the Government’s evidence that Ruben Cavazos controlled the use of the mark during his tenure as National President,” Cooper wrote, “there is no support for the notion that a defendant’s control of property belonging to a RICO enterprise is sufficient to establish a forfeitable ownership interest in the property. In addition, there is no evidence that Ruben Cavazos owned a majority interest or any interest in the Mongol Nation that would equate to an ownership interest in the mark. There is no evidence that Shotgun Productions, LLC ever used the mark as a collective membership mark - to indicate membership in an organization substantially similar to that of the Mongol Nation. The purported assignment to Shotgun Productions, LLC is therefore without legal effect. Moreover, the Government’s evidence demonstrates that the Mongol Nation began using the collective mark in approximately 1969, and either Mongol Nation or Mongols Nation, Inc. continues to use the mark to identify their members. 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 use of the mark to identify members of the club, have acquired and maintained exclusive ownership in the collective membership mark at issue.”

In a direct rebuke of the ATF Agents who have been stealing patches, tee-shirts and memorabilia from Mongols members and sympathizers the judge wrote, “…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.”

The First Amendment

Finally, Judge Cooper accused the ATF of lying to her and of attempting to suppress a constitutionally protected, political viewpoint.

“At the June 22 hearing,” she wrote, “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.”

In other words the Mongols have won. The government has lost. The Mongols trademarks belong to and will continue to belong to the Mongols Motorcycle Club.