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Friday, July 31, 2015

USA - Police Have Declared War On Motorcycle Clubs: Is Another Biker Massacre Imminent?

OFF THE WIRE
The probability of a large scale biker massacre increases every time law enforcement polices the motorcycle community as if law enforcement is at war with motorcycle clubs.  The increasingly militarized policing of the motorcycle club community is completely destroying the relationship between law enforcement and the citizens of the society that they are sworn to protect and serve.
Everything from the rhetoric of law enforcement to the use of military grade equipment and weaponry suggests that law enforcement views themselves in an imaginary war. Imaginary in the sense that the war is absurd and one-sided. Motorcycle clubs are not stupid or psychotic enough to declare war on law enforcement. Regardless of reality, this illusion can too easily spark violent tragedies triggered by excessive force.
Logically, the mindset involved in militarization is completely different than the mindset involved in community policing in a free society. This is why we have the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 which creates a barrier between military forces and domestic policing. It is only a matter of time before this mindset driving the goals and tactics of over-militarized police units results in more large-scale tragedy.
Military training and weaponry is designed to win wars. The way wars are won involves killing the enemy and containing any potential threat through the use of overwhelming firepower. There is no room for the enemy to enjoy Constitutional rights when at war. The goals and tactics of militarized forces at war are very different than the goals and tactics of domestic policing in a free society constrained by Constitutional rights of citizens that are not considered enemies.
These realities are substantiated in the ACLU’s recent report on police militarization, “War Comes Home.”
“The images on the news of police wearing helmets and masks, toting assault rifles, and riding in mine-resistant armored vehicles are not isolated incidents—they represent a nationwide trend of police militarization. Federal programs providing surplus military equipment, along with departments’ own purchases, have outfitted officers with firepower that is often far beyond what is necessary for their jobs as protectors of their communities. Sending a heavily armed team of officers to perform “normal” police work can dangerously escalate situations that need never have involved violence.
 “The change in equipment is too often paralleled by a corresponding change in attitude whereby police conceive of themselves as “at war” with communities rather than as public servants concerned with keeping their communities safe…We should not be able to mistake our officers for soldiers.
Of particular concern is the irrefutable fact that Post-Waco profiling is escalating out of control and police are embracing overwhelming militarized forces as their primary policing tactic. An incredibly timely example of military style equipment and tactics being used against motorcycle clubs, American citizens, was carried out by a heavily militarized multi-agency force in Pocatello, Idaho this past weekend.*
Based on publicly unsubstantiated information subjected to zero scrutiny, a heavily militarized multi-agency force blockaded and harassed, with overwhelming force, hundreds of motorcycle club members and independents at an annual POW/MIA event.
There were no arrests and there had NEVER been a problem in the events long history, including the clubs present this year. Event organizers confirmed that there had never been a single problem with any of the clubs in the past, including the stereotyped and overly scrutinized 1% clubs, and they had an open line of communication with them.
But law enforcement, in their own words, “lit them up” anyway, blockading all patrons inside, cordoning them off with military style equipment and weaponry. There was no attempt to conduct rational community policing or communicate. This is true even though event coordinators made it perfectly clear that there has always been an open line of communication with the clubs present.  The police explicitly admit that their mindset was a militarized show of force to prevent a fictitious problem before it occurred, regardless of the undisputed history of peace and communication with clubs.
The use of militarized police to control the citizenry is irrefutable proof that we are moving towards a police state. How far will citizens allow this to go before they unite and use the democratic process to prevent totalitarian police tactics and the use of military style vehicles and weapons designed for war and not community policing?  Hopefully it will not take more death, tragedy, and massacre.
Waco was used to justify the operation, despite the fact that there was no connection to the isolated events in Waco, and despite the fact that events may, in the end, be confirmed as massive militarized show of force that ended up exploding into mass death and injury.
The Motorcycle Profiling Project is dedicated to promoting unity among all motorcycling organizations and clubs for the purpose of using our manpower in the democratic system to reverse this trend of militarized policing against marginalized communities and grassroots political factions. The Motorcycle Profiling Project can provide hands-on assistance mobilizing your community in order to pass meaningful and effective legislative solutions to combat motorcycle profiling, including militarized policing.
Anyone familiar with the Motorcycle Profiling Project knows we do not engage in conspiracy theories.  Unfortunately, the increasing militarization of American law enforcement is not a theory, it is fact. It’s imperative that currently unaffected Americans watching these events from the comfort of their living rooms wake up before the slippery slope reaches them. By then it will be too late and we will live in a totalitarian police state ruled through force and fear.
Silence is consent.

David “Double D” Devereaux is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Confederation of Clubs and US Defenders,  The Motorcycle Profiling Project, The Council of Clubs, and also works with the Confederation of Clubs and US Defenders at the national level. Contact: doubled@motorcycleprofilingproject.com, motorcycleprofilingproject.com)

Hysteria and American Injustice

OFF THE WIRE
How fear and misinformation causes mass deprivation of freedom and liberty.

How fear and misinformation causes mass deprivation of freedom and liberty.
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 have served as an historical reminder of the importance of Due Process to the preservation of a free society for over 300 years. Utilizing fear as a justification, and the hysteria created by that fear, over 100 individuals were arrested for witchcraft and more than 20 people were hanged or pressed to death without the protections of the Bill of Rights.
More than 100 years later, the Framers of our Bill of Rights recognized that the use of threats to coerce people into not remaining silent “makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.”  Unless the accused were protected against coercion through the “deprivation of liberty, or psychological intimidation, the rights of the individual citizens to be free from arbitrary power of the  government simply did not exist.”
Although most Americans understand the Salem Witch Trials as an unjust deprivation of liberty, this understanding has unfortunately not resulted in safeguards sufficient to prevent fear from being used to justify comparable violations of Due Process.  The era of McCarthyism is a too recent reminder of the power and ability of hysteria to override liberty.
The mass arrest of more than 170 people in Waco represents a modern day witch trial being justified through a false and irresponsible law enforcement and media narrative that is attempting to use fear and hysteria to justify blatant Due Process violations.
The false narrative is attempting to use fear to overwhelm the fact that every arrest was based on an identical generic warrant containing zero individualized or specific evidence establishing probable cause beyond expression of membership in a club.
Every individual was also given identical $1 million dollar bonds based on the belief that those arrested were not being cooperative.  Bonds were intentionally punitive, regardless of the fact that the right to remain silent is the cornerstone of the 5th Amendment and punitive bail is a violation of the 8th Amendment. Bonds are intended to help ensure attendance at required court appearances and reduce the risk of flight. They are not intended to force cooperation.
In order to promote fear and hysteria, law enforcement irresponsibly released unsubstantiated statements that bikers have issued a “green-light” to kill “any uniformed officer” in Texas even though these claims are patently absurd. Law enforcement also falsely reported that the gathering was a gang meeting to discuss turf even though it is fact that it was a political gathering solely intended to discuss legislative matters.
In the short-term, fear-based misinformation is highly effective at hiding facts because of the instinctual response of most uninformed people when they are scared. Many are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety, That is why there has not yet been mass outrage outside of the motorcycle club community.  But as time passes, as the fear driven tactics become more transparent, and as May 17th is properly viewed from the conceptual framework of Due Process, there will be a revision in perspective from almost everyone, including non-motorcyclists.
If history is an accurate guide, many mass deprivations of Due Process like the Salem Witch Trials are eventually understood as unjust actions based on hysteria.  Unfortunately, the process of revelation, if not sped up, can take many years compared to fear which is immediate and spreads rapidly. Even if eventually exonerated, individuals lives are ripped apart emotionally, physically, and financially.
So how does one contribute to speeding up the process of re-framing the Waco discussion to focus on issues of Due Process?  Expose the unjustified fear through personal discussions and social media. The personal is political. Every mind that is changed brings us a step closer.  Remind those you communicate with that fear has too often been used to justify gross abuses of the criminal justice system.  It was a fear of witchcraft that was used by authorities to create enough hysteria that people accepted mass arrests and executions of their own people without a semblance of Due Process.
The actions of the few should never be used to justify targeting an entire class of people based solely on appearance, expression, or association. Certainly most law enforcement would prefer to not be defined by the undeniable and highly publicized examples of police corruption and criminal RICO indictments.
Initially, the narrative that there would be a larger gang war following Waco, one in which civilians were at risk and even uniformed officers were being targeted, was used in an attempt to sway public opinion through fear in order to justify obvious mass Due Process violations. This narrative was also used by law enforcement coast-to-coast to justify discriminatory targeting of clubs and political gatherings.
But as the event in Waco begins to be exposed, as innocent individuals are released on drastically reduced bonds and begin to tell their stories, the issues of Due Process have started to compete with the fear driven law enforcement narrative.
A competing perspective is emerging that frames the discussion in terms of the civil liberties of the innocent. The American system of criminal justice, when functioning properly, understands that the ends do not justify the means. The suffering of even a single innocent far outweighs the public interest in punishing the guilty.  In fact, this was the philosophy that ultimately ended the witch trials in Salem.
Increase Mather, president of Harvard College, urged that the standards of evidence for witchcraft must be equal to those for any other crime, concluding that “It would better that ten suspected witches may escape than one innocent person be condemned.” Amid waning public support for the trials, Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer in October and by that May Phips had pardoned and released all those in prison on witchcraft charges. (See http://www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials)
The narrative of the innocent is based in truth and is a linchpin to a free society. Every person that talks about, writes about, and discusses the gross violations of Due Process in Waco helps extinguish the fear that allows witch trials to happen in the first place. Remember that the personal action has political implications. Every person you talk to brings us one step closer to the critical mass required to change public opinion and generate the necessary pressure to end the suffering of innocents in Waco.
David “Double D” Devereaux  is the Chairman & Spokesperson for the Washington State Confederation of Clubs and US Defenders, The Motorcycle Profiling Project, and works with Confederations and Coalitions nationwide. Contact: doubled@motorcycleprofilingproject.com, motorcycleprofilingproject.com

Virginia Police State: No Motorcycle Club is Safe.

OFF THE WIRE

On July 24 the Virginia State Police conducted an unconstitutional and over-militarized search and seizure of the Wicked Few Charity Brotherhood in Virginia. According to NBC News, “families watched armored vehicles move into position Friday evening, investigators from Virginia State Police executed a search warrant inside a motorcycle clubhouse, leaving residents with few clues as to the goal or intent of the sweeping search.” (NBC News, July 24, 2015) After two hours and no arrests, the VSP seized club property and then pointed AR-15’s directly at an unarmed member as he requested to see the warrant. The request was denied.
THE VIRGINIA STATE POLICE’S RESPONSE WAS IRREFUTABLY OVER-MILITARIZED
The VSP operation was more reminiscent of a military operation than a domestic police action. Armored vehicles, AR-15’s, drug dogs, and after searching for more than two hours troopers made no arrests. Consider the following description from the primary witness on the scene.
I felt like I was in Iraq and an IED has just been found, said Jeremiah Dabney in an interview Friday. We watched them in and out of our house. They brought drug dogs out. They searched the property, kicked the doors in.”
 But after floorboards were pulled off, and safes cracked open, Dabney said he approached troopers to ask what was happening.
They all pointed AR-15s at me, Dabney said. I’m in shorts and nothing else. I pulled my shirt off and dropped my pants to show him that I had no weapons. I said, ‘I want to see my search warrant.’” (NBC News, July 24, 2015)
 Troopers refused to show the sealed warrant, and left the neighborhood. “According to members of the social club, investigators took three biker vests, a large banner displaying the organization’s name, and a photo album.” (NBC News, July 24, 2015)
The level of militarization displayed by the VSP is unjustified and completely inappropriate considering the known circumstances. The Wicked Few Charity Brotherhood, as the name makes clear, is a charitable social organization. The Wicked Few are a new club that has only been around for two years. According to previous interviews, the club is completely dedicated to charity and community involvement. It’s a requirement of membership. Other than inaccurate stereotype, there is absolutely no apparent circumstances justifying a militarized response.
The over-militarization of American law enforcement is an obvious reality with potentially devastating consequences. Militarized police eliminate any chance of community policing by installing fear and mistrust in average citizens. As the relationship between law enforcement and the community breaks down there is a much higher probability of unjustified use of deadly force and civil liberty violations on a massive scale. This breakdown also erodes the safety net that has irrefutably led to mass demonstrations and even violent rioting.
The response should be commensurate to the threat. And what we know about this incident reveals no justifiable threat.  And refusing to reveal the sealed search warrant is a mechanism that law enforcement is increasingly using to circumvent the constitutional requirement to demonstrate probable cause required in legal search and seizures.
REFUSING TO REVEAL A SEALED WARRANT AFTER THE SEARCH IS COMPLETE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND VIOLATES ESTABLISHED CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
The government’s most recent strategy involves motions to seal search warrant affidavits. Despite the fact that there is no statutory authority and precedent concluding the unconstitutional nature of sealed search warrants, prosecutors have often persuaded judges to continue the secrecy of search warrant affidavits long after the warrants have been executed based on the argument that unsealing would compromise an ongoing investigation.
Although initially sealing a search warrant may arguably preserve investigatory integrity, the moment that property is seized the search warrant must be unsealed.  David F. Axelrod, a former an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice says, “Until the application has been unsealed, it is impossible to identify any but the most obvious defects in the warrant or its execution. In particular, it is impossible to determine whether there was probable cause to search and, if so, for what.”  (see Litigating Sealed Search Warrants: Recent Cases Limit Indefinite Seal in Pre-Indictment Investigations)
 The Virginia State Police acted unconstitutionally the moment that they seized the Wicked Few’s property and refused to show the warrant.  Sealed search warrants become particularly problematic after property is seized. Federal Criminal Procedure “clearly establishes the right of a person aggrieved by the execution of a search warrant to challenge the propriety of the seizure of his property. The subject of the warrant suffers the deprivation of property and has more than just an academic interest in knowing the basis for the warrant. Without the affidavit, it is impossible to assess the legitimacy of the warrant, and, therefore, the deprivation of property.”
Unless the search warrant application is open to review, counsel and the property owner cannot evaluate whether the affidavit is based on false or erroneous information. There is zero basis for the Wicked Few to challenge the taking of their property.
The denial of access to a warrant affidavit precludes a property owner from the most effective forms of challenging the warrant, depriving the property owner of procedural and substantive due process. “[M]inimum due process requirements are violated when a government agency permits its officers to carry out a seizure . . . without providing the owners any meaningful opportunity to challenge the seizure at the earliest possible time.”
Recent case precedent confirms that sealed search warrants were not intended by Congress. In the Southern District of Ohio (889 F. Supp. 296 (S.D. Ohio 1995) the court was clear that asserting an “ongoing criminal investigation,” is not enough to justify continued sealing. Criminal procedure “nowhere provides for the secrecy of warrant applications. This stands in sharp contrast to Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e), which explicitly provides for the automatic secrecy of grand jury materials. The failure to include such a secrecy provision in Rule 41 is a plain indication that Congress did not intend for search warrant applications to be kept secret.”
CONCLUSIONS
The epidemic of over-militarized and discriminatory law enforcement actions targeting motorcycle clubs are perfectly demonstrated by the actions of the VSP.  The Wicked Few, a charitable organization, are victims of an over zealous and constitutionally unconscious search and seizure, conducted by armored vehicles, at the end of AR-15’s.  The pattern of evidence justifying legislative protection against law enforcement profiling is self-evident.
Every American should be highly concerned. The Virginia State Police must be held accountable. Every instance of over-militarized, abusive, and unconstitutional search and seizures erodes the concept of Due Process and risks large scale violence, unjustified deadly force, and a general breakdown of peaceful civil society.
David Devereaux is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Confederation of Clubs and US Defenders,  The Motorcycle Profiling Project, The Council of Clubs, and also works with the Confederation of Clubs and US Defenders at the national level. Contact: doubled@motorcycleprofilingproject.com, motorcycleprofilingproject.com)

BABE OF THE DAY


Thursday, July 30, 2015

AUSTRALIA - Controversial anti-bikie laws to pass State Parliament this week as Government and Opposition agree to cut outlaw gangs from 27 to 10

OFF THE WIRE
  • The Advertiser    
  • Adelaide‚Äôs Afternoon Newsbyte July 29

    ATTORNEY-GENERAL John Rau has agreed to cut the number of bikie gangs declared in legislation as outlaw groups from 27 to 10 following negotiations with the Opposition.
    State Parliament resumes sitting today after a three-week break, with debate to restart on the State Government’s controversial push to place new restrictions on gang members.
    The Liberal partyroom this morning agreed to fall in behind a compromise position struck following a week of negotiations between Mr Rau and Opposition Leader Steven Marshall.
    Seventeen gangs which do not currently operate in SA will be left off the list.
    However, the Liberal Party remains divided over laws some feel will create a police state.
    Attorney-General John Rau this morning confirmed the Government was prepared to declare o
    Attorney-General John Rau this morning confirmed the Government was prepared to declare only 10 gangs as organised crime groups under legislation, including the Mongols, Hells Angels and Rebels.
    Liberal Upper House MP Andrew McLachlan is expected to cross the floor when a vote is called this evening.
    Former Liberal leader Isobel Redmond and her one-time deputy Mitch Williams have both expressed grave reservations about the legislation in previous debate and there is speculation they will also vote against the party position in the Lower House tomorrow.
    The Government earlier this year announced plans to name 27 gangs as illegal organised crime groups using legislation, claiming existing laws that require police to provide evidence to the Supreme Court before a declaration is made were too complex.
    It was strongly opposed by the legal fraternity and civil libertarian groups, who claimed the laws would weaken the independence of the courts and risked unfairly limiting individual freedom.
    Mr Rau this morning confirmed the Government was prepared to declare only 10 gangs that currently operate in SA as organised crime groups under legislation.
    They include prominent gangs the Mongols, Hells Angels and Rebels.
    Mr Rau said he was making the offer in a bid to get the legislation passed this week.
    “Following discussions with the Opposition, we are offering a set of amendments in the hope that this will enable the bill to pass in the next two days,” he said.
    “I was only prepared to offer this compromise after discussions with the Police Commissioner confirmed that this bill still contains all of their priority targets.”
    The Opposition moved amendments in the Upper House that would allow gangs to be declared as outlaws under a ministerial regulation that would be subject to judicial review.
    Once a declaration is made, restrictions can be placed on members to prevent them meeting.
    The Liberals also wanted Parliament’s Crime and Public Integrity Committee to be given greater access to police intelligence used to determine that gangs were involved in organised crime.
    The Government has agreed to that amendment in the case of future declarations.    

CA - L.A. City Council bans large-capacity ammunition magazines

OFF THE WIRE
The City of Los Angeles is going after gun rights - again. This time, city lawmakers have voted to ban the possession of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.



Defying sharp warnings from gun rights groups, Los Angeles thrust itself into the national debate over gun control Tuesday, as city lawmakers voted unanimously to ban the possession of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Such magazines have been “the common thread” in almost all the mass shootings that have devastated the country, from Newtown to Virginia Tech to Columbine, said Juliet Leftwich, legal director for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Backers of the plan said it was a small but meaningful step to minimize the bloodshed, by forcing attackers to at least interrupt their rampages to stop and reload.
The National Rifle Assn. and other gun rights groups have threatened to sue over Los Angeles’ new rules, arguing that they violate the 2nd Amendment and are preempted by existing state law.
In reaction, Councilman Paul Krekorian declared before a cheering crowd outside City Hall, “If the NRA wants to sue us over this, bring it on.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was eager to sign the L.A. measure, which passed 12-0 with three council members absent. Even as city officials celebrated the newly passed restrictions, some gun control activists were dismayed to hear about a proposal to exempt retired police officers from the rules — an 11th-hour change sought by the union that represents Los Angeles police.
California law already generally bans the manufacturing of such large-capacity magazines, as well as offering them for sale or bringing them into the state. But state law does not prohibit people from possessing them, which Krekorian and others argued is a “loophole” that jeopardizes public safety.
“People who want to defend their families don’t need a 100-round drum magazine and an automatic weapon to do it,” said Krekorian, who championed the ban at a rally Tuesday outside City Hall. But if someone wanted to do harm, Krekorian added, “imagine what a gunman on this sidewalk could do with that kind of firepower with a crowd like this.”
Los Angeles lawmakers first sought to draft such rules more than two years ago. Survivors of gun violence lamented that it had taken so long for the council to press forward with the ban and urged lawmakers to act. Among them were Ruett and Rhonda Foster, whose 7-year-old son, Evan, was killed 18 years ago when a gunman fired scores of bullets at a local park, peppering their car with more than a dozen shots.
If their attacker could not fire so many bullets before reloading, “Evan might still be here today,” Ruett Foster told the council on Tuesday.
Gun rights groups argued the law violates the rights of citizens to protect themselves. Ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds “are in common use for self defense and they are overwhelmingly chosen for that purpose,” said Anna M. Barvir, an attorney with Michel & Associates, which represents the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Assn.
“Indeed, millions are in the hands of good American citizens. As such, they are fully protected by the Constitution,” Barvir said in a statement.
At the Tuesday hearing, the CalGuns Shooting Sports Assn. also raised concerns. “I don’t think it’s going to have any effect on gun violence,” said the association’s director, Chad Cheung, pointing out that people in neighboring cities such as Burbank or Glendale could still possess the magazines.
“Bad people are going to do bad things, and they’ll do it regardless of whatever laws are in place,” Cheung said.
The Los Angeles ordinance is modeled on rules adopted in San Francisco and Sunnyvale that have so far survived legal challenges. Leftwich, from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, assured the council it was on “firm legal ground.” But Barvir, whose firm represents gun rights groups, said the legal battles are not over and clients are considering litigation over the L.A. rules.
The new ordinance gives Angelenos who own such magazines 60 days to remove, surrender or legally sell or transfer them after it goes into effect. Breaking the law would be a misdemeanor. Garcetti has 10 days to sign the measure, which would take effect a little more than a month later.
The Los Angeles rules exempt, among others, police and military gun owners, licensed firearm dealers, and people who obtained guns before January 1, 2000, that can only be used with such magazines. At the Tuesday meeting, Councilman Mitch Englander also proposed an exemption for any retired police officer who holds a valid, current permit to carry a concealed weapon. Englander said in a written statement that the police union “recently requested a balanced approach to protect police officers in this ordinance.”
Peter Repovich, director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said it was important for police — including retirees — to be prepared to meet any threat to public safety. “They’re additional eyes and ears out there,” Repovich said.
The council voted narrowly to ask city lawyers to draft such an amendment, which is expected to return to the council for debate and a vote next week. Four council members — Paul Koretz, Nury Martinez, David Ryu and Marqueece Harris-Dawson — voted against drafting the amendment. Koretz said he didn’t see “an overwhelming reason” to exempt retired officers, who he said “could occasionally be prone to the same problems we’re trying to avoid.” Eight council members voted in favor, the minimum needed to advance the proposal.
“If the City Council allows this exemption, none of us are going to be happy,” said Women Against Gun Violence Executive Director Margot Bennett.
Exempting retired officers from the rules tugs the left-leaning council between gun control groups staunchly opposed to excluding more Angelenos and the politically muscular police union, which has made more than $34,000 in campaign contributions to city candidates and elected officials since 2010.
The police union has also pushed for retired officers to be exempt from another proposed ordinance that would require Angelenos to lock up handguns or disable them with trigger locks when they are not being used at home, a measure meant to prevent deadly accidents. Repovich said retired officers needed to be able to respond swiftly to threats and had undergone extensive training on handling their weapons.
Krekorian and several other lawmakers have balked at the idea of excluding retired officers from those storage rules, which are expected to come back before lawmakers for a vote next week. However, Krekorian said he supported exempting retired officers from the large-capacity magazine ban because it wouldn’t pose a similar risk to the public.
Follow @latimesemily for what's happening at Los Angeles City Hall

It’s About Time: New Bill Requires Police to Report All Shootings & Uses of Force

OFF THE WIRE
BY: Claire Bernish
Source: theantimedia.org


United States -
(ANTIMEDIA) Legislation introduced Tuesday would bring desperately needed transparency — and possibly even accountability — to American policing. Senators Cory Booker and Barbara Boxer unveiled the Police Reporting of Information, Data, and Evidence (PRIDE) Act that would require states to report every instance when a law enforcement officer is involved in a shooting or any other violent action that results bodily injury or death.
Currently, the federal system for reporting such statistics is something of a farce, as police voluntarily report only “justifiable homicides” to the FBI. Even then, they are reported only if a person is killed in the commission of a felony.
 
Boxer cites a Washington Post article from Saturday as one of the catalysts bringing about this legislation, which states more than two people per day, at least 385, have been fatally shot by police so far in 2015 —  twice what the federal government tallies for an entire decade. Even the Post’s number is lowball, as independent sources listed at least 400 killed by police at the beginning of last month.
“The first step in fixing a problem is understanding the extent of the problem you have. Justice and accountability go hand in hand — but without reliable data it’s difficult to hold people accountable or create effective policies that change the status quo,” said Booker of the proposed law. “Our legislation is vital to ensuring we have the data required to make good decisions and implement reform measures that are balanced, objective, and protect the lives of police officers and the public.”
All states would be required to report officers’ use of force incidents to the Attorney General, with the following criteria considered the minimum information to be included:
The gender, race, ethnicity, and age of each individual who was shot, injured, or killed
The date, time, and location of the incident
The number of officers and number of civilians involved in the incident
Whether the civilian was armed with a weapon
The type of force used against the officer, the civilian, or both, including the types of weapons used
Included with the legislation is the possibility for grants to train law enforcement on use of force, emphasizing de-escalation and “bias training.”
“Too many members of the public and police officers are being killed, and we don’t have reliable statistics to track these tragic incidents,” Boxer explained. “This bill will ensure that we know the full extent of the problem so we can save lives on all sides.”
The lack of a federal reporting system for police use of force up to this point is a contemptible absurdity when a life is lost every 7½ for that very reason. Far from being a solution for police brutality, perhaps the PRIDE Act will function as a way to at least get a handle on the scope of the problem.

Virginia Police State: No Motorcycle Club is Safe.

OFF THE WIRE


On July 24 the Virginia State Police conducted an unconstitutional and over-militarized search and seizure of the Wicked Few Charity Brotherhood in Virginia. According to NBC News, “families watched armored vehicles move into position Friday evening, investigators from Virginia State Police executed a search warrant inside a motorcycle clubhouse, leaving residents with few clues as to the goal or intent of the sweeping search.” (NBC News, July 24, 2015) After two hours and no arrests, the VSP seized club property and then pointed AR-15’s directly at an unarmed member as he requested to see the warrant. The request was denied.
THE VIRGINIA STATE POLICE’S RESPONSE WAS IRREFUTABLY OVER-MILITARIZED
The VSP operation was more reminiscent of a military operation than a domestic police action. Armored vehicles, AR-15’s, drug dogs, and after searching for more than two hours troopers made no arrests. Consider the following description from the primary witness on the scene.
I felt like I was in Iraq and an IED has just been found, said Jeremiah Dabney in an interview Friday. We watched them in and out of our house. They brought drug dogs out. They searched the property, kicked the doors in.”
 But after floorboards were pulled off, and safes cracked open, Dabney said he approached troopers to ask what was happening.
They all pointed AR-15s at me, Dabney said. I’m in shorts and nothing else. I pulled my shirt off and dropped my pants to show him that I had no weapons. I said, ‘I want to see my search warrant.’” (NBC News, July 24, 2015)
 Troopers refused to show the sealed warrant, and left the neighborhood. “According to members of the social club, investigators took three biker vests, a large banner displaying the organization’s name, and a photo album.” (NBC News, July 24, 2015)
The level of militarization displayed by the VSP is unjustified and completely inappropriate considering the known circumstances. The Wicked Few Charity Brotherhood, as the name makes clear, is a charitable social organization. The Wicked Few are a new club that has only been around for two years. According to previous interviews, the club is completely dedicated to charity and community involvement. It’s a requirement of membership. Other than inaccurate stereotype, there is absolutely no apparent circumstances justifying a militarized response.
The over-militarization of American law enforcement is an obvious reality with potentially devastating consequences. Militarized police eliminate any chance of community policing by installing fear and mistrust in average citizens. As the relationship between law enforcement and the community breaks down there is a much higher probability of unjustified use of deadly force and civil liberty violations on a massive scale. This breakdown also erodes the safety net that has irrefutably led to mass demonstrations and even violent rioting.
The response should be commensurate to the threat. And what we know about this incident reveals no justifiable threat.  And refusing to reveal the sealed search warrant is a mechanism that law enforcement is increasingly using to circumvent the constitutional requirement to demonstrate probable cause required in legal search and seizures.
REFUSING TO REVEAL A SEALED WARRANT AFTER THE SEARCH IS COMPLETE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND VIOLATES ESTABLISHED CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
The government’s most recent strategy involves motions to seal search warrant affidavits. Despite the fact that there is no statutory authority and precedent concluding the unconstitutional nature of sealed search warrants, prosecutors have often persuaded judges to continue the secrecy of search warrant affidavits long after the warrants have been executed based on the argument that unsealing would compromise an ongoing investigation.
Although initially sealing a search warrant may arguably preserve investigatory integrity, the moment that property is seized the search warrant must be unsealed.  David F. Axelrod, a former an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice says, “Until the application has been unsealed, it is impossible to identify any but the most obvious defects in the warrant or its execution. In particular, it is impossible to determine whether there was probable cause to search and, if so, for what.”  (see Litigating Sealed Search Warrants: Recent Cases Limit Indefinite Seal in Pre-Indictment Investigations)
 The Virginia State Police acted unconstitutionally the moment that they seized the Wicked Few’s property and refused to show the warrant.  Sealed search warrants become particularly problematic after property is seized. Federal Criminal Procedure “clearly establishes the right of a person aggrieved by the execution of a search warrant to challenge the propriety of the seizure of his property. The subject of the warrant suffers the deprivation of property and has more than just an academic interest in knowing the basis for the warrant. Without the affidavit, it is impossible to assess the legitimacy of the warrant, and, therefore, the deprivation of property.”
Unless the search warrant application is open to review, counsel and the property owner cannot evaluate whether the affidavit is based on false or erroneous information. There is zero basis for the Wicked Few to challenge the taking of their property.
The denial of access to a warrant affidavit precludes a property owner from the most effective forms of challenging the warrant, depriving the property owner of procedural and substantive due process. “[M]inimum due process requirements are violated when a government agency permits its officers to carry out a seizure . . . without providing the owners any meaningful opportunity to challenge the seizure at the earliest possible time.”
Recent case precedent confirms that sealed search warrants were not intended by Congress. In the Southern District of Ohio (889 F. Supp. 296 (S.D. Ohio 1995) the court was clear that asserting an “ongoing criminal investigation,” is not enough to justify continued sealing. Criminal procedure “nowhere provides for the secrecy of warrant applications. This stands in sharp contrast to Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e), which explicitly provides for the automatic secrecy of grand jury materials. The failure to include such a secrecy provision in Rule 41 is a plain indication that Congress did not intend for search warrant applications to be kept secret.”
CONCLUSIONS
The epidemic of over-militarized and discriminatory law enforcement actions targeting motorcycle clubs are perfectly demonstrated by the actions of the VSP.  The Wicked Few, a charitable organization, are victims of an over zealous and constitutionally unconscious search and seizure, conducted by armored vehicles, at the end of AR-15’s.  The pattern of evidence justifying legislative protection against law enforcement profiling is self-evident.
Every American should be highly concerned. The Virginia State Police must be held accountable. Every instance of over-militarized, abusive, and unconstitutional search and seizures erodes the concept of Due Process and risks large scale violence, unjustified deadly force, and a general breakdown of peaceful civil society.

David Devereaux is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Confederation of Clubs and US Defenders,  The Motorcycle Profiling Project, The Council of Clubs, and also works with the Confederation of Clubs and US Defenders at the national level. Contact: doubled@motorcycleprofilingproject.com, motorcycleprofilingproject.com)

CA - Rolling Deep 4 Charities‎RD4C MUSIC FESTIVAL

OFF THE WIRE


As you know, Rolling Deep 4 Charities always hosts the best events in Southern California. Well, we’re doing it again, RD4C brings you The MUSIC FESTIVAL held at the beautiful La Puente Handball Club. It’s a huge 2-acre private property with over 2,000 capacity, picnic area with plenty of shade, a concert stage, full bar, margarita machines and many more amenities.

Please join us for our Music Festival/Concert at the Park and dance away with the best bands around on a Huge 25 foot stage!

This is going to be a super cool event.

To Purchase pre-sale tickets $10 and a chance to win a weekend getaway

For Vendors spots:
Contact Veronica Ruiz-Duarte <ronicaisme@gmail.com> or 323 707-5310.

Please share event!!

BABE OF THE DAY


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gonna Be in Sturgis Aug.3-6

USA - Call the Cops at Your Own Risk

OFF THE WIRE
By Jeff Berwick at LewRockwell.com

Would you dial up a known criminal, like a murderer or rapist, to come help you after you’ve been the victim of a crime? No? Then why in the world would you call the police after you’ve been assaulted, robbed or otherwise violated?
The police do not consider their job to protect you. They used to at least pay lip service to “keeping the peace”, but nowadays in the USSA it is clear their job is to enforce the law. In fasco-communist America, the law stopped being about your protection decades ago. The law is about the expansion of state power and control. That’s why there are so many of them, with more coming all the time.
There are literally thousands upon thousands of reasons in the Federal Code for the police to arrest you. That’s the very essence of a police state. Everything is literally a crime. As Lao Tsu said in the 6th century, BC: “The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished…The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be…”
In an environment like this, police cannot merely be keepers of the peace. They must be enforcers of the law. And enforcers use force, of course – intimidation and sudden and shocking violence in order to make you obey. And compliance is exactly what the police expect. They long ago stopped being “public servants” and became more akin to plantation overseers. Rapper and philosopher KRS One pointed out the similarities in his track, “Sound of da Police”:
“The overseer rode around the plantationThe officer is off patrolling all the nationThe overseer could stop you what you’re doingThe officer will pull you over just when he’s pursuingThe overseer had the right to get illAnd if you fought back, the overseer had the right to killThe officer has the right to arrestAnd if you fight back they put a hole in your chest!”

The most egregious example of this switch from protection to abuse is the so-called War on Drugs. The heightened prosecution of drug use (which was entirely legal a century ago in the US and in fact widely used in many products) has been right at the heart of the state’s increased monitoring and intrusion into personal life.

Do you want protection from theft and physical aggression? Or do you want “law enforcement”? Law enforcement is what allows the police to bust down your door and arrest you on suspicion that you may be using a plant that the state doesn’t like. Protection from theft and physical aggression is something that could be much better provided by free market transactions. You could simply buy yourself an alarm system or weapon. Or you could pay for bodyguards and remote ’round-the-clock monitoring and dispatch from a firm who will send people to actually help you and not gun you down. These people would also never bust down your door, kill your pets and hold automatic weapons to the heads of your children on suspicion that you might own plants that some politicians and voters don’t like. In every way, the private market protection option seems much better than the public option.
An 83-year-old grandmother recently learned the hard way of the dangers of calling the police. Debra Towler of Altavista, Virginia, called 9-1-1 and hung up without making a report. This triggered an automatic officer dispatch to her home. The police claim to have heard gunshots from inside Mrs. Towler’s home. But even if that’s true – and police regularly lie to cover up their mistakes – odds are that Mrs. Towler fired those shots for the same reason she called the police: she thought her home was being invaded. That would explain why she ran out the back door to her sister’s house when officers tried to get in the front door. It would also explain why this church-going octogenarian wouldn’t drop her gun when the police started barking orders at her from afar. They responded by gunning her down.

CALL THE COPS AT YOUR OWN RISK
This woman would have been alive if she’d simply defended herself instead of calling the publicly funded police. If there really had been intruders, she probably frightened them off by being armed. In any case the police would not have arrived in time to save her from being robbed or assaulted. All the police can do is show up to ask a few questions and interrogate the victim or some witnesses in case the victim is dead. Sometimes, apparently, the police themselves cause the victims death.
If just one private protection company did this one time, the typical statist would be calling for that company to be shut down with the murderers jailed. Yet when the publicly funded police botch things up this badly, the typical person finds a reason to blame the victim. A free market protection company – perhaps provided by the same company that insured Mrs. Towler’s home – would have treated Mrs. Towler like a customer whose harm they are paid to prevent. The publicly funded police force is under no such pressure to provide customer service. Their priorities are to enforce whatever nonsense laws are on the books and to use whatever lethal violence they deem necessary to keep themselves out of harm’s way.
Why do people put up with a monopolistic police force? Think about it. You are forced to pay (with taxes) for police who aggress against you for personal behavior that’s not anybody else’s business.

I HAVE NOT NOR WILL EVER CALL THE PUBLIC POLICE

Again, the police cannot stop a criminal from harming you or from stealing your property. They can only show up to “investigate” the crime after it’s been committed. The only way police can be truly proactive is when it comes to enforcing intrusive laws about personal behavior that doesn’t harm anyone else, like driving faster than the ridiculously low posted speed limits, or not wearing a seat belt or bicycle helmet, or using plants that politicians and your neighbors don’t like.
In my 41 years I have never once called the government (9-1-1) for any type of emergency. I’ve always instinctively known it was immoral and, in most cases, useless. Here in Mexico no one would ever consider calling the cops for anything – they know what the Americans are now learning. Here, the police are far more like tipsy Barney Fifes than they are like robocops.
A month ago my wife called. She was with our $10-a-day bodyguard, but he didn’t have his pistol on him that day and she said three very large men were following her in Walmart. I told her to go to the very back of the store and tell some staff what was happening and wait for me.
I arrived in less than 5 minutes on my scooter with my gun and sprinted to the back of the store. I saw my wife and bodyguard safely standing there and was relieved. We then went to the kitchen area of the store and got both my wife and my bodyguard some sharp butcher knives. We then went through the checkout and cautiously exited the store, with everyone well-armed (not to mention my bodyguard is a professional boxer and my wife takes kickboxing and Kung Fu lessons each week and is a powerlifter – and I’m a former amateur boxer).
By that point the three men had left. Whether it was a real threat or not is anyone’s guess. But this form of self-protection beats government protection any day. Not only was my response time certainly faster, and my “skin in the game” meant I’d fight anyone to the death to protect my wife, whereas government police will almost always choose their own safety over yours. But a really interesting thing happens when you stand up for yourself and don’t depend on others for your protection. It feels great.
Plus, there is the fact that the government police who we could have called likely would have tried to beat, rob or kill us. This happens all the time, worldwide – not just in the USSA. In Tunisia, for example, women are charged with indecency for being raped by cops. In the US, beatings and shootings by cops are the issue, not rapes (usually). Look at this recent thug scrum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. After watching police pile on and abuse this young man, even the guy who called the police wishes he hadn’t called to report the young man sleeping in the community center.
“I regret making the call,” says the caller, “I should have let him sleep.” 
Call the Cops at Your Own Risk
Previously by Jeff Berwick: Land of the Free

Would you dial up a known criminal, like a murderer or rapist, to come help you after you've been the victim of a crime? No? Then why in the world would you call the police after you've been assaulted, robbed or otherwise violated?
The police do not consider their job to protect you. They used to at least pay lip service to "keeping the peace", but nowadays in the USSA it is clear their job is to enforce the law. In fasco-communist America, the law stopped being about your protection decades ago. The law is about the expansion of state power and control. That's why there are so many of them, with more coming all the time.
There are literally thousands upon thousands of reasons in the Federal Code for the police to arrest you. That's the very essence of a police state. Everything is literally a crime. As Lao Tsu said in the 6th century, BC: "The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished...The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be..."
In an environment like this, police cannot merely be keepers of the peace. They must be enforcers of the law. And enforcers use force, of course – intimidation and sudden and shocking violence in order to make you obey. And compliance is exactly what the police expect. They long ago stopped being "public servants" and became more akin to plantation overseers. Rapper and philosopher KRS One pointed out the similarities in his track, "Sound of da Police":
"The overseer rode around the plantationThe officer is off patrolling all the nationThe overseer could stop you what you're doingThe officer will pull you over just when he's pursuingThe overseer had the right to get illAnd if you fought back, the overseer had the right to killThe officer has the right to arrestAnd if you fight back they put a hole in your chest!"
 
The most egregious example of this switch from protection to abuse is the so-called War on Drugs. The heightened prosecution of drug use (which was entirely legal a century ago in the US and in fact widely used in many products) has been right at the heart of the state's increased monitoring and intrusion into personal life.
Do you want protection from theft and physical aggression? Or do you want "law enforcement"? Law enforcement is what allows the police to bust down your door and arrest you on suspicion that you may be using a plant that the state doesn't like. Protection from theft and physical aggression is something that could be much better provided by free market transactions. You could simply buy yourself an alarm system or weapon. Or you could pay for bodyguards and remote 'round-the-clock monitoring and dispatch from a firm who will send people to actually help you and not gun you down. These people would also never bust down your door, kill your pets and hold automatic weapons to the heads of your children on suspicion that you might own plants that some politicians and voters don't like. In every way, the private market protection option seems much better than the public option.
CALL THE COPS AT YOUR OWN RISK
An 83-year-old grandmother recently learned the hard way of the dangers of calling the police. Debra Towler of Altavista, Virginia, called 9-1-1 and hung up without making a report. This triggered an automatic officer dispatch to her home. The police claim to have heard gunshots from inside Mrs. Towler's home. But even if that's true – and police regularly lie to cover up their mistakes – odds are that Mrs. Towler fired those shots for the same reason she called the police: she thought her home was being invaded. That would explain why she ran out the back door to her sister's house when officers tried to get in the front door. It would also explain why this church-going octogenarian wouldn't drop her gun when the police started barking orders at her from afar. They responded by gunning her down.
This woman would have been alive if she'd simply defended herself instead of calling the publicly funded police. If there really had been intruders, she probably frightened them off by being armed. In any case the police would not have arrived in time to save her from being robbed or assaulted. All the police can do is show up to ask a few questions and interrogate the victim or some witnesses in case the victim is dead. Sometimes, apparently, the police themselves cause the victims death.
If just one private protection company did this one time, the typical statist would be calling for that company to be shut down with the murderers jailed. Yet when the publicly funded police botch things up this badly, the typical person finds a reason to blame the victim. A free market protection company – perhaps provided by the same company that insured Mrs. Towler's home – would have treated Mrs. Towler like a customer whose harm they are paid to prevent. The publicly funded police force is under no such pressure to provide customer service. Their priorities are to enforce whatever nonsense laws are on the books and to use whatever lethal violence they deem necessary to keep themselves out of harm's way.
Why do people put up with a monopolistic police force? Think about it. You are forced to pay (with taxes) for police who aggress against you for personal behavior that's not anybody else's business.
Again, the police cannot stop a criminal from harming you or from stealing your property. They can only show up to "investigate" the crime after it's been committed. The only way police can be truly proactive is when it comes to enforcing intrusive laws about personal behavior that doesn't harm anyone else, like driving faster than the ridiculously low posted speed limits, or not wearing a seat belt or bicycle helmet, or using plants that politicians and your neighbors don't like.
I HAVE NOT NOR WILL EVER CALL THE PUBLIC POLICE
In my 41 years I have never once called the government (9-1-1) for any type of emergency. I've always instinctively known it was immoral and, in most cases, useless. Here in Mexico no one would ever consider calling the cops for anything – they know what the Americans are now learning. Here, the police are far more like tipsy Barney Fifes than they are like robocops.
A month ago my wife called. She was with our $10-a-day bodyguard, but he didn't have his pistol on him that day and she said three very large men were following her in Walmart. I told her to go to the very back of the store and tell some staff what was happening and wait for me.
I arrived in less than 5 minutes on my scooter with my gun and sprinted to the back of the store. I saw my wife and bodyguard safely standing there and was relieved. We then went to the kitchen area of the store and got both my wife and my bodyguard some sharp butcher knives. We then went through the checkout and cautiously exited the store, with everyone well-armed (not to mention my bodyguard is a professional boxer and my wife takes kickboxing and Kung Fu lessons each week and is a powerlifter – and I'm a former amateur boxer).
By that point the three men had left. Whether it was a real threat or not is anyone's guess. But this form of self-protection beats government protection any day. Not only was my response time certainly faster, and my "skin in the game" meant I'd fight anyone to the death to protect my wife, whereas government police will almost always choose their own safety over yours. But a really interesting thing happens when you stand up for yourself and don't depend on others for your protection. It feels great.
Plus, there is the fact that the government police who we could have called likely would have tried to beat, rob or kill us. This happens all the time, worldwide – not just in the USSA. In Tunisia, for example, women are charged with indecency for being raped by cops. In the US, beatings and shootings by cops are the issue, not rapes (usually). Look at this recent thug scrum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. After watching police pile on and abuse this young man, even the guy who called the police wishes he hadn't called to report the young man sleeping in the community center.
VIDEO, http://youtu.be/BnF2rq74Zqo
"I regret making the call," says the caller, "I should have let him sleep." I believe a lot more Americans are going to be expressing similar sentiments in coming years. They will learn the hard way that calling the cops is most likely to make a bad situation worse. Your average person in the USSA still probably labors under the illusion that the police are actually there to help them, and that the public police option actually is superior to the customer-service based private options. That's a very dangerous illusion. In fact, it could easily cost you your life. Just ask Mrs. Towler. If you're stuck in the dangerous USSA police state, then TDV Homegrown can help you understand how to survive unscathed.
Rule #1: Never call the cops. Just like with health, prevention is a far best treatment for criminal acts. Check out TDV Homegrown for more details. (If you have the option of getting free of the USSA police state entirely, then try out a TDV Weekly Basic subscription for some great insights on expatriating.)

DON'T EVEN TALK TO THE POLICE
VIDEO, http://youtu.be/6wXkI4t7nuc
The police cannot help one bit once the crime is committed. They are unlikely to figure out who committed the crime. And they care more about somebody getting convicted for the crime than they are about the right person getting convicted for the crime. Police will lie in court. They don't care about finding the culprit. They just want a conviction. And any patsy will do. So don't talk to them. Ever. They will happily see innocents carted off to jail as long as they get to look like they're doing their jobs.
Their own safety is far more important to them than your safety. After all, they are the sacred praetorian class, defenders of the law and the lawmakers, while you're just a subject who is forced at gunpoint to pay for their salaries. You'd be far better off being a voluntarily paying customer.

Jeff Berwick [send him mail] is an anarcho-capitalist freedom fighter and Chief Editor of the libertarian, Austrian economics grounded newsletter, The Dollar Vigilante. The Dollar Vigilante focuses on strategies, investments and expatriation opportunities to survive & prosper during and after the US dollar collapse.

CA - “Mongols Nation Conclusion Nears”

OFF THE WIRE
agingrebel.com
Expect the Mongols Nation case to be dismissed by Judge David O. Carter next Monday afternoon. A hearing on the dismissal is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Carter’s courtroom in the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse in Santa Ana, California.
The case has attracted national attention. At issue is the question of whether the government, or a couple of rogue federal prosecutors named Christopher Brunwin and Stephen R. Welk, can forbid members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club from wearing the club’s distinctive insignia. Brunwin and Welk have made careers of this. They attempted to seize the Mongols trademarks in a criminal case called U.S. versus Cavazos and others and again in a civil case named Ramon Rivera versus Kenneth E. Melson, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and others. They lost both those cases. American Civil Liberties Union attorney David Loy who represented Rivera called the attempted seizure of the Mongols patch “an outrageous violation of the First Amendment, and an absolute abuse of forfeiture and trademark laws.”
But Brunwin and Welk continued with what Mongols’ attorneys Joseph A. Yanny and Elliot H. Min call “a pointless prosecution.” Monday Judge Carter, will probably, finally put a stop to this, preclude the government from trying to seize the patch of any other motorcycle club and tell Brunwin and Welk, or at least the Department of Justice, to pay Yanny and Min’s legal fees.
Carter will rule on three key issues: The forfeitability of the Mongols patches; a legal principal rarely cited in criminal cases called Nonmutual Defensive Collateral Estoppel; and whether the government and the prosecutors acted “unreasonably, vexatiously and recklessly” in pursuing this case.

Forfeitability

If the government were to win this case the only consequence would be a subsequent attempt to seize the Mongols name and patch. No matter who wins or loses, nobody is going to jail. So the Mongols attorneys have asked Judge Carter to rule on the legality of the inevitable attempted seizure now.
For the last six years, Welk has argued before a succession of federal judges that there must be a trial before there can be a consideration of the forfeitability of the Mongols patch. For awhile he was fond of the slightly lewd phrase, “premature adjudication.” In this case he has argued that he doesn’t know whether the government will pursue forfeiture or not – which, since it is the only thing the government has to gain from a three month long trial, seems like a transparently mendacious thing to say. In their Reply filed yesterday, the Mongols argue that “no evidence can alter the reality that a collective membership mark as a matter of law is not subject to criminal forfeiture, because the owner of such a mark holds the mark in trust for the members. The government’s insistence that this issue be determined only after conviction is an attempt to put form over substance…. This Court possesses the inherent and supervisory power to conduct its proceedings to avoid unnecessary procedures.”
“Lastly,” the Reply argues, “the law never requires a futile act…. Since the Mongol Nation is an entity and the only named defendant, no individual in this criminal case is subject to incarceration. A guilty conviction without forfeiture would be meaningless and equivalent to this Court rendering an advisory opinion in contravention of Article III of the United States Constitution….Therefore, waiting for conviction before adjudicating forfeiture is a futile act that this Court possesses the power to avoid at any stage of the proceeding.”

Estoppel

The Reply also cites a concept called “Nonmutual Defensive Collateral Estoppel.” Briefly stated, the clumsy phrase means that the Mongols, and potentially any other motorcycle club, can prevent government prosecutors from relitigating an issue the government has previously litigated unsuccessfully in another action against a different party. Yesterday’s Reply argues “the issue of whether the collective membership mark is forfeitable is the identical issue that was previously litigated adversely to the government in both Rivera and Cavazos.”
Depending on what Judge Carter makes of the concept, he may rule that Rivera and Cavazos preclude similar attempts by the government to seize the insignia of the Vagos, Bandidos, Outlaws, Pagans, Warlocks, Sons of Silence or any other motorcycle club that has a similar organizational structure. The Hells Angels, because of that club’s unique organizational structure, may already be protected from government attempts to seize its name and insignia.
The Mongols Reply argues defensive estoppel “precludes a plaintiff from relitigating identical issues by merely switching adversaries…. The government’s attempt to obtain the same forfeiture in the instant case violates principles of judicial economy
and thus mandates the government be estopped from relitigating the same issue….”

Ethics

The Reply also chastens Brunwin and Welk for their conduct in pursuing the Mongols for the last seven years. “Government prosecutors have a duty, under Berger v. U.S., to not casually treat the truth like a nose of wax to be twisted, turned, and shaped depending upon what they believe will most please the audience; they have an ethical obligation to the accused; it is not about winning or losing, it is about doing justice. More importantly, the duty of a government prosecutor is to avoid doing an injustice.”
Berger v. U.S., is a 1935 decision in a case about prosecutorial misconduct. In that case Justice George Sutherland defined prosecutorial misconduct as, overstepping “the bounds of that propriety and fairness which should characterize the conduct of such an officer in the prosecution of a criminal offense.”
“The United States Attorney,” Sutherland wrote, “is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereign whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilty shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor—indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.”

Sanctions

Yesterday Yanny and Min wrote, “since the inception of this case when the government attempted in bad faith to judge shop, and in spite of the ethical standards set forth in Berger v. U.S. to which federal prosecutors are held, the government has consistently attempted to gain improper and impermissible advantage over the accused in this case that warrants sanctions and dismissal of the indictment.”
“The sleight of hand pleading described in prior sections of this brief coupled with the clear attempt to improperly navigate the instant case into a forum of its choosing is more than enough evidence that the government has acted improperly and breached its ethical duties set forth in Berger v. U.S. to proceed with a pointless prosecution where no one is going to jail even if they win thus wasting everybody’s time and money. This clearly warrants the maximum sanctions permitted by law against the government and its prosecuting attorneys in this case, and the dismissal of the indictment in its entirety.”
The dollar amount of the sanctions that may leveled against the Department of Justice or Brunwin and Welk remains unknowable but it possible to guess. In the Rivera case Carter sanctioned the government $253,206.78. The money paid Rivera’s lawyers and their costs.  “But that was a summary judgment,” Yanny said in a brief phone interview this morning. “We were ready to go to trial.”

The dollar difference could be substantial.

Espinoza's Leather Customer Appreciation Day!

OFF THE WIRE

Espinoza's Leather Customer Appreciation Day!
Sunday, October 4 at 11:00am
Original Mike's in Santa Ana, CaliforniaGilberto Espinoza invited you to Espinoza's Leather's event



(626) 307-5049

Court Rules ‘Marijuana Odor Is Not Sufficient’ For Cops To Have ‘Probable Cause’

OFF THE WIRE
This is a MAJOR game changer. Looks like the cops are going to have to go back to the drawing board with bullshit ideas for establishing probable cause!
http://goo.gl/whaJEr
http://cdn.countercurrentnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/probable-cause.jpg

Police have been pulling people over and stopping them on the street for years, claiming at the stops that they “smell marijuana.” In the past, this has been about all they need to say to cover their asses and claim they had “probable cause.”
But now, law enforcement agencies are going to have to come up with an alternative, since several judges, including those presiding over an Arizona court, just ruled that this isn’t going to cut it anymore.
That’s right: if police wish to establish probable cause, they are going to have to find another way besides just saying they smelled something that might have been marijuana.
The Arizona Court of Appeals handed down that verdict, saying that since the state now has legal medical marijuana, the odor of raw or burnt cannabis itself does not constitute probable cause. This ruling could logically be extrapolated to and applied as a reasonable defense in other states where medical marijuana is legal, and even those states bordering them.
High Times reported that in the decision, Judge Peter Eckerstrom explained that medical marijuana “is lawful under Arizona law,” and therefore “its scent alone does not disclose whether a crime has occurred.”
Eckestrom added that if this is not followed, the police would be violating the peoples’ constitutional rights.

“Were we to adopt the state’s suggestion that scent alone furnishes probable cause of a crime, medical marijuana patients would become second-class citizens, losing their rights to privacy and security, including privacy within their own homes.”
As we reported previously, and as the journal Law and Human Behavior found, the presence of marijuana cannot be determined on the basis of on odor alone. Animals, flowers, and garbage, all could give “false positives.”
Judge Eckerstrom said that this smell test is plain and simply “outdated” and cannot be used to “form a well-founded belief that a criminal offense was committed.”

(Article by Jackson Marciana; h/t to High Times)