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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Motorcycle clubs fight to keep their trademark ‘colors’

OFF THE WIRE
THUMPERRRR

WASHINGTON

Federal prosecutors have dropped a controversial bid to seize the trademark owned by a motorcycle club that casts itself as the “Devils Diciples.”

But while the development this week cheers the Midwestern group and the California-based lawyer who represents them, it does not entirely slam the brakes on other trademark challenges involving motorcyclists’ fierce and distinctive logos.

Still in the government’s cross hairs, notably, is the trademarked logo for the Mongol Nation, a Southern California-based motorcycle club whose intellectual property has been sought by federal prosecutors since 2008 (link is external). A federal appellate court is now considering the Mongol Nation case.

“These trademark cases are important to the clubs, whose free association has been threatened by the attempts by (prosecutors) to enjoin use of their membership (marks) by non-indicted persons,” Mongol attorney Fritz Clapp, a former longtime Sacramento resident, said Tuesday.

Members of the Mongols and the Devils Diciples call their organizations clubs (link is external), while law enforcement officials refer to them as gangs or criminal enterprises.

Prosecutors began trying to seize the Devils Diciples’ trademark as a byproduct of a criminal case that culminated in the February convictions (link is external) of six Devils Diciples leaders on drugs, firearms and other charges.

The prosecutors’ decision now to leave the Devils Diciples’ trademark alone was noted through filings made Monday in federal court in Detroit. The prosecutors explained in one filing that they had “learned the identity of the trademark’s owner,” who has not been charged with crimes.

“Generally, the government can only criminally forfeit property, under an applicable forfeiture statute, in which a defendant in a criminal case has an ownership interest,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Aouate explained Tuesday.

Most law enforcement asset-forfeiture efforts target (link is external) conventional property. As part of their original Devils Diciples case, prosecutors in October 2014 itemized property they wanted to seize, from Glock handguns and Mossberg shotguns to slot machines and “two Devils Diciples bandanas.”

At the end of the 32-page property listing, prosecutors included the club’s trademark.

That trademark (link is external), including the deliberately rebellious spelling, consists of an upper arc framing the words “Devils Diciples,” a design with two crossed pitchforks over a spoked wheel, and the letters “M.C.”

If prosecutors had prevailed in their trademark-forfeiture effort, the government could have eventually owned the mark and protected its property interests, such as by demanding that club members surrender their treasured designs.

“I was pleased the (prosecutors) easily recognized that the facts and law favored my client, so that the matter need not be submitted to the court for decision,” Clapp said.

A 70-year-old graduate of the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law (link is external), Clapp has also represented the Hells Angels (link is external)in protecting that motorcycle club’s intellectual property. Sometimes this has entailed taking the legal offensive.

Over the past eight years, the Mongols trademark cases established important precedents regarding forfeiture of collective membership marks and the implications of free speech and association. Fritz Clapp, intellectual property attorney for the Devils Diciples

In 2013, for instance, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club sued the Dillard’s department store chain and a clothing line associated with the rapper Young Jeezy over the use of the club’s trademarked “Death Head” logo. The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento federal court, was resolved in a confidential settlement.

Other motorcycle clubs – ranging from the Thug Nomads and the Persecuted Souls to the Knights of Fire and the Immortal Soulz – have likewise secured trademarks for their names or logos, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records show (link is external).

In the Devils Diciples case, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade (link is external) of the Eastern District of Michigan said the individual defendants were “responsible for violence and trafficking in methamphetamine in Macomb County and across the country.”

The still-simmering Mongol Nation case began when then-U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien unveiled in Los Angeles (link is external) an indictment of 79 Mongols for a variety of offenses. As part of his campaign, O’Brien sought the Mongols’ trademarks.

“If the court grants our request . . . 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,” O’Brien said at the time.

All but two of the original 79 defendants were eventually convicted. Prosecutors failed, though (link is external), in their attempt to seize the club’s trademark, an effort they are trying to revive at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“In an audacious, novel move, a select group of the gang – so-called ‘full-patched’ members – federally registered two marks used by the gang to identify members and to terrorize enemies,” prosecutors wrote in an Aug. 8 filing.

The Mongol Nation has until Nov. 10 to respond.
Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/nation-world/national/article98890462.... (link is external)

BABE OF THE DAY

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

BABE OF THE DAY

Lane Splitting: Educational Guidelines Legislation (California AB51) Update...8/11/16.

OFF THE WIRE
 When I contacted Assemblymember Bill Quirk's chief of staff today regarding whether or not Governor Brown may schedule a formal bill signing ceremony for AB51, this was her response.....
"The last day for the governor to make a decision on the bill is Monday, August 22. Governor Brown rarely does formal signing ceremonies, we usually get a call, he issues a press release and then we issue ours. Should I hear anything different and we are able to organize a ceremony I will let you and everyone else know. But for now, I don’t think that will be the case."
Thanks for checking in.
-Tomasa

Friday, August 26, 2016

babe of the day

You may be in California’s gang database and not even know it

OFF THE WIRE

ne mild fall evening, two deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s gang unit headed into the streets of Carson, California, where palm trees are tagged with gang graffiti and street signs in some neighborhoods are turned around or removed to confuse outsiders.

The deputies, Jon Boden and Alfredo Garcia, had a big job to do. As part of the Operation Safe Streets Bureau, they were expected to get a handle on gang violence in the cities of Carson and Compton.
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The intent of that evening’s patrol was to prevent shootings – but the deputies also were on the hunt for intelligence about gang feuds and activity. Several times during the 2014 patrol – with a Reveal reporter riding along – they stopped, searched and questioned young blacks and Latinos about drugs, gangs and what they were doing in a particular neighborhood.

About 10 minutes into their shift, the deputies spotted a young couple in a silver Chevrolet parked under a tree in a J.C. Penney store’s backlot. Boden saw the man rolling a blunt of what he thought looked like crushed marijuana. Both deputies sprang out of the squad car and asked the man and his companion, a woman, to step out of the vehicle.

As Boden held the man’s hands behind his head and searched his pockets, the man started to struggle. The deputy forced him onto the hood of the squad car and handcuffed him. Boden pulled two bullets out of the man’s pants pocket; a search of the car yielded a gun safe with a .22-caliber pistol, several grams of marijuana, prescription drugs, a digital scale and two driver’s licenses that the deputies discovered had been reported stolen.
During a fall 2014 stop in Carson, Calif., deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s gang unit searched a car, finding a gun safe with a .22-caliber pistol, several grams of marijuana, prescription drugs, a digital scale and two driver’s licenses that had been reported stolen.

During a fall 2014 stop in Carson, Calif., deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s gang unit searched a car, finding a gun safe with a .22-caliber pistol, several grams of marijuana, prescription drugs, a digital scale and two driver’s licenses that had been reported stolen. Credit: Ali Winston/Reveal

The young man also had an unlocked cellphone on him. Thumbing through the device, Garcia found photographs of him posing with shotguns and pistols, a blue bandanna wrapped around his face. The man quickly admitted that the gun and drugs in the safe were his and that he was a member of the Park Village Compton Crips.

After Boden and Garcia had handcuffed the pair and were searching their car, Sgt. Gerardo Lucio, their supervising officer, pulled up. As the deputies conducted their search, Lucio explained the significance of the stop. It inevitably would produce a field information card identifying the man as a gang member, he said, “because he self-admitted and we found those photographs.” The woman also would get a card referring to her “as an associate” of a gang member.

If the officers hadn’t pulled over the duo that day, Lucio added, they would have “miss(ed) out on that information about his membership. … Field interview cards and field interviews help us figure out who’s hanging with who, when. A lot of the time, my guys get new members we haven’t come into contact with.”

    Police are “not supposed to rely on CalGang as evidence of gang membership. … In practice, they use it to check if an individual is listed as a gang member.”Peter Bibring
    senior staff attorney, ACLU of Southern California

The field card information would then be loaded into CalGang, a statewide database that over the years has grown to include more than 150,000 people. Law enforcement officials maintain that the tool is critical in the ongoing battle against gangs, but it has come under fire from civil libertarians and criminal justice reformers for its secrecy, which can ensnare innocent people without their knowledge.

Lucio said his deputies typically add people to CalGang based on tattoos, gang-related clothing or self-admission, criteria laid out in the 1988 STEP Act – California’s Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act – which allows judges to mete out harsher punishment for gang members.

Self-admission is unique. Whether it’s obtained in a field interview or at jail intake, it is the only criteria the STEP Act allows to stand on its own as proof of gang membership. There’s no room for gray areas: If someone claims a gang membership during a jail interview to avoid being housed with people from a hostile neighborhood or because he or she thinks it will garner respect and status, that automatically marks the person as a gangster in the eyes of California law enforcement.

Aside from a 2013 law that established a way for parents and juveniles to challenge a child’s inclusion in the database, most people can’t find out whether they are in CalGang. An effort to create a similar process for adults failed last year amid heavy lobbying by law enforcement agencies, which use the data to build files and bring charges against people based on their alleged gang ties.

Civil liberties advocates claim that the secrecy surrounding CalGang has created, in effect, a statewide investigative file blocked from external scrutiny.

“They’re not supposed to rely on CalGang as evidence of gang membership. They’re supposed to contact the person who entered that information into the system,” said Peter Bibring, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, speaking of both district attorneys and police. But, he said, “in practice, they use it to check if an individual is listed as a gang member.”

Those concerns, coupled with criticism that the criteria for adding someone to the database are too vague and people of color are disproportionately included, prompted the state to launch an audit of the system last summer. That report is due in August. In February, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, introduced AB 2298, the latest attempt to require that adults be notified if they are included in CalGang.
Consequences of gang classification

Aaron Harvey learned the hard way what it can mean to be documented as a gang member. He was a 26-year-old seeking his fortune in the Las Vegas real estate industry when he stepped out of his apartment to get some lunch on July 18, 2014. The San Diego native had moved there a year earlier to get away from the tumult of the hardscrabble Lincoln Park neighborhood where he grew up and where his family has lived for decades.
Aaron Harvey, a former documented gang member on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in San Diego, CA.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker for CIRonline)

Aaron Harvey was held without bail for eight months on criminal street gang conspiracy charges. Last March, a judge threw out the case against Harvey and several others, finding insufficient evidence to charge them. Credit: Sandy Huffaker for Reveal

Suddenly, nearly a dozen plainclothes U.S. marshals swarmed around Harvey with their guns drawn. He was arrested, booked at the Clark County jail and flown back to San Diego on a warrant in connection with nine shootings back home – shootings that had taken place after Harvey left for Nevada.

The shooters in these incidents never were identified. Instead, several men recorded on a wiretap discussing how to obtain a gun were charged with offenses ranging from attempted murder to assault. Harvey was not among them.

Even after the San Diego County district attorney’s office acknowledged that Harvey was not present for the shootings, he was charged with nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy to commit a felony – one for each shooting. Prosecutors claimed that Harvey was a participant in the conspiracy because he was, they alleged, a member of the Lincoln Park Bloods and stood to benefit because the shootings would increase his notoriety. The gang conspiracy charge is relatively new, created in 2000 when California’s Proposition 21 increased penalties for gang offenses.

    “I tell people that it might be a black and brown issue now, but it is going to be yours later.”Aaron Harvey
    who was charged with criminal street gang conspiracy

To establish Harvey’s gang ties, prosecutors introduced photos from his Facebook account that showed him with other men from his neighborhood, wearing green clothing and making hand signs that prosecutors said were gang related.

They also cited evidence gathered from more than a dozen contacts Harvey had with San Diego gang police over the years – evidence that prosecutors suggested established his involvement with the Lincoln Park Bloods. Many of the contacts dated back to his teenage years, and none had resulted in a criminal charge.

Harvey ended up being held without bail for eight months. Last March, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian threw out the case against Harvey and several of the other men, finding insufficient evidence to charge them.

“How can you attach a conspiracy,” the judge asked, “to a crime that doesn’t have a defendant?”

But release offered little relief. While he was in jail, Harvey lost his apartment and job as a club promoter. He moved back in with his parents in Lincoln Park. Motivated by what he sees as his own unfair targeting by law enforcement, he is now taking prelaw classes and organizing for criminal justice reform.

“I tell people that it might be a black and brown issue now, but it is going to be yours later,” Harvey said.

The case was a dark revelation for him. During an interview last spring at his parents’ home, Harvey vividly recalled those police stops, but it was only after prosecutors filed documents that he realized that police had documented each stop and taken detailed notes – about his tattoos, the colors he was wearing, where he was and the people he was with.

Each time, Harvey insisted that he was not affiliated with a gang. Still, he said, “you knew what the police considered you.”

Harvey now knows that information like that gathered about him routinely is fed into CalGang. That data – according to documents and interviews with law enforcement officials, attorneys and academics – frequently plays a role in arrests, inclusion in civil gang injunctions, deportations and criminal investigations.

The secrecy around CalGang and the loose criteria for inclusion in the database terrifies Harvey.

“It’s like a virus that you have, that you don’t know you have, and you’re spreading it to other people,” he said of gang classification. “(Someone) infected me with this disease; now I have it, and there’s no telling how many other people I have infected.”

But prosecutors believe Harvey has something to hide.

“Harvey knows more than he is willing to admit,” said Frank Jackson, San Diego County’s assistant district attorney in charge of gang prosecutions.
A history of California gangs

California long has been synonymous with street gangs and violence in popular culture, from “Boyz n the Hood” to “End of Watch.” Many of the state’s most infamous gangs – the Crips, the Bloods, the Norteños – coalesced in poor neighborhoods and barrios, particularly in the urban centers of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, in the middle of the 20th century. Others – Nuestra Familia, the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood – are offshoots of racial gangs formed in the state’s massive prison system.

As deindustrialization, white flight and urban decay hollowed out Los Angeles and other cities in the 1980s and the drug economy boomed, street gangs that previously engaged mostly in petty crime turned to more lucrative narcotics trafficking and grew as criminal organizations.

Almost as far back as there have been gangs, California law enforcement agencies have attempted to track their members. By the 1970s, this process had become routine. During stops of vehicles or pedestrians, police officers who suspected a person had a gang affiliation filled out a 5-by-7-inch index card, known as a field identification card. It included spaces for the person’s name, nickname, gang affiliation and physical description – including any identifying scars, birthmarks or tattoos – and room to attach a photograph. In the pre-digital days, these cards were filed alphabetically in cabinets, like library index cards.

But an upsurge of violence in the 1980s, largely attributed by law enforcement to the growth of gangs and the crack cocaine trade, led to the 1988 passage of the STEP Act.

Under the act, prosecutors now could seek longer sentences for people facing criminal charges who also fit 3 of 10 criteria that might indicate gang involvement: associating with known gang members, being seen in a known gang neighborhood – such as sections of Compton in the Los Angeles area, the Fillmore District in San Francisco and the Skyline area of Southeast San Diego – or wearing attire that might be gang related, such as a red San Francisco 49ers hat (Norteños/Bloods) or the blue caps of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Sureños/Crips).

As of mid-2015, 8,050 inmates – roughly 7 percent of the state’s prison population – are serving extra time because of these gang enhancements, according to The New York Times Magazine.

As the STEP Act was moving through the Legislature, prosecutors developed another tool: gang injunctions, which in effect are nuisance abatement suits that restrict an individual’s right to associate with other alleged gang members or move around freely in a geographic area linked to a gang. The injunctions provide law enforcement with wide latitude to stop, question and search people. They typically cover at least a dozen people and 1 to 3 square miles.

The injunctions have come under fire as a form of racial profiling in gentrifying areas such as L.A.’s Venice, and academic research does not show a clear impact on violent crime and gang involvement. Yet by 2013, according to court documents from a class-action lawsuit challenging the injunctions, more than 5,700 people in the Los Angeles area had been served with gang injunctions. A $30 million settlement was reached in the suit last week.

Against this backdrop, a private firm called Orion Scientific Systems Inc. began to create the CalGang database. The system’s first prototype, according to a report prepared by the California Department of Justice in 1999, was piloted by the San Diego Police Department in 1996 and rolled out statewide two years later at a cost of $520,000.

CalGang brought a sea change to state law enforcement by allowing officers in the field instant access to digitized intelligence about an individual’s gang ties. Before its launch, officers had to turn to an expensive and cumbersome electronic filing system called GREAT or dig through filing cabinets to pull up that person’s paper file.
Wes McBride was a sergeant in the Los Angeles County sheriff’s gang unit for 28 years until he retired in 2002. He now serves as the executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association.

Wes McBride was a sergeant in the Los Angeles County sheriff’s gang unit for 28 years until he retired in 2002. He now serves as the executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association. Credit: Stuart Palley for Reveal

GREAT – or the Gang Reporting, Evaluation, and Tracking system – was created by Wes McBride, a sergeant in the Los Angeles County sheriff’s gang unit for 28 years until he retired in 2002. McBride, who now serves as the executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association, went on to assist with the design of CalGang.

McBride believes in the value of rapid access to gang information that CalGang provides to field officers.

“In most cases, the gang members that you’re going to deal with are going to be your shooters and your victims,” he said. “These systems are built for when they’re not.”
Database veiled in secrecy

CalGang has been so successful that it has served as a template for similar databases marketed as the GangNet system by SRA International Inc. – which acquired Orion in 2004 – to law enforcement agencies in 13 other states, Canada and three federal agencies, including the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In California, the database holds information on more than 150,000 men and women, according to data obtained from the CalGang Executive Board through the state Public Records Act. In a state where 45 percent of the population is Latino or black, 85 percent of those entered into the database as alleged gang members or associates are Latino or black. They are as young as 9 and as old as 65.

calgang

As is the case with the government’s terrorist watch list, most people do not have the right to know whether they are included in CalGang. The database’s operating guidelines require that secrecy and instruct law enforcement officials to say that they are advised against including references to the database in public reports, court documents or public testimony.

In 2013, the California Legislature took a swipe at CalGang’s lack of transparency, passing a law requiring police departments to notify the parents of juveniles included in the database and to allow them to challenge their children’s gang classification.

But an attempt to extend these protections to adults failed last year.

Adults are removed from the database only if their file is not updated for five years. The trouble is, a police officer can update a file through contact as minimal as stopping someone while he or she is driving or walking in a known gang area – like the dozens of times Aaron Harvey was stopped in his own neighborhood while visiting his family in an area that police say is Lincoln Park Bloods territory.

    “It’s like a virus that you have, that you don’t know you have. … (Someone) infected me with this disease; now I have it, and there’s no telling how many other people I have infected.”Aaron Harvey
    on gang classification

In fact, California prison inmates have more rights than people on the outside because they are notified by authorities if they are classified as a gang member and have the ability to challenge that decision through the corrections department.

“Very little is known about the CalGang database,” said Ana Muñiz, a UCLA sociologist who has researched the database and gang injunctions. “There’s no rigorous oversight. And yet you have files built on tens of thousands of people that could affect their lives in very real ways.”

McBride, the retired sheriff’s sergeant who helped create CalGang, maintains that the database does not harm people unless they break the law.

“Say you’re in there. It doesn’t harm you,” he said. “I can’t use it for jobs. All I can use it for is criminal investigations.”

But such reassurances do not sit well with Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego, who said her adult son was stopped by police in the summer of 2002 while out in the trendy Gaslamp Quarter and told that he would be entered into CalGang.

“Putting people on lists intimidates individuals and communities, and it also gives police officers an opportunity to go and arrest individuals who may not be gang members,” she said. “It casts a very wide net in communities. That has a chilling effect on young men who may have never even thought of being a member of a gang.”

In August, Weber urged the state auditor to launch a thorough examination of the database and its use by state and local law enforcement agencies.

Investigators have been asked to determine whether alleged gang members’ information has been kept in CalGang improperly, whether departments are complying with California’s gang criteria when they add data, whether minors are being removed in accordance with the 2013 law, how local law enforcement use the database, the system’s cost and whether it has been successful.
Efforts to open CalGang to public  

California police and prosecutors highly value the information CalGang provides, and they are concerned about efforts to provide access to the public.

The importance of CalGang to law enforcement became apparent last spring, when the California District Attorneys Association led the charge to derail AB 829, the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, that would have required notifying adults that they had been included in CalGang and established a process to petition for removal.

In emails to law enforcement agencies, association Assistant CEO Martin Vranicar wrote that AB 829 “would completely destroy the use of the CalGang database as a viable law enforcement tool.” He rallied support from other law enforcement advocacy groups to kill the bill before it reached the Assembly floor in April.

“We have to be opposed” to the measure, Aaron Maguire, a lobbyist for the California State Sheriffs’ Association, testified at the time. “We’re talking about undermining criminal investigations and providing very costly hearings.”

Glimpses of how CalGang is used emerge from conversations with current and former law enforcement officials, court filings and internal law enforcement documents.

When someone is stopped by police, his or her identification is checked against California’s law enforcement databases for prior arrests and contacts. Through CalGang, officers can check whether the person previously has been documented as a gang member or associate.

A 1999 California Department of Justice report includes accounts of how law enforcement used CalGang to identify and locate criminal suspects.

In the San Diego area, police identified a gang-related suspect by running a search for a “Maria” chest tattoo. Within minutes, the database pulled up 13 possible matches.

In the Central Valley city of Fresno, sheriff’s deputies identified a suspect in the gang rape of three underage girls by searching the database for a name – “Bolo” – that one of the victims remembered hearing.

Frank Jackson, the San Diego County assistant district attorney, said investigators there routinely use CalGang.

Others were more circumspect.

Many law enforcement agencies declined requests for information about how they use CalGang, how the database facilitates their daily functions and with whom they share records. CalGang’s Executive Board also declined to explain how the database is used.

Brian Schirn, an assistant head deputy with the hardcore gang unit at the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, is a strong defender of the STEP Act and the gang enhancements it offers prosecutors. When he was a prosecutor in the 1990s, he said, he heard residents at community meetings plead for relief from gang warfare.

“We would listen to these people who were afraid to leave their homes,” he said.

But Schirn would not open up about CalGang, beyond denying that his office relies on it for evidence. In fact, he said, the office doesn’t use the system at all. Shiara Dávila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, confirmed that investigators attached to the office have access to CalGang.

Field officers also vary in how diligently they upload information to CalGang – a persistent dynamic since the database’s inception.
Jack Schaeffer, a San Diego police detective and vice president of the local police union, says he routinely reviews CalGang for information on suspects. He says the availability of information varies by department.

Jack Schaeffer, a San Diego police detective and vice president of the local police union, says he routinely reviews CalGang for information on suspects. He says the availability of information varies by department.Credit: Sandy Huffaker for Reveal

Jack Schaeffer, a San Diego police detective and vice president of the local police union, investigates several San Diego Crips sets, or groups claiming a broader gang affiliation. He said he routinely reviews CalGang for information on suspects, though he noted that the availability of information varies from department to department.

“Some agencies will plug things into the system,” he said, “while others won’t and have hard-copy files instead of digital files.”
Inaccurate info used as evidence

One of the CalGang critiques leveled by UCLA sociologist Ana Muñiz and ACLU of Southern California lawyer Peter Bibring is that the secrecy of information in the database and lack of external review of gang evidence can lead to inaccuracies in someone’s file.

The forthcoming state audit is expected to shed light on the training procedures for personnel who input individuals into the database, as well as documentation procedures and information sharing among law enforcement.

Incorrect information uploaded to CalGang already has found its way into court. For example, documentation of alleged gang member Daniel Antuñez, 26 – provided to the Orange County district attorney by police in Santa Ana – was used to include him in a civil injunction against the Townsend Street gang.

Antuñez has three brothers and grew up in the heart of the territory covered by the injunction. He also has dozens of documented contacts with police. But he claims that he is not a gang member and challenged his inclusion in the database with the assistance of the ACLU. On Feb. 5, the Orange County DA decided to drop its efforts to include Antuñez in the Townsend Street injunction, according to Caitlin Sanderson, an ACLU of Southern California staff attorney who represented Antuñez.

Antuñez’s Santa Ana file contains a field interview card on which the nickname and tattoos don’t match Antuñez – they match his twin brother, Sergio. Another field interview card included in the file clearly pertains to his youngest brother, David. Check boxes on the erroneous field interview cards note that they were uploaded to CalGang.

Jeff Launi, a Santa Ana gang detective who testified for the Orange County prosecutor as its expert witness on the Townsend Street gang, admitted in a September deposition that he had never met Daniel Antuñez and relied on the flawed documents to make his determination.

“Inaccuracies on the field interview cards and STEP notices we found in Daniel’s file likely means there are inaccuracies in his entry in CalGang,” Sanderson said.

She described law enforcement’s decision-making process about what constitutes gang evidence as haphazard and in need of outside scrutiny.

“It’s crucial that there’s some form of oversight and transparency in the collection of this information,” she said.

In the Los Angeles class action against gang injunctions, a declaration by Angel Gomez, a gang officer in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division – which includes the Mar Vista, Venice and Palms neighborhoods – revealed rampant inaccuracies in that division’s information on gang members.

“I would estimate that approximately 50% of the address information in our records for Pacific Division gang members is inaccurate at any given time,” Gomez’s declaration reads.

Bibring, the ACLU attorney, said the lack of rigor surrounding the documentation of gang members and associates, the building blocks of CalGang, opens the door for law enforcement officials to exaggerate the gang threat.

“There is a fiction of gangs being more organized than they actually are, which CalGang helps perpetuate,” he said. “It makes documented people easier to prosecute, (and) it makes the task of dealing with gang members easier in that you just put them away.”
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This story was co-produced through an editorial partnership with The Investigative Fund, a project of The Nation Institute. It was edited by Fernando Diaz, Amy Pyle and Esther Kaplan and copy edited by Sheela Kamath and Nikki Frick.

Ali Winston can be reached at awinston@cironline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @awinston.

Top photo: San Diego native Aaron Harvey insists that he never has been affiliated with a gang. But in 2014, he was charged with nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy for shootings that occurred when he wasn’t living in California. CREDIT: Sandy Huffaker for Rev

Motorcycle Clubs Still Legal, REPEATED BY REQUEST...

OFF THE WIRE.
agingrebel.com

It is already 2015 and it still isn’t illegal to ride a motorcycle or belong to a motorcycle club. At least not technically.  Most of the government acts as if it is, though.
Here’s what’s happening at the beginning of the New Year.

Big Brother v. The Mongols MC

The Mongols Motorcycle Club has been under more or less constant legal attack since former government agent William Queen started hanging around the San Fernando Valley chapter of the club in 1998. In 2008 the Department of Justice brought a racketeering indictment against more than six dozen Mongols and former club president Ruben “Doc” Cavazos. Dozens more members had personal property seized and had to endure years of legal puffery to get it back. A central goal of the indictment was to seize the Mongols’ name and insignia. Police announced and the press reported that henceforth any cop in America could “rip” Mongols patches “off the backs” of any Mongol they encountered. It was an unconstitutional attempt to outlaw the club. Several federal judges ruled patch pulling by the authorities was unconstitutional.
But one of those judges, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy named Otis D. Wright, suggested to prosecutors they might get around the Constitutional issue by indicting the club as a whole. So the same federal prosecutors who pursued the 2008 case, Christopher Brunwin and Steven Welk, are prosecuting a case called USA v. Mongol Nation. Brunwin and Welk intend to prove that the club promotes crime and protects criminals. Wright, who imagined the case, will preside over it by what the Central District asserts is pure luck. Long term, the government doesn’t have a chance of passing Constitutional muster, but that isn’t the point. The point of the case is to bankrupt the club with scurrilous prosecutions. The government has unlimited resources. The Mongols Motorcycle Club does not.
The Mongols trial begins March 24.

Big Brother v. David Martinez

The current racketeering case against the Mongols is weak. Most of the racketeering acts it alleges predate the 2008 case against the club and prosecutors are eager to pin something more recent on the Mongols. That is what led to a series of Swat raids in the early morning hours of October 28.
According to NBC, the raids on seven homes were part of an law enforcement effort “to head off retaliation by the Mongols against members of their longtime rival Hells Angels…as well as a sport bike club known as the G-Zer (pronounced ‘geezer’) Tribe, based in the East Los Angeles area. The motive for the payback appears to stem from at least two recent encounters between members of the three gangs on Los Angeles and Riverside County freeways in which Mongols members were shot at or pushed off their bikes. At least one Mongol member was killed, another was paralyzed and several others were wounded in the incidents, according to the sources.”
The affidavit underlying the search warrants was sealed to protect the identity of a confidential informant. The raids were also carried out in the middle of the night by militarized police in order to punish the occupants of the homes. The raid on Martinez’ home wouldn’t have attracted much publicity except that a Swat officer named Shaun Diamond died on Martinez’ front porch. Diamond was wearing body armor and a Kevlar “fritz” helmet at the time. He was, according to multiple police sources, shot in the back of the head. Almost everyone who has knowledge of the incident except prosecutors believe Diamond was killed by friendly fire. Police allege Marrtinez fired the shot that killed their man and they recovered the gun he used to do it.
Prosecutors have charged Martinez with first degree murder with enhancements that could put him on death row. He has been in jail for more than two months. His family tried to hire a private attorney but couldn’t afford to pay for one. Martinez next court appearance is scheduled for this Wednesday.

Big Brother v. The Hells Angels MC

The surreal trial of three Hells Angels named Timothy R. Bianchi, Nicholas F. Carrillo and Josh L. Johnson also resumes Wednesday in Lake County, California. The three men are accused of beating a member of the Vagos Motorcycle Club named Michael Anthony Burns at a tattoo convention in Lakeport, California in June 2011. The fight lasted about a minute. The legal case is now in its fourth year.
Burns suffered significant facial injuries and told police he had fallen. The initial investigator in the case, Lake County Sheriff’s Sergeant named Gary Frace, tried to close the case but was reprimanded by then Sheriff Francisco Rivero.
Rivero seems to have an obsession with the Hells Angels. A month before the fight at the tattoo convention, Rivero convinced himself that 150 Hells Angels were on their way to Lake County to rumble with a third as many Vagos. Rivero scrambled every cop in the county, deployed snipers and set up roadblocks to stop the imaginary pack of Angels.
Rivero’s obsession has been fed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Eventually the charges against the three defendants were amended to include a felony – aggravated assault. The felony made it possible to also charge the three Angels with a “gang enhancement.”
When the trial began last month, Lake County Deputy District Attorney Art Grothe told jurors, “I intend to show that when the individuals did what we allege they did, it was in benefit of and in furtherance of a criminal street gang, that is the Hells Angels,”
Sometime in the last 40 months the case ceased to be about a simple, if unfair fight, among four grown men and became a trial about what people think of the Hells Angels. The defendants are in effect being tried for the imaginary crime of belonging to a motorcycle club. The principal witness against the Hells Angels will be a biker expert named Jorge Gil-Blanco. Gil-Blanco specializes in testifying against Hells Angels. He will probably be the first witness called to the stand Wednesday. He may testify for up to a week and when he is done former Sheriff Rivero will tell the jury what he thinks.

Kinsgmen v. Kingsmen

The murders of two Kingsmen Motorcycle Club patch holders named Paul Maue and Daniel “DJ” Szymanski may begin to make sense to the general public before Spring. Police allege the two men were “executed” by a Kingsmen from Deland, Florida named Andre L. “Li’l Bear” Jenkins. Police haven’t revealed a plausible motive for the murders but they have said they broke the case with the help of an informant.
It is a curious incident of homicide about which it is easy to speculate. The press in Buffalo seems inclined to think of Jenkins as club assassin. The truth is probably stranger than that.
Jenkins is black and he is a relatively new to the biker scene. He was convicted of burglary and imprisoned in South Dakota for 12 years before his parole in 2010. He absconded from parole sometime after that, made his way to Florida, worked in a car wash and became a member of the Kingsmen’s Daytona Beach chapter.

There is an ongoing federal investigation of the murders. Jenkins has already been indicted on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. And William J. Hochul, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York told Dan Herbeck of the Buffalo News, “This charge is an important step in our investigation, but by no means is it the end of our investigation.” Herbeck also reported, “federal agents are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the September 6 murders of two bikers outside the Kingsmen Motorcycle Club clubhouse in North Tonawanda.”

Thursday, August 25, 2016

2015 National Gang Report - Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs

OFF THE WIRE
Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs
Definition: OMGs are ongoing organizations, associations or groups of three or more persons with a common interest or activity characterized by the commission of, or involvement in, a pattern of criminal conduct. Members must possess and be able to operate
a motorcycle to achieve and maintain membership within the group
Source: 2015 National Gang Report, page 22-27
The 2015 National Gang Report (NGR) presents an overview of current gang activities and trends in the United States. Intelligence in this report is derived primarily from a survey administered by the
National Alliance of Gang Investigators’ Associations (NAGIA) and from a second survey on Safe Streets and Gang Task Forces administered by the FBI Safe Streets and Gang Unit (SSGU). The quantitative data herein is supplemented by qualitative open source reports and reporting from federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement from across the nation.
https://drive.google.com/…/0BwARyffUmq8DUUpqRG02dGpGN…/view…..

babe of the day

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

BABE OF THE DAY

Bill to Create Guidelines on Lane Splitting is Signed into Law



(Bobby) Was camping when the announcement was made. Here is the official News Release from the Lane Splitting Educational Guidelines Legislative Author (AB 51) Bill Quirk.

I wish to thank the members of the United Motorcycle Clubs of Alameda County, Bay Area United Motorcycle Rider Coalition, American Motorcyclist Association, CityBike Magazine, Bay Area Riders Forum, ABATE of CA, MMA of CA, BRO of CA, BOLT of CA, MCANSG and all the independent riders who participated in the meetings in Hayward and Sacramento, conference calls between our workgroup and the author, co-author, chief of staff, the UC Berkeley contractor who developed and published the lane splitting study reports and those who made it to all the committee hearings.

This was a truly collaborative effort that resulted in codifying the practice of lane splitting in CA, setting a model for other states to follow, and also demonstrates that if we work towards common goals together, the biker community can achieve positive results.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bill to Create Guidelines on Lane Splitting is Signed into Law

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Quirk (D-Hayward) and Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R- Palmdale) have successfully granted the California Highway Patrol (CHP) authority to develop educational guidelines on lane splitting.

Lane splitting, which occurs when a motorcycle drives between rows of stopped or moving traffic, is a gray area in California law. This is because statute is silent – California does not explicitly allow it, but also doesn’t explicitly prohibit this behavior.

Recognizing the need to develop guidelines as an education tool for drivers, the CHP convened a committee of traffic safety stakeholders and motorcycle safety experts in 2012. However, an individual filed a complaint that the guidelines were underground regulations. At the suggestion of counsel, CHP removed the guidelines from its website and the Department of Motor Vehicles removed them from the Motorcycle Handbook.

“Removal of the guidelines left a huge gap with regards to traffic safety. CHP had to curtail all education and outreach efforts on lane splitting,” Assemblymember Quirk explained. Last year he partnered with Assemblymember Lackey, a retired California Highway Patrolman, to introduce Assembly Bill (AB) 51.

AB 51 clarifies that the CHP does have authority to develop educational guidelines on lane splitting. It further asks that they convene a group of stakeholders to provide their expert opinion in the drafting of the guidelines. “There are motorcyclists that lane split safely and others that disregard all safety considerations – those are the drivers this bill will help the most,” Assemblymember Quirk stated.

“California took a groundbreaking step today as the first state to formally allow motorcycle lane splitting,” said Assemblymember Lackey. “More importantly, we are now giving riders and motorists clear guidance on when it is safe. This is a huge win for roadway safety.”

“I am thrilled to see that California, is once again, at the forefront of common-sense road safety legislation. Signing of this bill will bring legitimacy to this practice and help to keep our roads safer and our drivers – both motorcyclists and motorists – better educated.” Assemblymember Quirk commented upon learning his bill was signed.

###

Elected in 2012, Bill Quirk brings his PhD in astrophysics and career as an educator and scientist to the State Assembly. He is the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on California’s Clean Energy Economy, and a member of the Assembly Committees on Agriculture, Appropriations, Public Safety, Revenue & Taxation, Rules, and Utilities & Commerce.

Website of Assemblymember Quirk: http://www.asmdc.org/quirk

TOMASA DUEÑAS
Chief of Staff
Assembly Member Bill Quirk (D-20)
State Capitol Room 2163
Sacramento, CA 95814
P: 916.319.2020
F: 916.319.2120
www.assembly.ca.gov/Quirk

BABE OF THE DAY

Bill to shed light on California’s gang database moves forward

OFF THE WIRE

Legislation that would open California’s gang database to more public scrutiny advanced in the state Assembly today, despite significant opposition from law enforcement.

The bill – AB 2298 by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego – aims to provide adults with the right to be notified – and to appeal – if they are included in CalGang, remove people from the database if they go three years without a gang-related conviction and require the California Department of Justice to produce an annual report on the program.

The secretive database currently includes more than 150,000 people – the vast majority of them Latino or black –entered by local law enforcement agencies based on criteria such as tattoos, gang-related clothing or admission of gang involvement to an officer. Adults never know whether they have been documented, yet can face harsher punishment if they are arrested later for a crime.

Weber’s effort, which cleared the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a 5-2 vote, would expand on 2013 legislation that provided juveniles and their parents with the right to be notified of and appeal their gang documentation. In her remarks to the committee, Weber talked about the database’s impact on black and Latino communities, arguing that the criteria it relies on is overbroad and subjective.

    You can be documented as a gang member without ever having committed a crime.”— Aaron Harvey
    San Diego man who says he should not be in CalGang

“The whole issue of developing gang lists without people even being notified that they’re on a gang list reeks of the McCarthy era,” she said, referencing the anticommunist tactics of U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

“Gang suppression strategies’ employment by law enforcement, including gang databases, have existed in California for over 30 years without consistency or transparency in their application, without meaningful data reporting and without any assessment of their impact on the criminalization of youth and communities of color,” she said.

Sponsors of the bill include the Youth Justice Coalition, Urban Peace Institute, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and National Immigration Law Center. A raft of law enforcement organizations are opposed, including the California District Attorneys Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association, Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association and California Narcotic Officers Association.

The first to speak in favor of the legislation was Aaron Harvey, a San Diego man who faced and beat criminal street gang conspiracy charges in a series of 2014 shootings, stemming from allegations that he was affiliated with the Lincoln Park Bloods. Harvey, who denies he is a gang member, was in Las Vegas at the time and faced criminal charges because gang detectives with the San Diego Police Department previously had recorded him as a gang member.

Harvey introduced himself to the committee as “a real-life example of the destruction that documentation can cause in a person’s life,” highlighting his arrest and the eight months he spent in jail while awaiting trial.

“Being documented as a gang member can impact where you can live, what services can be provided to you, where you can travel to, educational opportunities and who you can associate with,” Harvey said. “And remember, you can be documented as a gang member without ever having committed a crime.”
Aaron Harvey, who spoke at an Assembly committee hearing today in favor of opening up California’s gang database to more public scrutiny, said he was “a real-life example of the destruction that documentation can cause in a person’s life,” highlighting his arrest and the eight months he spent in jail while awaiting trial.

Aaron Harvey, who spoke at an Assembly committee hearing today in favor of opening up California’s gang database to more public scrutiny, said he was “a real-life example of the destruction that documentation can cause in a person’s life,” highlighting his arrest and the eight months he spent in jail while awaiting trial.Credit: Sandy Huffaker for Reveal

Josh Green, an attorney with the Urban Peace Institute in Los Angeles who has helped youth challenge their inclusion in the database, also testified in support of AB 2298. Green argued that the criteria for being entered into CalGang “is extremely low,” and “in some neighborhoods, those criteria are the day-to-day experience of residents.”

Citing a 2013 ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, he pointed to its finding that “determining whether an individual is an active gang member presents a considerable risk of error.”

Green also said applicants for immigration relief under the federal DREAM Act can be identified as gang-affiliated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement through CalGang, which immigration authorities regularly access. People who apply for immigration relief and are documented as gang members “might have their (DREAM Act) application denied, but might also be flagged as a high priority for deportation,” he said.

Sean Hoffman, a lobbyist for the California District Attorneys Association, said adult notification would create a cumbersome and burdensome appeals process for law enforcement and would be “like letting suspects view evidence being collected against them before we decide to file charges.”

Hoffman said his organization also had concerns about the three-year expungement requirement, which is shorter than some police departments’ own criteria.

Asha Harris, who spoke on behalf of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, said the changes would undermine public safety “by informing gang members and their associates they are under investigation.” She said the state sheriffs hadn’t opposed the 2013 effort for juvenile notification, but see adult notification as a threat to a valuable investigative tool.

AB 2298 will next go before the Assembly Appropriations Committee. A similar effort to provide adult notification and appeal for gang documentation, SB 829, failed in its second committee hearing last spring.

A state audit already underway is expected to shed light on training of personnel who input individuals into the database, as well as documentation procedures and information sharing among law enforcement agencies.

Statistics Prove Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs Not A Public Threat

OFF THE WIRE
THANKS ROBERT
statistics-prove-motorcycle-clubs-not-threat-featured-image
Authorities openly target motorcycle clubs, particularly 1% clubs, selectively enforcing the law, in order to harass or investigate individuals based on the belief that they are definitionally criminals. This perspective is based on an outdated stereotype that is ignorant of statistical reality and foundational constitutional principles that have been consistently confirmed by the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

Many federal and state authorities insist that what they call “outlaw motorcycle gangs/OMG’s” are a significant organized crime threat in America, despite the statistical data that proves criminal activity involving these clubs is negligible at best. (Note: the OMG tag is universally rejected by the clubs labeled gangs by law enforcement.)

Tens of millions of dollars are spent targeting and prosecuting motorcycle clubs based on a fallacy of composition. The regurgitated actions of the few are used to create a generalized assumption about thousands of people, regardless of statistical reality. Crimes committed by individual members of motorcycle clubs are highly sensationalized and presented to be representative of the entire community.  In fact, the statistical data that does exist, including the data generated by these same agencies, proves definitively that clubs labeled OMG’s represent a myopic percentage of criminal activity in this country.  Indeed, data suggests that law enforcement agencies commit and sanction many more major crimes than motorcycle clubs.

The Numbers


To begin to paint an accurate picture it is necessary to know how many members of these clubs and convicted felons there are in the US. Statistics say that there are 44,000 members of clubs labeled OMG’s, 24,000,000 convicted felons, and 6,851,000 whom are currently under correctional supervision.

  • The FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center estimates that there are 44,000 members of so-called OMG’s in the U.S. According to the NGIC, “OMGs are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. Although some law enforcement agencies regard only One Percenters as OMGs, the NGIC, for the purpose of this assessment, covers all OMG criminal organizations, including OMG support and puppet clubs.”

  • According to the Princeton University study, GROWTH IN THE U.S. EX-FELON AND EX-PRISONER POPULATION, 1948 TO 2010, 20 million people in 2010 had a felony conviction. Accounting for growth rates, there were approximately 24 million people in 2014 with a felony conviction.

  • According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 6,851,000 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) in 2014. (see BJS, “Correctional Populations In The United States, 2014”)

Statistical Reality- Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs Members a very small fraction of convicted felons in the US.


Although there is no statistical data tracking the number of motorcycle club members who are convicted felons, law enforcement would have you believe that all members of clubs they have labeled OMG’s are criminals.

Despite the obvious inaccuracy of this claim,- most members of clubs labeled OMG’s have no criminal record- let us assume for the sake of argument, and to demonstrate the absurdity of law enforcement assumptions, that every member of every club that authorities label a criminal gang is a convicted felon.

Even if all 44,000 members of clubs labeled OMG’s were convicted felons, the overall impact on felony convictions would be minuscule. Do the math. 44,000 members/24,000,000 convicted felons=0.00183333 or .183333%.  The impact on those currently under correctional supervision would be similarly insignificant. 44,000 members/6,851,000 currently under supervision=0.00642242 or .64%. A fraction of 1% does not justify the stereotype of criminality. It’s that simple.  The following Pie Chart graphically demonstrates the absurdity of focusing on motorcycle clubs as a law enforcement priority.


Actual Number of Convicted Felons Among Clubs Labeled OMG’s


Although the NGIC estimates the number of members, no data on how many members are actually convicted felons is available.  On August 2, 2016 the MPP conducted a short survey with a small national sampling to generate data on the issue.  The survey data is derived solely from motorcycle clubs labeled OMG’s by law enforcement.   The survey asked two questions; 1- number of members in your Chapter; and 2- number of convicted felons in your Chapter.

Survey Results:

# of Chapters included in Survey: 5 (States surveyed include Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, and Maryland.)

Average Number of members: 15
Average number of Convicted Felons per Chapter: 3 or 20%

15/3 WA
16/4 OR
14/3 TX
14/1 MD
16/4 CA

The survey results revealed that there was an average of 1 convicted felon in 5, or 20%.  Although the above example, which counts every member of targeted clubs as convicted felons, demonstrates that clubs definitionally have a minimal crime print, 20% of members is a far more realistic projection than 100%.  20% of 44,000 = 8,800 club members that are convicted felons.  8,800 represents an almost non-existent 0.036% of the 24,000,0000 total convicted felons in the US.


Why Are There Felons In Motorcycle Clubs?


Options in society for most felons are extremely limited in terms of employment and some basic civil liberties and often felons feel rejected and stigmatized by society. Motorcycle club culture was created by individuals that had been rejected by society after having returned home from war. Motorcycle clubs provide an opportunity for reintegration to those released from incarceration without the constraints of a judgmental mainstream.

The motorcycle club world is a classless society in terms of mainstream establishment social hierarchy.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re a common laborer or an executive.  When you walk into the club world, status is dictated by respect and honor and not your education or job title.  Club culture provides an alternative way of life free from the condemnations of the mainstream. Everyone has to live by the same legal schematic. But not everyone has to reinforce or acknowledge mainstream social hierarchies or elitist behavior.

Note: Some crimes are definitionally despicable and individuals that have committed these crimes are not accepted, or they are ostracized, from the club community. Crimes targeting children are an example of such an offense.

Hypocrisy Defined: LE Authorizes Informants To Commit Thousands of Major Crimes Annually


For decades, law enforcement agencies have authorized informants to commit major crimes.  Labeled “otherwise illegal activity”, these sanctioned major crimes are considered to be necessary for undercover informant work.  But, aside from the FBI, “otherwise illegal activity” has not been quantified by other state and federal agencies.

In 1997, according to the criminal defense firm O’Brien Hatfield, PA, “It came to light when reporters revealed the FBI had authorized mobster “Whitey” Bulger to continue his criminal enterprise long after he became an FBI informant in 1975. Since that revelation, the U.S. Attorney General has required the FBI to keep reports on “otherwise illegal activity” by its “confidential human sources.”

But obtaining these reports has proven difficult over the years. At least until members of the press were able to obtain some quantifiable numbers from the FBI. The Huffington Post Reported on December 27,2013:

“In a Jan. 14, 2013, letter to Justice Department officials, obtained by The Huffington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request, FBI officials disclosed that its 56 field offices authorized informants to break the law at least 5,939 times during the 2012 calendar year. USA Today reported earlier this year that the bureau allowed its informants to break the law 5,658 times in 2011.”

O’Brien Hatfield explains that the reports “indicate the otherwise illegal activities were considered Tier I and Tier II violations. The Justice Department defines a Tier I violation as activity that would be criminal if not for the authorization of a federal prosecutor, and includes major crimes such as drug trafficking, public corruption and crimes of violence. Tier II violations aren’t necessarily less serious but can authorized by a senior FBI field manager.”

“Unfortunately, other law enforcement agencies are not required to keep such reports, although it is widely assumed that all levels of law enforcement allow informants to commit crimes during investigations”, says O’Brien Hatfield.

Annually, nearly 6,000 major crimes are being authorized by the FBI alone. Considering that all levels of law enforcement authorize criminal acts, the actual numbers would be truly staggering.

All levels of law enforcement sanction informants to commit major crimes in order to arrest and convict other individuals for committing these same crimes. This hypocrisy overwhelms the amount of criminal activity in the club community many times over.


Study Proves Police Commit More Felonies Than Outlaw Bikers


Police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day, according to a new national study, thought to be the first-ever nationwide look at police crime, conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University through a grant from the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice.

The most common crimes were simple assault, aggravated assault, and significant numbers of sex crimes. About 72 percent of officers (825 annually) charged in cases with known outcomes are convicted, more than 40 percent of the crimes are committed on duty.

The number of convicted felons in clubs labeled OMG’s, as explained above, is approximately 8,800 total. The number of convicted cops over the last 11 years, according to the only data that exists, is 9,075. (825 convicted cops per year x 11 years). More cops have been convicted of felonies in the last 11 years than the total number of felons in clubs law enforcement labels OMG’s.

This is hypocrisy at the highest level. Statistically, without bias, police are more of a threat to public safety than outlaw motorcycle clubs have ever been.

Conclusions: Motorcycle Clubs Are Not A National Law Enforcement Issue.


Considered in context with data suggesting law enforcement is a larger contributor to crime, the analysis leaves no doubt that clubs targeted by law enforcement are targeted based on stereotype as opposed to statistical reality.  The vastly expensive surveillance, investigations, harassment and profiling campaigns conducted by authorities are simply not justified based on the irrefutable statistical reality that motorcycle clubs mathematically have a negligible to non-existent impact on the level and magnitude of felony crime in the United States.

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About the Author

David
is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Council of Clubs, Founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project, and works with motorcyclists at the national level. Contact: Send Email,

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Motorcycle lane splitting is officially legal in California

OFF THE WIRE
http://www.latimes.com/…/la-pol-sac-essential-politics-upda…                                                                                          Motorcycle lane splitting is officially legal in California


Neither explicitly legal nor illegal, lane-splitting has had the tacit approval of the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles. (Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times)
California's motorcyclists could soon have clear rules on lane splitting after the state on Friday became the first in the nation to formally legalize the practice.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) that defines the practice and authorizes the California Highway Patrol to establish rules for motorcyclists on how to do it safely.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), a retired state highway patrol sergeant who co-wrote the bill, called the new law a "groundbreaking step."
"This is a huge win for roadway safety,” Lackey said in a statement. "We are now giving riders and motorists clear guidance on when it is safe."
Lane splitting, in which a motorcyclist passes other vehicles by riding between them along the lane line, has long been a controversial issue.
Technically, it has not been legal or illegal, falling in a gray area where it was treated as acceptable by law enforcement agencies. But when the CHP published guidelines on the practice in 2015, a citizen complained that the agency should not be allowed to create public policy. In came AB 51.
Quirk's original bill proposed that lane splitting could occur legally only when a motorcycle was moving no more than 15 mph faster than the traffic around it, and it prohibited the practice at speeds above 50 mph.
Several motorcyclists' groups objected to that, saying the limit was too low. Other groups and individuals, who believe that lane splitting is dangerous regardless of speed, objected to the proposal entirely.
The revised bill, which sailed through the legislative process, provides a basic definition of "lane splitting" and leaves the rest to the CHP. Quirk has said it has many benefits, including reducing traffic congestion and promoting safety.
"I am thrilled to see that California is once again at the forefront of common-sense road safety legislation,” Quirk said. "Signing of this bill will bring legitimacy to this practice and help to keep our roads safer and our drivers – both motorcyclists and motorists – better educated.”

US Knife Laws By State – How to Stay Legal

OFF THE WIRE

All State Knife Laws – Interactive Map with Knife Laws by State:

Find more detailed information here, including an interactive map:

texas-knife-laws-state-knife-laws-by-state

US Knife Laws- State Knife Laws by State

1. Alabama Knife Laws

What is Legal

Alabama has one of the best knife laws in the US.If you don’t like legal speak, here is the basics of what are legal under Alabama knife laws.

Balisongs/butterfly knives are legal.
Switchblades, gravity knives, automatic and assisted opening knives are legal.
Stilettos, dirks, and toothpick knives are legal.
All folding knives are legal.
Bowies are legal if carried open (like on your hip).
Bowies are legal to carry concealed if you are on your own property.
Double sided knives are legal, no  matter the size.
If the knife fits in your pocket, it is legal.
Out the front knives are legal.
What is Illegal

Here are notes on what kinds of knives are illegal under Alabama knife laws.

Bowies and things that are like Bowies are illegal if concealed.
Bowies are illegal to have in your vehicle.
A machete might be classified as a Bowie and it would be illegal if you carry it concealed.
A 11″ butcher knife has be found to be like a Bowie in court so don’t plan on using it in a crime.
Selling Bowies to people under 18 is illegal.
2. Alaska Knife Laws

What is Legal/Illegal in Alaska

Pocket knives are legal.
Balisongs are in a legal gray area.
Stilettos and dirks are in a legal gray area.
Out the front knives are in a legal gray area.
Bowie knives are in a legal gray area.
Large knives are in a legal gray area.
Gravity knives are illegal.
Switchblades are illegal.
Above is a brief review of Alaska knife law. The law specifically states that pocketknives are legal to both own and conceal carry. It also states that gravity knives and switchblades are illegal to own. Other types of knives are not outright banned, but may fall under the “deadly weapons” or “dangerous instrument” category. Alaska’s definition of a deadly weapon is a bit vague and depends a lot on court precedence as well as how crafty your lawyer is. For instance in Liddicoat v. State, the Court held that a steak knife was a deadly weapon. It’s definition of a dangerous instrument is not much clearer, and much of the law rests on Court decisions, not the statutes.

3. Arizona Knife Laws

What is Legal/Illegal in Arizona

Pocket knives are legal.
Balisong knives are legal.
Switchblades, gravity knives, Bowie knives, and stilettos are legal.
Knives of any length are legal.
It is legal for anyone over 21 to carry knives concealed.
It is illegal to not inform a police officer when they stop you that you are carrying a concealed knife when the knife is not a pocket knife.
It is illegal for someone under 21 years of age to carry a non-pocket knife concealed.
It is illegal to bring a knife into schools.
Outside of what is listed above, it is illegal to use a knife to commit a behavior that is already illegal. What this means is that it is illegal to rob a bank with a knife and you will be penalized more severely than if you robbed a bank without a weapon.

4. Arkansas Knife Laws

What are Legal Knives Under Arkansas Knife Law

Balisongs are legal.
Switchblades, automatic knives, gravity knives, and similar knives are legal.
Dinks, stilettos, and other stabbing knives are legal.
Bowies and other large knives are legal.
Knives of all sizes are legal.
Basically, if it has a blade, it is legal.

5. California Knife Laws

Legal Knives in California

Bowie knives are legal.
Large knives are legal (no restrictions in size).
Carrying knives in the open is legal in California.
Carrying knives concealed is legal in California for most knives.
Illegal Knives under California Knife Law

Misleading knives are illegal. These include: cane knives (and shobi-zues), lipstick knives, belt knives, pen knives, air gauge knives, and pen knives.
All undetectable knives are illegal. These include knives that won’t set off metal detectors.
Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are illegal.
Ballistic knives are illegal.
What the law is trying to get at are knives usually used by criminals to commit crimes. These are knives that don’t look like knives or don’t have a use as a tool. For example, you can’t do much with a dagger besides stab things.

6. Colorado Knife Laws

These knives are legal to own:

Dirks, daggers, push knives and stilettos are legal.
Bowie knives and other large blades are legal.
Disguised knives like belt knives, pen knives, cane knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
Balisong/buterfly knives are in a legal gray area.
Ballistic knives are illegal.
Gravity knives and switchblades are illegal.
These knives are illegal to carry concealed:

All knives less than 3.5 inches are legal.
All fishing and hunting knives of any length are legal.
All knives over 3.5 inches are illegal.
7. Connecticut Knife Laws

All Knives Are Legal to Own:

Balisongs, automatic knives, gravity knives, and switchblades are legal to own.
Dirks, stilettos, daggers, and push knives are legal to own.
Disguised knives like lipstick knives, cane knives, and boot knives are legal to own.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal to own.
Basically, any knife is legal to own and have in your home.
Some Knives Can Not be Carried (Open or Concealed):

Automatic knives over 1.5 inches are illegal.
Switchblades over 1.5 inches are illegal.
Stilettos are illegal.
Blades longer than 4 inches are illegal.
8. Delaware Knife Laws

Knives that are Banned in Delaware

Balisong knives are legal.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
Disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and cane knives are legal.
Throwing knives are legal.
Stilettos, dinks and daggers are legal.
Knives that will not set off metal detectors and have a point tip are illegal.
Knives with brass knuckles are illegal.
Switchblades and gravity knives are illegal.
Throwing stars are illegal.
If a knife does not fall into any of the illegal categories above, it is legal to own.

Limits to Carrying Knives

It is legal to carry a 3 inch pocket knife concealed.
Other than a 3 inch pocket knife, carrying any other type of knife concealed is illegal.
If the knife is not banned, you can carry it in the open. Only concealed carry is limited. Concealed means close enough by you that you can readily use it while being covered by something. Having a knife in your car counts as being concealed.

9.Florida Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

Balisong knives are legal.
Belt knives, cane knives, and other disguised knives are legal.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
Undetectable knives (knives that will not set off metal detectors) are legal.
Ballistic knives are illegal.
The law does not limit individuals from owning, selling, or buying any knife except for ballistic knives.

Limits on Carry

You can open carry any knife.
Box cutters, multi-tools, and other work knives are legal to carry concealed.
In most cases, conceal carry of a common pocket knife with a blade of less than 4 inches is legal.
Anything outside of this has not been expressly banned or allowed.
10.Georgia Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own in Georgia

Balisong knives, often called butterfly knives, are legal.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
Disguised knives such as cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
Push knives, stilettos, switchblades, dirks, and daggers are legal.
Spring powered ballistic knives are legal.
Knives that are undetectable with a metal detector are legal.
In Georgia, there are no limits on the possession of knives. You can own any knife you want. There are only limits on carry knives.

Limits on Carry

It is illegal to carry, open or concealed, a knife that is larger than 5 inches without a permit.
For knives greater than 5 inches, you need a weapons permit.
11.Hawaii Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and push knives.
It is legal to own undetectable knives (knives that won’t set off metal detectors).
It is legal to own dirks, daggers, and stilettos.
It is illegal to own balisong knives.
It is illegal to own switchblades
Only balisongs and switchblades are banned in Hawaii. Any other type of knife is legal.

Limits on Carry

You can open carry any knife.
You can not conceal carry dirks, daggers and knives similar to that.
You can not conceal carry knives with knuckles like some WWI trench knives.
You can conceal any other type of knife.
12.Idaho Knife Laws

No Knife Ban

Balisong knives are legal.
Switchblades, automatic knives, and other quick release knives are legal.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
Stilettos, dirks, and other stabbing knives are legal.
Disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, cane knives, and key knives are legal.
Spring powered ballistic knives are legal.
Pocket knives of any size are legal.
Age Restrictions on Possession

Need parental consent to possess a bowie or dirk if under 18.
Can not possess a bowie or dirk if under 12 unless your parents are with you.
There is no ban on the possession of any type of knife in Idaho. You can buy and own any knife you want. However, taking it outside of the house is a different situation…

Limits on Carry

It is legal to open carry any knife.
It is illegal to bring any knife (open or concealed) besides a 2.5″ pocket knife to school.
It is illegal to conceal carry any dirk, bowie, or dangerous weapon.
It is illegal to conceal carry a knife, even if you have a permit, when intoxicated
13. Illinois Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own in Illinois

Balisong knives are legal.
Disguised knives like cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
Throwing knives are legal.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
Throwing stars are illegal.
Ballistic knives are illegal.
Switchblades and other automatic knives are illegal.
The state of Illinois only banned the possession of throwing stars, switchblades, ballistic knives, and knives that open with a press of the button.

Limits on Carry

You can carry any knife as long as it is not one of the banned knives listed above and that you do not have the intent to harm someone or break the law. The law goes into more details on this…

14. Indiana Knife Laws

What is Legal

Balisong knives are legal.
Bowie knive are legal.
Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are legal.
Assisted knives are legal.
Disguised knives like cane knives, lipstick knives, and belt knives are legal.
Switchblades and other automatic knives are legal.
What is Illegal

Ballistic knives are illegal.
Throwing stars are illegal.
Restriction on Carry

There are no limits to concealed or open carry as long as you do not bring a knife to school. The Indiana state code is available for anyone to read online but the excerpts below contains the code as well as an explanation.

15. Iowa Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

Balisong knives are legal.
Switchblades and automatic knives are legal.
Dirks, daggers, stilettos and other stabbing knives are legal.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
Disguised knives like cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
Ballistic knives are illegal.
Only ballistic knives are outlawed in Iowa law.

Limits on Carry

It is legal to open carry any knife.
It is illegal to conceal carry a switchblade.
It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger or stiletto.
It is illegal to conceal carry a knife whos blade is greater than 5 inches.
It is illegal to conceal carry a balisong knife.
It is illegal to conceal carry disguised knives like cane swords and lipstick knives.
16. Kansas Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own Bowies and other large knives.
It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives.
It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and cane swords.
It is legal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.
It is legal to own gravity knives.
It is legal to own undetectable knives (knives that will not set off metal detectors).
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own ballistic knives.
It is illegal to own throwing stars
17. Kentucky Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own ballistic knives.
It is legal to own balisong knives.
It is legal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.
It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives.
It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and cane knives.
It is legal to own undetectable knives (knives that will not set off metal detectors).
It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
There are no banned knife types in Kentucky.

What is Legal to Carry

It is legal to open carry any knife.
It is legal to conceal carry any ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife.
Anything besides a pocket or hunting knife can be considered a deadly weapon and would be banned from concealed carry.
18. Louisiana Knife Laws

What is Legal/Illegal to Own

It is legal to own Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives.
It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives.
It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives.
It is legal to own undetectable knives–knives that will not set off metal detectors.
It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
It is illegal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.
The only banned knife in Louisiana are switchblades. However, if you are a law enforcement officer, you might be able to get an automatic opening knife because there is an exemption for “rescue knives” in the law.

Limits on Carry

Any knife is legal for open or concealed carry as long as it is not a switchblade.
19. Maine Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
It is legal to own dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other slim knives.
It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
It is legal to own disguised knives like cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives.
It is illegal to own switchblades, automatic knives, and balisong knives.
The only banned types of knives are automatic opening knives. Balisong knives were found to fall under this category.

What is Legal to Carry

It is legal to carry any knife in the open.
It is illegal to carry daggers, stilettos, and knives designed for harming others.
Any knife outside of those 3 are legal to conceal carry.
The law bans the carry of “other dangerous or deadly weapon usually employed in the attack on or defense of a person.” This means that, as long as the knife was not designed to attack other people, it is fine to carry concealed.

20. Maryland Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a balisong knife, also called butterfly knife.
it is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives.
It is legal to own switchblades, gravity knives, and automatic knives.
It is legal to own ballistic knives.
It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives and lipstick knives.
It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
It is legal to own undetectable knives.
It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
There are no limitation on the type of knife you can own in Maryland.

Limits on Carry

You can not conceal carry a throwing star, dirk, switchblade, gravity knife, or bowie knife.
You can not open carry a throwing star, dirk, switchblade, gravity knife, or bowie knife with the intent to harm someone.
You can open or conceal carry any sized pocket knife you wish.
If a knife is not listed above, it is most likely to be legal for concealed or open carry. Read on to see why.

21.Massachusetts Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives, are legal to own.
Switchblades and automatic knives are legal to own.
Ballistic knives are legal to own.
Dirks, daggers, stilettos, and push knives are legal to own.
Knives with brass knuckles are legal to own.
Disguised knives like cane knives and lipstick knives are legal to own.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal to own.
Throwing knives and throwing stars are legal to own.
There is no knife ban in Massachusetts.

Limits on Carry

It is illegal to carry, open or concealed, switchblades, dirks, daggers, stilettos, ballistic knife, double edge knives, and knuckle knives.
It is illegal to carry anything that is perceived as dangerous while disturbing the peace or being arrested.
Folding knives, Swiss army knives, and kitchen knives are legal to carry as long as you do not behave in a way that makes them dangerous.
There are a few more details to the law that can’t be explained in bullet points. Read below for the full explanation.

22. Michigan Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

Butterfly knives, also called balisong knives, are legal.
Dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives are legal.
Throwing knives and throwing stars are legal.
Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
Hidden knives like belt knives and lipstick knives are legal.
Undetectable knives (knives that do not set off metal detectors) are legal.
Switchblades, automatic knives, and gravity knives are illegal.
What is Legal to Carry

All knives, except for banned ones, are legal for open carry.
It is legal to carry a hunting knife concealed.
It is illegal to conceal carry dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other stabbing items.
On top of this, you can not carry a dangerous weapon with intent to harm.
The law only limits the carry of dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other sharp, double bladed stabbing tools. If a knife can not be used to stab (has no point), it can be carried concealed as long as you do not have intent to harm someone.

23.Minnesota Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

Balisong knives are legal to own.
Dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other stabbing knives are legal to own.
Disguised knives like lipstick knives are legal to own.
Bowie knives are legal to own.
Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal to own.
All other knives are legal to own.
Only switchblades are illegal.
What is Legal to Carry

Knives with utility purposes are legal to carry.
Knives that can be used as weapons are legal to carry as long as you do not have intent to harm others.
It is illegal to recklessly use a knife that was designed to be a weapon.
It is illegal to carry a knife that was designed to be a weapon (and not a tool) with the intent to harm others.
Those are the general guidelines, read further to see the full details on what you can and can not own and carry.

24. Mississippi Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives.
It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives.
It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives.
It is legal to own undetectable knives–knives that will not set off metal detectors.
It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
It is legal to own switchblades, gravity knives, and automatic knives.
Mississippi does not restrict ownership of any type of knife for those over the age of eighteen, who have not been convicted of a felony.

What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a bowie knife
It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own dirk knife
It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a butcher knife
It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a switchblade
Limits on Carry

It is illegal to carry concealed any bowie knife
It is illegal to carry concealed any dirk knife
It is illegal to carry concealed any butcher knife
It is illegal to carry concealed any switchblade or automatic knife
You may carry any knife concealed if it is concealed in your vehicle, and not on your person.
You may carry any knife concealed if you are participating in a sports activity where such a knife is legitimately used.
You can open carry any knife in Mississippi, unless you are a minor or a student on educational property.
25. Missouri Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own dirks, stilettos, and other slim knives.
It is legal to own boot knives and other daggers
It is legal to own Balisong knives, sometimes called butterfly knives.
It is legal to own undetectable knives–knives that will not set off metal detectors.
It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives and even throwing axes.
It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
What is Illegal to Own

It is a Class C Felony to own a switchblade knife in Missouri, unless the person possessing the switchblade is in compliance with applicable federal law. The federal law, which governs possession of switchblades, is 15 USC Chapter 29. The law allows a person to possess and/or carry a switchblade on or about his person if the blade is less than three inches long and the person has only one arm, or the knife contains a spring or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure of the blade.

26. Montana Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other push knife
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own a Bowie knife, or other large knife
It is legal to own throwing knives or throwing stars
It is legal to own disguised knives such as cane knives and lipstick knives
What is Illegal to Own

A switchblade knife is illegal to own in Montana unless you are a collector who is registered with the Sheriff in the county where your collection is kept.

Limits on Carry

It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
It is illegal to conceal carry any knife with a blade four inches long, or longer
It is illegal to possess or carry any knife with a four inch blade or longer in a school building
It is illegal to conceal carry any weapon while intoxicated
It is illegal to conceal carry a weapon into a government office, bank or financial institution, or a place that sells alcohol for onsite consumption
It is illegal to conceal carry any “deadly weapon”
It is legal to open carry any knife that is legal to own in Montana
It is legal to carry any knife that is legal to own in your vehicle, concealed or openly
27. Nebraska Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

Balisong knives are legal to own
Bowie knives are legal to own
Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are legal to own
Ballistic knives are legal to own
Disguised knives like cane knives, lipstick knives, and belt knives are legal to own
Switchblades and automatic knives are legal to own
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal for a person who has been convicted of a felony to own a knife
It is illegal for a person who is a fugitive to own a knife
It is illegal for a person subject to a domestic violence protective order to own a knife while knowingly violating such order
28. Nevada Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own Bowie and other hunting knives
It is legal to own throwing knives and throwing stars
What is Illegal to Own

any knife which is made an integral part of a belt buckle
switchblade knives
Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to possess or carry a dirk, dagger, or switchblade on school or childcare facility property or in a vehicle owned by a school or childcare facility
It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
It is illegal to conceal carry a machete
It is illegal to conceal carry any knife which is made an integral part of a belt buckle
It is illegal to conceal carry any knife which could be considered a dangerous or deadly weapon
It is legal to conceal carry a pocketknife
It is legal to open carry any knife that is legal to own
29. New Hampshire Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

In New Hampshire, it is legal to own any type of knife, as long as you have not been convicted of a felony against the person or property of another or of a felony drug related offense. Yes, machetes are legal.

What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal for a person who has been convicted of a felony against the person or property of another or of a felony drug related offense to possess a:

Stiletto
Dirk or dagger
Switchblade knife
knife considered to be a deadly weapon
30. New Jersey Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own disguised knives like lipstick knives
It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to won throwing stars and throwing knives
Any weapon for which a person has an explainable lawful purpose for owning
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own any weapon, with the purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another
It is illegal for a person convicted of certain crimes (see below) to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife
It is illegal for certain mentally ill people to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife
It is illegal to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife with any explainable lawful purpose
A conviction for aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of weapon for an unlawful purpose, manufacture or transport of a prohibited weapon, unlawful possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance, or endangering the welfare of a child prevents a person from owning certain types of knives in New Jersey.

31. New Mexico Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to own throwing stars or knives
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own a switchblade
It is illegal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
32. New York Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a hunting knife
It is legal to own a dirk or dagger
It is legal to own a stiletto
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own a pilum ballistic knife
It is illegal to own a metal knuckle knife
It is illegal to own a cane sword
It is illegal to own throwing stars
It is illegal to own any knife if you are not a U.S. citizen
It is illegal to own any knife adapted for use primarily as a weapon
It may be illegal to own a gravity knife, without a valid hunting and/or fishing license
It may be illegal to own a switchblade knife, without a valid hunting and/or fishing license
33. North Carolina Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own bowie knife
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a switchblade
It is legal to own a gravity knife
It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a pen or lipstick
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own any spring-loaded projectile knife
It is illegal to own a ballistic knife
It is illegal to own any weapon of similar character to a projectile or ballistic knife
34. North Dakota Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own any type of knife in North Dakota. North Dakota has no laws making it a crime to own any kind of knife.

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to conceal carry a gravity knife or switchblade
It is illegal to conceal carry a machete
It is illegal to conceal carry a scimitar, backsword, or sabre
It is illegal to conceal carry a stiletto
It is illegal to conceal carry a sword
It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk or dagger
It is illegal to conceal carry any knife with a blade 5 inches or longer
It is legal to open carry any type of knife
35. Ohio Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a switchblade or gravity knife
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife as well as Balisong trainers
It is legal to own a ballistic knife
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
What is Illegal to Own

It is legal to own any type of knife in Ohio.
36. Oklahoma Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a bowie knife
It is legal to own a switchblade or gravity knife
It is legal to own a sword cane
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife as well as Balisong trainers
It is legal to own a stiletto
What is Illegal to Own

It is not illegal to own any kind of knife in Oklahoma.
Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to conceal or open carry a dagger
It is illegal to conceal or open carry bowie knife
It is illegal to conceal or open carry a dirk knife
It is illegal to conceal or open carry a switchblade knife
It is illegal to conceal or open carry a spring-type knife
It is illegal to conceal or open carry a sword cane
It is illegal to conceal or open carry a knife with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife
It is illegal to conceal or open carry any “offensive weapon”
As the no carry law states that it is illegal to carry a weapon, “upon or about” the person, Oklahoma’s no carry law extends to items carried in a vehicle, not just on a person.

37. Oregon Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to own a switchblade or other automatic knife
It is legal to own a ballistic knife
It is legal to own a gravity knife
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife and Balisong trainer
It is legal to own a stiletto
What is Illegal to Own

Oregon law does not restrict the ownership of any type of knife for those who have not been convicted of a felony. As a matter of fact, in 1984 in State v. Delgado, the Supreme Court of Oregon found that former Oregon statute § 166.510(1) was unconstitutional because it prohibited the mere possession and mere carrying of a weapon. The Court believed that restricting the possession and open carrying of weapons for non-felons was a violation of a person’s right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.

38. Pennsylvania Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own Bowie knife
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own a penknife
It is legal to own a concealed knife, such as in a lipstick or belt buckle
It is legal to own any kind of hunting knife
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own a dagger
It is illegal to own any automatic knife
It is illegal to own a sword cane
It is illegal to own any implement for the infliction of bodily injury, which serves no “common lawful purpose”
39. Rhode Island Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a sword cane
It is legal to own a concealed knife, such as in a belt buckle or lipstick
It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own a switchblade
What is Illegal to Own

It is not illegal to own any type of knife in Rhode Island, so long as you do not intend to use it unlawfully against another.
Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is illegal to conceal carry a stiletto
It is illegal to conceal carry a sword cane
It is illegal to conceal carry a bowie knife
It is illegal to conceal carry any knife with a blade more than 3 inches in length
It is legal to open carry any type of knife in Rhode Island
40. South Carolina Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a switchblade
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly, knife
It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a lipstick or belt buckle
What is Illegal to Own

It is legal to own any type of knife in South Carolina.
Restrictions on Carry

It is legal to conceal carry dirk
It is legal to conceal carry a switchblade knife
It is legal to conceal carry a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to conceal carry a Bowie knife
It is legal to conceal carry a stiletto
41. South Dakota Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a switchblade, or any type of automatic knife
It is legal to own a ballistic knife
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a sword cane
It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a belt buckle or lipstick
What is Illegal to Own

It is not illegal to own any type of knife in South Dakota
In 2006, the legislature repealed the only law prohibiting ownership of any type of knife. The former statute, 22-14-19, made it illegal for a person to own, possess or sell a ballistic knife.

Restrictions on Carry

Any knife may be carried openly or concealed
South Dakota’s statutes discuss dangerous weapons and carrying concealed weapons, however neither of the statutes apply to knives, as its definition of “concealed” is “any firearm that is totally hidden from view.”



42. Tennessee Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a disguised knife such as in a belt buckle or lipstick
It is legal to own a stiletto
It may be legal to own a butterfly knife, however, one should check with an attorney first, as Tennessee’s definition of a switchblade could include a butterfly knife. Courts in most states would call a butterfly knife one that opens by “gravity or inertia”, which is how Tennessee defines a switchblade knife. However, other Courts have viewed butterfly knives, not as automatic or gravity knives, but as a type of pocketknife. As of June 2013, Tennessee’s Courts have yet to weigh in.

What is Illegal to Own

Tennessee Code § 39-17-1302 makes it illegal to own a switchblade knife or any other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury or death, which has no common lawful purpose.

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to open or conceal carry a switchblade
It is illegal to open or conceal carry any knife with a blade exceeding four inches in length, with the intent to go armed.
43. Texas Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own throwing stars or any type of throwing knife
It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives
It is legal to own a bowie knife
It is legal to own a sword or spear
It is legal to own a switchblade knife
It is legal to own a pocketknife
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own a gravity knife
The Texas state legislature does not limit other knives.



44. Utah Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a bowie knife
It is legal to own an automatic or gravity knife
It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle
What is Illegal to Own

Utah law creates two categories of people who may not own certain weapons, defined as “dangerous weapons”.

A category I restricted person is someone who:

has been convicted of a violent felony under Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-203.5
is on probation or parole for any felony
is on parole from a facility is under contract with the Division of Juvenile Justice Services, that provides 24-hour supervision and confinement for youth offenders who have been committed to the division for custody and rehabilitation
has been adjudicated delinquent, within the last 10 years, for an offense that if committed by an adult would have been a violent felony under Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-203.5
is illegally or unlawfully in the United States
45. Vermont Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a bowie knife
It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle
It is legal to own throwing starts or knives
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own a switchblade with a blade that is 3 inches or longer
Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to carry openly or concealed a dangerous or deadly weapon with the intent of using it to harm another.
It is illegal to carry openly or concealed a dangerous or deadly weapon onto school or government property.
Vermont law does not place any other restrictions on the carrying of knives. In 1903, in State v. Rosenthal, Vermont’s Supreme Court said that under the general laws, a person may carry a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, unless he did it with the intent or avowed purpose of injuring another.

46. Virginia Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a bowie knife
It is legal to own a switchblade
It is legal to own a ballistic knife
It is legal to own throwing stars or other throwing knives
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
What is Illegal to Own

It is legal to own any type of knife in Virginia.
Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
It is illegal to conceal carry a bowie knife
It is illegal to conceal carry a switchblade knife
It is illegal to conceal carry a machete
It is illegal to conceal carry a ballistic knife
It is illegal to conceal carry throwing stars or oriental darts
It is illegal to conceal carry any knife of a like kind to one of the above listed knives
47. Washington Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own bowie knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle
It is legal to own throwing stars
What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own a switchblade or other spring blade knife in the state of Washington.

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
It is illegal to conceal carry any dangerous weapon
It is illegal to open or conceal carry any weapon into a Courtroom
It is also illegal to carry or display a dagger, sword, knife, or other cutting or stabbing instrument in a manner or under circumstances that would cause alarm or show an intent to intimidate another. In 1994, in State v. Spencer, the Supreme Court of Washington held that there must be a sufficient basis for the alarm, such that a reasonable person would be alarmed. Also in 1994, the Court held, in State v. Byrd, that because the display of a weapon in a manner that caused reasonable fear or alarm could be done without intent, a violation of the statute did not require intent. This means that one does not have to intend to cause alarm or fear in order to be guilty of a crime under the statute.



48. West Virginia Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a switchblade
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own a Bowie knife
It is legal to own a ballistic knife
What is Illegal to Own

West Virginia law does not prohibit the ownership of any type of knife.

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife with a blade over 3 ½ inches
It is illegal to conceal carry a switchblade, or any automatic knife
It is illegal to conceal carry a gravity knife
It is illegal to conceal carry a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is illegal to conceal carry any instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds
It is illegal to conceal carry any “deadly weapon”
49. Wisconsin Knife Laws

What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own a switchblade knife
It is illegal to own a gravity knife
It is illegal to own a butterfly knife
It is illegal to own any knife substantially similar to a switchblade, gravity knife, or butterfly knife
Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal in Wisconsin to carry a concealed and dangerous weapon.

Definition of Various Knives

A switchblade is defined as any knife having a blade which opens by pressing a button, spring or other device in the handle or by gravity or by a thrust or movement. In State v. Krause, the Appellate Court upheld Mr. Krause’s conviction for carrying a concealed dangerous weapon, finding that his knife, which had a blade that was serrated on one side, sharp on the other, and had a point at the end, was a switchblade. The blade was contained in two casings: the serrated blade fit into one of the casings and the cutting edge in the other. The casings were secured by a clasp, that when removed, allowed one casing to fall away from the other by the force of gravity, exposing the blade.

Neither the Wisconsin code nor its case law offers a definition of any other type of knife. When words or terms are not defined by the legislature, in the state code, Court’s use the ‘plain English meaning’ of the word, or that meaning provided in Webster’s dictionary.

50. Wyoming Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own a switchblade
It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
It is legal to own a bowie knife
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, poniard, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a stiletto
It is legal to own a gravity knife
What is Illegal to Own

Wyoming law does not prohibit the ownership of any type of knife.

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to conceal carry a deadly weapon in Wyoming.