Biker Lifestyle

Morning News – Bikes, beer and brotherhood: Supreme Court sides with Virginia man after high-speed police chase on stolen motorcycle:Hells Angels filed a lawsuit against the attorney general

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Source : WJLA

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is putting limits on the ability of police to search vehicles when they do not have a search warrant.

The court sided 8-1 Tuesday with a Virginia man who complained that police walked onto his driveway and pulled back a tarp covering his motorcycle, which turned out to be stolen. They acted without a warrant, relying on a line of Supreme Court cases generally allowing police to search a vehicle without a warrant.

The justices said the automobile exception does not apply when searching vehicles parked adjacent to a home.

The court ruled in the case of Ryan Collins, who was arrested at the home of his girlfriend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Collins had twice eluded police in high-speed chases in which he rode an orange and black motorcycle.

The authorities used Collins’ Facebook page to eventually track the motorcycle to his girlfriend’s home.

Collins argued that police improperly entered private property uninvited and without a warrant.

Virginia’s Supreme Court said the case involved what the Supreme Court has called the “automobile exception,” which generally allows police to search a vehicle without a warrant if they believe the vehicle contains contraband.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said for the court Tuesday that the state court was wrong. Sotomayor said that constitutional protections for a person’s home and the area surrounding it, the curtilage, outweigh the police interest in conducting a vehicle search without a warrant.

“We decline Virginia’s invitation to extend the automobile exception to permit a warrantless intrusion on a home or its curtilage,” Sotomayor wrote.

Collins is not out of the woods, however. A separate legal doctrine allows warrantless searches in “exigent circumstances,” including whether the evidence — in this case, the motorcycle — might disappear if not looked for quickly. The justices ordered Virginia courts to consider that issue.

Justice Samuel Alito dissented, saying the police acted reasonably. “If the motorcycle had been parked at the curb, instead of in the driveway, it is undisputed that Rhodes could have searched it without obtaining a warrant,” Alito said, referencing the officer who pulled back the tarp.

Justice Clarence Thomas voted with the majority, but he wrote separately to question whether the Supreme Court has the authority to require states to suppress incriminating evidence that was acquired in violation of the Constitution. Thomas said that telling states they must apply the so-called federal exclusionary rule “is legally dubious.”

The case is Collins v. Virginia, 16-1027.

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Source: Southside Daily

Turn around to the sound of revving engines on the Peninsula and a group of men with beards, beers and bikes will be there.

But they aren’t the typical motorcycle gang — The Old Dudes is a motorcycle club that puts a new face to the motorcycle image through charity and brotherhood.

“We’re not popping wheelies and cutting through traffic,” said Matthew Mcquade, vice president of The Old Dudes. “We’re old dudes, and we just like to ride.”

The Old Dudes has been bringing together motorcyclists over age 30 from Williamsburg, Virginia Beach and Newport News since 1999, when the founder established a chapter in the region. While there are members of the organization across the world, including the countries of Dubai and Bahrain, Virginia maintains the only active chapter, Mcquade said.

From tadpoles to bikers

Becoming a member takes more than just putting on a motorcycle vest, though.

Bikers interested in joining The Old Dudes first start as what the club members refer to as “hang-arounds” or “tadpoles.” These bikers are invited to ride with the group and hang around during events. Then, after a member of the club decides to nominate the biker for membership, after which they become a probate member.

“If you’re a probate, less you say the better,” Mcquade said. “It’s respect. When you’re told to ride, you either follow or you get out of the way.”

Earning a new name

Once a member has been a probate for anywhere from six months to a year — and they have fulfilled all their requirements, such as participating in certain events — they become a full-patch member and earn a road name.

The road name is stitched into the side of the member’s motorcycle vest, and each name has a specific story behind it.

“You either come up with a good name, or we give you one,” said club treasurer Ed Bravo, who earned his road name “Coleman” after diving into a Coleman cooler for beer one evening.

Mcquade goes by “DaddyMac,” and his wife is referred to as “Momma.” Old Dudes president Paul Grimes earned his road name of “Hollywood” after appearing in a TV commercial with his motorcycle.

Tots and tires

Many of the men can trace their love of motorcycles to their childhoods

Grimes fell in love with motorcycles at 8 years old, after his father wouldn’t buy him a minibike.

“I just wanted to ride so badly, and the kid next door had a minibike,” Grimes said. “So I would trade all my toys just to ride it.”

He became the only member of his family who rides, and he bought himself a bike when he joined the military. After wrecking that bike, though, Grimes knew he needed another one and picked up a second job to afford it. He stopped riding when he started a family but bought another motorcycle once his children left the home.

For Mcquade, he fell in love with motorcycles right before his family was stationed in Okinawa. After eating at a diner with his family, Mcquade walked outside to find a group of men with long hair and motorcycles.

“It was the ‘60s and I had a military dad, so men with long hair — well that was different to me,” Mcquade said. “And I just took a liking to their shiny bikes.”

One of the bikers asked if Mcquade wanted to sit on the motorcycle, and since then he always had an attraction to the two-wheeled beasts. Mcquade went on to ride in the Peninsula area throughout the 70’s and 80’s, eventually becoming vice president of the Biker Rights Organization in Virginia.

“It’s about more than just the motorcycle for me,” he said.

Riding for the girls

The Old Dudes works in conjunction with Here for the Girls Inc., a local nonprofit that offers services for younger women with breast cancer, according to the website.

One of their main events is their poker run in October. The run spans 98 miles across the area, with five stops: Quaker Steak and LubeJose TequilasLovells Place, the Wild Horse Cafe and Malt Shoppeand Hampton Roads Harley Davidson. Usually a few hundred people show up for the ride, with each paying $10 for a single rider or $15 for two. All of the proceeds from the ride goes to Here for the Girls, Grimes said.

“You look behind you and see bikes a mile back,” said Ed Bravo, club treasurer.

The motorcycle club began raising money for Here for the Girls in 2004, and since then has dedicated a number of rides and events to the cause.

“These women, they show us how to have the most out of every day,” Mcquade said. “They show us what freedom is, and no one loves freedom more than bikers.”

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Source: Montreal Gazette

An alleged leader among the Hells Angels in Quebec has filed a lawsuit against the attorney general of Quebec, seeking more than $2 million while alleging he was detained without cause following his arrest in a major drug-trafficking case. He alleges prosecutors and police held back key evidence during his bail hearing.

The lawsuit filed at the Montreal courthouse by Salvatore Cazzetta, 63, an alleged member of the Hells Angels since roughly 2004, involves a case in which he and 20 other people were charged in November 2015 with a series of criminal offences related to drug trafficking in the Mercier—Hochelaga—Maisonneuve borough. Besides being an alleged Hells Angels leader, Cazzetta has been observed meeting with several people tied to the Montreal Mafia in recent years.

Two police investigators and three prosecutors are also named in the lawsuit.

At least 15 people have since pleaded guilty to some of the charges in the drug-trafficking case, but Cazzetta challenged the case brought against him. Two charges were tossed out following his preliminary inquiry and, on Dec. 6, the prosecution announced it would no longer prosecute him on the last remaining charge — that he was in possession of the proceeds of crime by having collected “a tax” from the drug-trafficking ring.

In the lawsuit, prepared by Montreal lawyer David Summerside, Cazzetta argues he was denied bail and detained — between November 2015 and August 2017 — without cause because the police investigators and prosecutors did not reveal evidence that was dropped in their laps shortly after Cazzetta and the other men were arrested.

The leader of the drug-trafficking network was arrested on Nov. 19, 2015, and decided to co-operate with the police immediately. Within hours of his arrest, he provided a sworn statement, recorded on videotape, and eventually was given a contract to work as a witness for the prosecution. According to the lawsuit, the witness told the police that Cazzetta “had nothing to do with Hochelaga—Maisonneuve” and that Cazzetta had nothing to do with his drug-trafficking network.

Four days later, a Quebec Court judge began hearing evidence in Cazzetta’s bail hearing, but the statement the witness gave to police was not mentioned.

One of the investigators named in the lawsuit was present when the leader of the drug-trafficking network provided his sworn statement to police. She participated in the preparation of a PowerPoint presentation used during the bail hearing and testified during it, but made no mention of what she had heard a few days earlier.

Because of this, Cazzetta argues, the investigators and prosecutors “did not act in good faith, rigour and the honesty required” by people involved in the justice system. By being detained for more than a year, he alleges, he was “exposed to a high level of stress anguish, anxiety and insecurity.” As part of that same argument, Cazzetta notes that, as was revealed during his bail hearing, shortly before his arrest he had undergone surgery on his heart and was supposed to be convalescing.

People who have been convicted in the same case have received sentences that range from a 43-month prison term to sentences that could be served in the community. At least four of the 21 men who have pleaded guilty still await their sentence. That includes François Langlois, 43, a man who pleaded guilty, on June 20, to conspiracy and drug-trafficking charges, but according to court records, he has failed to show up in court for the sentencing stage of his case since January.

pcherry@postmedia.com

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