By James “Hollywood” Macecari – Author of Multiple Books on the Biker Lifestyle
Leave it to law enforcement and prosecutors to bend the law. I find it funny that they are allowed to skirt the law but we are not. Do you ever notice the two tier justice system in this country, you know one set of rules for us and another set of rules for the rich, screwed up isn’t it?
Lets take a look at some of the tools that enable them to misuse their powers. First one is R.I.C.O, which was passed at the federal level in 1970. Here’s an overview of R.I.C.O
The federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law was passed in 1970 as the “ultimate hit man” in mob prosecutions. Prior to RICO, prosecutors could only try mob-related crimes individually. Since different mobsters perpetrated each crime, the government could only prosecute individual criminals instead of shutting down an entire criminal organization. Today, the government rarely uses RICO against the Mafia. Instead, because the law is so broad, both governmental and civil parties use it against all sorts of enterprises, both legal and illegal. (2)
Beginning in 1972, 33 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, adopted state RICO laws to cover additional state offenses under a similar scheme.(1)
As you can tell the purpose of the law was so prosecutors could go after entire organizations, unlike before when they could only go after individuals.
The first time it was used against a motorcycle club
RICO was first used against Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels (3)
In 1979, the United States Federal Government went after Sonny Barger and several members and associates of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels using RICO. In United States vs. Barger, the prosecution team attempted to demonstrate a pattern of behavior to convict Barger and other members of the club of RICO offenses related to guns and illegal drugs. The jury acquitted Barger on the RICO charges with a hung jury on the predicate acts: “There was no proof it was part of club policy, and as much as they tried, the government could not come up with any incriminating minutes from any of our meetings mentioning drugs and guns.” (4)
Ever since the passage of the RICO statue, prosecutors around the country have tried to link 1% outlaw motorcycle clubs to organize crime. Every major 1% club has had a RICO case brought against them in one form or another. The sad part about bringing RICO cases against an entire motorcycle club, Is the fact they are not criminal organizations.
I’m not going to sit here and push daisies up you behind, some motorcycle clubs have members that commit serious crimes, that doesn’t equate to an entire motorcycle club being a criminal organization. If you look at statistics and the number of members who get arrested for crimes, it doesn’t make any sense to designate a motorcycle club as a criminal organization. Unfortunately this is exactly what the DOJ has done. The designation of being a criminal organization has opened the door for law enforcement and the DOJ to abuse the RICO statue, especially when it comes to motorcycle clubs.
The second way law enforcement and prosecutors are skirting the law is by using gang enhancement charges
Gang enhancement laws
Gang enhancement laws are mostly on a state level. California and Texas being some of the more well known statues. A list of gang enhancement laws can be found on the National Gang Center website.
Penal Code 186.22 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime to actively participate in a criminal street gang. This section makes gang activity an offense in itself, and also a sentencing enhancement that adds additional prison time for crimes committed in furtherance of a criminal gang. (5)
One of the common themes of these gang enhancement laws is the fact they are very liberal on their definitions of a gang. One of the common themes of these laws is it only takes associating with three people with the same common interest to be considered a gang. Clothing is another factor in which officers can include you on a gang list, yes officers are the ones who can put you on this list. There is usually no judicial review, which enables the abuse by law enforcement from the get go.
I believe personally this violates a persons 4th Amendment rights of due process. When the power is given to one person to decide if someone is a gang member we have a problem in this country. Most of the time people added to gang lists do not even know they are on it. Gang lists have many consequences, one being job prospects and another the loss of your gun rights.
Here’s something that should be very scary. Protestors can now get a gang enhancement charge just for expressing their selves, which is guaranteed under the first amendment. (6) If you cannot see how far these prosecutors are stepping over the line I don’t know what to tell you, it’s truly a sad state of affairs.
This country is heading into a socialist state
I don’t know what you would call it but a socialist state. The government has gotten away with these abuses because we don’t call them on it. Our motorcycle rights organizations stay out of the tough fights because they are controversial. I’ve asked over and over again why they’re not involved in criminal justice reform. You know what answers I get back? Crickets, no one wants to touch the subject because they feel it’s to controversial.
Screw controversial! When something that could upend someone’s life because someone abuses power, it’s time to get out and fight that abuse. I thought motorcycle rights organizations fought for the betterment of the motorcycling community, that’s what are yearly dues are supposed to go for right?
While bikers and motorcycle club members are being targeted by these socialist laws, you asses are talking and fighting over grass clippings. What the hell is wrong with you? I know I don’t care two shits about getting grass clipping laws passed, I want to see my dues go towards someone who is going to take a stand on the tougher issues.
Here’s the deal, if we don’t get off our humps and start fighting these abuses they will only get worse. This new administration has already made it clear bikers and others who don’t have their views are racists and white supremacists. It’s already starting and all our MRO’s can do is talk about grass clippings and autonomous vehicles. I get it, autonomous vehicles is something to worry about, but that’s a fight that is low priority. The high priority fight is this one and we are missing the opportunity to get into the fight because some organizations are chickenshit!
What do you think, do you think the MRO’s are missing an opportunity to get our concerns heard during these criminal justice reform hearings nationwide? Let me know in the comment section, I would also be interested in hearing if any of these laws have affected you.
(5) Penal Code 186.22 PC California