Zombie Mongol Nation Case Resurrects
Source: Aging Rebel
Zombie Mongol Nation Case Resurrects
Last week the government appealed just about everything in theMongol Nation case except the verdict.
The government liked the verdict. Last December and January a jury in Orange County, California decided that “Mongol Nation, an Unincorporated Association,” as opposed to the Mongols Motorcycle Club, was guilty of racketeering and should be ordered to forfeit ownership of the club’s name and the insignia club members wear on their backs. Mongol Nation appealed that verdict on May 29.
Both sides were theoretically compelled to file their appeals by May 29 because that is what Judge David O. Carter said in court when he pronounced judgment on May 17. But the prosecution actually had 60 days because the Assistant United States Attorneys who have pursued this case like an angry mob for more than a decade, Steven R. Welk and Christopher M. Brunwin, needed the approval of the United States Solicitor General, Noel Francisco, before they could file their appeal.
Welk, whose name is on the appeal, is contesting the sentence Carter imposed on Mongol Nation – probation; an $800 Special Assessment; and a fine of $500,000. Presumably Welk thinks the fine is too small. At the sentencing hearing Brunwin asked Carter to impose a fine of $1 million.
Welk also wants the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to order Mongol Nation to forfeit ownership of the Mongols name and patch to the government. What the government intends to do with those “collective membership marks” is anybody’s guess. The marks do not belong to any single entity, no matter what you call it. The marks belong to all the members of the motorcycle club at any moment in time. The ownership of the marks constantly changes with the passage of time.
The government simply wants to steal the marks and deprive the members of their collective identity because some government lawyers have a compulsive need to prove that some other people are bad, probably based on something their mothers told them when they were three. This case should properly be viewed as an acting out of a psychological problem rather than a legal problem
Carter rejected the government’s demand for the tangible symbols of the Mongols identity on Constitutional grounds.
Carter ruled that seizing ownership of the marks would violate both the First and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution. Case law on the First Amendment, which protects uncensored speech and unpopular points of view that are not an imminent threat is well established. In order to reverse Carter on his First Amendment ruling the Ninth Circuit would have to reverse itself. The Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive fines and excessive punishment. That argument against seizing the Mongols marks also seems settled. Just this March, in a case titled Tyson Timbs versus Indiana. the Supreme ruled against prosecutors in an analogous case.
Punishment By Prosecution
However, everyone close to this case, including Judge Carter, expects it to eventually reach the Supreme Court. And although the ultimate court will probably rule against the government, the Department of Justice intends to make the Mongols, which has asserted that it has already spent almost $1 million fighting this case, spend fortunes more.
The government has never intended to win this crazy and cynical case. The point of the case has always been to punish members and associates of the Mongols Motorcycle Club and the instrument of that punishment is never ending prosecution.
Mongol Nation is now represented by attorney George L. Steele.
The Mongols must file their first brief in the case by Wednesday, August 28. The government, who from now on will probably be represented by an attorney not named Welk or Brunwin, must file its first appeals brief by Friday, September 27. The third and fourth briefs must be filed before Monday, October 28 and November 18.
The appeals court will hear oral arguments at a hearing sometime next year.