I’ll have that .32, Bob – “Now, Bill, you will leave me at the mercy of my enemies…” Little Bill Taggert v. English Bob at Big Whiskey, Wyoming
El Paso del Norte – Official business in the world of 1% motorcycle enthusiasts includes attending funerals of members cut down by a blazing six gun.
Judges have held the colors of a patch are a reasonable suspicion and a legal reason for the local gendarmes to detain, disarm, and investigate.
So the arrest of five New Mexico Bandidos who came to this city to attend funeral services for Juan Martinez, president of the local Bandidos Chapter who lost his life in an attack by a gun-wielding assailant at a bar came as no surprise.
Authorities allege that his attacker is a member of the Kinfolk Motorcycle Club named Javier Gonzalez. FBI literature designates the Kinfolk, which is allegedly made up of a core group of former Bandidos ejected by that club’s national leadership as an “outlaw motorcycle gang.”
In a news release, El Paso cops identified the Bandidos as Ruidoso, New Mexico residents Zachary Carrizal, 33; Scott Stevens 37; Terry Claunch 55; Charles Newbold, 35; and Alto, New Mexico resident Kaden Hall, 24.
They are charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm, a Texas Penal Code violation. But there’s an interesting reason why.
To apply the Spanish semantic concept of the dicho doble, where guns are outlawed, only outlaws carry guns – here – in Texas.
Carrying a hog leg in New Mexico is seen as something of a God-given right to self defense. In Texas, it’s not so cut and dried.
There are complications, such as Texas Penal Code § 46.02 (a)(C), which holds that a person carrying a firearm in their auto is guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor if it may be shown at trial it was in plain view, or that person is a member of a criminal street gang. It’s a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed on premises licensed for sale of alcoholic beverages.
Evidence of membership in a criminal street gang is also reason to arrest those who carry a firearm in a shoulder or belt holster, even though they may have a concealed carry handgun license, according to the cops.
But it’s not carrying the gun that matters as much as what happens when you pull the trigger. Tensions are high in Santa Fe following an attack on the home of an unnamed Bandido in a drive-by shooting.
A criminal complaint says a father and son who are members of Los Vagos Motorcycle Club, an outfit with roots in southern California carried out the shooting. David Andrew Cordova, 54, and his son David Ray Cordova, 29, allegedly fired more than 20 rounds at the home of an unnamed Bandido from a pickup truck.
The cops say they don’t know how the elder Cordova suffered a wound in his arm during the incident; it was unclear who fired the shot, Santa Fe police said.
Though they parked a “mobile unit” outside his house, the Bandido was said to be uncooperative, staying home, and keeping his mouth shut.
The truth is, though a person is alleged to have the God-given right to defend himself with deadly force when confronted by the same, the rules are more than a little hincty when it comes to those who fly the patch of a motorcycle club the feds and state police identify as an outlaw motorcycle club.
In the first place, outlawry – literally, the official act of declaring a person out law, or beyond the protection of the law – is an ancient concept once freely practiced by the despots of Europe and the British Isles – is totally prohibited by Sec. 20 of Art. 1 of the Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution.
The states of the northeastern seaboard and west coast are not so liberal as the sons of the Lone Star Land Grab of 1836.
For instance, a holding in a 2015 case brought to the federal bench by a six-man delegation of the Pagans Motorcycle Club slapped down the concepts of freedom of association and expression under the First Amendment; safety from unreasonable search and seizure under the guarantee of the Fourth Amendment; and the right to equal protection, freedom from abuse of process, and a guarantee of due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Chief Judge of the United States District Court for New Jersey reviewed the case of the only biker who remained in the civil rights case brought by three Pagans under Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 gave short shrift to any such claims in a sweeping decision over a group of five New Jersey State Troopers who pulled them over and detained them for nearly an hour because of improper helmets. They had one man’s bike towed when it was learned his license was invalid; then they what the judge ruled was an “idle threat” to make one guy’s old lady who was riding behind him as a passenger walk because her driver’s license had no motorcycle endorsement.
A video shows that Trooper Carlini repeatedly demanded the bikers take off their jackets or turn them inside out – for the purpose of “officer safety.” Why?
Back in the 1980’s, a Pagan shot a Trooper in the face. He used a gun – a firearm. It’s not clear what he did with his helmet or his jacket, the one with the patch on it.
All that has been lost in the mists of antiquity, unrecorded by the official record.
The judge never mentions that in the act of ignoring Carlini’s demand that “the gentlemen will remove their jackets,” they shot no one. They just stone-faced the rift, faced the music, cooled the phrase, zipped the lip, and went ahead on amidst the sounds of silence, in contrast to Carlini’s repetitively phrased be-bop.
The case is considered good law, and it’s got one of the most complete briefs of the concepts under discussion in an opinion written by Judge Simandle, who held in Coles v. Carlini,162 F.Supp.3d 380 (2015), that none of the civil rights protections of the U.S. Constitution’s First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments apply to men who wear the patch of a club designated by the FBI and state police as outlaw motorcycle clubs.
The Judge denied every claim the Pagans brought before the Court, mainly because he held that the Constitution of the Pagans Motorcycle Club indemnifies members arrested while on official business “such as robbing a bank.” He noted that the controlling Supreme Court holding on the civil rights of people freely to associate, be safe from unreasonable search and seizure, and due process of law “does not protect violence.”
The most outstanding feature of this elaborate holding on the events described is simple enough. It involves no violence whatsoever, just the potential for violence, based on the surmise of federal officers who have placed a large number of organizations outside the protection of the law through their designation of the members who wear a distinctive patch as part of an “outlaw motorcycle club.”
To set up the scene, picture six Pagans tooling down the boulevard between Trenton and Norristown, on their way to a tavern where more than 90 scooters are parked and people are partying on the occasion of the annual toy run, an event the Pagans have sponsored as a benefit for more than 30 years.
Trooper Carlini and his partner see that these dudes and one dudette are wearing helmets, but in some cases the helmet has no face shield, and in others, they are wearing no goggles.
None of them had reflective tape on their helmets, but – here’s what is most important for officer safety – they are wearing jackets with the distinctive patch of the Pagans, a venerable outfit from the City of Brotherly Love, located just across the Delaware.
And so, the investigation began while Thelma held the magnolias for Miz Scarlet.
According to the video, Carlini’s opening salvo was to say that “the only colors you wear” on the highway are the blue and gold of the New Jersey State Police. He backed that up by saying, “You guys want to leave here, you’re going to turn your – you’re going to take your jackets off.”
Everyone got a ticket because their helmets were unsafe for Trooper Carlini.
For his safety and the safety of the other four troopers who gathered to contain the threat presented by those unsafe helmets, he issued court summons.
He said, “We knew we were dealing with a criminal outlaw gang…When you encompass everything in the – what we knew at the time, for our safety, we wanted those jackets removed.”
Under the legal concept of qualified immunity for public officials, the judge ruled, Carlini’s antics were protected “as long as conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”
Therefore, the sole remaining litigant in the lawsuit, Pagan Coles, had no standing for injunctive relief.
To sum up his holding, the judge ruled that Coles had no valid claim for equal protection under the law because “Plaintiff has not plausibly alleged that his First or Fourteenth Amendment rights have been violated.”
And the floggings will continue – until morale improves.
So mote it be.
- The Legendary
Ruidoso resident Zachary Carrizal, 33, one of five Bandidos arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon to a funeral in El Paso.