Mongols Beat the Government
I don’t hold any particular brief for Motorcycle “Clubs” like the Angels or the Mongols, but it’s nice to see the government slapped down when it goes a little too far.
The U.S. Government has been going after the Mongols for a while–and the Mongols do have some unsavory characters in their membership. But the government didn’t just go after individuals, they went after the club’s logo. Under RICO, they tried to strip the Mongols of their logo, and make it the property of the government. After getting a preliminary ruling allowing them to do so, the Feds have being going into private property of American citizens to confiscate patches, breaking into cars and homes to do so.
But, they got that slapped down in Federal Court. Judge Florence-Marie Cooper has ruled that a) the government can’t take the trademark, and b) even if they could, they have no right to go around confiscating patches or other items containing the mark from private citizens who are not under indictment.
…even if the Court were to assume that the collective membership mark is subject to forfeiture, the Court finds no statutory authority to seize property bearing the mark from third parties…. only defendants’ interests in the RICO enterprise and the proceeds from their racketeering activity are subject to forfeiture.
So, the Mongols get to keep their patch, and the Feds have to stop making searches and seizures on the basis of merely possessing it.
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