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In the Cantina – Big Question Weekly News for May 2, 2019

By General Posts

It’s Doable if We Can Get to the Table
By Bandit, Wayfarer, Rogue, Bob T., Sam Burns, Barry Green, the Redhead, Laura, Stealth and the rest of the Crew

Why do I ponder this shit, but I do. It’s not as if my folks were industry leaders or politicians. I should smoke weed and relax, but no.

How do we respect freedom of travel, the enjoyment of riding, the freedom to build bikes and keep roads available? We need to shift our focus first, but we need to do it soon.

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Prosecutors drop all charges in deadly Waco biker shootout

By General Posts

Prosecutors drop all charges in deadly Waco biker shootout case that left nine dead, 20 injured and 177 arrested

  • Nine bikers from rival gangs died and 20 were wounded in the deadly shootout when rival Cossacks and Bandidos clashed inside and outside Twin Peaks, Waco
  • The deadly shooting happend outside a Twin Peaks in Waco on May 17, 2015
  • Police took away 12 long guns, 133 handguns and found 44 shell casings
  • Some 177 were arrested and 155 charged engaging in organized criminal activity
  • Police officers monitoring the group also fired on the bikers, killing at least two
  • Prosecutors announced today that no one will be convicted for the shootout

No one will be convicted for the 2015 shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco restaurant parking lot that left nine people dead and at least 20 injured, prosecutors in Texas said Tuesday.

In a statement announcing all charges will be dropped in the deadliest biker shooting in U.S. history, McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson said any further effort to prosecute the case would be a ‘waste of time, effort and resources.’

‘In my opinion, had this action been taken in a timely manner, it would have, and should have, resulted in numerous convictions and prison sentences against many of those who participated in the Twin Peaks brawl,’ Johnson said.

‘Over the next three years the prior district attorney failed to take that action, for reasons that I do not know to this day.’

The shooting outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015, involved rival biker gangs, the Bandidos and Cossacks, and occurred as bikers from various groups were gathering to talk over matters of concern.

Fights and gunfire broke out. Waco police officers monitoring the gathering also fired on the bikers, killing at least two.

Surveillance footage showed many bikers running from the scene and ducking for cover after gunshots rang out.

A smaller number could be seen pointing and firing weapons, slinging a chain or participating in fistfights.

Law enforcement officers recovered dozens of firearms, knives and other weapons from the restaurant and adjacent parking lot, many of which officers organized indiscriminately into piles on the pavement and in the back of a police vehicle, dash-cam video showed.

Law enforcement officials took the extraordinary step of arresting 177 bikers after the shooting, then charged 155 of them with engaging in organized criminal activity. Many were held on a $1 million bond.

Former District Attorney Abel Reyna ultimately dropped charges against all but 24 and re-indicted them on riot charges. Those were the cases that came to an end Tuesday.

Only one case was prosecuted in court and that ended in a mistrial.

More than 100 bikers have filed civil rights lawsuits alleging McLennan County, the city and others violated the plaintiffs’ civil rights by arresting them without probable cause after the shooting,

‘It’s a travesty that so many people were rounded up and then investigated, instead of vice versa,’ Mark Snodgrass, president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said Tuesday. ‘A lot of these people’s lives were put on hold for four years.’

In a statement, Reyna said he disagrees ‘with the overall result as well as several statements and accusations within Mr. Johnson’s press release; however, it is solely his decision on how to proceed with any case in the District Attorney’s Office.’

War on Cars Watch for March 20, 2019

By General Posts

The national stories from across the country. War on Cars Watch, a weekly blog to bring together all the stories that affect motorists with regards to street planning such as road diets, and traffic calming as well as programs such as Vision Zero and Complete Streets.

Since its founding more than 30 years ago as the Citizens Coalition for Rational Traffic Laws, the National Motorists Association has been the voice of thousands of motorists who stand up for key principles of drivers’ rights.

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An Eye on Recent Motorist Rights Court Cases

By General Posts

FROM National Motorists Association https://www.motorists.org

Motorist rights cases have made news and even history recently. There have been so many as of late, we are dedicating two separate newsletters to provide some insight on the legal rulings that are affecting drivers around the country.

This week’s newsletter focuses on recent rulings and pending US Supreme Court and federal court cases. Part 2 next week will outline state court decisions.

TheNewspaper.com, featured prominently in these two newsletters, is a great supplement to the NMA’s Motorists.org site for the latest news and opinions on the politics of driving.

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)

Last week’s unanimous decision that curtails excessive government fines and property seizures has provided further impetus for one of the NMA’s primary lobbying initiatives: civil asset forfeiture (CAF) reform. The decision received broad bipartisan praise. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the ruling that the excessive fines clause is a fundamental restriction that applies to the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While the SCOTUS decision is monumental, the fight is far from over. Some states still allow the seizure of property from citizens — motorists are prime targets — who have never been charged with a crime. Our work for reform at the federal and state levels continues in earnest.

Additionally, SCOTUS accepted a case in January that will decide whether an unconscious drunk person has given implied consent for a blood draw to determine alcohol level. The case might resolve an important constitutional question: Can state legislatures obviate the warrant requirement by “deeming” that citizens can consent to Fourth Amendment searches without explicitly expressing that consent?

Federal Appeals Court Cases

Judges for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in late January that a person driving a registered vehicle on a public road is not “reasonably suspicious.” Federal authorities appealed a motion to suppress evidence obtained from a border patrol traffic stop in Freer, Texas. The driver turned onto a public road that happened to bypass a checkpoint 50 miles inland from the Mexican border. The U.S. government has declared anything within 100 miles to be under Border Patrol jurisdiction. The Court ruled that turning onto a road that is “known” for smuggling in a truck registered to an individual is not enough to support reasonable suspicion. If it were, then virtually anyone driving within 100 miles from the border could automatically be deemed suspicious.

In December, judges in the Eighth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that it is appropriate for officers to use force to ram a driver with an expired registration sticker off the road. The driver sued the Arkansas state trooper for using excessive force and a US District Judge agreed with the plaintiff that the officer was out of line. She felt that at the time the trooper turned on his lights to make the stop, she could not reasonably do so on the shoulder which was unlit, dark and narrow. She continued to drive 20 mph under the speed limit for 42 seconds to find a safer spot, but after she passed an exit the trooper used a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver to push her vehicle into a ditch. She and her young daughter were both injured. The Appeals Court sent the case back to the same district judge who now must determine if the lawsuit can proceed on the basis of malicious intent.

In early February, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that police do not need a reason to place American citizens on a ‘Suspicious Person’ list. Judge Milan Smith wrote, “Tips and leads required only ‘mere suspicion,’ a lower standard than the reasonable suspicion required for criminal intelligence data and is up to the discretion of law enforcement and other government officials. This case is chilling in the sense that the government can put anyone on the list for not much more than a whim.

The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled in January that police cannot demand ID from car or truck passengers without a reasonable suspicion of a crime. The judges agreed that in this Arizona case, the US Supreme Court ruling in Rodriquez v. US, which prohibits police from prolonging a traffic stop by asking unrelated questions, established precedent.

In January, the Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals upheld a traffic stop over a fast blinker. Apparently, driving with a turn signal that flashes “too fast” is potentially a criminal act in Georgia. The blinker was actually working properly; the Georgia Code does not stipulate how fast a turn signal should blink, only that all equipment be kept in “good working condition.” The appellate panel suggested that the plaintiff’s blinker was not in compliance because it was in working condition, just not “good” working condition. American jurisprudence at its best.

Check out Part 2 next week when we showcase recent state cases that could impact motorists.

The National Motorists Association is a membership-based organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the motoring public.

NCOM Convention in Florida Welcomes Riders Nationwide

By General Posts

The 34th annual NCOM Convention is right around the corner, so plan now to be a part of one of the largest gatherings of motorcycle rights activists in the world. This year’s NCOM Convention will be held Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-12, 2019 at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Universal Orlando, located at 5780 Major Blvd., in Orlando, Florida.

Topics such as Motorcycle Profiling and “Save the Patch” will be among the many issues concerning our nation’s motorcycle community that will be discussed, as hundreds of bikers’ rights activists from the ranks of motorcycle rights organizations (MROs) and Confederations of Clubs (COCs), as well as independents and other allied riders will gather in “The City Beautiful” to address matters of interest to all riders.

Agenda items will cover various legal and legislative issues, with Special Meetings for Veterans Affairs, Women in Motorcycling, Clean & Sober Roundtable and World of Sport Bikes, as well as the Christian Unity Conference and Confederation of Clubs Patch Holders Meeting. Additional seminars will be conducted regarding RICO And Its Effect on Your Organization, Restoring Your Rights, Leadership 101 and “Share the Road” Motorcycle Safety.

All motorcyclists are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the many meetings, seminars and group discussions that focus on legislative efforts and litigation techniques to protect our riders’ rights and preserve Freedom of the Road.

Be sure to reserve your hotel room now for the special NCOM rate of $114 by calling (800) 222-8733.

Registration fees for the NCOM Convention are $85 including the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet on Saturday night, or $50 for the Convention only. For more information, or to pre-register, call the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) ON-A-BIKE (662-2453) or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.