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Only one case against Mongols remains

A year after the Mongols Motorcycle Club hosted its national meeting in Boulder City, all but one of the 30 criminal cases that resulted from the event are closed.

Twenty-three of the 27 traffic citations issued during the June 22-24, 2012, gathering at the Boulder Inn & Suites were dismissed outright, said Mongols attorney Stephen Stubbs.

Seventeen of the dismissed citations were for violations of Nevada law preventing motorcycle handlebars from being higher than the rider’s shoulders. The citations were thrown out because the riders were from California, Stubbs said.

“(The citations) were an unconstitutional infringement on interstate commerce,” he said. “The (constitutional) law says if you are from another state and your vehicle equipment is legal in that state, it is unconstitutional to apply this state’s equipment violations.”

Additional traffic citations were given for turn signal violations, riding the wrong way on a street, riding in a construction zone and having an expired registration, Stubbs said.

The four “legitimate” tickets issued during the event were for riding the wrong way on the road and not using turn signals, Stubbs said. They were reduced to parking tickets by Boulder City Municipal Court Judge Victor Miller, with fines totaling $288.

“The fact of the matter is my clients were harassed over and over again by officers, and they were the only ones who kept their cool,” Stubbs said. “They trusted the justice system.”

Only one ticket, for expired registration, was issued by a Boulder City Police officer, Stubbs said.

There were a total of three misdemeanor cases resulting from the weekend, two of which were thrown out, Stubbs said.

One club member was given a misdemeanor citation by a Metropolitan Police Department officer for allegedly having a marijuana cigarette. But according to Stubbs, because the cigarette was returned to the club member, the case was thrown out for lack of evidence.

A misdemeanor citation also was given to a club member who cursed at a Metro officer who had detained his wife. According to Stubbs, the citation was thrown out because the man’s speech was protected under the First Amendment.

“Because he was saying it to the government, it was protected by the First Amendment,” Stubbs said.

The final misdemeanor case was initially thought to be closed June 13 when Miller ruled that Metro acted maliciously in the prosecution of California resident George Olivo, ordering Metro to pay $571 in costs related to the case.

However, Metro’s attorney Joshua Benson said Tuesday that it would appeal the ruling.

Olivo, a club member, was arrested on charges of being an intoxicated pedestrian in the roadway and obstructing a public officer.

Metro did not obtain a breath or blood alcohol test or require Olivo to perform any field sobriety tests, but told Boulder City’s attorney Dave Olsen it could provide video evidence to aid in the prosecution, court documents state.

However, after multiple subpoenas by the defense and a court order, Stubbs said, Metro failed to produce video evidence and Olsen dismissed the case.

Olsen said the case was dismissed because the evidence could either be incriminating or exculpatory.

“The defendant is entitled to present exculpatory evidence if there is any,” Olsen said. “It’s not justice to prosecute somebody who may have that defense to use … if you can’t get the video, an important part of evidence is missing from both sides of the case.”

All cases were heard in Boulder City Municipal Court, except for four handlebar ticket citations, heard in Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas courts, Stubbs said.

The national gathering of the California-based Mongols, considered an outlaw motorcycle gang by law enforcement, brought hundreds of bikers as well as local and federal law enforcement agencies to Boulder City.

There was no serious incident reported during the weekend.

The Mongols and 36 other biker organizations also are involved in a federal civil rights lawsuit related to the Boulder City gathering and other events in Las Vegas.

The suit claims club members’ rights were violated by various agencies and individuals, including Metro, former Boulder City Police Chief Thomas Finn, and Boulder City Police detective Scott Pastore.

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