Why the B.C. seizure of Hells Angels club-houses is a really bad idea

The government of B.C. is poised to seize three Hells Angels club-houses, based on its allegation that “each clubhouse was an “instrument of unlawful activity” because “in future, they were likely to be used to engage in unlawful activity that may result in the acquisition of an interest in property and/or cause serious bodily harm to persons.” https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/hells-angels-lose-bid-to-derail-clubhouse-forfeiture/wcm/29cf4ccc-d2c9-439f-b69c-d4860cfd6896  To see more clearly what the Director of Civil Forfeiture is doing here, let’s look at a theoretical case of forfeiture that we can all get behind:  A scammer defrauds people out of monies selling fake securities.  He gets caught, charged and convicted.   An order for seizure of the assets he purchased with the proceeds of his crimes is made out, with the lawful purpose of redress for his victims.

None of those critical elements appear to me to have been made out in the process to seize those club-houses.  The B.C. government is relying on the testimony of cops who claim the Angels are a criminal organization, but the government has repeatedly failed to get the Angels to be declared a criminal organization in the courts.  It would appear that it has also not been established that the club-houses were purchased with the proceeds of crime.  So, the seizure has not been a civil result of specific criminal convictions, unlike that of our theoretical scammer.

The purpose of the club-house seizures is not redress for any Club victims, either.  The purpose is control, based on allegations that have not themselves been established in any court.  Controlling citizens’ behavior, based on unproven allegations, is not a proper purpose in any democratic society.

The standard of proof that the Director of Civil Forfeiture is using, to deprive the Angels of their own property and of their constitutional right to peacefully convene, is improper, and also shows the weakness of the Director’s case:  “likely to be used” shows the Director is using the civil standard of proof:  on the balance of probabilities.  The civil standard is not properly used to take away people’s constitutional rights; it is properly used to restore those rights, for redress of wrongs.  And “may result in” highlights the weakness of the Director’s case:  ‘may’ is not even acceptable in the civil standard.

It does not help society to jack the club-houses:  where are they supposed to go?  Would you like them to be riding their bikes past your house at midnight?  Dumping the Angels among the rest of us will increase the likelihood of confrontations between them and the rest of us.  If the purpose is the furtherance of public security, it seems unlikely to be the result.

There is this also:  it is a really bad idea to further alienate people who are already living on the edges of society by harassing them and treating them unfairly.  That just teaches them that they can expect nothing positive from the rest of society, and it encourages them to ignore or to transgress social codes and laws.

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Sonny Barger, George Christie, Arizona and the Hells Angels

Every day I was preparing this blog-post I asked myself, what would Hersh Wolch do?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hersh_Wolch

Early one morning, the answer was in front of me: 

“Let the facts speak for themselves.” 

That’s what he would have done.  So that’s what I did.

Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Creed

[01]   Still handsome and charismatic at near-eighty, Ralph Hubert “Sonny” Barger Jr. was the main mover in transforming the Hells Angels, who have always attracted a significant number of misfits and criminals,  [‘Hells Angel,’ p. 03, 87 – 91; p. 124 “Most of us [in 1965] were card-carrying felons.”]  https://youtu.be/BICum4v2-uE  , from a California nuisance into a world-wide menace.


https://www.dw.com/en/hells-angel-member-keeps-silent-at-police-murder-trial/a-6003263     https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/blood-and-honour-84554.html

[02]   Embedded into the very soul of the club is the personal creed of Sonny, the most iconic Hells Angel for all time:  “There is nobody lower in this world than someone who rats on your club…”  [‘Hells Angel,’ p. 229]

So, serial killers, child rapists…   they’re all better than an informer, according to Sonny’s world view.    https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/803/499/2133128/   ]

“If you treat me good, I’ll treat you better.  If you treat me bad, I’ll treat you worse.”  [‘Freedom, Credos from the Road,’ p. 15]  “I treat everybody the way I want to be treated. I treat them the way they treat me. If they treat me good, I’ll treat them better. If they treat me bad, I’ll fuck ’em. And they gotta realize that.”  http://www.nypress.com/hells-angel-an-interview-with-sonny-barger/

It’s an anthem of vindictiveness, and it has nothing to do with being fair.  In that same article, Sonny claims to be “one of the fairest people you’ll ever meet.”

Sonny Barger has no clue as to what ‘fair’ means.  ‘Fair’ is to requite measure for measure.  Behaving “worse” to someone you think has wronged you, is not ‘fair,’ it’s vindictive – and it’s the creed of a punk, of a gangster.  It’s a license for viciousness, and the Hells Angels clearly took it to heart.  [cf. para. 05]

And,  “It’s okay to lie to the cops, because they lie to us:  http://www.nypress.com/hells-angel-an-interview-with-sonny-barger/

[03]   And the response from the Angels:  ““On one wall, a red-and-white Hell’s Angels winged skull hangs over the fireplace. On another wall, there’s a plaque that the Angels gave Barger on his 40th anniversary in the club: “You have led us and given us the Hell’s Angels way and the Hell’s Angels beliefs to fight for, to live for and to die for . . . .”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/2000/08/09/hells-aged-angel/4489a3e6-70e1-4d97-8024-775e3159de17/?utm_term=.7ac4910eb485

[04]   Three early victims of the Hells Angels’ creed were Margo Compton and her twin daughters.  https://www.apnews.com/7daf7344b73f9f9377d409c92c6d9845


“Witnesses will include many of the same prison inmates affiliated with the Hells Angels or the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang who testified against McClure.

The inmates said they heard McClure brag about the 1977 killings of Compton, her daughters and a friend, and describe how the children’s heads were shattered by his bullets.

The witnesses said they decided to talk at McClure’s trial because he broke a cardinal rule among biker and prison gangs: “snitches” should be killed, but their innocent children should not be harmed.”

They said McClure was following Garrett’s orders.


According to the blog ‘Aging Rebel,’ Sonny Barger had this to say in 2015 about the deaths:  “  Yes. Margo Compton (who was found dead in Hillsboro, Oregon in 1977) was a very bad scene. One guy got six months. The other guy would have got the same if someone hadn’t killed her. The case went unsolved for years until a RAT told a story to keep from going to prison. To this day, I’m not sure it’s Buck (Odis ‘Buck’ Garrett) who belongs in prison. But the Rat who had all the evidence to convict him.”  https://www.agingrebel.com/13404/comment-page-1

Here is a detailed background on the story behind the murders:  https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/hells-angels-masters-of-menace-84148/

And in 1972, according to the NY Times, two boiler-makers were viciously attacked by two Hells Angels, James Neal, then 26, and William Starkey, then 28, for the ‘crime’ of double-parking while they moved stuff into a building.  Civilized people either wait patiently or call a tow truck.  Hells Angels held in vicious beatings of father and son

[05]   More recently, three Alberta Hells Angels, https://gangstersout.blogspot.com/2016/10/verdict-coming-in-greece-murder-trial.html were convicted in Greece in 2016, for murdering a man who simply wanted to go home from a bar on his own motor-bike, according to witnesses:





[06]   And in May of this year, notorious ex- Hells Angel chief Maurice Boucher pleaded guilty in Quebec to plotting the death of a former rival:  https://globalnews.ca/news/4150401/maurice-mom-boucher-pleads-guilty-to-murder-conspiracy-charge-involving-rival/

and was sentenced to yet another ten years:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/hells-angels-mom-boucher-sentenced-1.4658737   I would tabulate the number of murders and attempted murders Maurice Boucher was responsible for, together with the number of years in prison they’ve earned him – but I can’t count that high.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/biker-boss-flaunted-his-notoriety/article25296296/  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Boucher

[07]   Earlier this year, Manitoba Hells Angels Nomads president Dale Kelland incited hundreds of Support 81 followers to leave false reviews online targeting a bar that does not allow what it considers to be ‘gang colors’ inside the bar:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/hells-angels-no-gang-colours-policy-1.4616713


April was a turbulent month for the Hells Angels in Canada:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/raids-targeting-hells-angels-yield-dozens-of-arrests-in-quebec-1.4632884

[08]   2015 was another banner year for the Quebec Hells Angels:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/14-hells-angels-plead-guilty-to-conspiracy-to-commit-murder-1.3064814

[09]   But, I digress.  Back to Sonny Barger.  He has married four times.  His first wife, Elsie Mae George: http://suzid.tripod.com/FGS-10374.html   died on February 01, 1967, trying to give herself an abortion.  In his auto-biography, Sonny states that he and his wife had agreed they wouldn’t have any children.  Then, he left town.  And then, she died.  [Hells Angel, ‘Collector’s edition and paperback editon, p. 102 – 103] Barger says he was “devastated” by Elsie’s death [ibid]; but, see the next three paragraphs, on Sonny’s only “regrets” in life.

[10]   In August of 2009, a Washington Post reporter asked Sonny if he had any regrets about his life:

“Yeah,” he says. “Smoking. Too much cocaine.   And losing my right to own a gun. I don’t think I’d change anything other than that.”  (Well.  Good to know.) https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/2000/08/09/hells-aged-angel/4489a3e6-70e1-4d97-8024-775e3159de17/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.415bdb3de381

[11]  The BBC persisted farther than the Post did on the subject of regrets, and got an even more revealing answer:  “Barger claims that if he had his life to live again the only things that he would change would be his smoking and drug taking. When he was diagnosed with cancer and given just two weeks to live over twenty years ago, did he really have no regrets?

[12]   His answer:  “’I certainly did. I was working out how I could go get a gun and go and kill everybody I didn’t like before I died. It didn’t happen and I didn’t die, so I really lucked out… there are a lot of people in this world who need to be killed.’”   (I can’t help wondering how many people he gave that memo to.)   http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/highlights/000824_hell.shtml

[13]    Also in 2000, the NY Press asked him in an interview:  “Is there anything you would do to change the public image of the club?”

His answer:  “Absolutely not. We are what we are. In the book I thanked everybody for making the club what it is today, whatever you think it is. I don’t care what you think it is, ’cause I’m happy with it.”  http://www.nypress.com/hells-angel-an-interview-with-sonny-barger/   (Well, as long as Sonny’s happy, eh.)

[14]   From The Independent, again in 2000:  “Do you believe in God?”

His answer:  “Absolutely not.”  https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/an-angel-at-my-table-697297.html

I’m not surprised.  For a man who lives by his stated code of ethics, belief in a deity who insisted on an eventual accounting would be awkward, wouldn’t it.

[15]    Sonny gave a number of interviews in 2000 because he was promoting his book, the first edition of ‘Hell’s Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and The Hell’s Angel Motorcycle Club.

[16]    After 2000, Sonny appears to have talked a lot less to the press – until 2003, when he and his third wife gave a startling series of interviews to Arizona writer Terry Greene Sterling, which were published in one article in June of that year.  The article is no longer readily available online.  Many thanks to Dennis Watson for somehow getting ahold of a copy and posting it: https://gangstersout.blogspot.com/2016/08/sonny-barger-and-george-christie.html   where you can download it in PDF format off of OneDrive:   https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=60C146B96A72FCC3&id=60C146B96A72FCC3%21212&parId=60C146B96A72FCC3%21168&o=OneUp    Be aware, it’s a Big file, 175 MB.  If you’re not familiar with PDF files, the acronym stands for ‘Portable Document File,’ and it’s mostly used to transfer large files.  You can download a free PDF Reader from ADOBE Acrobat that works quite well:  https://get.adobe.com/reader/

[17]    It’s not clear to me from the court record:  http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/docket/FamilyCourtCases/caseInfo.asp?caseNumber=FN2003-001694    when Noel and Sonny’s divorce was signed off on by the judge and the court clerk:   although the decree was filed on June 22, 2005, it appears it was still on the docket to be finalized on June 27, 2005.


[18]   Sonny married his fourth wife, Zorana, on June 25, 2005:    https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0054554/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm


There is an illuminating interview with Zorana in the last part of this video:  https://youtu.be/hSwIPdQ4Kk0  starting at about 24:30.

Daniel Leroy “Hoover” Seybert

[19]   Hoover had been president of the Hells Angels Cave Creek, Arizona chapter for years, when he was gunned down outside of the Phoenix Bar Brigett’s Last Laugh: https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/location/brigetts-last-laugh-6483401     early on Saturday morning, March 22, 2003:  https://www.bikernet.com/pages/April_3_2003_Part_2.aspx


[20]   He left behind two daughters, one of them still in primary school:    http://www.genlookups.com/mi/webbbs_config.pl/read/40    https://azdailysun.com/born-to-be-mild/article_3882f044-a2ee-52d7-bdfb-d767d38d5fb5.html

There is an excellent picture taken in 2002 of Hoover and Sonny by a Hells Angel from Paris, who calls himself ‘Filo Loco,’ and who is a very gifted photographer:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/deadlicious-gallery/840080374  as well as several others, also taken by ‘Filo,’  which include Sonny’s third wife, Noel, here:  http://seriouspublishing.blogspot.com/2008/10/ralph-sonny-barger.html

Issues surrounding Hoover’s murder are addressed later on in this blog-post.

George Christie

[21]    George was a Hells Angels member for many years, until he either:  quit (his version of what happened):  http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ALtoqPidhy8J:www.history.com/shows/outlaw-chronicles-hells-angels/articles/about-george-christie-jr+&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

or, left before he got kicked out (the Hells Angels version of what happened):   https://www.agingrebel.com/13396

It would be a massive understatement to say that Christie’s credibility is an issue with the Hells Angels, and it’s addressed in detail later on this blog-post.  For now, in this introduction to the people frequently mentioned in this post, I will briefly relate my own personal experience of the man (by email only), and how that stacks up with claims made in his book, ‘Exile on Front Street,’ which will also be a focus of this blog-post.

[22]   In ‘Exile,’ George makes repeated claims to have been a “peace-maker” in the Hells Angels. [“I’m easygoing [sic]” p. 29; “It was the first time I realized that I was meant to be a peacemaker, not an assassin.  That set me apart from many Hells Angels.  It was an identity I would come to embrace, at no small cost.”  p. 110; “Sonny was the figurehead.  Irish was the brawler.  Animal was the crazy one.  I would be the peacemaker.  And it would cause me no end to [sic] grief and trouble.”  p. 106]

However, my personal experience of George Christie is that he is quite willing to re-write history, even when the benefit to him in doing so seems obscure to me.

[23]   In late August, after repeated failures to obtain a copy of the 2003 Phoenix Magazine article [cf para. 16], I sent George Christie an email asking him if I could obtain a copy from him.  He said he would try to get a copy to me but that he was “not well versed in computers.
After I finally obtained a copy, thanks to Dennis Watson’s link, I sent the link to George Christie, since he’d promised to try to get a copy to me:

[PIC 01].

I also sent him P.S. with instructions for reading PDF files since he’d said he wasn’t well versed in computers.  Christie has never thanked me for the link or even acknowledged that he received it.  Instead, replying to the postscript I sent and not to the email with the links I sent to the article, he tells me that he’s going to take the article to the business center in his town and have them send it to me.

[PIC 02]    I replied saying “that’s not necessary” and “didn’t you get the email with the links I sent you?” But he just carries on with his re-write, saying:  “You did receive the copy from the Ojai Business Center, correct.”  

[PIC 03]

No, I replied, and what’s more, I couldn’t have done so, because the file is too big for my server (Shaw, for the account I was using.)  But he insisted that the Ojai Business Center had promised to send me a copy and that they had sent one to his email, which he had received, no problem.   

[PIC 04]

Now, the Ojai Business Center operates on gmail:   https://www.ojaibusinesscenter.com/   and Christie’s email to me was also by gmail.

Although I hadn’t used a gmail account to correspond with Christie, I do have one, as it happens.  The Phoenix Magazine file is far too big for my Shaw account to handle.  I was curious to see what the gmail account would do, so I tried to upload it into my gmail account, and then ‘send’ it to my Shaw account.

As you can see from the screenshots I took, however, gmail refused to send that file anywhere except into my ‘google drive’ link, from where, all I could do was to send a link to the file to someone, and first, I had to give the recipient permission to ‘access’ the file:   

    [PICS 05, 06]   from my google drive – not something any savvy business is likely to be willing to do with a random stranger from Canada, or even, I would say, with George himself, unless he owns the business center.

[24]   Of course, I have never heard from the Ojai Business Center, and I have not troubled them with an inquiry, either.  I am satisfied from my personal experience that George Christie was quite willing to re-write history, in order to be able to say that he sent me the article and not the other way around.  Moreover, he was willing to do so even in a situation where the ‘benefit’ to him to do so seems obscure to me (just so he didn’t have to thank me for sending him the link? or, to show he wasn’t rattled by the request for the article?).

Let’s look at what George Christie did in that brief exchange of emails:  he failed to acknowledge that I had sent him links to the article itself as well as to the blog post by Dennis Watson that contained the link.

He then makes out the Ojai Business center to be promise breakers.

He makes a patently false statement about having received the article from them to his gmail account.  He fails to give credit where it was due and he sets up an innocent third party to take heat for a false claim he’d made about what they had supposedly promised to do.  And for what reward??

A man who will behave treacherously in a situation where the stakes would appear to be negligible to a reasonable person, will certainly behave treacherously in every situation where the stakes are higher.


[25]   Sonny Barger moved from Oakland, California to Cave Creek, Arizona in October of 1998 [‘Hells Angel, p. 250; ‘Sonny 60 Years,’ p. 264].   He was there for seventeen years before returning to Oakland in August of 2016 [Sonny 60 Years,’ p. 270]   In ’60 Years,‘ the only actual vignette Sonny tells from the Arizona period concerns the funeral of Hells Angel Patrick Eberhardt, [p. 269], who was the Cave Creek treasurer before he was gunned down in February of 2015:  http://www.agingrebel.com/11246

The only thing he has to say about Hoover in ’60 Years’ is that he joined him in Cave Creek in 1998 [p. 264].  As far as I can tell, the only time and place he has publicly discussed Hoover’s death is in that June 2003 Phoenix Magazine article [cf para. 16], which is evidently also the only place he has ever discussed his third wife, Noel.

[26]   It’s an odd thing, that interview series with Terry Greene Sterling.  [cf para. 16]  Odd, because it involves two Hells Angels – not known for airing their troubles to the general public, if they can possibly avoid it.  For Dennis Watson, and for myself, it reads like a human tragedy.  One is greatly tempted to come away from reading it, feeling sorry for all of them and especially for Sonny, weighed down emotionally and financially by an unstable wife and daughter.  A wife who admitted in that same article to getting money from the FBI and to signing papers saying she was an informant.

[27]   And there’s “the rub of it.”  Noel is no ordinary wife.  She is married to the Hells Angel who has drummed it into the Angels that the lowest thing on earth is a rat.  Then–President of the Cave Creek chapter, Hoover, is also interviewed in that Phoenix Magazine article, and he’s clearly not feeling any sympathy for Noel, although he quite possibly does for Sonny.

[28]   George Christie, then–President of the Hells Angels Ventura chapter, wasn’t feeling sympathy for any of them, Sonny, Noel or Hoover.  And Christie’s claims in ‘Exile’ concerning Sonny,  Noel and Hoover form the main focus of this blog-post.

[29]    As I write, this is the profile picture on a myspace account set up in Noel’s name:  https://a3-images.myspacecdn.com/images03/25/1ef7f8337c5840c6b4f3ac212c52cf78/full.jpg      [PIC 07]


It is the only picture that has ever been added to that profile:  https://myspace.com/crazedbiotch666/mixes/profilemix-20466

[30]   The other pictures associated with the account:  https://myspace.com/crazedbiotch666/mixes

were transferred to that account from ‘Classic’ myspace on February 22, 2014.  Only one of them is explicitly identified as being of Sarrah:  https://myspace.com/crazedbiotch666/mixes/classic-my-photos-412063/photo/139740712

Another picture features a then-young man who is now an Arizona Hells Angel:  https://myspace.com/crazedbiotch666/mixes/classic-my-photos-412063/photo/139740691

and a young woman who is not Sarrah.  I know this because the man, whom I decline to identify (in order to protect his and his family’s privacy*), is now at least sixteen years older than he was when that picture was taken, which means that the picture is at least sixteen years old.  Therefore, that young woman in the picture, who must have been at least sixteen years old when the photo was taken, would now be at least thirty-two years old.  Sarrah Barger, however – who was only thirteen years old as of June 2003 [cf. Phoenix Magazine article, link in para. 16] – would now be at most twenty-twenty-nine and possibly only twenty-eight, depending on her birth date.  Three or four years may not seem like much, and yet, the math cannot be explained away.

*There is no evidence he has done anything wrong and he may not even be aware that an old picture of his had been posted on the Noel Barger account.

[31]   Back to George Christie.  In ‘Exile,’ he claims to have had two significant conversations with Hoover, the second of which concerned Noel and took place “less than a month” before Hoover was gunned down.  Before I can address that alleged conversation, however, I need to discuss the first one, because it has all kinds of relevance with respect to the second one.

The first alleged conversation between George Christie and Hoover

[32]   On page 209 of ‘Exile,’ Christie states that, as president of the Ventura chapter, he gave the Bandidos a ‘safe conduct’ to travel through Arizona to a meet-up in California – and didn’t inform the Arizona Hells Angels in advance.  It was an “admittedly petty” act on his part, he says, not to tell the Arizona Angels.  This happened, he says, when “Sonny was building a nice life for himself in Cave Creek,” [p. 209], and when Christie [had arranged a sit-down in Ventura with the Bandidos” where George “assured George Wegers safe passage for his group to come from Texas and ride through Arizona.  In an admittedly petty move [Christie] “didn’t alert the Arizona charters.  When Sonny  realized what was going on, he had Hoover call [Christie].  Not only was he opposed to hashing out peace with other clubs, [George had] broken protocol.  [Christie] could hear Sonny’s rasp in the background, almost dictating to Hoover.”  [p. 209]

[33]  “Look, Hoover,’ George alleges he said, ‘I’ll do anything that I think is appropriate to end this war.  If you’re having a problem with that, I don’t know what to tell you.  If you’re upset that they rode through Arizona and you weren’t notified, I apologize.”  [p. 210]  Hoover allegedly replied, “We should have gotten a call, out of respect.”  George claims he answered that with:  “I’m trying to stop the war in Europe from bleeding over into the States.  I’m sure you can understand that.”  “I can.”  “Okay, ‘ George reportedly says, “Anything else Sonny wants you to tell me?”  And with that, he hung up, he says.  [p. 210]  So that summarizes the alleged first phone call with Hoover and the alleged context.  Now it’s time to analyze the claims George has made about that first alleged phone call with Hoover.

[34]  The only date he gives in that same section for the phone call is when:  (i) “Sonny was building a nice life for himself in Cave Junction; ” (ii) Christie “had a arranged a sit-down in Ventura with the Bandidos; and (iii)  when the Nordic Wars were still going on in Europe.

[35]  Earlier on in ‘Exile,’ Christie had made the claim that he had been instrumental in ending the war with the Bandidos “in 1997.”  [p. 167]  And the sit-down with Bandidos President George Wegers must have happened well before then, because he says that the truce reached in 1997 took “a long time, and a lot of effort.  [p. 167]  Therefore, the phone call with Hoover could not have happened later than 1997.

[36]  Christie also states that the first call with Hoover happened when “Sonny was building a nice life for himself in Cave Creek.  He had partnered with Daniel “Hoover” Seybert, the president of the Cave Creek charter, in a North Phoenix motorcycle shop called Sonny Barger’s Cave Creek Cycles.  By all accounts, Sonny considered Hoover a protégé and treated him like one… Hoover became Sonny’s cutout [sic] anytime Sonny wanted to send a message to me.  The first time he was stuck in that position was after I had arranged a sit-down with the Bandidos…”  [p. 209]  So, Christie is making these claims about Hoover and Sonny and the first phone call; and, according to what he stated earlier in his book about the timing of the Bandidos truce, Hoover would have had to have become Sonny’s shop partner and “cutout [sic] – by 1997 at the latest.

[37]  However, although Sonny had requested a transfer to Cave Creek in August of 1997, he didn’t actually move there until October of 1998.   https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0054554/bio  [and cf para. 25]].   Therefore, that phone call between Hoover and Christie, with Sonny in the background, could not possibly have happened, and that’s a fact.

[38]    Additionally, Christie’s description of Hoover as living in Sonny’s “dark shadow” comes immediately after Christie has described what appears to be a comfortable and profitable relationship between Hoover and Sonny:  “By all accounts, Sonny considered  Hoover a protégé and treated him like a son.“  [p. 209]  Christie’s innuendo regarding ‘the darkest part of Sonny’s shadow’ is without any basis given for it in the context of Hoover’s relationship with Sonny.  It suggests to me that Christie was really talking about himself in that sentence, that he felt himself to be standing in “the darkest part of Sonny’s shadow;’ in other words, that Sonny overshadowed George, had the power, the status and the limelight that George Christie claimed for himself.

I just want to say at this point that I am no friend of the Hells Angels.  I became absolutely averse to their very existence as a “club” during the murderous rampage in Quebec led by Maurice Boucher and his thugs:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Boucher

When Boucher  had two innocent adults killed, and the Quebec Angels allowed an innocent eleven-year-old bystander to die as ‘collateral damage’ in a biker war, then I understood in my heart that the Angels don’t give a rat’s ass about any of the rest of us.  They really don’t.

And one of the things I find most irritating about George Christie is that his dissembling tempts me to want to feel sorry for them.  He doesn’t just shade Sonny in ‘Exile;’ he shades pretty much almost everyone else too, excepting only:  his lawyers, his autistic son, his second wife and his daughter the lawyer.  And a couple of dead Hells Angels.

Especially, he slams his first wife, the mother of most of his kids, every chance he gets in that book.  He gives her credit for nothing, and he blames himself for nothing.  And the poor thing can’t even defend herself, because she’s dead now.  It’s not ol’ George’s fault that, breaking club rules to bring George Junior into the club at age 17, –  over the (quite understandable)  protests of some of the members – didn’t work out for Junior.  It’s not because maybe, there’s a good reason for that ‘must be 21’ rule, that things don’t work out, no, no; according to George, it’s all because his first wife turned Junior into a mama’s boy.  [p. 202, p. 227] [see also para. 41]

I can just see how it must have been for the Hells Angels for years, sensing there was something wrong with Christie’s versions of reality, never quite being able to catch him out in an outright lie, afraid to call out a club officer, afraid even to talk about Christie behind his back [cf. para. 44].  It grates me, being compelled to  feel a smidgen of pity for their predicament:  like any good con man, he could out-talk them.  He’s fooled people who really should know better, too.

I say all this because I want readers to know that I wanted to believe George Christie was credible.  But, I had to go where the facts led me;  and the facts did not lead me to believe that George Christie is remotely credible on any subject – except for what he unwittingly reveals about himself in his own statements.

[39]   Back to George Christie’s claims regarding the truce with the Bandidos and his first phone call with Hoover:  What that passage does reliably reveal, in my opinion is something about George Christie:  that he was willing, by his own account, to betray his “good friend” George Wegers, then-president of the Bandidos [p. 167], even to the possibility of the latter’s death at the hands of the Arizona Hells Angels.  He calls it his deliberate refusal to inform the Arizona Hells Angels about his promise to the Bandidos a “petty” move.  I would say that a more accurate description of promising someone – a “good friend,” yet!  –   safe conduct when you know damn well they’re not going to have it – that’s an act of unbounded treachery.

The only thing George could have been secretly hoping for, in my opinion, is that somebody on Sonny’s turf would attack the friend who’s been promised safe conduct; and then, he could  denounce Sonny, claim he gave the safe conduct and then the third party, Sonny, broke it.  See, even if it didn’t actually happen that way, his account of it shows, nevertheless,  what George Christie was willing to do, in my opinion.

[40]  Christie claims he’s maintained a good relationship with George Wegers “until this day.”  [p. 167]  In that case, Wegers must not have heard the story of how Christie claims he screwed Wegers over regarding that ‘safe conduct.’

[41]  Moreover, it’s clear from ‘Exile’ that George is willing to break the rules when it suits him and just over-ride any objections:

“A year later [c. 1993**], Georgie [Christie’s son] got his patch and became the youngest Hells Angel in the world.  It was a violation of the club rules.  Prospects have to prove they are at least twenty-one to become a member.  Georgie had grown up around the club.  Everyone knew he was seventeen.  At the first officers’ meeting after Georgie was voted in, more than one old-timer let me know that several members weren’t at all pleased about the move.  [p. 166]

** http://www.agingrebel.com/13268

The Second Alleged Conversation between George Christie and Hoover

[42]   Now, on to the second conversation George alleges he had with Hoover, “less than a month” before Hoover was murdered.  Christie claims they “ran into each other at a West Coast Officer’s meeting in 2003,” [page 210], at which time Hoover allegedly tried to get Ventura HA President Christie’s  sanction to “eighty-six” Noel Barger, on account of her having allegedly been an “informant.”   In that Phoenix Magazine article, Noel outlines exactly what it means to be ‘eighty-sixed.’  [cf. para. 16 for link to article]  It’s the Hells Angels version of being ‘sent to Coventry,’ which includes becoming “a walking target.”

[43]   So, what does George Christie say his reply was to Hoover?  “Do what you know is the right thing to do.”  And what is Hoover’s response?  “Yeah, okay.”  I think it’s safe to say that Hoover would have taken Christie’s response as an assent to ‘eighty-sixing’ Noel, because, what Christie doesn’t say, is that that Hoover argued with him about Christie’s answer.

[44]   It’s also clear that Christie is trying to protect himself in his book from any accusation that he gave Hoover the go-ahead to kill Noel.  But, what was George actually willing to see happen to Noel at that point?

[45]   Earlier in his book, George makes it clear he was willing to kill fellow Ventura Angel Jim Clark on hearsay from another Angel that Clark had gone “on a smear campaign” against Christie [p. 135 – 36].  Oh, and Clark was “sarcastic and condescending” on the phone to Christie, [p. 36]:  “The first thing I did once I was back was to straighten out Jim Clark.  David and I took Jim for a walk five blocks down to the Ventura River, on the other side of the Ojai Freeway.  It was a desolate location.  We didn’t say a word until we got to the edge of the river.  “You know, Jim, I don’t think this charter is big enough for both of us.  I don’t want you here anymore.”  “I’m not going anywhere.”  “Well, let me tell you something.  See the river?  At the bottom of that river is an eternity.  And if you don’t leave Ventura, that’s where you’re going to be.”  [p. 141]

So, he was willing to kill a fellow Angel for what most people outside of a gang would consider to be very small grounds for killing someone:  namely, for being someone whom George had a grudge against and who was living in the same city as he was.  (And again, not the perspective of a true peacemaker, I think most would agree.)

[46]   Moreover, according to Christie himself, he was number one on the cop’s suspect list in the murder of Hoover “less than a month” after that second alleged conversation with Hoover.  In ‘Exile,’ he says:  “The word among law enforcement was that I put a hit on Hoover in retaliation for Josh’s murder.*  Some Hells Angels thought the same thing.  But even if I had the power, I wouldn’t have used it.  Hoover was headed in the right direction.**   He wanted to be a peacemaker and the club badly needed someone besides me to step up to fill that role.***  But I also believe that the murder will never be solved because too many people don’t want it to be.  As always, law enforcement didn’t care.  A dead Hells Angel was just one less problem as far as the cops were concerned.****

* Joshua William Harber:    http://articles.latimes.com/2002/jun/12/local/me-angel12

As of June 23, 2017, a Mongols member has been charged with Josh’s killing:  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mongols-hells-angels-murder-charges-20170623-story.html  But, note how Christie tries to implicate the Cave Creek Angels in the hit on Josh.

**  And also with, presumably, his plan to ‘eighty-six’ Noel Barger, with whatever that might have entailed.

***  No doubt, eh.

 ****  That’s rich, coming from George Christie, who allowed Hells Angel prospect Thomas Heath and Angel Brett Eaton to get away with the murder of an innocent fifteen-year-old that Christie alleges they committed:  “Tom Heath walked a flat motorcycle tire into the Frame-Up.  Brett Eaton had rigged a bomb inside the tire, so that it would detonate when the tire valve was unscrewed…. The bomb  contacts came together, and Mongol and teenager were instantly killed in a blast that blew the windows out of the buildings on either side of the shop… It was a joke to [Heath].  For days, he went on about the explosion.”  [p. 75 – 76]

Christie goes on to claim that “Justice would be served decades later when Heath was sentenced thirty-five to life for a domestic dispute beef that bought him a “third strike” conviction.”  [p. 76]

No, George, justice wasn’t really served  – in the murder of Raymond Hernandez.

[47]  Back to Noel Barger.  For the record, I don’t think, gauging from the Phoenix Magazine account, that Noel Barger was an “informant” in any real sense of the word, and I think Sonny understood that.  That’s why he did the article, I am inclined to think, to show that he stood by her in a sense, even if he was going to divorce her.

When she signed whatever papers the FBI agent put in front of her, she was in the hospital, most likely whacked out on pain-killers, and very, very pissed off, no doubt, since it was her husband who had put her there.  She needed to be separate from him for at least awhile,  until things cooled down, and she needed some money to do that.  Most probably, the FBI agent had to have a rationale for giving her the money she needed, and perhaps the option of simply labelling her a ‘material witness’ in the assault was not enough to open up the public purse.

Once she had somewhat recovered, she (and Sonny) realized the enormity of what she’d inadvertently done:  labelled herself as an FBI informant.  I think he was most likely trying to keep her from getting killed.  Sarrah, according to that article, had “run away.”  I really doubt that.  I think Noel sent her away, to try to keep her from getting killed, too, in the manner that Margo Compton and her daughters had been murdered.  [cf. para. 04]

[48]   Noel was bi-polar; and that was a condition still poorly understood in 2002.  Hoover was clearly fed up with dealing with her, and, to be frank, he seems to me to have been kind of a slow boat:**  not really capable of dealing with the nuances of Noel’s situation.  It didn’t help that he was single, and therefore probably  not really capable of empathizing with the sometimes stormy waters that every marriage sails through occasionally.  So, who Hoover chooses to vent to, of all people, is a Phoenix Magazine reporter.  And now every Hells Angel and every ‘Club 81’ supporter in all of Arizona knows that the President of Cave Creek would really, really like to see the back of Noel Barger, who is now officially labelled as an “FBI informant.”  Gee, what could go wrong with that?

**  In the interview with ‘The Independent’ in August of 2000, https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/an-angel-at-my-table-697297.html   the interviewer says:  “I later ask Hoover if he’s read Sonny’s book. “I tried, but my eyes just kept closing.”  (Really??  Sonny’s book is not rocket science; moreover,  it’s quite well written and the stories are very interesting.  I hate to shade the dead, but Hoover’s reply sounds to me like he was a bit of a slow boat.)

[49]   Back to the question of what exactly George Christie was probably willing to see happen to Noel Barger.   Let’s go back for a moment to what he said about Hoover’s death.  “The word among law enforcement was that I put a hit on Hoover in retaliation for Josh’s murder…. But even if I had that power, I wouldn’t have used it.  Hoover was headed in the right direction…”  [p. 211]   So, why wouldn’t he have put a hit on Hoover?  Because murdering people is a wrong thing to do?  Nope.  That’s not the reason.  The reason he wouldn’t have put a hit on Hoover was, “because Hoover was headed in the right direction.”

Now, what that suggests to me right there is, that George Christie was perfectly willing to put a hit out on someone, even another Hells Angel,  – if he thought they were headed in the ‘wrong’ direction.  And we have already seen [para. 45] that George’s own account of himself is that he was perfectly willing to kill even a Hells Angel if he thought that man was in his way.

Moreover, if Hoover comes across as a bit ‘slow’ in that August 2000 ‘Independent’ article:  https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/an-angel-at-my-table-697297.html   he also comes across as being highly respectful, even deferential, to Sonny.  It’s hard to believe that he would have gone behind Sonny’s back to consult with George Christie on any matter at all, much less one that involved the Cave Creek charter and Sonny’s wife.

[50]  For much of 2002 through 2004, ATF agents were conducting an undercover operation in Arizona concerning a deadly shoot-out between Hells Angels and Mongols in Laughlin, Nevada:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Dobyns#Hells_Angels_infiltration:_%22Operation_Black_Biscuit%22

[51]  Black Biscuit eventually resulted in a number of murder and assault  convictions, both in the Laughlin shoot-out:  https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.true-crime/5A4PVayrAaw








as well as in the 2001 vicious murder of Cynthia Yvonne Garcia, a mother of five children, by three Hells Angels in the Mesa, Arizona Hells Angels club-house.

The Angels sang their standard song when one of their own gets busted:  “He didn’t do it; it was the rat who informed on him who did it.”  [cf. para. 04]  But, innocent people don’t run away.  Especially not innocent people who can afford good lawyers, as stock-broker/Hells Angel prospect Paul Eischeid certainly could.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/07/25/stockbroker-by-day-alleged-violent-hells-angel-by-night-15-years-after-his-arrest-fugitive-biker-back-for-murder-case/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1b5a7f619762   In March of 2012, Hells Angel Kevin Augustiniak, who had previously pled guilty to the murder of Cynthia Yvonne Garcia in Phoenix in October 2001, was convicted:    http://www.agingrebel.com/5411

[52]  Hells Angels have slammed Jay Dobyns, both for the job he did and for “betraying his brothers,” meaning them.  However, the judge who presided over ‘Black Biscuit’ evidentiary hearings clearly did not agree at all that Dobyns and his team had done a bad job:    https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-azd-2_03-cr-01167/pdf/USCOURTS-azd-2_03-cr-01167-10.pdf     and you’ll note that clearly, there was evidence, because that’s what the defendants,  Robert J. “Bad Bob” Johnston Jr, 48, then-President of the HA Mesa chapter, and Hells Angels Calvin Schaefer, 34, and Donald Smith, 53 were trying to get suppressed.  And as for their complaint that Jay ‘betrayed’ them, this just goes to show how successful he was at infiltrating them; they still don’t really ‘get’ that he was never their friend; he was a cop who was doing his job.

[53]  Jay Dobyns in 2015 on threats received concerning him and his family:  https://youtu.be/qFaHmoaRgbk

“These guys, [the Hells Angels] they have their PhD’s in violence and intimidation.” [at 10:14]

A judge agreed that Dobyns had been harassed and intimidated by the Hells Angels:


[54]  My point about Jay Dobyns and his credible claims of being harassed even to the point of having his house fire-bombed, is that, Angels who would be willing to kill an ATF agent for having done his job, would certainly be willing, in my opinion, to kill the “paid FBI informant wife” of a Hells Angel.

[55]  There is also a facebook page in the married name of Noel Barger:  https://www.facebook.com/noel.barger

Like myspace, it’s very easy to set up a FB account in any name you want, using a gmail address under any name that pleases you.  It’s easy to fake a timeline, too, by creating ‘events’ on myspace.  Two of the pictures in the Noel Barger photo album are anomalous.  Although they a part of a series intended to portray several moments in the same sequence of time, the marks on the cheeks don’t match up, and neither does the silver in the hair:    [PIC 08]   There is also a smaller version of the myspace profile picture in the facebook profile pictures.  The profile is completely unresponsive, as far as I could tell, to anything posted by any of its discernible contacts.

The State of California and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation

[56]  Any organization claiming non-profit status should be forced to post a copy of their bylaws – and the penalties that will be applied for members who fail to obey or enforce those bylaws – at every site where the non-profit operates, as well as online at the state and federal levels, freely accessible to the public.  The bylaws must conform to all statutes and democratic principles.  If board members are found to have turned a blind eye to egregious violations of those bylaws, then the non-profit status should be put in jeopardy.

[57]  Sonny Barger taught his step-daughter that “it’s okay to the lie to the cops, because they lie to us:”  By the same kind of reasoning, it should be okay to strip the tax-free status from groups who want to cash in on democratic rights and freedoms – but flout the principles on which those rights and freedoms have their standing.

[58]  Furthermore, the tax laws need to be changed on the federal level, to lock it down that non-profits need to obey all applicable state laws in order to retain their tax-free status.

What kind of organization it is, shouldn’t enter into that equation.  A self-proclaimed ‘religious’ organization like Scientology should not have special carte blanche to violate state laws on libel and harassment, just because it Calls itself a religion.

[59]  I find it astounding that these changes to the laws were not enacted years ago.  Law enforcement agencies should consider class action lawsuits against the state of California, for harboring so many rogue groups.  If I had a problem with one of them, I would certainly be looking at suing the state of California for having enabled the group to operate illegally with tax-exempt status, for so many decades.

[60]  The Hells Angels are the very first to cry [para. 07] when they think their democratic rights are being stepped on.   As this blog-post has made abundantly clear, however, they don’t really think the rest of us have any rights – not if we cross any of them to even the smallest degree.  [cf. para. 05]  The murder convictions of three Alberta Hells Angels in Greece who killed a man who just wanted his bike back make it very clear what the Hells Angels are all about.  They’re not ‘out in bad standings,’ either.  They’re still Hells Angels.

[61]It’s time to make them live up to the democratic principles those rights were founded upon, or make them pay.  Their fines should go straight into the coffers of the law enforcement agency that had to deal with them.

Recommended further reading:

Hell’s Angel, the Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club by Sonny Barger, [and yes he does spell it that way].  First edition, 2001.  Collector’s edition, undated.  The book is well written, with a great many interesting stories.  The collector’s edition, available from Sonny’s web-site:  http://sonnybarger.com/ is signed, numbered and nicely bound.  I think it represents a good value for book collectors.

No Angel by Jay Dobyns with Nils Johnson-Shelton, paperback edition, 2009.  A riveting and detailed account of the ATF ‘Black Biscuit Operation in Arizona to investigate the Laughlin shoot-out as well as the murder of Cynthia Garcia.  Catching Hell:  A True Story of Abandonment and Betrayal, hard-cover edition, 2018, makes for fairly grim reading, but there are moments of light, hope and humor as well.

Angels of Death by William Marsden and Julian Sher, hardcover edition, 2006, has a good chapter on the Arizona undercover operation.

Sonny:  60 Years Hells Angels is published by Serious Publishing in Paris, France.  It consists of a great many photos from the archives of the Oakland Hells Angels, and a rather sparse text by Sonny Barger.  The photos have been expertly re-produced.

Exile On Front Street by George Christie, hardcover edition, 2016, has photos and is well-written.  Best read with an eye to what George Christie is saying about himself, in my opinion.

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The Hatfield – McCoy feud of George Christie and Sonny Barger…

and what it says about them and the Hells Angels as an organization…

I’ve sat through all of the George Christie interviews for the television program ‘Outlaw Chronicles.’  They’re readily available on youtube; you won’t have trouble finding them.

I’m no fan of the Hells Angels, but after thinking about what Christie had to say and doing a little research, I believe I have something worth saying on the matter of that 911 call at the core of their ongoing sniping at each other.

Here’s an excerpt from the program, which deals with the infamous 911 call Sonny Barger made after he clobbered his ex-wife so bad she evidently needed an ambulance:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdt4ANaAgFc  Now, as an avowed unfriendly to the Hells Angels, you’d think I’d be favoring Christie’s version of the story, and frankly, it’s come as a shock to me too that I don’t.

Here’s why:

One.  Christie has said at various times that it’s against Hells Angels rules to call 911 for any reason.  In the tape excerpt above, he backtracks on that claim somewhat and says that Barger “should have called 911 and said his ex-wife needs an ambulance and then left it at that” without mentioning a pistol in her car.  But if you listen to the tape recording, it’s clear that once Barger had called 911 on behalf of his ex-wife, he was then immediately forced by the 911 operator to answer the question “Do either of you have any weapons?”  So, Christie was in essence calling out Barger for not having lied to the 911 operator.  Which, if he had been caught, would have put him in prison for sure.  As Christie must have known.

Two.  I don’t subscribe to the Hells Angel ‘code,’ and the rule, if it exists, that one must never call 911 is just plain stupid, but, even I can see that by any standard, Christie’s acquisition of the transcript and of the tape and using it to confront Barger was a Judas move.  What happened to never ratting out one’s fellow bikers?  There is no objectively good reason for ratting out someone for calling 911 to save a life.  What that says to me is that Christie most likely tried to use that 911 call to grab power away from Barger.

According to this article and in other online sources as well:   http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/ex-hells-angels-boss-sonny-barger-wife-beating-fraud-new-book-article-1.2796293  Christie has also repeatedly attacked Barger for not having been “violent” enough.  George Christie strikes me, after considerable thought on this subject, as being a classic ‘Judas’ figure:  enraged at the ‘failure’ of his leader to ‘live up’ to a code that he, Christie, had swallowed whole, and itching to take the Hells Angels helm away from Barger, convinced he could do it so much better than the latter.

I think there is a code that involves violence, embedded in the very being of the Hells Angels as an organization.  If there wasn’t, then Sonny Barger wouldn’t have ever felt the need to boast, as he evidently has, that he forced Keith Richards to play music at gunpoint:  https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/shidoobeewithstonesdoug/sonny-barger-put-a-gun-to-keith-at-altamont-t20269.htmlit    nor would Barger have felt the need to wear a ‘filthy few’ patch:

Photo courtesy of George Christie to accompany story about his new book (September 2016)

which allegedly means someone has killed for the Hells Angels:  https://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2010/11/16/hells_angels_testimony_takes_jury_inside_clubhouse.html   mmm  Whether he actually has killed anyone or not, whether he really did threaten Keith Richards or not, the point is that he clearly felt that saying he did those things would increase his stock with the Hells Angels.  And that tells me there is a code, an attitude, that fosters violence and defends it.

Given the difficulties that law enforcement has often had in trying to prove the Angels are a criminal organization, it might profit them to focus more on the shared state of mind and what that entails in terms of fostering criminal activities.  This perspective would also be useful, I think, in getting a legal handle on other groups that tend to operate as ‘cellular’ units,  such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, other outlaw biker groups.  It’s a critical element in ‘outlaw’ groups, and it should be made an element that can have validity in attempts to portray a portion of a group as being a criminal enterprise.

As for George Christie and Sonny Barger:  I don’t know the latter and I can’t read him.  I can’t read everybody, there are exceptions and he’s one of them.  But Christie I believe I can read:  He has no soul.  Oh, he has a personality, and he’s very articulate, but, there’s nothing on the inside in terms of objective values.  In my opinion, his attitude towards that 911 call, his attacks on Barger for not having been ‘violent enough,’ and his own violence-related conviction for firebombing tattoo parlours:  https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/qbnk85/george-christie-leaving-hells-angels   say to me that, given a choice as to which of the two men I would prefer to encounter in a dark alley, I’d choose Sonny Barger any day.

Well, that’s my take on it anyway, and I don’t have a dog in the hunt.

A section of the flood wall along the Tug Fork in Matewan, West Virginia, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, depicts the Hatfield–McCoy feud.  photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library, public domain, courtesy of wikipedia.com

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Teflon Don and the Hells Angels

Back in August of 2017, when I challenged Toronto Hells Angel Donny Petersen:  https://www.facebook.com/kitty.grimnirs/posts/700912220118938 as regards his Facebook rant on how cops had it all wrong when they used the term “one-percenter:” https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1150546161755747&id=100004011235909  he stayed cool, he didn’t scream like a little girl or anything. 🙂  In fact, ‘cool’ and ‘polite’ are probably watchwords of his, if his Facebook page, which is entirely open to the general public, is anything to go by.  He didn’t respond directly to me, but, a short time later, he posted an excerpt from a book that was then in the last stages of pre-publication, called Biker 101:  The Life of Don:  http://www.donnypetersen.com/shop/biker-101-the-life-of-don/  It was clear that the only honorable option open to me was to put my money where my mouth was and buy a copy forthwith, which I did.  This here is by way of a brief review, which I may expand upon at a later date.

Donny put a lot of work into the book; he writes well, and the book is designed to accommodate those with brief attention spans:  it’s broken up into many short chapters, all of which are carefully titled.  Of course, it’s kind of like eating Pringles:  hard to stop with just one story.  In a sense I kind of feel privileged, because the book is a window into a world that someone like myself, unswervingly hostile to the very existence of the Hells Angels, would normally never have access to.  It’s the best kind of writing in a sense, as if the reader is sitting in a living room just listening to an acquaintance tell stories about his life as an ‘outlaw’ biker.

Donny’s tried hard to tell his stories without giving the impression he’s doing an exposé on the Angels, understandably so.  Yet the result is an admixture of fairly riveting and often seamy stories, glossed over at times with excuses a high-schooler wouldn’t buy.  The boys are sometimes too busy with their own fun to hear a woman screaming at them to stop the gang-banging?  Yeah, sure,  Donny.  The Angels frown on rape and punish their own?  Yeah sure they do, just as soon as they can get their heads around that ‘no ratting out other members’ thing.

I thought I would at least learn what Don’s definition of a “one percenter is,” but in the end he pulled his punches even on that issue, saying that everybody had his own definition.  Where I’m learning what the term really means is by paying attention to his perspective in the book, such as his view of cops.  And in his strategies, how he broaches issues touching on the issue of criminality, and then dances away from them, promising to return later to the subject, and then never doing so, as far as I could determine.  He always comes out looking good in his stories.  It’s hard not to like the guy at least a little, but it’s also hard to see anything deeper than the appearance he maintains of intelligent civility.  ‘Teflon Don’ would be a good nickname for him, in my opinion.  Stuff just bounces off the guy and nothing sticks to him.  He could fall into a tar pit and climb out the other side snow white.

But don’t be looking for deep psychological insights into what makes him or the Angels tick, because those aren’t there, in the book or in the man himself, in my estimation.

Nevertheless, ‘Biker 101’ offers a searing bird’s-eye view into the life of ‘one-percenters,’ as well as into corruption in some of the places he’s familiar with, such as the Dominican Republic.

I think his book should be required reading for anyone interested in the world of the Hells Angels.  Women who are thinking of getting involved with an Angel should pay especial attention to the recurrent theme of violence in life with the Angels.

The books are shipped promptly, via Priority Post.  I should be so lucky to get service like that from some of the other sellers I’ve dealt with in the past few months.

Personal favorite quote from the book:

“The mountain**  does many things, but kidding is not one of them.”

** Everest



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Borderline Personality help sources

As I write this (at 21:45 EDM on September 24, 2017), Patrick Fox of Burnaby, BC is awaiting sentencing for his conviction of having criminally harassed his ex-wife:  https://marnietunay2.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/warning-dont-get-involved-in-any-way-with-patrick-fox-of-burnaby-b-c/  Although I’ve never met Mr. Fox, he would appear to me to be suffering from borderline personality on the face of it.  He’s not remorseful at all for having made his ex-wife’s life hell, to say nothing of his own young son’s life by persecuting the boy’s mother, as you can see from my own exchanges with him in the comments section on that post (above), and from reading the news reports of his trial.

He will probably go to prison, and it’s easy to say ‘good riddance.’  But what will happen to him in prison?  Will he get effective therapy there?  Probably not.  Borderline-personality sufferers are notoriously difficult to treat effectively.

Now, one of my own Facebook contacts, a Toronto hypnotherapist by the name of Allan Clews, has just posted a series of videos on a treatment for borderline personality, called ‘Dialectical Behavior Therapy,’ or DBT, which he says is “the only thing that has been scientifically proven to help those suffering from Borderline Personality;” and he has kindly given me permission to re-post his post here on wordpress:  https://www.facebook.com/allan.clews/posts/10215792177023764


Now I think you might need a Facebook profile to view that post, and not everybody has facebook, of course; so I am also going to take the liberty of embedding the first of his short videos here directly from youtube, so that anyone who can’t see the facebook post can hopefully link to the videos from youtube:  

So that’s one point of reference that may be helpful, and for those who are suffering from the sufferers of borderline personality and who may have decided that enough is enough, here is a useful book on divorcing a spouse who’s borderline.  Wordpress doesn’t like it when I link to Amazon here, but the book is readily available there.  It’s called ‘Splitting:  Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder,’ written by Bill Eddy and Randi Kreger, and published in 2011.  I’ve read it and it’s loaded with useful tips on dealing with people with those disorders, even if you’re not married to one of them.

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So, where’s the post on Vǫluspá’s Gullveig and Heiðr, eh?

I’m well aware it’s been well over a year since I first promised it was going to be done in “a few weeks.”  But, see, here’s the thing:  I was stupid, stupid, stupid, to make a promise like that, because the two (just two!!) stanzas in the some-sixty stanza-long Old Norse poem known as Vǫluspá are arguably the most difficult and among the most-debated in the poem.  I thought I had a handle a year ago on the research that had been done to date; laughable!  I knew nothing, nothing.  I’ve since learned that, to resolve the mystery of Gullveig and Heiðr, a deep understanding of the best-known and most powerful of the Eddic poems – Vǫluspá – would be a prerequisite.  If I’d known what I was in for, I would never have had the courage to start it.

But now that I’ve come this far, I’m determined to be the one to resolve the many hundreds of years-old mystery.

Just so my loyal readers can rest assured I haven’t spent the entire summer lolling on a lawn chair eating bonbons, here’s something of what you can expect to learn from my post when I have finished it:

  1.  The word ‘Gullveig’ was intended by the poet to be a symbol, and as such, it can never have a final meaning.  However, scholars such as John McKinnell and Sigurður Nordal have limited the meanings that can be discerned, by insisting that the first part of this made-up name, ‘Gull,’ ‘gold,’ can only mean the literal metal ‘gold,’ and it cannot mean ‘golden.’  I believe I can prove that this is not the case.  Moreover, the meaning of ‘brew,’ ‘liquid intoxicant,’ is better attested in Eddic sources than any other suggested meaning, such as McKinnell’s ‘woman,’ or ‘power;’ and moreover, there is a West Saxon cognate word with the meanings of ‘liquid,’ ‘river,’ which nobody else has mentioned, although Nordal cites other borrowings from West Saxon in the poem.
  2. The idea promulgated by a number of scholars that the burning of Gullveig is situated in a tradition of burning people for witchcraft is just nonsense.  Nordal and Ursula Dronke make a good case for the poem’s having been written in Iceland – where nobody was burned for witchcraft until several hundred years after Vǫluspá had been written!  There were other punishments for witches who crossed the wrong person, and the only story told of burning witches in accounts roughly contemporary with that of Vǫluspá is that of the burning of witches, not for being witches, but for being male witches; and that account is from Norway:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%B6lva#Male_practitioners  not from Iceland, which at that time was still possessed of a wary independence from Norway.
  3. There are numerous striking parallels between the figure of Heiðr the witch in Vǫluspá and that of the figure of Hildr in the eerie Scandinavian legend of  Hjaðningavíg the “battle of the Heodenings.”  Although several scholars such as Ursula Dronke have commented on some of those parallels, I propose to go into them more deeply.
  4.  Additionally, I will address the connection between the 14th cent. version of the “battle of the Heodenings,” namely, Sörla þáttr and that of the somewhat later Icelandic ‘rimur’ known as Skíðaríma and I will provide evidence to show that, contrary to scholarly assumptions about the latter poem being intended to “disrespect” the Old Norse pagan religion, in fact Skíðaríma is best understood as a satirical response to the Christian attempt by means of  Sörla þáttr to destroy the legend of ‘the eternal battle’ and the power of the old gods once and for all.  Understood as such, Skíðaríma is an absolute scream.
  5. I will look at other interpretations that have been made of the three mysterious figures from Vǫluspá: Gullveig, Heiðr and the seeress into whose mouth the entire recital of the poem has been placed, as well as the oft-debated questions of: whether or not the seeress is dead or alive, and whether or not she is human.  Of course it’s one thing to say one’s opinion, and another thing to support one’s opinion with evidence that will stand up to a careful inspection by people with many letters after their name.  And it is impossible to do the job well without really knowing very well everything else that has been written and thought about in connection with those stanzas (at least, everything for which I can find an English-language text or translation).
  6. I can assure you that if I don’t die or otherwise become seriously incapacitated, I will finish the work.  To paraphrase Gurdjieff’s Anatolian Turk says in “Beelzebub’s tales,” “Have I not spent all my money for this pepper that I thought was a delicious fruit?  I will go on eating it if it kills me!”  lol  So, too, having begun and spent rather a lot on the research, both of time and money, I intend to finish it, to do it well, and to make an original contribution to the knowledge of this subject.  Off to eat bonbons now.  :-p
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Were the dice loaded in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216?

May 24, 2018 update at 09:44 EDM:  This just in today:   https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/17800/index.do  the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on the Barton appeal.  In summary, it:

(i)  refines the law on consent:  “While the jurisprudence has consistently referred to the relevant defence as being premised on an honest but mistaken belief in consent, it is clear that in order to make out this defence, the accused must have an honest but mistaken belief that the complainant actually communicated consent, whether by words or conduct. It is therefore appropriate to refine the judicial lexicon and refer to the defence more accurately as an “honest but mistaken belief in communicated consent”.

(ii)   places the blame squarely on the trial judge for having failed to properly caution the jury on bias with respect to the deceased’s sexual history and profession, or with respect to the issue of consent, and on a number of other issues as well:  See part C, Application.

(iii)  orders a new trial on the charge of “unlawful act manslaughter.”

(iv)  takes into account the jury’s decision when rejecting a new trial on a murder charge, while making a withering assessment of the trial prosecution’s competence:  “However, a new trial on first degree murder is not warranted. The Crown’s case on first degree murder turned primarily on its expert evidence that the deceased’s fatal wound was a cut. Evidently, the jury was not persuaded. Moreover, the Crown provided no plausible explanation for how the jury could have used prior sexual activity evidence to improperly reason its way through the first degree murder charge. Furthermore, the Crown acknowledged in the court below that the only ground of appeal implicating the murder charge was the motive issue. However, the motive instructions were not tainted by reversible error. Finally, there was a simple and obvious explanation for why the jury unanimously acquitted the accused of murder that does not require the Court to speculate about the potential influence of conscious or unconscious bias: the Crown’s theory simply did not hold up under scrutiny.”

I think that’s as good as it gets.  The SCC did not reveal its thoughts on the conduct of the Court of Appeal in the case of Barton.

Here is a good article by the The Lawyers Daily on the decision:  https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/criminal/articles/12538/supreme-court-clarifies-sexual-assault-law-in-case-spotlighting-justice-system-s-mistreatment-of-indigenous-women-and-sex-workers

Still to come:  A FOIP inquiry into the issue of whether or not I should have had access to (an allegedly existent) ABCA “policy” on access to transcripts of oral proceedings.  The FOIP commissioner has now postponed the resolution of the inquiry until the spring of 2020, and has said she will send around a notice of the issues “in due course.”  In the media she has recently indicated that she is horribly backed-up and understaffed; so, I guess I’m lucky she’s even agreed to hold the inquiry.


February 12, 2018 update at 14:52 EDM:  I have begun a rundown of the issues on which the transcript fragments previously released to Dino Bottos have shed some light, on my Alberta Injustice Page:  https://marnietunay2.wordpress.com/alberta-injustice-failures-in-courts-and-government-public-accountability/

January 05, 2018 update at 23:25 EDM:  I picked up a reply from J.Fraser this afternoon to my January 10 request to access the transcripts for the Barton appeal hearing.  Here is a screenshot of my request:  

and here is a screenshot of the reply:

which came in a plain envelope with 84 cents of postage, and not in the self-addressed federal express envelope which I had enclosed with my request, and which they presumably tossed in the garbage.  It is a small thing, just 15 dollars down the drain, but it is not a nothing; I could have used that envelope elsewhere, and to my mind, it goes to show a fundamental disrespect for me as a person, for my monies, and even for that of the court’s.

Here is a link to that court decision she references:   https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2016/2016abca419/2016abca419.html  and I must day, I do look forward to discussing it an a request for a FOIP review of the Ministry of Justice’s response, which will tell me I have to get that transcript from J. Fraser.  I know this because the Alberta Ministry of Justice has informally responded by phone to that effect, and they will put it in writing.  I expect to hear from the Ministry soon in writing with its response to that and to the rest of my request for any correspondence from the Ministry to any of the judges involved in the overturning of the Barton appeal, at which time I will file a request with Alberta FOIP Commissioner to review the Ministry’s response.  I think I can make a case for ‘clearly in the public interest,’ although that will require an expansion of the currently prevailing definitions in government, which are very restrictive and serve to benefit secrecy, not transparency.

Next up is a request to the Prime Minister’s office for records showing what it did to verify the claims made in Justice Sheilah Martin’s SCC application, as well as for any correspondence between that Office and any of the judges involved in the overturning of the Barton acquittal.


January 03, 2018 update at 10:17 AM:  Maybe this racoon:   could sit as a judge on the Alberta Court of Appeal, because it seems to have a better memory than the judges who wrote in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216 that the defense had provided no information as to the steps taken to obtain consent, excepting for a question the court alleges the defense lawyer posed:  “what’s a man to do?”  See that excerpt from the Judgment here:  https://bottoslaw.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/R-v-Barton-2017-ABCA-216-Paragraphs-258-260.pdf  And this despite the fact that the Chief Justice, Catherine Fraser, appears to me to have conceded twice on page 101 of the court transcript of the hearing:  https://bottoslaw.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/August-17-2017-Letter-from-Court-of-Appeal.pdf  that the defense had in fact provided adequate information as to the steps taken at least to obtain consent to sexual acts.  As a tax-payer off of whose dollars those judges dine, I am outraged. I intend to follow up this matter via Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Privacy legislation for the identity of the person who wrote those two paragraphs in the Judgment, as well as for the trial judge’s instructions to the jury, which were also impugned severely by the ABACA, which used that to justify throwing out the jury’s finding of acquittal. And I think it’s a sad sad day, when a little old lady like me has to put down her stack of Old Norse court poetry and throw down the gauntlet to the ABCA, simply because: (i) it clearly needs doing; (ii) I think I can do it; (iii) I have been unable to fob the job off onto the shoulders of any “investigative” reporter worthy of the name.  I am requesting the identity of the individual who wrote those two paragraphs in the Judgment, as well as a copy of the trial judge’s instructions to the jury, w which were also impugned by the ABCA and used by the latter as grounds for throwing out the jury’s verdict of ‘not guilty.’  I also want to see the instructions given to the crown, the defense and the interveners as to what the reviewable issues were going to be in the Appeal hearing, including for any “supplementary” factotums.  I would like to get more, such as why J. Jack Watson appears to be speaking gibberish in one paragraph on page 71, and just how many times the judges interrupted the defense when he was speaking, but I probably wouldn’t get those.  But they won’t be able to argue successfully that my requests fall into the class of privileged deliberations.  So here we go.  Stay tuned.  It pisses me off that I can’t shrug this off.  I can see all too clearly in Turkey what happens when a judiciary becomes corrupted, and at least in twenty years if Canada suffers the same tragedy, my own daughter will have the knowledge that mom tried to do something to stop it.  But there was a time when there would have been investigative reporters all over this case, which stinks like a three-week-old herring.


December 13, 2017 update at 20:25 EDM:  On December 05, Supreme Court Justice nominee Sheilah Martin held a question-and-answer session with Members of Parliament, and she also gave a brief speech, which was uploaded to YouTube by the Canadian Press on Dec. 07:

At 00:28 – 00:32 approx.  Sheilah Martin states that she was “working on a team seeking compensation for David Milgaard, who was wrongfully convicted for the murder and rape of a Saskatchewan nurse.”

at 00:45 – 00:47 she says “that legal team [seeking compensation for Milgaard]” was headed by” Hersch Wolch.

On the web-site of Greg Rodin, a lawyer who worked with Wolch for years:  https://www.rodinlawfirm.com/lawyer/greg-rodin-q-c/   it is stated that Rodin was the “lead counsel” in the Milgaard compensation case.

at 01:03 – 01:05 she references “the Honourable Justice Gold,” who, she says, “did  the negotiations on behalf of the “federal government.”  It’s true Alan Gold was appointed to negotiate a settlement for the Milgaard case, but he did not represent the federal government; he represented the provincial government of Saskatchewan:





Neither Gavin Wolch, Hersch Wolch’s son:  https://www.calgarycriminaldefence.ca/lawyers/gavin-wolch/  nor Greg Rodin (see above) replied to an emailed request last weekend from me asking for confirmation that Justice Martin had worked on the compensation case for Milgaard.   The only place I could find any reference to her working on that case is on the University of Alberta site here:  https://www.ualberta.ca/law/news/main-news/2017/november/sheilah-martin but the link they gave references only a much later case, a public inquiry into why Milgaard was convicted in the first place:  http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/Publications_Centre/Justice/Milgaard/Transcripts/V04011805.PDF  and that later inquiry was not either for compensation Nor was it headed up by Alan Gold.   Furthermore, the Cosgrove inquiry was also held in a Saskatchewan court, which makes me wonder:  if all one has to do to represent a client in another province is to simply show up, then why did her husband Hersch Wolch go to the trouble of getting admitted to the bar in three provinces, since there is no indication that I could find that Sheilah herself was ever admitted to the Saskatchewan bar.  It’s certainly not listed on her SCC application in her history timeline:  http://www.fja-cmf.gc.ca/scc-csc/nominee-candidat-eng.html , nor, for that matter, is there any mention of anything to do with the Milgaard cases.  She mentions having been an expert witness in another case on compensation, that of Thomas  Sophonow’s, in the year 2000, but nothing on the much better-known Milgaard case.  At the bottom of that application , in part 2 of a short essay, she states:  “I was part of a team of three lawyers who sought compensation for David Milgaard to address the losses he suffered when wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of Saskatchewan nurse Gail Miller. The Supreme Court concluded that David’s conviction was unsafe after a unique process, in which the Court heard evidence for five days, including the cross-examination of the man eventually convicted for this rape and murder. DNA testing subsequently confirmed that David Milgaard was innocent. As a result, the federal government appointed retired Chief Justice Alan Gold from Québec to negotiate compensation. What was contemplated was an ex gratia payment from the public purse, and there was therefore a pressing need for a principled approach to achieve a just and fair settlement.

She’s not mentioned in that Supreme Court case she references, either:  https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/864/index.do  which gives as Milgaard’s solicitors of record as having been Herb Wolch’s Winnipeg law firm:  ” Solicitors for David Milgaard:  Wolch, Pinx, Tapper, Scurfield, Winnipeg.”

And at 01:15 – 01:22 in the video above, she states that working on the Milgaard case for compensation is where she recognized “the importance of the presumption of innocence.”  One might have thought she would have learned that in law school; but then one might also have thought she would remember which government had given ‘her’ client ten million dollars.

On September 20, 2017, Barton’s lawyer Dino Bottos stated publicly that the Alberta Court of Appeals had refused to give him the transcript of its hearing into the Barton case:  http://edmontonjournal.com/news/crime/paula-simons-court-of-no-record-albertas-court-of-appeal-defies-open-court-tradition  As of this writing, the court has apparently given Mr. Bottos mere scraps from the transcript, as well as some attitude:  https://bottoslaw.ca/letter-re-alberta-court-appeals-ruling-r-v-barton/


November 30, 2017 update at 06:37 EDM:  This just in a few hours ago:  Justice Sheilah Martin, one of the judges in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216, has just been appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada:  PM picks feminist constitutional scholar from Alberta for SCC

No comment.


September 16, 2017 update at 09:35 EDM:  Well I did a little more thinking about that Globe and Mail article I just linked to, below.  In it, Justice Sheilah Martin says, of her late husband, Hersh Wolch:  “”Hersh was so supportive of his children. We would sit down regularly to ask: How is everybody doing? Did they need our support? How could we help? Hersh was a good and dutiful father,” Ms. Martin said.

(The couple created a blended family that included Ms. Martin’s two sons from a previous marriage, Rory and Sean.)”  His children.  Not ‘and my children, too,’ or ‘our children.’  And do you know, I almost fell for that, even though I’ve read the plaudits about Mr. Wolch’s having been among the kindest men in the world.  It strikes me now that Justice Martin has made a kind of living out of promulgating the idea that women are treated unequally in the justice system and presenting ways to fix that perceived problem.

Except that:  in R v Barton 2017 ABCA 216, which appears to me to carry on that tradition of highlighting perceived gender injustices as well as getting in a new proposal on how to fix that alleged problem in jury instructions, it would also appear to me that, at the exact same time the Court is crying ‘foul’ about how badly and condescendingly everybody had treated the female murder victim in the original trial, the same Court, of which Ms. Martin was a member, also ambushed the (male) defendant’s (male) criminal lawyer (see below for details).

It strikes me, now, re-reading that Globe and Mail interview with Justice Martin, that a mask can grow to one’s face, a posture can become habitual and hard to drop; and just perhaps, Ms. Martin is in a place of being unable to stop adopting a stance of victim-hood, professionally and personally – not even to honor the legacy of her late husband.  Kinda reminds me of Angelina Jolie in that way.


September 16, 2017 update at 04:14 EDM:  From this revealing and insightful mini-bio of the late Hersh Wolch:  https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/hersh-wolch-a-voice-for-the-wrongly-convicted-dies-at-77/article35891787/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&   ““He placed a premium on justice.”” “Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, summed up Mr. Wolch’s contributions to Canadian jurisprudence: “Hersh represented the highest ideals of our criminal law system – fairness, equity and a profound commitment to justice for all, whether high or low.“”  Yep, it must have really hit Mr. Wolch very hard, to hear fellow Calgary criminal defense lawyer Dino Bottos tell the world he was ambushed by the Court in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.  Oh sure, heavy workload and all that, but I bet the news about the alleged R v Barton ambush was enough to push him over the edge, too.

September 03, 2017 update at 07:50 EDM:  I have added an interesting and informative article on by thelawyersdaily on the passing of Hersh Wolch and his legacy (see 4th paragraph, below):  

August 02, 2017 Update at 06:24 EDM:  This just in:  A new trial was ordered yesterday in Edmonton for Bradley Barton:  http://aptnnews.ca/2017/09/01/cindy-gladues-accused-killer-goes-to-trial-in-february/  to take place on February 25, 2019.  I reckon there was no money for an appeal to the Supreme Court of the June 30, 2017 ruling that: (i) threw out his acquittal; (ii) tossed in a new issue his lawyer had allegedly not been informed of prior to the Appeal hearing;  (iii) set out its own ‘draft proposal’ for jury instructions, (a proposal slammed by a university law professor for broadly over-reaching the court’s mandate in the case); and that (iv) repeatedly called Barton a liar at the same time it was ordering a new trial for him.  So much for ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ eh.


On June 30, 2017, the Alberta Court of Appeal, consisting of Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, Justice Jack Watson and Justice Sheilah Martin, threw out the jury acquittal of Bradley Barton on charges of murdering Cindy Gladue, and ordered a new trial for him.   https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2017/2017abca216/2017abca216.html   Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, has roundly criticised the ruling, in essence accusing the Court of Appeal of political grand-standing and egregious over-reaching:  http://edmontonjournal.com/storyline/acquittal-overturned-in-cindy-gladue-murder-case   Bottos also sharply criticised the Court of Appeal for having taken the four grounds of appeal brought by the Crown and [adding] their own, additional ground of appeal – without any warning to the defense, calling it a “very unfair” move on the part of the Court:  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/06/30/bradley-barton-case-alberta-court-orders-new-trial-for-indigeno_a_23010897/

In an article published on July 17, 2017, Alberta criminal law professor Steven Penney also criticised the Court of Appeal Judgment with respect to the issue of bias, saying that, although the Judgment  “… did a good job of outlining procedurally how the s. 276 rape shield process is supposed to work, and in emphasizing the importance of those protections in avoiding the prejudicial use of evidence of a complainant’s sexual history…” nevertheless, the Appeal Court also, he suggests, made a ““very restrictive” interpretation of s. 276 that is “out of step in many respects” with the appellate consensus that has emerged on how to interpret the rape shield…”  Suggesting that the Appeal Judgment is extremely unbalanced, “Penney highlighted the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Darrach 2000 SCC 46 — the leading case interpreting s. 276. “There I think the Supreme Court of Canada had a more flexible, and balanced, and pragmatic approach — one that I think fairly weighs the interests of both.”” You can read Professor Penney’s comments in full here:  https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/business/articles/4225/bar-s-opinion-is-polarized-on-alta-ca-s-call-for-changes-in-sexual-assault-cases

Sept. 03/17 update:  From a July 20, 2017 thelawyersdaily article on Hersh Wolch and his legacy:  “… Wolch, who was married to Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheilah Martin, died of a heart attack in Calgary on July 17 at the age of 77…. “  “Hersh’s biggest legacy is that he was instrumental in changing the judicial and public consensus on issues of wrongful conviction and miscarriages of justice and helped make that an acceptable proposition in the criminal justice system,” said [Toronto criminal lawyer Daniel] Brodsky…  Best known as the dedicated defender of high-profile, wrongly convicted clients David Milgaard and Steven Truscott, iconic criminal defence lawyer Hersh Wolch is being remembered for the humanity and changes he brought to the way the law is administered and interpreted in Canada….”  Read the rest of the article, including interviews with one of his children, Gavin Wolch, who is also a practicing lawyer, Calgary criminal defence lawyer Greg Rodin and with Toronto criminal lawyer Daniel Brodsky, and others,  here: https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/4250/iconic-defence-lawyer-wolch-remembered-as-lion-of-the-law

[NOTE:  Calgary criminal defence lawyer Hersh Wolch collapsed at his home and died on Monday, July 17, 2017:  http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/calgary-lawyer-hersh-wolch-who-championed-david-milgaard-case-dead-at-77   Wolch was married to Justice Sheilah Martin, one of the three judges in the Alberta Court of Appeal Judgment under discussion in this blog-post.  Frankly, I can’t help wondering what the very well respected Mr. Wolch must have thought on June 30, when fellow defence lawyer Dino Bottos alleged in the media that Mr. Wolch’s wife and the other two judges in the Appeal Judgment had in effect Ambushed Bottos in that Court of Appeal Judgment, saying, for example here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/06/30/bradley-barton-case-alberta-court-orders-new-trial-for-indigeno_a_23010897/  that, “… in particular, [Bottos] was taken by surprise when the panel took the four grounds of appeal brought by the Crown and added their own, additional ground of appeal.  “The Court of Appeal believed the trial judge erred by instructing the jury incorrectly on post-offence misconduct,” Bottos said, adding it caught him unprepared, as counsel is usually given months’ notice as to what the issues are. “To have a fifth ground conjured up and thrown at you is very unfair…”

I also can’t help wondering, of the three judges in that Appeal, which of them its job was to ensure that notice of the fifth ground of appeal was given in a timely manner to Mr. Bottos, and just how, exactly, that notice [allegedly] did Not happen. R.I.P. Mr. Wolch.]

Defense lawyers in Alberta are not usually so vocal in their criticism of the Appeals Court; Dino Bottos’ remarks were the first about the case to catch my attention.   I decided to drop other things I was working on for the time being, and to take a good look at the case.

My Preliminary Observations                                                                                                                 I didn’t have to look far to see that, hell yeah the Court over-reaches – and it’s not shy about doing so, either.  Starting in S. 162:   https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2017/2017abca216/2017abca216.pdf    they use the Judgment as a platform to set out their “draft proposal” for how judges should be instructing juries in (i) “cases involving race and/or gender:”  “[162] A caution in the opening instructions to the jury would be appropriate where, as here, the case involves not only gender (a woman) but also race (Aboriginal) and class (sex trade worker). A draft opening instruction could include the following. In making this suggestion, we stress that this is by way of example only. Further refinements may well be called for based on submissions by Crown and defence counsel…” and in (ii) cases involving evidence of prior sexual conduct:  [S. 163]  It seems to me that teaching other judges on how to instruct juries with a “draft proposal” would be more appropriate in a legal seminar, not in a court judgment. Putting it in a judgment sends a clear message, in my opinion, that:  “Judges better do things the way we want them to and never mind any established “pattern jury instruction [S. 201];”  we know best and you’d better do it our way, or we’ll rule against you on appeal – and we won’t be nice about it, either.”

I also find it very interesting that additionally in S. 163, the Court of Appeal states:  “As with all jury instructions, it is beneficial if the trial judge reviews drafts in advance with Crown and defence. This militates against the need to recharge the jury should the trial judge determine that either counsel has any legitimate concerns.”  That’s really interesting, because the Defense has repeatedly stated [most recently, here]:  https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/business/articles/4225/bar-s-opinion-is-polarized-on-alta-ca-s-call-for-changes-in-sexual-assault-cases   that “in fact it was the Crown prosecutors at trial that agreed to this [jury] charge…” in the trial of Bradley Barton.

The contradistinction between the Court of Appeal’s remark in S. 163 and that last quoted statement by Dino Bottos raises a question in my mind of possible bias on the part of the Court, and it doesn’t take too long to find grounds for concern on that score either.

On the bottom of page 03 in the same judgment is the note that, even though Cindy Gladue’s official date of death is June 22, the Court of Appeal nevertheless refers to “June 21 as the night Gladue died since that is when the interactions with Barton began that led to her death on June 22. “  This, mind you, is from the same judgment that goes on to order a fresh trial for Barton on murder charges.  And in S. 185 of that judgment, the Court of Appeal states that:  “… the real issue was whether she consented to what the jury determined that Barton actually did that caused her death.”

Okay, is it just me, or does it also sound to other people as if the Court had in fact already convicted Barton in their heads, even though they had ostensibly ordered a new trial for him?  Particularly so, in view of the facts that:  in the original trial, (i)  there was a real issue of whether or not the statements made by Bradley to the cops came while he was in what a judge euphemistically termed an “unofficial investigative detention:  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2013/2013abqb673/2013abqb673.html   and (ii)  several witnesses had testified to the presence of other people in the vicinity of the room where Gladue’s body was found near the time of her death, including that of Gladue’s boyfriend:   https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2011/2011abqb492/2011abqb492.html   both of said which factors could very well have a significant bearing both on the jury’s decision to acquit as well as in any future trial.

In R v Barton, 2013 ABQB 673  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2013/2013abqb673/2013abqb673.html concerning statements made by the accused to cops and the concomitant issue of whether or not he was under investigative detention,   I see problems with the judge’s perspective.  It appears to me from the judge’s summary that Barton was indeed under investigative detention at the time and I would say that his statements to the cops should have perhaps been suppressed, and that they may well be suppressed in a new trial.

The issue in the original trial of the admissibility of Barton’s statements doesn’t bother the Court of Appeal at all, however; the Court flat-out calls pretty much all of the defendant’s own statements “lies:”   https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2017/2017abca216/2017abca216.html  “[72] Had the jury been properly instructed, many of Barton’s after the fact actions and statements might have impacted the jury’s assessment of his honesty, trustworthiness and believability. That included lies to Sullivan; the hotel clerk; the 911 operator; the initial investigating officer; Constable Jones, Atkins; and an undercover officer.

But wouldn’t the defendant be entitled to a fresh presumption of innocence on all counts, in the new trial the Court of Appeal ordered in that self-same Judgment?

So then I took a quick look at the judges involved in the 2017 Court of Appeal Judgment:

Justice Jack Watson is the most familiar of the names to me personally.  Of the first three cases I have to date discussed here:  https://marnietunay2.wordpress.com/alberta-injustice-failures-in-courts-and-government-public-accountability/  Jack Watson was a judge in all three of them.

1.  In R. v. Crazyboy, 2012 ABCA 228  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2012/2012abca228/2012abca228.html    Justice Peter Martin stated [s.10] “the trial judge seemed to think that the respondent was automatically entitled to a discounted sentence because of his aboriginal ancestry,” a statement Justice Constant Hunt “concurred in.”

Jack Watson, who concurred in the “result” of the Appeal, demurs somewhat on the issue of what the trial judge thought about the ‘race factor,’ saying

“[s.  [31]  “As pointed out in Ipeelee, even at the respondent’s mature age, the court must pay respectful obeisance to Parliament’s directives concerning restraint in the imposition of sentences as set out in ss. 718.2(d) and (e) of the Code, in particular. What the sentencing judge said was this:

 [35]   I must say that although I have some concerns, as stated above, I cannot ignore the Accused’s unfortunate background as an aboriginal offender, and I give it particular attention in the circumstances of this case.

 [32]   The statement that he would “give it particular attention” is not explained in the reasons. It is to be recalled that Ipeelee took pains to repeat that “Section 718.2(e) does not create a racebased discount on sentencing. The provision does not ask courts to remedy the over-representation of Aboriginal people in prisons by artificially reducing incarceration rates.”

However, what the trial judge actually says https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abpc/doc/2011/2011abpc380/2011abpc380.html  is:

“[33]    During the course of argument, the Court raised with Counsel the application of the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court of Canada, in R. v. Gladue, (1999) 1999 CanLII 679 (SCC), 133 CCC (3d) 385 and R. v. Wells, (2000) 2000 SCC 10 (CanLII), 141 CCC (3d) 368 in this case.

 [34]   Crown Counsel submitted, that any consideration by the Court of Section 718.2(e) of the Code, and the Accused being treated more leniently because he is an aboriginal offender with a dysfunctional developmental history, has been lost because of the seriousness of the present offences and the Accused’s extensive and related criminal record.

 [35]   I must say that although I have some concerns, as stated above, I cannot ignore the Accused’s unfortunate background as an aboriginal offender, and I give it particular attention in the circumstances of this case.”

And the discerning will note that it was the Crown that had raised the issue of whether or not the Aboriginal ancestry of the defendant should “automatically entitle him” to a break in sentencing, not the trial judge.

2.  In 321665 Alberta Ltd. v. Husky Oil Operations Ltd., 2013 ABCA 221  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2013/2013abca221/2013abca221.html  .it’s best to read my summary here:  https://marnietunay2.wordpress.com/alberta-injustice-failures-in-courts-and-government-public-accountability/  as I can’t condense it anymore than I already have on that page.

3.  Shuchuk v. Alberta (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2012 ABCA 50 in essence allowed the Appeals Commission to consider once again whether or not “whether the MVA contributed to the continuation of his condition after December 1996…”  – thereby  just handing back to the Commission the very power to choose December 1996 as a cut-off date that was taken away from them in a 2005 decision by Justice Lefsrud – the subsequent appeal of which decision was, as Justice Martin himself states in writing for the Court in the 2012 decision,  unsuccessful: “[10] The WCB unsuccessfully appealed the reviewing judge’s decision to this Court.”  Logically, this would mean that in fact the one thing the Commission cannot reasonably do is to consider December 1996 as a potential cut-off date, but the power to do so is exactly what 2012 Alberta Court of Appeal decision gave the Commission.  See my full analysis of the case here:  https://marnietunay2.wordpress.com/alberta-injustice-failures-in-courts-and-government-public-accountability/

Chief Justice Catherine Fraser    In R. v. Gashikanyi, 2017 ABCA 194  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2017/2017abca194/2017abca194.html  Justice Ronald Berger roundly trashes another decision, R v Hajar, 2016 ABCA 222  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2016/2016abca222/2016abca222.html  in which both Catherine Fraser and Jack Watson were among the judges, stating:  at S. 19 that:  “…the majority reasons [including both Fraser and Watson] in Hajar fail to provide meaningful guidance to sentencing judges in Alberta. The abandonment of sentencing ranges and substitution by this Court  of starting points without first determining the “acceptable range of sentence” before fixing the starting point, operates in practical terms as a constraint on the discretion afforded to sentencing judges to impose individualized sentences. After all, sentencing ranges are, as the Supreme Court of Canada has made clear, “historical portraits” for the use of sentencing judges whose discretion should not be interfered with absent demonstrable unfitness…”  and at S. [20] that:  “The majority in Hajar not only failed to conduct a detailed, comprehensive review of the minimum and maximum sentences for sexual interference imposed in the past by both trial and appellate judges, but also summarily resiled from the established sentencing range with the admonition that “…the Reasons [of the sentencing judge] overlook the fact that sentencing precedents from this Court are of limited precedential value.” (at para. 150)…”

There’s more along that vein.  A lot more.  But that’s not all.  Justice Berger also raises as a significant potential issue what he perceives to be a bias in the selection of judges to hear sentencing panels, the selection of whom is one of the primary responsibilities of the Chief Justice.  Who is Catherine Fraser.  J. Berger goes on to say:  “[70]   As noted in the introduction to this judgment, this Court has failed to establish and abide by a protocol that provides for the random assignment of judges to sentencing panels.  [71]  The presence of individual discretion in a system of assignment poses a risk that some may think that panelists will be selected based on their perceived predispositions.[1] An appellate court that utilizes discretionary non-random methods to assign (or to replace an assigned judge) leaves open the potential for manipulation. It is this potential that is problematic because, even if manipulation is not actually occurring, the lack of objective guarantees or protections against such abuse can breed suspicions or perceptions of want of impartiality, thereby eroding the integrity of, and public confidence in, the administration of justice….

As a June 27, 2017 report in ‘The Lawyers Daily’  https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/4072/alberta-court-of-appeal-judge-calls-for-random-assignment-of-judges-to-panels  remarks:  “Justice Berger’s ruling is also remarkable for its arguments against the unfettered discretion of chief justices to assign cases — an issue puisne judges at all court levels, and likely in all courts, have complained about at various times over the years — but almost never in public…”  (There’s a lot more there, too, on J. Berger’s comments.)

Justice Sheilah Martin.  Sheilah Martin is a relatively recent appointee to the Alberta Court of Appeal.  “Sheilah Martin, the other Alberta appeal court appointee, was the law dean at the University of Calgary with a long list of publishing credits to her name focused on the equality section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She, too, was promoted from the Court of Queen’s Bench.”  Quoted from the article:  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/liberal-appointments-signal-intent-to-diversify-canadian-judiciary/article30532954/  .  I don’t read as much law as I used to.   I’ve quickly scanned a few QB judgments in which Martin was one of the judges; they looked okay to me.  I chiefly remember her from the Kellog, Brown & Root (Canada) QB ruling [later overturned] on drug testing.  Sadly, that judgment no longer appears to be online; it must have fallen through the cracks when the Alberta Courts web-site turned over trusteeship of its Judgments to canlii.org.  But here’s a good run-down of the KBR drug-testing saga:   https://ablawg.ca/2008/01/12/court-of-appeal-sends-court-of-queen%E2%80%99s-bench-decision-to-rehab/

More recently, Justice Martin gave the ‘conference overview speech:’  https://ciaj-icaj.ca/en/videos/conference-overview-the-honourable-justice-sheilah-martin-1749  at the 2012 conference “The Courts and Beyond: The Architecture of Justice in Transition,” held by the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.  https://ciaj-icaj.ca/en/library/videos/annual-conferences/   At around 09:50 in her speech, it starts to become clear that Justice Martin, one of the conference co-chairs, thinks of herself and her fellow judges as being ‘architects of justice.’ Speaking for myself alone, I personally don’t see judges as being ‘architects of justice.’ I see that as being the role of those who draft legislature and policy, and the role of law-Makers, generally, including politicians, whose role in the ‘building of justice,’ Ms. Martin deprecates about a minute beforehand, saying that politicians generally try to devise a justice plan that is a ‘big tent’ that tries to fit everyone under it. MS. Martin’s perspective on the role of judges in the justice system is of interest to me, because Bradley Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, has in essence accused the Court of Appeal of overstepping its bounds, saying in the Edmonton Journal article:   http://edmontonjournal.com/news/crime/acquittal-overturned-in-cindy-gladue-murder-case  that “”…the appeal court is making a political statement, as much as a legal one.””

But there is also, to my mind, a telling moment about Justice Martin right at the beginning of that ‘conference overview speech,’ in her reaction to the applause she reaps for a lame joke that she tells badly.

The self-approval is strong in this one.

And there is another telling moment at about 06:02 in that conference video, where Justice Martin chooses not to thank the person who brings her a glass of water.  It’s a startling instance of rudeness on the part of a public speaker, to my mind.  Small moments can be very telling, with respect to a person’s fundamental character.   How do people treat those from whom they think they have nothing to gain?  Not to thank someone who brings you a glass of water is under any circumstances a marked act of discourtesy.  To my mind, it suggests a grasping character, one which considers its own advantage first, which would also accord with Dino Bottos’ claim of political grandstanding on the part of the Court in R v Barton 2016 ABCA 68.

From all of the foregoing, I concluded there was a distinct possibility of bias in the 2017 Court of Appeal decision, so I took a look at the law, starting with the 2016 decision in which Leave to Appeal the jury acquittal was given:  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2016/2016abca68/2016abca68.html  .


From  R. v. Barton, 2016 ABCA 68:  “[S. 2] The Crown has appealed. The grounds of appeal as framed by the appellant are the following:

1) The trial judge erred in law in his instruction to the jury with respect to manslaughter.

2) The trial judge erred in law in his instruction to the jury with respect to motive.

3) The trial judge erred in law in making a ruling under s. 276 of the Criminal Code after the close of evidence without any application having been brought by the defence and without a hearing on the issue.

4) The trial judge erred in law in instructing the jury that the complainant’s consent on a previous occasion could be used to support a finding of honest but mistaken belief in consent on this occasion.

5) Such further and other good grounds as counsel may advise.

Additionally, leave to the interveners to join the appeal was also granted, on the grounds that:  “S. [12]   In the case at bar, the arguments which the proposed interveners intend to proffer, as counsel explained, will focus on the definition of “sexual activity” in s. 273.1(1) of the Criminal Code. I am told that the proposed interveners intend to provide a substantive equality analysis of the meaning of consent and also observations on the procedure required by s. 276 of the Criminal Code. The relief prayed for is that they be permitted to file one joint factum of 20 pages or less and to make oral submissions not exceeding 20 minutes.

In the Respondent’s [Dino Bottos for the accused, Bradley Barton] Memorandum of Argument] against the interveners’ being allowed in the Appeal,  https://ablawg.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Barton-Respondents-Memo.pdf  he stated:  “[S.3] … “an intervener must take the case as she finds it and cannot, to the prejudice of the parties, argue new issues which require the introduction of fresh evidence;”  and further, in [S.5] that this is exactly what the interveners intended to do.  He states that the first ground of appeal argued by the interveners:  http://www.leaf.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016-05-02-final-LEAF-IAAW-factum-R-v-Barton-ABCA.pdf  as to whether or not the trial judge erred in law with respect to his instructions to the jury on manslaughter “does not adhere to the ground of appeal being argued by the Crown.”  In [S. 6] Bottos indicates that the intervener’s ground of appeal on liability is overly broad and intended to effectively upend “the prevailing law in Canada” on liability.  In [S. 7] Bottos flat-out accused the interveners of trying to sneak their way into ‘legal party status,’ just so that they could help get Botto’s client convicted.  This is a really serious allegation, basically accusing the interveners of malicious prosecution.  In [S.9], Bottos also accuses the interveners of having “failed to comply with their promise” not to introduce new facts or evidence.”  I don’t know where the interveners would have made that promise.   I don’t see any indication of it in their ‘factotum,’ (which of course certainly doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t make the promise).  He goes on to say in S.9 that the Intervener’s Approach represents a markedly different approach from that of the Crown’s at trial.

Perhaps most significantly, there is no indication in Bottos’ Memorandum that he was aware that the trial judge’s instructions to the jury on post-offence conduct were going to be a grounds for appeal.   But there it is in the Appeal Decision:  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abca/doc/2017/2017abca216/2017abca216.html  starting at “V. Errors in Jury Charge on Barton’s After the Fact Conduct

  1. Introduction

[54] “After the fact conduct” or, as it is sometimes called “post offence conduct”, refers to anything said or done by an accused after the commission of the offence alleged. It includes a vast array of words and conduct. In his charge to the jury, the trial judge defined this category of evidence as “things that Mr. Barton is alleged to have said or done after the incident charged in the indictment”.26”  

And the Court goes on to say exactly when, apparently, Dino Bottos first heard that the ‘after the fact conduct’ was even going to be an issue in the Appeal.  It was at the hearing of the Appeal itself:  “[55] Both Crown and defence acknowledged at the hearing of this appeal that the trial judge erred in law in his treatment of this nuanced subject. But counsel disagreed about the significance of that error.”

The Court even goes on to make the admission that the issue would involve the introduction of evidence“[57] “After the fact conduct” or “post offence conduct” – which includes actions and words – is a form of circumstantial evidence.”

So, yes, I would say that Dino Bottos was ambushed by the Alberta Court of Appeal in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.

Further with respect to that Judgment, this here is the Supreme Court of Canada Judgment https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2000/2000scc46/2000scc46.html  said by University of Alberta criminal law professor Steven Penney to have “a more flexible, and balanced, and pragmatic approach [to s.276 of the Criminal Code] — one that I think fairly weighs the interests of both –“ in contradistinction to the analysis that takes up much of the Alberta Court of Appeals’ Judgment in  R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.   https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/business/articles/4225/bar-s-opinion-is-polarized-on-alta-ca-s-call-for-changes-in-sexual-assault-cases  .

The Alberta Court of Appeals also goes on and on about how unfair and prejudicial it was to call the victim, Cindy Gladue, a prostitute.  However, testimony offered in the original trial:  https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2011/2011abqb492/2011abqb492.html  from several credible witnesses including Gladue’s own boyfriend, would lead a reasonable person to conclude that Cindy Gladue was a prostitute, in my opinion, and that, moreover, her relationship with the defendant was that of a prostitute and a client.  Furthermore, the prosecution also called Gladue a prostitute repeatedly, so it seems a bit rich for the Court of Appeals to suddenly take it upon themselves to decide that it’s no longer politically correct to state what would appear to have been a fact agreed to by both the defence and the prosecution in the original trial.  I also think it’s actually incredibly patronizing for the Court of Appeal to conclude that a jury would somehow think it was more okay for someone to murder a prostitute than to murder anyone else – ironic, since the Court of Appeal threw the word ‘patronizing’ around at pretty much everyone else who was involved in the original trial.

So yes, from all of the foregoing, I would say the dice were loaded in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.


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