Court: Indictment against bikers flawed
The Nevada Supreme Court directed Clark County district court Monday to dismiss two of the more than 50 counts facing motorcycle gang members accused in a bloody battle at a Laughlin casino.
The court also unanimously directed district judges handling the case to amend seven other counts and review 10 more to determine if sufficient evidence was presented to the grand jury to support them.
The 25-page ruling states that the indictment is “extraordinarily complex” since “multiple defendants are charged with numerous offenses.”
The charges were filed after a battle between the motorcycle gangs Hells Angels and Mongols inside Harrah’s Laughlin Casino in 2002. When it was over, one member of the Mongols and two Hells Angels were dead and several members of both groups seriously injured.
It also resulted in murder, conspiracy and other charges against 12 members of the two gangs.
The justices ruled prosecutors can’t have the grand jury issue a blanket gang crime enhancement charge against everyone involved in the melee. That enhancement, they said, “must be premised upon a finding of specific intent” rather than the theory that every co-conspirator is guilty of every crime in a case.
The order states that language in two other counts of the indictment doesn’t provide defendants with enough specifics to enable their lawyers to defend against the charges. They were tossed out because they were “insufficiently precise as to who is alleged to have done what.”
The court ordered amendments to six other counts which charge all the defendants with conspiracy in crimes committed by an “unidentified human being.” They ruled those counts must charge a specific defendant with a criminal act against a specific victim.
Finally, they directed district judges in the case to review 10 different counts to determine whether the evidence presented to the grand jury was sufficient to support trial on the charges.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.