Published on March 1st, 2016 | by David "Double D" Devereaux


Seizure Of Outlaws MC Patches Upheld by Appeals Court

An Illinois Court of Appeals in affirmed a lower court ruling in People v. Black in Color Leather Vest with Attached Outlaws Motorcycle Club Patches, 2016 IL App (2d) 150495 (February 23, 2016), saying that 3 Outlaws Motorcycle Club patches were properly seized under the state’s Streetgang Prevention Act after defendants pled guilty to aggravated battery and mob action. This decision does not say that the government can take all Outlaws MC patches. This decision does say that motorcycle club colors may be seized from individuals wearing them during the commission of a crime.

This Decision Does Not Apply to All Outlaws MC Patches, BUT There is Always a Catch:


People v. Black in Color Leather Vest with Attached Outlaws Motorcycle Club Patches, 2016 IL App (2d) 150495 (February 23, 2016) McHenry Co. (SCHOSTOK) Affirmed.


Claimant, the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, appeals from circuit court judgment ordering that 3 black leather vests with attached Outlaws’ patches be forfeited. Time frame in Section 40 of Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act to initiate forfeiture proceedings begins to run when trial court enters a conviction in underlying criminal proceedings. Defendants pled guilty to aggravated battery and mob action, and agreed to forfeit their jackets. As State initiated forfeiture proceedings within 60 days of date that Defendants pled guilty, State’s action was timely. Wearing vests facilitated Defendants’ goal of intimidation, to be achieved by violent means, if necessary, to show their dominance to others. Thus, court properly found that vests and patches were derivative contraband subject to forfeiture.(ZENOFF and SPENCE, concurring.)



Although this is not the same as seizing a club’s trademark, the court says, “Wearing vests facilitated Defendants’ goal of intimidation, to be achieved by violent means, if necessary, to show their dominance to others. Thus, court properly found that vests and patches were derivative contraband subject to forfeiture.”


The Outlaws’ also contended “that as the patches on the vests belonged to the organization, not its individual members, they were not subject to forfeiture.”  But the court disagreed and concluded, “Illinois law provides that property that is put to an illegal use can be confiscated without regard to the owner’s culpability.”


The court also conceded that “testimony clearly demonstrated that the defendants’ wearing their vests did not cause the violence.” However, the court argued expert “testimony showed that wearing the vests facilitated the violence. As this is all the statute requires, the trial court did not err in granting the State’s complaint for forfeiture.”


What Does This Mean for the Outlaws MC and All Patch-Holders?


The implications of the court’s conclusions are concerning. Merely wearing a patch on your vest can be considered intimidation through the threat of violence. What does this mean for concepts like self defense and deadly force?


  • Does this decision mean that someone can claim self defense for pulling out a gun and killing someone wearing a MC patch during a verbal altercation and then claim self defense saying they were intimidated and feared violence?


  • Does this decision justify felony-style stops of individuals wearing MC patches on their vests at gunpoint for simple traffic infractions because the officers are intimidated and fear violence?


Seizure of patches is becoming a more frequent element of prosecuting motorcycle clubs and their members. With the number of instances growing, there currently seems to be a legal bright line emerging concerning patch seizures. Individuals that have themselves been found guilty of committing a serious crime while wearing club insignia may have that property permanently seized.


Although authorities are attempting to move the bright line so they can seize an entire club’s name and trademark from all members, and they are spending millions of dollars attempting to achieve this goal, currently individuals that have not been found guilty of a serious crime are not subject to having property with club insignia seized.


But always remember that everything can easily change with the next court decision.




The entire People v. Black Leather Vest decision can be found here:



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author


is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Council of Clubs, Founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project, and works with motorcyclists at the national level. Contact: Send Email,

DISCLAIMER: Although comments are encouraged and appreciated, not all comments will be posted by Motorcycle Profiling Project LLC. The Motorcycle Profiling Project LLC appreciates oppositional viewpoints but will not post any comments that do not contribute to a respectful and meaningful discussion or are blatantly discriminatory or otherwise offensive. Resubmissions will be considered at the commenter's request.

9 Responses to Seizure Of Outlaws MC Patches Upheld by Appeals Court

  1. Avatar AJ Jackson says:

    Does this mean that when police officers illegally commit acts of violence, on others, their uniforms and badges are subject to forfeiture as well?

  2. Avatar Ron says:

    Curiously enough how will back tattoos of club colors be dealt with under this premonition of fear?

  3. Avatar DroopieDawg says:

    What’s next? Are they going to start taking patches and vests from the B.A.C.A AKA Bikers Against Child Abuse, or from Christian, Veterans, Clean and Sober Clubs too?
    That’s where this is heading.
    I wonder when the Anti-Harley Brigade is going to come looking to seize our bikes just because some narrow minded do-gooder wannabe who has a masculinity issues and wants to compensate by creating laws that make riding, either in solo or groups, a felony.

  4. Avatar drifter pres.fallen ones RC says:

    Yeah,laws and rights are ment only for gov.benefit.clubs have no rights as long as were portrayed as a criminal element,

  5. Avatar C says:

    I walk or ride down the streets wearing scrubs and a stethoscope you “assume” I am a good person simply because of what you know nurses to be…. However what if in my scrub pocket I have a knife and I have a criminal intention. What I am trying to say is never assume you know who or what someone is… You could in fact be making a horrible mistake.

  6. Avatar GRIZ says:

    “Derivative contraband” is an extremely slippery slope. Will we lose our tool boxes, because we used the tools to tweak our bike, before riding with a black leather vest with patches.
    How about losing the garage the bike was parked in? Or the home the cut was hung up in?
    This is very scary.

  7. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Once it happens to one……..they’ll come for all

  8. Avatar Troy says:

    In all honesty, this has been going on for many years. Yes it is unconstitutional and it is not. Any time there is a crime scene all material or possessions become evidence to the state that the crime happened in. This is sensible and we can understand this. But, that is not what is happening here even though it is what they want you to believe looking at it from the outside. Our first 10 Amendments have been under attack since before the ink was dry on the original document. Sadly we are living in the most corrupt, unethical, insulting, disgraceful period of time under the worst government this country has ever seen. Not to bask our loved Red, White and Blue, but the court system is a joke, our government is against the people, and the cops have become nothing more than common street thug gangs obeying no laws they are to preserve and protect. It is all because of one single little reason why this is so. No citizen participation. Like it or not truth is truth.
    The American American, Fighting to Restore Our Free Nation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top ↑