Forfeiture and the First Amendment

Does the forfeiture of expressive material used by a criminal organization violate the First Amendment?

A district court in Los Angeles has held that the forfeiture of the trademark logo of the Mongol Nation motorcycle club — an organization that has been convicted under the RICO statute of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder and to distribute heroin and methamphetamine — violated the group’s and its member’s First Amendment right to express their association with the club and each other.  The court also held that the forfeiture violated the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment.

Recently I posted the amicus brief that I filed in the Mongol Nation case on the First Amendment issue.

The following link is to my summary and comment on the district court opinion which is excerpted from the upcoming April issue of the Money Laundering and Forfeiture Digest.  The Digest is available by subscription. (Click here).

Mongol Nation Summary