Billy Lane to Face 9 years in Jail as Part of Plea Bargain Deal

Billy Lane 2009 *** August 18, 2009 Update.

Billy Lane got 6 years in prison and probation after he gets out. Look for a new article on the subject soon.

*** June 17, 2009 Update.

Billy Lane’s plea of guilty to vehicular homicide was accepted by the Court last week. He will remain free until his next Court appearance on August 14, 2009, when he will be sentenced. It is said that he will probably avoid prison. Part of the plea deal mandates a lifetime suspension of his drivers license in Florida, however he could petition the Florida department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for a hardship licence.

He faced up to 15 years in prison, however according to published reports his plea deal mitigates his maximum possible sentence to 9 years. He may also be sentenced to house arrest or probation.

In June 2002, motorcycle builder Billy Lane of Melbourne Beach, Florida was on top of the world. He sold custom-built motorcycles at $30,000 to $40,000 a piece. He gained fame and celebrity status through various reality TV shows. He was subsequently was invited as a featured guest to motorcycle shows and festivals all over the United States and beyond.

Now Billy Lane who is 39 years old, is facing up to nine years in prison on a single felony charge of vehicular homicide in connection with a Labor Day 2006 car crash that left a Gerry Morelock, a Melbourne Beach, Florida man, a motorcyclist, dead.

After several delays, Lane is expected in court Tuesday morning to change his not guilty plea to “no contest.” He would then be sentenced on Aug. 14, 2009, at 9:00am.

“We did get the written plea agreement in,” defense attorney Greg Eisenmenger told several newspapers. “Based on my review of it, I don’t anticipate any problems. I anticipate we are good to go Tuesday.”

Lane was charged two years ago with one count of DUI manslaughter in connection with the 2006 traffic accident in which Gerry Morelock, 56, died.

Police said Lane’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he crossed a double yellow line to pass slow traffic on State Road A1A south of Melbourne Beach, Florida. He crashed his Dodge pickup head on into Morelock’s small Yamaha motorcycle on Sept. 4, 2006, police said.

In light of ongoing legal discussions over the permissibility of blood evidence at trial, prosecutors in late December added an alternative charge of vehicular homicide, which requires the state to prove that Lane was driving recklessly but does not include the drug or alcohol element needed to prove DUI manslaughter.

Both charges are second-degree felonies in the State of Florida, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Billy Lane 2006But under the terms of the plea deal, Eisenmenger said prosecutors will drop the DUI manslaughter charge. Instead, they will seek a nine-year prison term for the vehicular homicide charge, a term Lane is eligible for under state sentencing guidelines when his prior criminal record is considered.

Eisenmenger will seek a sentence that calls for no time in prison. “We believe there are mitigating factors in this case. . . . And we’re going to be presenting those to the court at sentencing,” he said.

Since the crash, Lane’s public persona has suffered, but he still seems to be popular at biker and motorcycle events.

A message on his motorcycle shop’s Web site says the shop is closed to the public, though merchandise is available for purchase online. Court records indicate that Lane’s Melbourne Beach, Florida home is going through foreclosure.

Lane reached a confidential out-of-court settlement on a wrongful death suit filed by Morelock’s family. Also, records show that Erin Derrick, a 22-year-old woman who was in the car with Lane at the time of the crash, is suing him for injuries she says have rendered her unable to work.

If Billy Lane does change his plea to no contest tomorrow, I will comment more on this issue at that time. Everyone who reads the Biker Law Blog knows how I feel about people who kill bikers and motorcyclist.

California Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., 2009

Los Angeles County Superior Court to Close one Day Per Month!

Los Angeles County Superior Court to close one day per month because of budget deficit

*** August 29, 2010 Update: The Los Angeles County Superior Court has announced that it has indefinitely suspended the one day closure per month. In other words, they are back to a normal schedule. To be frank, with the State budget deficit being what is is, I have no clue where they came up with the money to avoid the one day closure. In any case this is good news for people who need the Courts.

I am going to post the actual news release from the Los Angeles Superior Court, and then write some comments below. Here is the news release:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Responding to Fiscal Emergency, Los Angeles Superior Court to Close One Day Per Month Action Takes Effect Wednesday, July 15, 2009 Some Limited Services To Be Maintained

Los Angeles Superior Court
Los Angeles County
Contact: Public Information Office 213-974-5227
Public Information Officer: Allan Parachini

Responding to the deepening statewide financial crisis, the Los Angeles Superior Court announced today that it will shut down nearly all of its operations and furlough employees one Wednesday per month, beginning July 15, 2009.

Implementation of the furlough plan, however, may not be enough to avert employee layoffs and, eventually, closure of entire courthouses if the budget climate does not improve markedly by the beginning of the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The one-day per month Court closure is expected to save $18 million per year.

The Court faces an estimated budget shortfall of nearly $90 million for the coming fiscal year—nearly double the amount in the most recent budget crisis that erupted in 2002, which ultimately resulted in closure of 29 courtrooms and layoffs of more than 150 employees.

Under a plan approved last week by the Court’s judicial leadership, if the fiscal situation continues to deteriorate, the jobs of a quarter of the Court’s 5,400 employees could be eliminated within the next four years. There would be reductions in courthouses and courtrooms in operation throughout the county.

“We face a serious crisis with immediate impacts that can be blunted, but not avoided,” said Presiding Judge Charles W. (Tim) McCoy. “We learned from our experiences of 2002 through 2004. Over the intervening years, we have accumulated modest reserves that will enable us to soften the pain of these cuts for at least the first year of the new crisis. Unfortunately, we anticipate this difficult budget environment will remain with us for four years.

“We cannot allow denial, false hope or wishful thinking to cause us to drift through the crisis. We should expect things will grow increasingly difficult before they begin to get better. We must, and will, remain masters of our own destiny to the extent possible.”

“The public must realize that the state’s fiscal situation means we cannot actually solve the budget crisis we face” said John A. Clarke, the Court’s executive officer/clerk. “The best we can do is to minimize the pain these cuts will inflict. No one—most of all the Court—is happy about this.” McCoy noted that today’s announcement of the effective closure of the entire court one day a month comes on an Election Day on which voters are deciding the fates of six budget-related ballot propositions.

“Even if all of these measures pass, there would be no discernable, immediate improvement in the Court budget situation,” McCoy said. “We know that reducing and eliminating court services will cause all of our stakeholders—from customers with traffic tickets to lawyers with court dates—great inconvenience. Our objective is to give these constituencies as much time as possible to prepare for the furlough program when it begins on July 15. We know that every day of advance warning of these closures is important to our customers.”

State court leaders are also considering one-day-per-month furloughs and other steps to respond to the financial crisis. McCoy noted that the Los Angeles Superior Court plan is being implemented even though the Judicial Council of California has not yet announced any statewide court closure or furlough plan. “We are the largest and most complex court system in the United States,” McCoy said. “You cannot suddenly bring a system like ours to a halt. This must be orderly and planned and that takes time.”

Details of the Los Angeles Superior Court closure/furlough program include these:
–The court system will close on the third Wednesday of each month, affecting about 600 courtrooms and bench officers and more than 5,000 employees who work in 50 separate courthouse facilities.

–While most courthouses will be closed, some courthouses will necessarily continue to be open, with full security protection to serve the needs of county agencies like the District Attorney, Public Defender, Alternate Public Defender, Probation Department, City Attorney and Child Support Services Department, whose operations are located inside courthouses and are unaffected by the furlough. A few courthouses also house offices of the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder, which will also be unaffected. These non-court operations see thousands of customers per day and employ hundreds of people.

–Clerk’s offices, juror services and nearly all courtrooms will be shut down. Drop boxes will be in place to serve customers wishing to file court papers. –Judges will work, beginning today, on adjusting their calendars to postpone or move all scheduled court dates on affected Wednesdays for the entire fiscal year.

–A few designated courtrooms will also be available to handle emergency matters. –The limited number of employees required to work on closure days will be furloughed on other days.

–Supplementing these steps, the Court has imposed a so-called system-wide “hard”—or mandatory—hiring freeze.

–The Court will make $16 million in other ongoing expenditure reductions, largely by cutting services and supplies, restricting travel and other means.

Today’s announcement responds to a fiscal analysis that projects Court deficits in Los Angeles to total $89.9 million in FY 2009-10, rising to $118.3 million in FY 2012-13. These shortfalls amount to about 10 percent of the Court’s operating budget of more than $900 million per year.

Because nearly half of the Court’s funding is for specific statutory purposes, discretion in how and where to make cuts is very limited. Nearly 86 percent of the Court budget is for personnel. If the current situation remains unchanged, by the end of FY 2012-13, as many as 1,300 jobs—or 25 percent of the workforce—could be eliminated. Should that occur, entire courthouses would have to be closed and Court services massively scaled back.

McCoy emphasized, however, that no specific decisions about facility closures have been made—either in terms of timing or when such shutdowns might occur. Such drastic steps are unlikely to become necessary in FY 2009-10, but could have to be addressed as soon as sometime in late FY 2010-11 or early in the following fiscal year.

Although the Court anticipates beginning the 2009-2010 fiscal year with as much as $90 million in reserves, the overall fiscal plan must spread use of this money over an expected four-year crisis period. Depleting the surplus quickly might avert some immediate effects of the crisis, but future years would see even more dire cuts. The bulk of the reserve balance will, however, be utilized in the first two years in an effort to limit adverse impacts on the court system beyond those presently contemplated and, at the end of two years, leaving the court with a small annual balance and a far more adverse situation likely ahead.

Additional details of the closure plan will be posted on Court’s Web site, This information will be updated continuously. Customers should continue to check the Web site regularly for new postings.

OP Ed Begins Here: I must say that this is a very bad situation. The Los Angeles Superior Court is the largest and most complex Court system in the nation. This could be the beginning of some very bad times if things do not change fast. One day a month does not sound like much, but as a California Attorney, I can tell you that this will delay cases for significant amounts of time, especially civil cases. I hope a solution can be found to this soon!

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.

Billy Lane is in Plea Bargain Talks with Prosecutors.

Billy Lane in talks with prosecutorsPlea negotiations between the state and Billy Lane’s lawyers could lead to a resolution in the motorcycle designer’s DUI manslaughter case as early as next week, his attorney said.

The announcement of the plea comes days before Lane was scheduled to go to trial Monday.

“I can’t talk about the details right now because we have a couple minor details that are up in the air,” lawyer Greg Eisenmenger stated on Thursday.

He said he hopes to receive confirmation on those details from prosecutors by today and anticipates Lane would enter the plea next week.

Lane, 38, was charged two years ago with one count of DUI manslaughter in connection with a Labor Day 2006 traffic accident in which 56-year-old Sebastian Inlet park ranger Gerald Morelock died.

Police said Lane’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he crossed a double yellow line to pass several cars near Melbourne Beach, striking Morelock’s motorcycle head-on.

In light of ongoing legal wrangling over the permissibility of blood evidence at trial, prosecutors in late December added an alternative charge of vehicular homicide, which requires the state to prove Lane was driving recklessly but does not include the drug or alcohol element needed to prove DUI manslaughter.

Both charges are second-degree felonies, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Eisenmenger said the amended charge factored into Lane’s decision to consider a plea agreement, and that any other factors would “become more clear” in court.

“We’re in agreement on all the major points,” Eisenmenger said of his discussions with the state. “We’re 99 percent there but we’re not 100 percent there. We’re close enough that the court felt it was appropriate to take it off the trial docket and we’re close enough that we’re confident we’ll get to a plea.”

Prosecutor Tom Brown said 95 percent or more of his office’s cases are resolved through pleas, and his office treats this case like any other.

Among the factors to be considered are state sentencing guidelines, the facts of the case and input from the victim’s family, which Brown said is always considered during plea discussions and before an offer is made.

“We’ve had plea discussions on this case from the beginning,” Brown said. “We’ve never not been amenable to reaching a resolution. . . and when you get close to trial, discussions become much more serious.”

Byron Morelock, the victim’s brother, said he is not opposed to a plea deal.

“Revenge is nothing. I’ve got to take myself out of the picture,” he said. “I just know my brother would want something positive out of this thing. Gerry was a sweet guy and he never wanted to hurt anybody and even when someone would hurt him . . . he’d say ‘Don’t worry about it.'”

Morelock’s family, Lane and DaimlerChrysler, which provided Lane with the truck he was driving for promotional purposes, reached an undisclosed out-of-court settlement on a wrongful death suit in July 2007.

A civil suit filed against Lane and DaimlerChrysler in May by Lane’s passenger, Erin Derrick, seeks unspecified damages for permanent injuries she said have left her neither able to work nor to pay off mounting medical bills. That case is still pending.

This is a republished article.

California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

New Laws for 2009 in the State of California.

California motorcycle accident attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses new California laws for 2009Here are some of the new laws which went effect on January 1, 2009:

No-text Law
Writing, sending, or reading a “text-based communication” while driving will be against the law for all drivers in California. Violating this law is punishable by a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. With the addition of penalty assessments, fines can be more than triple the base fine amount.

Mounting GPS on Windshield
You may now mount a GPS on the lower right or lower left part of your windshield so long as it does not interfere with any air bag device. In the past nothing could be mounted to your windshield.

Smoking with a minor in the Car
It is now an infraction to smoke a cigarette, cigar, or pipe in a car whether it is in motion or at rest if a minor child is in the car with you. This applies even if you are pulled over to the side of the road.

Definition of a motorcycle
Deleting the existing weight limitation of 1,500 pounds, removes a separate definition for electrically powered vehicles and will allow fully enclosed 3-wheeled motor vehicles to use the carpool lanes.

New DUI Laws — Zero tolerance
Any person who is on probation for a DUI convection cannot drive with a blood alcohol level of.01 percent.

Unlicensed car dealersLaw-enforcement officers can impound vehicles that are being sold by unlicensed dealers.

Temporary operating permits restricted
The DMV will restrict permits to allow more time to obtain a smog certificate.

Counterfeit Clean Air Stickers
It will be a crime to forge Clean Air Stickers, which are issued to low-emission vehicles and allow the vehicles with these stickers to be driven in carpool lanes.

Special interest license plates
Gold Star Family special interest license plates will be available to family members who have had family killed in the line of duty while serving in the Armed Forces during wartime or military operations.

Temporary employees
Wages for employees of temporary services employers shall be paid weekly or daily if the work less than 90 days.

Family and Medical Leave Act
Families who have members who are active in the military are eligible up to 12 weeks of leave if they meet the “qualifying exigencies: short notice deployment, attendance at official military events or activities, arranging or providing childcare, attending school or daycare meetings, handling financial and legal matters, and rest and recuperation visits when the soldier is on leave.”

I must caution you that this is only a partial list of new laws in California for 2009.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, © 2009

A Negligent Driver blames Sun Glare in Fatal San Bernardino Motorcycle Crash; Where is the Justice?

San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses fatal crashThe San Bernardino Sun Reported that a Southern California Motorcycle Rider, Anthony “Taz” Williams was killed while riding his motorcycle to work in San Bernardino, when a 74 year old man named Gregory Martinez turned left in front of him. The 74 year old man claimed the sun was in his eyes as the excuse for his failure to ensure that there was no oncoming traffic before he made his turn. Mr. Martinez was allowed to leave the scene of the accident pending an investigation. The article stated that the San Bernardino Police stated that Mr. Williams could have avoided the accident had he used “perfect braking.” The article is no longer available online from what I can tell.

First off I want to send my prayers and condolences to the family of Anthony “Taz” Williams. This is a horrible tragedy. No biker or motorcyclist deserves to be hit and killed simply because they are just riding their motorcycle to work.

With respect to a legal analysis of the motorcycle accident, it looks like the same old song and dance. A negligent cager violates the California Vehicle Code, kills a biker, and walks away scot free. At the minimum, Gregory Martinez should have been cited for an illegal and/or unsafe left turn, at the optimum, Gregory Martinez should have been arrested for vehicular manslaughter.

The reality of this motorcycle crash and countless others is that Anthony “Taz” Williams did not have to die. Had Gregory Martinez simply paid more attention as he was driving, Mr. Williams would still be alive. A simple one or two second pause sometimes means the difference between life and death.

Although it is an outrage that the Police apparently are not going to go after Gregory Martinez criminally for killing a biker, there is something the family can do civilly to get justice. They can retain a biker and motorcycle accident lawyer to sue for wrongful death. Nothing can bring Anthony “Taz” Williams back, but the law does allow the family to be compensated for their loss. The dream of “perfect braking” is an outrage!

It is time for California Legislatures to enact laws that will protect California Bikers and Motorcyclist from cagers like Gregory Martinez. Yes, I know that all human beings make mistakes, and are not perfect. That does not mean that motorist who kill bikers by their mistakes should not be held accountable!

By San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, © 2008

Is there a difference between a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

California motorcycle accident lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses the difference between lawyer and attorneyFirst off this article is not about regular yahoo personal injury lawyers who advertise or pawn themselves off as being biker lawyers or motorcycle accident lawyers, when they are nothing more then garden variety personal injury lawyers. This article is about the use of the term lawyer as opposed to attorney.

There has been some debate lately between some of my friends on a lawyer listserve between using the term lawyer or attorney when referring to ourselves.

I have referred to myself as a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney. I have also referred to myself as a Biker Lawyer which I am. Most lawyer business cards state; “Attorney at Law” as their title.

I have found that most laymen (persons who are not lawyers or attorneys) refer to a lawyer or attorney at law as lawyers for whatever reason.

I set out to find which term is the proper one to use.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a lawyer as – one whose profession is to conduct lawsuits for clients or to advise as to legal rights and obligations in other matters.

Whereas the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines an attorney as – one who is legally appointed to transact business on another’s behalf; especially : LAWYER

It appears that a person licensed to practice law can either call themselves a lawyer or an attorney based upon Merriam-Webster’s definition of attorney and lawyer. However, it appears that attorney is the most appropriate reference to one who is licensed to practice law because the definition includes “legally appointed.”

The bottom line is that it is really apples and oranges. Either definition i.e. lawyer or attorney requires that the person calling themselves such to be licensed to practice law in their respective jurisdiction. You cannot conduct lawsuits on behalf of others in California unless you are licensed to practice law by the California Supreme Court, nor can you be admitted by the United States Court (Federal Court) to practice law unless you are duly licensed to practice law by a State or Territory of the United States of America.

I have heard of at least one person calling themselves a lawyer because they graduated law school, but were not licensed to practice law anymore. In my opinion they should not be referring to themselves as a lawyer.

Now what about bozo’s pawning themselves off as a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, or California Motorcycle Accident Attorney? If you search for California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer or California Motorcycle Accident Attorney on Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft Live Search, you are going to get a bunch of results with generic personal injury lawyers that do not ride motorcycles. You may get one or two that may ride, or have ridden in the past, but the rest are basically garden variety personal injury lawyers. Hell I do not come up on the search engines until the 3rd or 4th page and I am the real deal! You will also get the garden variety personal injury lawyers paying big bucks for sponsored pay per click advertisements.

In my opinion a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer or California Motorcycle Accident Attorney is a lawyer or attorney that rides motorcycles and that handles motorcycle accident cases. I am not saying that garden variety personal injury lawyers are not qualified to handle a motorcycle accident case; I am saying that an actual motorcycle riding lawyer and attorney such as myself knows a hell of a lot more about motorcycle accidents, motorcycle safety, and riding a motorcycle then a bozo who does not.

I do handle regular personal injury cases such as car accidents, truck accidents, slip & falls, dog bites, etc. as well as motorcycle accidents, but when it comes to being a biker lawyer, I am the real deal.

If you have been the victim of a Motorcycle Accident or any other type of personal injury case, anywhere in The State of California give me a call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 extension 1.

You can also check out my California Motorcycle Accident website at

You can check out my main California Personal Injury website at

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2008

The California Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of the California Highway Patrol on Helmet Law Requirement!

Califonria Biker Motorcycle Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez comments on recent ruling regarding California Helmet Law.I wrote an article about a California Superior Court ruling which found in favor of a man who has been challenging California’s mandatory helmet laws. You can read that article here.

The case was appealed by the California Highway Patrol. The Court of Appeals of California, 6th District, San Jose, overturned the previous California Superior Court ruling and found in favor of the California Highway Patrol.

You can read a newspaper article about the ruling by clicking here.

I have not had a chance to read the entire decision. The bottom line is that everyone who rides a motorcycle in the State of California is required to wear a DOT approved helmet.

Until I read the actual Court ruling, I will not offer my commentary with respect to the Court’s reasoning. Although I am still for a bikers right to choose whether to wear a helmet or not; the law in California requires everyone riding on a motorcycle to wear a helmet, or face the piper.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007

Motorcycle Injury Accidents; Why do Bikers and Motorcycle Riders Not Want to Protect their Rights?; Thoughts from a California Biker Lawyer!

California Biker and Motorcycle Injury Accident Lawyer Attorney Norman Gregory FernandezAs a biker lawyer, I handle many motorcycle injury accident cases. I also give many free consultations for bikers and motorcyclist who are injured in motorcycle accident cases.

Bikers and Motorcycle Riders are a tough breed. This goes for the female bikers that I represent as well. In most cases, they call because they know that they have legal rights when they have been injured in a motorcycle accident, but they waffle as to whether they should retain a lawyer to get what they deserve.

I gave a consultation and signed up an interesting motorcycle accident case yesterday. The gal who was riding her motorcycle was hit by a negligent cager who swerved into her lane, and admitted that he did not see her. She has broken bones and is in severe pain.

Although she is a female, she exhibited the exact same macho biker personality that I see with all of my male clients. It made me think to myself; why do us bikers not want to protect our legal rights when we are injured in an accident due to no fault of our own?

Most bikers are just worried about getting their motorcycles fixed after an accident. I had one guy laying in a hospital bed with broken bones, and a punctured lung and all he cared about was his motorcycle. I see this time and time again. I can relate, I have been injured in a motorcycle accident and all I cared about was my bike.

Does this make sense? None of us can take our bikes to our grave, nor will the bike do us any good if we are too messed up to ride it anymore. We have to think about ourselves and our family in situations such as this. Why cheat ourselves and our family out of just compensation if a cager hits us?

I try to make things easy for bikers and motorcycle riders who are injured in motorcycle accident cases in the State of California. I send my investigator out to them so they do not have to hassle coming to my office, we assist in handling all of the property damage portions of the case for free without taking a percentage of property damage like some other personal injury lawyers do. Why would anyone sign up with a lawyer that would take a percentage of your property damage loss? The only job of our clients is to get better, and to cooperate with us in case we have to sue the people who caused the accident!

Even then some bikers and motorcyclist are apprehensive about retaining a lawyer. I am telling you now, don’t be apprehensive; pick up the damm phone and give me a call so I can help you! (My Firm handles motorcycle accident injury cases in California)

Continue reading “Motorcycle Injury Accidents; Why do Bikers and Motorcycle Riders Not Want to Protect their Rights?; Thoughts from a California Biker Lawyer!”

Motorcycles riding in between lanes, otherwise known as Lane Splitting, is Legal in the State of California.

California motorcycle biker injury lawyer Norman Gregory FernandezI recently watched a video report from a local TV news channel in San Diego, that you can see by clicking here, and then searching on lane splitting.

It was surprising to me that most cagers (people in cars) did not realize that lane splitting is legal in the State of California. On a personal level, this would explain the reactions I get from people when I lane split. Some cars actually will try to cut off the lane, or honk at you as you go by in between lanes.

Hell I know what it is like to be in a car in bumper to bumper traffic, wishing I was on my motorcycle and so forth, but road rage does not explain what I have seen on the road. If most cagers do not know that lane splitting is legal, they may think in their own sick way that they are doing a public good by cutting us off or honking at us when we are doing a completely legal activity such as lane splitting.

I am calling on all bikers, biker websites, the AMA, MSF, ABATE of California, and anyone else involved in the motorcycle community to help educate the public.

Motorcyclists in the State of California are legally allowed to ride in between lanes or lane split. People in cars have no right to intentionally cut off motorcycles that are lane splitting, and should not be honking at us when we are lane splitting.

If a cager wants to get out of bumper to bumper traffic, then buy a motorcycle.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007

What Would You Do If Someone Stole Your Motorcycle, and Then You Saw Them Riding It Next To You?

california biker motorycle injury lawyer norman gregory fernandezI recently read an article about a guy who had his motorcycle stolen, and then saw a guy riding it right next him while he was in his car. You can read the article by clicking here.

There is nothing funny about this story. The guy who had his motorcycle stolen, engaged in a high speed chase to get his motorcycle back, and did in fact get his motorcycle back.

The reason I say that there is nothing funny about this story is that I know bikers. I already know how the vast majority of bikers would answer the question that I asked in the title of this article. Some would say that they would shoot the guy; some would say that they would chase the guy, etc. Knowing bikers, it makes me laugh just thinking about how they would respond to the question.

Motorcycle thefts are currently at an all time high right now because of the increase in popularity of riding motorcycles.

I know many of you are thinking that they guy who engaged in the high speed chase to get his motorcycle back did the right thing, and that you would do the same thing, however you must consider the consequences.

Continue reading “What Would You Do If Someone Stole Your Motorcycle, and Then You Saw Them Riding It Next To You?”

Florida is Cracking Down on Speeding Sport Motorcycle Riders; Their Method Is Truly Disturbing!

California Biker and Motorcycle Rights Attorney Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez commenting on Florida civil seizure lawFlorida is using a civil seizure law in an effort to combat speeding sport motorcycle riders. As stated in an article that you can read by clicking here; law enforcement is using an old law to combat speeding sport motorcycle riders.

The gist of the law is that once a Florida law enforcement officer turns their lights on to pull someone over, and if they allegedly speed up, their motorcycles can then be seized because they were used in the commission of a felony, i.e. “aggravated fleeing and eluding.”

The article states that the officers do not have to identify the person riding the motorcycle; all they have to do is get the license plate information. The law allows them to then seize the motorcycle rather than chase it.

As a Biker and Motorcycle Lawyer and Bikers Rights advocate this method of cracking down on speeders is disturbing to me on many different levels.

Continue reading “Florida is Cracking Down on Speeding Sport Motorcycle Riders; Their Method Is Truly Disturbing!”

What is a real Biker and Motorcycle Lawyer?

Personal Injury Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez

I have been asked by many people what is the difference between a biker lawyer and a normal personal injury lawyer.

The main difference is that a biker lawyer actually rides motorcycles and is a biker himself. A biker lawyer has a unique insight when dealing with motorcycle accident cases that a normal personal injury lawyer does not have. Why, because we also ride motorcycles.

Frankly I know of only 2 other biker lawyers in the State of California that actually ride motorcycles besides me. There may be more; I don’t know. I do know of several other lawyers that ride, but they do not do personal injury. I even know of one Judge who rides motorcycles.

What ticks me off is a bunch of normal personal injury lawyers pawning themselves off as biker lawyers. You see them advertising in the biker rags, you may see them at events. Have you ever seen any of them actually riding?

The next time you come across a so-called biker lawyer, why don’t you ask him to take a ride with you? The proof is in the pudding so to say.

I am a real biker lawyer. I am a biker and I do personal injury. My practice is not just limited to motorcycle accident cases; I also do car accidents, truck accidents, other motor vehicle accidents, and other torts such as slip and falls, assault and battery, etc. However, my passion is prosecuting injury cases for other bikers. Don’t get me wrong; I aggressively prosecute all cases for my clients. If you are the victim of a car accident, I will treat you no differently than any of my other clients.

If you are a biker you have probably heard comments made by cagers such as: “we are the best organ transplant donors;” “we are crazy for riding motorcycles because they are dangerous,” etc.

In a personal injury case there is a general bias against bikers and motorcycles amongst potential jury pools. It is my opinion that only a biker lawyer himself can explain to a jury during trial, that bikers and motorcyclist have the same right to share the road as everyone else.

It is much easier for me because I feel what I say. There is no act; I feel a kinship towards my biker clients.

There is a general bias amongst jury pools against bikers and motorcyclist. They automatically think that it is our fault when we get hit by a cager, because we are engaged in a dangerous activity. This bias has to be addressed at trial in Jury Selection, and during the trial.

Bottom line; if you have had a motorcycle accident, get a real biker lawyer. If you are in California, give me a call at 818-584-8831 extension 1, or go to my biker lawyer website by clicking here now.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. ,©2007

Update in the Billy Lane Drunk Driving Manslaughter Case.

Billy Lane
My friend Mike Odom, a fellow biker, has been keeping a close watch on the Billy Lane Case on his Blog which you can find by clicking here.

You can find some of his recent articles on the case by clicking here.

It appears that Billy Lane has hired two criminal defense lawyers to represent him in his drunk driving manslaughter case.

Some members of my blog and others visitors have asked me to comment on the fact that Billy Lane has hired two criminal defense attorneys, and whether it is allowed.

In California and in Federal Court where I am licensed to practice law, it is not uncommon for there to be two or more attorneys of record. I myself have associated in Counsel (a 2nd lawyer) in cases that I have done.

It is much easier to put on a case when you have other lawyers helping, especially at trial. The lead lawyer in a case is usually called the 1st seater, and co-counsel is usually called the 2nd seater. Two eyes and ears are in most cases better than one in complex cases.

You may remember the O.J. Simpson criminal murder case that was conducted in Los Angeles Superior Court Central. (The Stanley Mosk Justice Center) O.J. Simpson had no less than 10 lawyers on his team and he was found not guilty in the criminal case.

Everyone must always remember one thing; the United States Constitution presumes that all men or women charged of a criminal offense; are innocent until proven guilty in a Court of competent jurisdiction by a jury of their peers. Our system of justice may not be perfect, but it is the best in the world.

It is thought that it is better to let 12 guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man. That is the way our justice system works. Our forefathers came from countries that used various methods of torture to get people accused of a crime to confess to their crimes. Most people confess to anything under torture. Our founding fathers created a more fair system of justice!

The subject of this article is Billy Lane and his case; not our system of justice and its benefits or faults. This is the subject for a future article.

Continue reading “Update in the Billy Lane Drunk Driving Manslaughter Case.”

It Really Happened!

California Family Law Attorney and Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez
A friend of mine from the Blawg Review emailed me a story about a challenge to a fight by a defense attorney to an ex-biker during a trial, which could result in a mistrial. Apparently the defense attorney challenged the ex-biker to a fight during the trial, and an exchange of blows did take place out in the hallway.

This kind of stuff really happens. I know it happened to me!

I was in the Orange County Superior Court approximately 3-4 months ago for a contentious child custody case. The attorneys and parties were ordered by the Judge to go into the cafeteria to do a 4-way settlement conference. I had the upper hand in the conference because the Judge had already alluded to the fact that she was inclined to find for my client.

During our talks, opposing counsel became mentally disturbed to say the least. He challenged me to a fight right there in the cafeteria in front of my client and his client. He bragged about being an ex golden glove champion from New York bla bla bla. Calling him on his bluff, I accepted his challenge and invited to meet me at a dojo or in a boxing gym after Court, rather than causing a ruckus in the Courthouse cafeteria in front of our clients, and the rest of the people at the Court. I love to put the gloves on legally for a bit of sparring every now and then; it’s good exercise.

To make a long story short he refused to meet me. I guess no one ever called his bluff before.

After several minutes of more heated discussions, we ended up shaking hands. I guess he realized how out of line he was.

Had the guy actually thrown a punch at me I not only would have put him down, but I would have owned him too. There were plenty of Orange County Sheriff’s in the cafeteria that would have witnessed the assault and battery and my subsequent self defense. This is not the type of conduct that is expected of lawyers. We are held to a very high standard of professional conduct.

It was the most bizarre experience I have ever had in my professional experience as a lawyer. This guy literally lost his mind for a few minutes.

The above referred to article reminded me of this bizarre experience. I have seen parties in a case fight, I have seen parties get assaulted in the Court hallway, but this was my most bizarre courthouse experience.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007

Why is Law Enforcement Rousting Sport Motorcycle Riders?

Norman Gregory Fernandez

I have been holding off on writing this article because I knew it would be controversial in the motorcycle community. In the motorcycle world there are generally three types or classifications of motorcycle riders. There are those who ride cruisers such as Harley Davidson motorcycles; there are those who ride sport motorcycles; and there are those who ride anything in between.

Sport bikes, (crotch rockets) are motorcycles they can literally attain speeds of 150 mph plus.

I have received reports from numerous sources that law enforcement is cracking down on sport motorcycle riders for various reasons. There are being stopped for no apparent reason, and ticketed for no apparent reason.

Unfortunately, there is a minority of sport motorcycle riders that are giving a bad name to the rest of the sport bike motorcycle riders. They are; riding on city streets and freeways at excess speeds; they are doing stunts such as wheelies, burnouts, and other crazy things on city streets and freeways; and they are racing through canyons, city streets, and on the freeways.

As a motorcycle lawyer, I advise each motorcycle rider to follow the law. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for riding 100 miles an hour down a city street. I have personally witnessed sport bike riders doing insane things on the streets, in the canyons, and on the open road.

Continue reading “Why is Law Enforcement Rousting Sport Motorcycle Riders?”

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