Thursday, January 6, 2011

Helmet Trial in Henderson, Nevada - Nelson "Renegade" Ruehl

On January 5, 2011, Nelson "Renegade" Ruehl had his helmet trial in Henderson, Nevada.  It was his first time to represent himself and he was MASTERFUL!

The courtroom was very empty.  There were only three Renegade supporters sitting towards the front of the courtroom and five uniformed Henderson police officers sitting in the back row.

From the beginning, Renegade established control over the trial.  His first statement was to get the police officer's pictures of Renegade's helmet thrown out.  Renegade told the judge that those pictures should not be used as evidence against him because Renegade had asked for those pictures and the prosecuting attorney failed to provide them.  The judge asked the prosecutor if that was true and the prosecutor tried to deny it.  Renegade lifted up his discovery sheets that he did receive and said, "This is all I got.  No pictures."  Then dialogue between the judge and the prosecutor went something like this:

Judge:  Don't you number your pages when you send discovery?
Prosecutor:  No.
Judge:  Don't you think that would be a good idea?
Prosecutor:  Yes.
Judge:  I won't allow any pictures.

Then the prosecutor called for the first and only witness, the police officer that gave Renegade a helmet ticket.  One of the statements the police officer said was, "I know what he was wearing was not D.O.T. approved."  Renegade pointed out that there is no such thing as "D.O.T. approved," and the prosecution changed their tune to say, "D.O.T. standards."

When it was time for Renegade to question his accuser, the police officer answered one of Renegade's questions with another question.  Renegade assertively said,"I'M ASKING THE QUESTIONS."

In the end, the judge found Renegade guilty, but the judge did not look Renegade in the eye to render his decision.  This judge KNOWS the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Renegade's helmet was illegal, but he found him guilty none the less.

Was the judge's decision influenced by the five uniformed police officers in his courtroom?  You decide.  But what this judge did do, was to further empower Henderson PD to continue their attacks against motorcyclists.

The judge's decision was the most beneficial to the helmet activism cause.  Now Renegade has an opportunity to appeal that finding to a higher court.  His helmet appeal will be the third being challenged in Clark County District Court at the time of this writing.

Congratulations to Renegade for standing up for himself and all motorcyclists in Nevada !!


  1. Wonder if those five uniformed officers were on duty and getting paid to sit there? Perhaps the prosecution subpoenaed them as potential witnesses?

  2. Great point. According to Renegade, there were several officers involved in giving him a helmet citation. One would think he had robbed a bank or something. The weather was very hot and according to Renegade he was not in the shade and he laughed at me when I asked him if he had been offered a drink of water.

    I should have thought to get the names and badge numbers of those officers in the court to find out the exact nature of their presence.

    On the surface, it appears to be quite a waste of resources on the part of Henderson PD to send so many officers to the scene of a "helmet citation." And then again to the trial.

    Each officer makes between $55,590 to $82,130 salary. Not to mention the many perks:


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