Isn’t there just something wonderfully funny about serious legal opinions covering pop culture? It’s even better when it involves Juggalos.
Plaintiffs are a group of Juggalos who are not very happy that the DOJ and the FBI labeled them as a “hybrid gang.” The actual opinion (cite below) goes into detail about how the FBI/DOJ came up with this determination, if you’re interested in reading more. Plaintiff-Juggalos claim that the use of the term “hybrid-ganag” infringes on their First Amendment rights to free association and expression and also their Fifth Amendment due process rights as an arbitrary and capricious state action.
The opinion was written by Judge Robert Cleland, who graduated from law school more than forty years ago and writes a coherent legal opinion, which leads me to believe that he is most likely not a Juggalo. .
“What is a Juggalo?” the opinion asks.
“Apparently they are fans of the musical group Insane Clown Posse (“ICP”)!” the opinion replies to itself, slyly chuckling out the side of its mouth, pipe expertly held in place by experienced muscles. “You know the ones, they often paint their faces to look like clowns, and wear distinctive symbols, including the ‘hatchetman’ logo, which depicts a person with wild hair running with a butcher cleaver in his or her hand.”
Kids these days!
“Many Juggalos embrace ‘Juggaloism’ as a philosophy, an identity, [and] a way of life. ICP’s principal members are Plaintiffs Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, who go by the stage names ‘Violent J’ and ‘Shaggy 2 Dope,’ respectively.”
Oh, well, I’m quite fond of philosophy. Made A levels back at Oxford, you know. But what kind of music is it, you say?
“Some of ICP’s music contains hopeful, life-affirming themes about the wonders of life,” other songs fall into the genre of “horrorcore hip hop” which “uses very harsh language to tell nightmare-like stories with an underlying message that horrible things happen to people who choose evil over good.”
Some of it is just plain batty:
Water, fire, air and dirt
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed.
– Insane Clown Posse, Miracles (2009)
The philosophy is essentially akin to a “Dark Carnival” wherein these youngsters attempt to live by the “moral code of the Carnival and see themselves as social outcasts, striving for acceptance. They view each other as a ‘family,'” presumably lacking no decent family of their own, but they seem quite certain that organized crime is not a family value.
But enough tales of carnies and their persecution complexes. What we need to figure out is whether or not these Juggleheads are criminals organized to the degree that it’s fair to call them a gang. Capital idea, what? Yes, quite right. Let me adjust my monocle and we shall take a look.
The court notes that the Juggle-Hoes are not cut from the criminal mastermind cloth. They also appear to be related to gypsies, with the way they gad all about and all, which doesn’t quite seem germane to the discussion, but it’s there anyway. It also appears some of our constabulary have been giving these Jugglehighs the what-for, when not entirely called for. For instance, a young master Bradley was detained for no reason other than some fine ink drawings of clowns on his person. Young master Gandy was told he was not fit for service due to his gang inkings of clowns. He then spent lots of bullion having them drawn over, but it was to no use, I’m afraid.
Unfortuantely, the Court decided to dismiss the case brought by the Juggalos for lack of standing. Still, it is a shame they had to cancel their Hallowicked Tour.
Parsons v. U.S. Dept. of Justice
Slip Copy, 2014 WL 2931419
June 30, 2014 (Approx. 5 pages)