California rapper Tiny Doo is facing life in prison for rapping about crimes committed by other gang members.
According to the Washington Times, Brandon Duncan has been pinned to nine felonies because of his rap lyrics. To prove their case, prosecutors are invoking Proposition 21, a law that was passed in San Diego in 2000, which states that anyone who “promotes, furthers, assists, or benefits” through criminal gang activity is guilty of conspiracy.”
Interestingly enough, this is the first time this law is being used since it was passed.
Mr. Duncan has not been tied to the shootings and has no criminal record, but prosecutors argued that he benefited from the crimes because his gang gained in status, allowing him to sell more albums, the station reported.
“We’re not just talking about a CD of anything, of love songs. We’re talking about a CD [cover] … there is a revolver with bullets,” said Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna.
If found guilty of the crimes, Duncan can face 25 years to life in prison. Prosecutors believe Duncan promotes gun violence in his music and his album cover.
Duncan’s attorney Brian Watkins is naturally floored by the accusations:
“It’s shocking,” his attorney Brian Watkins told [local ABC affiliate]. “He has no criminal record. Nothing in his lyrics say go out and commit a crime. Nothing in his lyrics reference these shootings, yet they are holding him liable for conspiracy. There are huge constitutional issues.”
Duncan has spent five months in prison so far.
At this point, the constitutionality of the case and it’s interpretation are being pondered over, because hip-hop.
However, if Duncan is convicted, the decision may affect other artists in the music industry. His attorneys argue:
[The decision] could impact other artists. Arthur pointed out that Duncan raps about the same things as other mainstream artists; if his connection to crime boils down to Facebook pictures and album art, it’s not a stretch to imagine other rap artists being similarly indicted.
Brian Watkins, another attorney on Duncan’s legal team, went even further, pointing out to the Times that gang activity is often depicted in film.
Duncan’s bail was reduce from $1 million to $500,000 as the rapper’s trial will begin Dec. 4.
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