This Man Faces Life in Prison for ... Rapping | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

This Man Faces Life in Prison for ... Rapping

I've heard free speech isn't free, and Brandon Duncan, who raps as Tiny Doo, has learned that the hard way.

Until recently, Mr. Duncan spent eight months in jail on "gang conspiracy" charges arising from several shootings in San Diego from May 2013 to February 2014. Prosecutors admit he wasn't at the scene of the crimes, and they have no evidence linking him to the shootings. Mr. Duncan, who has no criminal record, also says he had no knowledge of the crimes. But the district attorney charged him all the same because he raps about shootings.

That's not only absurd; it's a blatant violation of the First Amendment.

Mr. Duncan, after all, is an artist, whose music reflects what he's seen. "I'm just painting a picture of urban street life," he recently told CNN's Don Lemon. "The studio's my canvas .... I'm not telling anyone to go out and kill somebody or go do something. I'm not doing anything differently than [Grammy-winning rapper] The Game."

But the San Diego district attorney thinks otherwise. Under an untested law, an "active participant" in a "criminal street gang" who "willfully promotes, furthers, assists, or benefits from" any felony committed by fellow gang members can be charged with "conspiracy to commit that felony." Unlike traditional conspiracy, the charge doesn't require any agreement to commit the crime. Instead, it requires either "promoting, furthering, or assisting" the crime, which means being a direct accomplice, or knowingly "benefiting" from the crime.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Apparently, the San Diego District Attorney, eager for another "scalp" of conviction on his belt, has decided that he is going to convict this man through what appears to be "Code Napoleon" law, where the accused is considered guilty until proven innocent.

I would like to politely suggest to this guy that this is America, in the 21st century, and that the concept here, just in case he did not get the memo in law school (perhaps he should his alma mater over this) is that in this country, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

I sincerely doubt that rational people would convict a person about singing about what he knows, and for this gentleman, that is death, no real protection from police abuse, and that power comes from physical, brutal control of one's turf.

Unfortunately, this is not only Mr. Duncan's reality: it is also the reality for far too many minority kids in this country.

But the answer is not convicting people for writing about what they know, but changing that reality. That is going to take a lot of hard work, but will ultimately be worth it to American society as a whole.

Please remember: the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

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