San Diego rapper Brandon “Tiny Doo” Duncan is facing life in prison for lyrics he used in a song describing a crime he didn’t commit. While Tiny Doo is apparently gang affiliated, his lawyer claims the lyrics should fall under free speech guidelines.
The charges Tiny Doo faces are based on a 2012 rap album he released according to his attorney, Brian Watkins. Last month, Tiny Doo and 14 other gang members faced attempted murder charges in a series of preliminary hearings. The group was charged in a gang conspiracy involving nine local shootings since April 2013 as a judge considers a full trial.
Duncan, who had no prior charges, entered a not guilty plea regarding the charges. Why this case is so explosive is a rarely used statue that makes allowances for prosecution of gang members of they benefit from crimes committed by gang members. Prosecutors say that because Duncan’s gang gained in status, it promoted more sales for his albums even though he isn’t connected to the shootings.
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“They’re charging Brandon Duncan with crimes that the District Attorney admits that he had no involvement in or even knowledge of. That is the definition of injustice,” defense attorney Brian Watkins said outside court.
“It’s really given a black eye to the legal system here in the DA’s office,” the attorney said. “To charge someone with crimes while admitting he had no knowledge of those crimes. Based on his artistic expression, he made a rap album — a rap album that’s actually made in 2012, these shootings occurred in 2013 — so there’s absolutely no connection.”
Duncan — unlike five co-defendants — refused to waive time and had his trial set for Jan. 23.