Criminal Justice

Rapper Tiny Doo wins dismissal of charges tied to his lyrics

  • Print

A judge in San Diego has dismissed gang conspiracy charges against a rapper accused of promoting violence through his lyrics.

Judge Louis Hanoian dismissed charges on Monday against rapper Brandon Duncan, known as Tiny Doo, report U-T San Diego, NBC San Diego and the Los Angeles Times.

Prosecutors had contended Duncan’s lyrics promoted gang violence, created fear and helped legitimize the Lincoln Park gang, which was linked to nine shootings between May 2013 and February 2014. His latest album, No Safety, is illustrated with pictures of guns and bullets.

Duncan was charged under a 2000 law that authorizes prosecution of gang members who have general knowledge of gang activities and who promote, assist or benefit from crimes committed by gang members.

Hanoian said Duncan could not be found guilty absent proof of specific knowledge of a crime and an act furthering it, or a specific benefit to himself, according to the U-T San Diego account. Many of those factors were not present in Duncan’s case, Hanoian said.

Another problem, Hanoian said, is that no one has been arrested or convicted for carrying out some of the shootings. “How can you attach a conspiracy to a crime that doesn’t have a defendant?” Hanoian asked.

Hanoian also dismissed charges against a co-defendant accused of promoting gang violence through social media posts. The two men were among 15 people originally charged in the case.

Duncan spoke with reporters after the ruling. “I’m not telling nobody to commit no crime, I’m not telling nobody to do anything,” Duncan said. “It’s just artistry.”

Defense lawyer Brian Watkins said the ruling was a free-speech victory, according to NBC San Diego. “They put our First Amendment here in America on trial,” he said.

See also:

ABA Journal: “Prosecutors are using rap music to convince jurors of gang ties”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.