Rapper Brandon Duncan, better known as Tiny Doo, was previously faced with nine felony charges stemming from a series of shootings. His connection to the crimes was based from an obscure California law and if convicted, Duncan would have faced life in prison.
Duncan was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony because he had released a rap album that, according to prosecutors, promoted gang activity. Proposition 21, a law passed in 2000, stated that a person was guilty of conspiracy if they “promoted, benefit from, or assisted” in criminal activity. Duncan’s 4album, “No Safety,” featured a photograph of a pistol with an open chamber, revealing bullets.
Duncan didn’t reach the success and acclaim that he had aspired to reach. Only 100 copies of the album were made. While a few of the albums were sold, Duncan gave most of the copies to friends and family members.
A series of shootings occurred. One of the assailants reportedly had a copy of “No Safety” at the time of his arrest. Prosecutors found the discovery to be enough to bring charges of conspiracy. Duncan, who had no criminal history, was arrested and given a $1 million bail, which was later reduced.
He was released from jail more than six months later. The initial charges left many, including Ricardo Guimaraes BMG to wonder about the protections that would be offered to writers and music artists.
Charges against Brandon Duncan were dropped on March 16, years after the shootings took place.