A recent case that's making the news and raising questions about California's criminal justice system involves a rapper, Brandon Duncan (who performs under the name Tiny Doo). Duncan is now up for charges in connection with several gang shootings; he faces a possible life sentence in prison if found guilty.
But what is Duncan's connection to these shootings? He has no criminal record, and he didn't actually participate in the crimes, whether by pulling the trigger, operating a getaway car, hiding the guns, or selling the guns to the gang to begin with.
As it turns out, prosecutors are alleging that he is connected to this gang activity through rap lyrics he wrote. To them, his rap album makes it clear that he has affiliations with the gang. And according to California law, if he has benefited in some way from the gang activity, such as by increased sales of his album, he could be charged for their activities.
Gang affiliation and the charges you face
Duncan's case certainly sounds far-fetched, and we will have to see how it plays out.
Keep in mind though that anyone could face such enhanced charges or penalties for gang participation or potentially benefiting from a gang's activities.
For example, let's look at the criminal activity of drug transportation. If you perpetrate this crime, you may face certain charges for drug trafficking or possession. And if you perpetrate it with some connection to a gang, you can face additional charges due to your alleged gang affiliation.
Even if you aren't the main perpetrator of a crime you could face extra charges and more severe penalties if you're tied to a gang. Keep in mind that you don't need to have official gang membership or know all the details of the crime you participated in or abetted.
For example, let's say your friend is a gang member, and he asks you to deliver a package to someone. You may know it or not, but this package contains illegal drugs, and the police discover it on you. You could now face charges for participating in gang activity, along with any charges related to the drugs themselves. (You may have also benefited from the gang activity if your friend paid you money for helping them deliver the package, even if you didn't know about its contents.)
Prosecutors may look for any evidence they can find to tie you to gang, whether you're participating in the illicit activities or benefiting from them; they may do this even if you aren't a central operator in the gang activity or an official gang member.
Should you find yourself facing this kind of serious legal trouble, don't hesitate to contact us. We will fight for your fair treatment in court and question every charge brought against you and whether it's warranted by the evidence. We work with individuals charged with criminal offenses, DUI and juvenile matters in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Winchester, Hemet, Corona and Riverside areas.