In a recent post, we discussed the current events surrounding local rapper “TinyDoo” (real name Brandon Duncan) and his charges of gang conspiracy. Specifically, Mr. Duncan, along with 15 other co-defendants, was charged in connection with gang criminal conspiracy connected with nine shootings that took place in San Diego between May 2013 and February 2014. In particular, Mr. Duncan was accused of promoting violent crimes through the lyrics of his rap music. Prosecutors claimed that he benefitted from the increased “street cred” from the shootings. However, his charges were dismissed by a San Diego Superior Court judge after he decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute him on charges of conspiracy.
Mr. Duncan claims he will not change his lyrics on the basis of free speech. In fact, just a few weeks ago the rapper spent his Sunday joining a race relations town hall meeting to demand a change in the current conspiracy law (CA Penal Code 182.5) which had him face a lengthy prison sentence. Defense attorneys argued there needs to be more than association to charge these men and the case violates free speech rights.
Promoting and Encouraging Crimes
Aside from criminal conspiracy, there are other ways in which one may be charged by way of “promoting” a crime. For one, the state of California has a plethora of anti- gang laws. CA Penal Code 186.22 holds liable someone who “who willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang.” Those convicted face 16 months to 3 years in state prison.
Next, California Penal Code Section 31 provides in relevant part: “All persons concerned in the commission of a crime…whether they directly commit the act constituting the offense, or aid and abet in its commission, or, not being present, have advised and encouraged its commission…are principals in any crime so committed.” In order to be convicted of aiding and abetting, one must knowingly act, aid, promote, encourage or instigate the commission of a crime. You must do so with the intent of committing, encouraging, or facilitating the crime. Instigating, encouraging or promoting the crime is still sufficient enough for you to face criminal charges. The test used in order to distinguish a principal from an accessory is whether the defendant independently contributed to the causing of the crime, rather than merely providing some form of limited help and encouragement. However, under California law, there is no distinction between an accomplice and the principal perpetrator of the crime, in terms of sentencing, meaning you may face a $5,000 fine, one year in jail (if the crime committed was a misdemeanor) or three years in jail (if the crime committed was a felony).
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
The Law Offices of David M. Boertje handles all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases including felony murder charges, all violent crimes, and assault and battery. We have successfully represented many defendants, including those with criminal charges for aiding and abetting, gang-activity, as well as criminal conspiracy. If you have been charged with criminal conspiracy or crimes related to gang-related activity, contact attorney David Boertjie today.