Black Man Arrested for Selling His Art


Update: I missed the date on this. It’s from last November. Thanks to Nick Mamatas for pointing that out. In March, a judge dismissed the charges. Still, that’s a lot of months lost to a prosecutor’s ambition.

Original Post: From San Diego, a local rapper by the name of Brandon Duncan faces life in prison for making and selling a CD of his music. Why?

Duncan is a member of a local gang that has been involved in a series of high-profile shootings, although Duncan himself has not been party to any of it. However, the shootings have raised the profile of the gang, and prosecutors allege that has helped Duncan sell copies of his album.

To be clear, he created a rap album. It has nothing to do with the shootings. He has nothing to do with the shootings, except for his gang affiliation. And yet, he’s in jail on $1 million bail until his December court date and he’s being charged along with 14 others.

Would they have charged him if he’d written a book? Seriously, would they have charged him if he’d written a book about gang life? I doubt it.

Duncan’s new album isn’t available but you can still buy a copy of his older work (as “Tiny Doo”) through iTunes or Amazon, if you like that sort of thing. Maybe that would help him afford bail.

Our judicial system is supposed to be adversarial so the truth can win out in a contest of equals. Sadly, we’ve spent decades changing the rules to benefit the state, and politically ambitious prosecuting attorneys know how well a tough-on-crime reputation plays with the voters. Frankly, I’d like to see government prosecutors receive a lifetime ban from holding another elective office, so they won’t feel the temptation to pad their resumes with the unjustly ruined lives of American citizens.