Are you Benny or Teddy?

Tiny Doo – An Update

back in courtFocused on the snow and the Super Bowl, I nearly missed that rapper Tiny Doo’s trial, whose case we wrote about two weeks ago, was set to begin January 23rd. So here’s an update.

On Friday (the 23rd), there was a status hearing and a few things happened. The San Diego district attorney’s office submitted an amendment that changed the wording of the conspiracy charges filed in the case, removing the word “willfully” from the following charge, certainly changing the nature of the supposed crime in question.  California penal code 182.5 states that

“any person who actively participates in any criminal street gang, … , with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity, … , and who willfully promotes, furthers, assists, or benefits from any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang is guilty of conspiracy to commit that felony and may be punished as specified”
Given my lack of legal training I don’t really know why it’s possible for the district attorney to amend the wording of a legal statute but it certainly alters the defendants role in the reported crime.  By removing the word “willfully”, the notion of promotion or benefit expands greatly, unjustly in my view.

Duncan’s bail was reduced from $500,000 to $50,000 and he was able to post, finally freeing him after 9 months of incarceration.

It came to light that because of the large number of defendants, they had been split into two groups.  At a hearing the previous week, one of the two groups saw the charges dropped against all 6 of its defendants by a Judge Jeffrey Fraser, citing a lack of evidence.  The other 9 were presided over by Judge David Gill, the same judge who had heard the Preliminary Hearing for the full group of 15 defendants.  No charges were dropped for this group, which includes Brandon Duncan, and none of the 9 Motions to Reconsider were approved.

A second status hearing is scheduled for February 23 and the trial set for April 20.


Here’s a very good article detailing the January 23rd hearing from Brett Redmayne-Titley of whose been covering Duncan’s case since it began.

Watch Duncan and his lawyer Brian Watkins on CNN. I’ve set it to start just after the 2:00 mark where they discuss the application of the statute 182.5 but I encourage you to watch the entire interview.
Note: The interview is only 4:23 long. For some reason it is looped a second time on the same video.


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