California rapper Brandon Duncan, who goes by the moniker Tiny Doo, is once again a free man after conspiracy charges brought against him stemming from his song lyrics were recently dropped.
A San Diego Superior Court judge released Duncan after ruling that there was not enough evidence to take him to trial.
The 33-year-old rapper was among 15 defendants facing charges relating to nine shootings that occurred between May 2013 and February 2014.
Though there was no evidence to directly connect him to any of the shootings, prosecutors maintained Duncan’s music was to blame because it glorified violence and criminal conduct and that his association with a Lincoln Park, California, gang afforded him popularity.
Duncan was charged via a controversial law (California Penal Code 182.5) that says gang members can be charged with gang-related crimes committed by members of their gang whether they are present or not.
According to Duncan’s attorney, Brian Watkins, the entire case was a direct violation of his client’s First Amendment rights.
“I think the whole world was watching because they put our First Amendment here in America on trial by saying that Brandon Duncan’s rap music encouraged these shootings,” Watkins told reporters.
No gunmen have been implicated or charged in the shootings.