This is weird:
A rapper / street gang member makes general raps that not only sell records (amount of sales not specified) but benefits socially (increased street "Creds") by rapping about murders and gangstering. Rapper Tiny Doo facing long prison sentence over lyrics - CNN.com
Though he personally has not been charged in a crime, his indirect rapping about the crimes of his gang cause him to run afoul of this California law and he is facing 25 years in prison:
"The statute in question is California Penal Code 182.5. The code makes it a felony for anyone to participate in a criminal street gang, have knowledge that a street gang has engaged in criminal activity, or benefit from that activity."
There is no evidence that the rapper in question personally killed anybody. Rather, the State contends that he is a member of the gang and has benefited from their crimes. Needless to say, WTF? Not only are there first amendment issues, but our judicial thinking does not really support "guilty by assosciation" type applications very well as RICO was never judicially very popular. In addition there seems to be the danger of the State:
- Observing that some members of a group have committed criminal acts (Pro lifers, tree huggers, militia types, pretty much anybody)
- As such the group in question is now a criminal orgainization / gang
- Other members of the group can be imprisoned if they are deemed to have benefited in anyway from the criminal activity (apparently even earning "prestige points" counts as a benefit). Likewise, the benefits can be nebulously linked to the criminal activity (Rapper's lyrics dont specify particular crimes)
Seems like a slippery slope.... .