Jail Used To Punish Accused Rapper Before Trial For Lyrics

A wannabe, self-publishing rapper was arrested after publishing lyrics on his facebook profile that contained the line, “a boston bombinb wait till u see the sh– I do.” (I deleted the expletive).

My main problem with this case so far is that we are being trained to forget what bail is for. In theory, Americans who are accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty. However, that ideal has been tempered with the reality that people accused of crimes (1) might not show up for their trials and (2) might be a danger to others. So the judge has some latitude in either setting an amount of bail to dissuade the accused from becoming a fugitive or to rule that the accused be held without bail.  There is also latitude to what is meant by “held” since house arrest with a locked ankle tracking bracelet would be another way to prevent the accused from turning fugitive.

The loathsome 18-year-old Cameron D’Ambrosio has been held in jail since his arrest on May 1. Bail was initially set at $1 million, which was effectively the same as denying bail altogether. Then there was a bail hearing last week. D’Ambrosio’s lawyer asked for his client to be released until trial and offered for him to be subject to GPS monitoring. He “pointed out that a search of D’Ambrosio’s home found no weapons or specific plans to commit violence.”

The judge said no. It seems D’Ambrosio is not innocent until proven guilty. He is to be punished beforehand. Even if the judge can justify himself in his own legal mind, we the people who read this sort of decision are being taught to think of the denial of bail as a pre-punishment for certain crimes the state deems important. After all, nothing in any report explains how the judge could possibly believe that D’Ambrosio is a danger or a flight risk. The lesson is unavoidable: setting bail is a privilege for accused rapists or murders. A rapping moron accused of threatening to carry out a terrorist attack, even if there is no reason at all to believe he was doing anything more than posing, isn’t worthy of bail.

Funny, I can’t remember any real terrorists posting threats on the web in their own names when anyone could look up and visit their residences. Dangerous people don’t let you know they’re coming.

I’m old enough to remember 2 Live Crew and their graphic lyrics about assaulting women. Not only were they never convicted of threatening anyone—despite the fact that rape culture in Hip Hop is a far more common reality in the US than terrorist attacks—but their rap “music” was legally sold in stores and no state was allowed to restrain it on First Amendment grounds. There few legal troubles only served to publicize their album.

I despise violent rap and I would think a police visit was more than called for by D’Ambrosio’s Facebook post. But this denial of bail and his facing more jail time than if he had actually murdered someone are an affront to justice.