Aaron Harvey has no criminal record, but he’s facing life in prison for a picture he posted to Facebook. Harvey and 14 other men, including notably the rapper Tiny Doo, are charged with conspiring with gang members.
Harvey and the others flashed gang signs on photos they posted on Facebook, and California has a 2000 conspiracy law that says gang members can be prosecuted if they benefit from crimes that other gang members committed.
Prosecutors claim Tiny Doo saw a boost in sales as a result of gang shootings that took place in 2013 and 2014, but it’s unclear what, if any, benefit Harvey gained from simply posting some photos on Facebook.
“They’re saying I benefited because my stature, my respect, went up,” said Harvey. “I didn’t even know I had any stature. I don’t understand how someone can benefit from something they don’t even know exists.”
Harvey’s lawyers plan to ask the judge to dismiss the charges during a scheduled March 16th hearing. “This is not the American justice system,” said his lawyer, Edward Kinsey. “We attach personal liability to things. You’re not guilty by mere association or mere membership — it’s just wrong. If they can get away with this, I fear for our future as free citizens.”