Jailing rapper 42 Dugg amid coronavirus 'unconscionable,' lawyer says

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — Up-and-coming Detroit rapper 42 Dugg should be released from federal custody because jailing him amid the coronavirus outbreak is "unconscionable," his lawyers said Monday.

Lawyers for 42 Dugg, real name Dion Hayes, moved to have the rapper freed, citing the rapid spread of a virus that has raised concerns about the vulnerability of inmates and staff kept in close quarters.

Dion Hayes, aka 42 Dugg

Hayes, 25, has been jailed for a week after being charged with felony firearm possession. Prosecutors succeeded in keeping him incarcerated Thursday by appealing a magistrate judge's order that Hayes be released on $10,000 unsecured bond and a GPS tether.

"Given the state of the country at the present time, with the rapid spread and concern for public health due to COVID-19, keeping defendant Hayes in custody when he has already been adjudicated to be of such little risk that he was given a $10,000 unsecured bond is unreasonable," defense lawyers Drew Findling and Marissa Goldberg wrote in a court filing Monday.

"Even further, keeping defendant Hayes in custody during this health crisis without the government even articulating specific grounds for this review is frankly unconscionable and should be swiftly denied."

The lawyers want Hayes freed or, as an alternative, an emergency hearing scheduled.

Hayes is a popular Detroit rapper who performs on the Lil Baby track "Grace," which is No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He was scheduled to perform Sunday at the "March Badness" concert at Little Caesars Arena before the show was postponed due to the virus outbreak.

Prosecutors argue Hayes is dangerous and a flight risk, citing photographs of semi-automatic firearms, marijuana and ammunition seized from Hayes' cell phone.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Grand said the photographs were not clear and convincing evidence that the rapper was dangerous.

Defense lawyers said Hayes has lived a crime-free life since being released from prison three years ago — punishment for convictions for carjacking and felony firearms possession.

Rapper 42 Dugg loses courtroom battle for bond in gun case

Grand was poised to release the rapper on bond until prosecutors asked for a federal judge in Atlanta to review the decision. That is where Hayes was indicted last week on the gun charge.

The gun case dates to November when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents received an anonymous tip that Hayes fired a weapon inside Stoddard's Range and Guns in Atlanta.

Dion Hayes, left, fires a pistol inside the Atlanta gun range, prosecutors said.

Investigators reviewed video surveillance and documents from the gun range and learned Hayes and two others visited the gun range Nov. 8, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

The surveillance video showed Hayes possessing, loading and firing a 9 mm Glock pistol, according to the criminal complaint.


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