Judge John Howard today granted bail to Kevron Evans, who raps under the name Young Moose, saying it would be "cruel and unusual" to deny bail because of "the circumstances relating to Mr. Evans and the nature of potential penalties."
Howard found the combination of questions surrounding the underlying charges, the postponement of the trial for those charges, the two months Evans has already spent in jail, and Evans' lack of flight risk—not to mention the potential that his burgeoning rap career had changed him—warranted bail.
"No question he would be considered a drug dealer, but people can change. One thing that causes some people to change is they find a legitimate and honest way to make a living," Howard said from the bench. He would not go so far, however, as to question the motives of arresting officer Detective Daniel T. Hersl.
Evans has been detained since Detective Hersl served a warrant on him on Aug. 13, three days before he was supposed to perform at the Baltimore Arena with rapper Lil' Boosie (who has faced similar legal troubles) and fellow Baltimorean Lor Scoota. The warrant was based on a July 25 raid of the home of Evans' father, where narcotics were found. Eight other people were arrested for the charge on July 25, but Hersl waited until several days before the Arena concert to arrest Kevron, saying, according to those in the house, that it was too bad Young Moose would not be able to perform. (Click here for a rundown of the entire case.)
In his affidavit, Hersl claimed that Young Moose's rap video 'Posted' indicated that there were weapons in the house.
The promoter Tony Austin, who had signed Evans to his label Austin Music Group, immediately put up the $250,000 bail, which was later revoked by Evans' probation officer, Agent Kenneth Henry. Henry told City Paper that Hersl showed him Evans' rap videos to show Evans had violated his probation, but did not note that they were posted in January 2014, prior to Evans' May 30 probation.
By the time Evans approached Judge Howard's courtroom this morning for his hearing, the hall in front of room was crowded with fans and supporters, including Evans' manager, Teron Matthews. "He said he wasn't going to sleep last night," Matthews told City Paper. "I didn't either. None of us did."
Evans, hands cuffed behind his back and wearing a yellow DPDS jump suit, flashed a gold-tooth grin and let out a little hum as he was led into the courtroom.
During the hearing, Evans' lawyer, Richard Woods, argued that Hersl "purposfully and knowingly provided stale information" in the form of the rap videos and that "the detective was on a personal vendetta" against Evans. He cited Mark Puente's Sun Investigates story on police corruption, which included several settlements involving Hersl.
Woods further noted that Evans' videos have received over half a million hits and that he has been signed with Jay Z Productions. "It's such a shame to see a promising young career come screeching to a halt," Woods said.
Finally, Woods said that the trial for the underlying drug charges would be postponed from November until January or February because the state's prosecutor would be on parental leave.
The prosecution argued that Evans "is a danger to public safety by virtue of being out and being involved in drug distribution." Howard was not swayed.
When the judge ultimately ruled that it would be "cruel and unusual" to deny Evans bail under the present circumstances, there was a loud murmur among those in the back of the room. One young man jumped up. "Sit down!" Judge Howard said. "This is not a concert venue."
Bail was set at $50,000 and a new Violation of Probation (VOP) trial for Feb. 24. "I'm glad he can continue what is going to be a great career," Woods said in the hallway. Matthews said he was going to go post the bond immediately and hoped Evans would be out within six or seven hours, adding they were going to finish the mixtape "Out the Mud 3" as soon as possible.
Reached by telephone, the promoter Austin said, "Now that he is home, we'll be taking meetings as soon as this week." He couldn't speak on any specific deals, but says there could "be a big announcement" very soon.
Brandon Soderberg contributed additional reporting.