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Monday, April 18, 2016
IT'S BAIL BEFORE JAIL
There's a phenomenon occurring in our criminal courts- the use of rap lyrics by prosecutors against defendants. Here is an interview with Dr. Erik Nielson who has a masters in Shakespeare and a doctorate in English Literature. The article is here, and the highlights with the yellow below are original (sorry, they're annoying)
Rap lyrics are being used in three main ways: 1) They’re treated as confessions if they’re written after the crime. 2) They’re treated as proof of intent if they're written before the crime. 3) They’re classified as "threats"—the lyrics are the crime themselves.
Rap is the only fictional genre that’s being used in court like this.And its use is undoubtedly racially motivated since only one or two cases involved white defendants.
The one case Nielson cannot let go of involves No Limit’s Mac, who is currently serving a 30-year sentence for shooting a man at a concert.Not only were Mac's lyrics used in court, the prosecution spliced lyrics together from two different songs to change the meaning of what he rapped.
Judges aren’t supposed to allow “evidence if it’s prejudicial,” but they’re misled by police and prosecutors. Maybe it’s because they’re older, or maybe it’s because they’re just as prejudiced as juries.