New York State Senate Passes Invoice Limiting Use of Tune Lyrics in Courtroom
New York’s State Senate accepted a invoice Tuesday (Might 17) that may restrict prosecutors’ use of track lyrics and different types of “artistic expression” as proof in legal instances. Senate Invoice S7527 wouldn’t ban prosecutors from presenting lyrics or different materials to a jury, however would require them to indicate that the work is “literal, relatively than figurative or fictional.”
The invoice, which was sponsored by Senators Jamaal Bailey and Brad Hoylman, obtained public assist from Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Killer Mike, Fats Joe, and Robin Thicke, amongst others. Earlier than the invoice can turn out to be a regulation, it should cross the New York State Meeting; a companion invoice sponsored by Meeting Member Catalina Cruz is pending earlier than a committee and awaiting a vote.
The invoice, whereas within the works for months, comes as Atlanta rappers Younger Thug and Gunna face RICO costs in Georgia, in a case the place their lyrics and music movies make up the majority of the state’s proof of legal conspiracy. Within the 2013 case Dawson v. Delaware, the Supreme Courtroom dominated that it’s unconstitutional to make use of protected speech as proof, supplied that speech is irrelevant to the case.
The courtroom declined to listen to the case of Jamal Knox, a Pittsburgh rapper often known as Mayhem Mal who was convicted on costs of terroristic threats and witness intimidation over lyrics in a 2012 track known as “Fuck the Police.” Killer Mike and Meek Mill have been vocal in that case, submitting an amicus transient offering a “primer on rap music and hip-hop” and complex breakdowns of the lyrics.
In 2001, No Restrict rapper Mac Phipps was convicted of manslaughter after prosecutors closely cited his lyrics at trial. He was launched final yr after serving 21 years of a 30-year sentence; in 2015 5 witnesses within the case accused prosecutors of intimidating them, and in 2017 the lead prosecutor within the case was sentenced to 4 years in jail for corruption and fraud.
Learn Pitchfork’s article “What Younger Thug and Gunna’s Indictment Means for Rap Music on Trial.”