Attorneys argued that the usage of a Pittsburg man’s rap lyrics in a homicide trial was racially biased and the defendant must be granted a brand new trial beneath the California Racial Justice Act of 2020.
“We’re not asking for somebody to get away with homicide. We’re asking for a brand new trial, a good trial with out racial bias and prejudice,” mentioned Evan Kuluk, deputy public defender within the Contra Costa County Alternate Defender Workplace.
Superior Courtroom Decide Claire Maier is predicted to weigh whether or not racial bias influenced the 2015 homicide conviction and life sentence of Gary Bryant Jr.
Kuluk is representing Bryant.
The ACLU of Northern California believes that is the primary take a look at of the Racial Justice Act. The act was handed by state lawmaker in September 2020, following the homicide of George Floyd and nationwide requires prison justice reform.
The household says Bryant was a barber and rapper.
Movies of Bryant’s music from 2013 are nonetheless on YouTube and have the everyday hallmarks of rap music: earning profits, partying, and being self-made regardless of a tough upbringing. The lyrics are brimmed with aggressive bravado Bryant’s attorneys argue are artwork and shouldn’t be taken actually.
“Visions sitting low within the coupe … Then I cook dinner cream get cash roll up a number of … Backwoods, good kush depend up my loot,” Bryant raps in a single tune.
Bryant was tried and convicted for a lethal 2014 Antioch house complicated capturing the place he was additionally injured.
His attorneys are actually arguing the usage of Bryant’s music through the trial to allegedly paint him as a violent man with gang affiliation was racially biased.
“Black music is handled in a different way. The presentation to the jury of lyrics from my consumer’s rap music as literal confessions to crime was not based mostly in actuality, however based mostly in stereotyping,” mentioned Kuluk.
Kuluk cited the Racial Justice Act as grounds for granting a brand new trial.
The act prohibits the state from in search of a prison conviction or sentence on the idea of race, ethnicity, or nationwide origin.
“It allows, as an example in a prison case, a defendant to boost a declare that there’s racial bias,” mentioned LaDoris Cordell, retired Santa Clara County Superior Courtroom decide.
Cordell known as the usage of rap lyrics in prison proceedings towards Black males “rhyme and punishment” the place the lyrics are on trial as a substitute of the particular person.
“This rhyme and punishment method is used virtually completely towards Black defendants. So it is principally a stereotype should you’re a rapper, and also you’re saying this, properly, that should imply you are doing all of these things. It is (additionally concerning the) interpretation of what these lyrics imply,” she added.
In line with courtroom paperwork, prosecutors used Bryant’s lyrics to safe gang enhancement costs by connecting him with the Broad Day Gang and lengthen his sentence.
Bryant’s mom tells ABC7 Information he was by no means in a gang and he or she desires to hug her son once more.
“The business makes use of violence to advertise their enterprise,” mentioned Denise Holdman-Griffin. “Gary will not be a violent particular person. I am hoping that my son can come residence.”
The Decide continued the ruling and has but to resolve whether or not Bryant shall be granted a brand new trial.
The ACLU is intently watching the case and supporting the general public defender to assist deliver consideration to the Racial Justice Act to make sure it’s applied.
“That is the primary case to make it to the purpose the place a decide will look at whether or not proof at a trial was so contaminated by racial bias that the prison defendant deserves a brand new trial,” mentioned Chessie Thacher, ACLU senior workers lawyer.
ABC7 Information reached out to the Contra Costa County District Legal professional’s Workplace for remark. A spokesman for the DA’s workplace mentioned it might not touch upon pending proceedings.
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