Two New York lawmakers have proposed a invoice to cease prosecutors from utilizing the lyrics of rappers as proof towards them within the courtroom.
On Wednesday (Nov. 17), Senators Brad Hoylman and Jamaal Bailey launched the “Rap Music on Trial” legislation. The invoice will improve the free speech of artists and content material creators and forestall their phrases from being wielded towards them in court.
“Art is artistic expression, not a blueprint of prison plans,” mentioned Sen. Hoylman. “But, we’ve seen prosecutors in New York and throughout the nation attempt to use rap music lyrics as proof in prison circumstances, a observe upheld this yr by a Maryland court.”
“It’s time to finish the egregious bias towards sure genres of music, like rap, and defend the First Amendment rights of all artists. I’m proud to introduce this laws in order that New York leads the way in which in treating artists pretty, regardless of their background.”
In a press launch for the legislation, the senators particularly spoke about Tekashi 6ix9ine, a New York rapper whose lyrics had been not too long ago “used to compel Hernandez into turning into a authorities witness to keep away from harsher sentencing” within the 2019 9 Trey Gangsters trial. The memo additionally cited a January 2021 ruling in Maryland that allowed prosecutors to submit Lawrence Montague’s rap music as proof towards him in a trial.
“The proper to free speech is enshrined in our federal and state constitutions as a result of it’s by way of this proper that we will protect all of our different elementary rights,” Sen. Bailey mentioned. “The admission of artwork as prison proof solely serves to erode this elementary proper, and the usage of rap and hip hop lyrics specifically is emblematic of the systemic racism that permeates our prison justice system. In lots of circumstances, even the mere affiliation with sure genres, like hip hop and rap, results in heightened scrutiny within the courtroom and is used to presume guilt, immorality, and propensity for prison exercise.”