New Jersey Supreme Court Looking To Use Rap Lyrics In Trials

by / April 8, 2014 video 473 Comments

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SHOULD rap lyrics be used in court as evidence of a crime?

Next week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will hear a case that could help decide just that. At issue is a prosecutor’s extensive use of rap lyrics, composed by a man named Vonte Skinner, as evidence of his involvement in a 2005 shooting.

During Mr. Skinner’s trial in 2008, the prosecutor read the jury 13 pages of violent lyrics written by Mr. Skinner, even though all of the lyrics were composed before the shooting (in some cases, years before) and none of them mentioned the victim or specific details about the crime.

In keeping with rap’s “gangsta” subgenre, the lyrics read like an ode to violent street life, with lines like “In the hood, I am a threat / It’s written on my arm and signed in blood on my Tech” — a reference to a Tec-9 handgun. “I’m in love with you, death.”



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