Report: 2 New York Senators Introduce Bill to Limit Rap Lyrics Use in Criminal Trials

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According to a report by The New York Times, two New York State Senators will introduce a bill to limit the use of rapper lyrics in criminal trials. Rolling Stone.

Sens. Jamaal Bailey (D.The Bronx), Brad Hoylman and Jamaal Bailman (D.Manhattan), introduced a new bill this week titled “Rap Music on Trial,”Limiting the use of rap lyrics for evidence in criminal trials Brooklyn Vegan reported.

The bill “would amend state criminal procedure law to strictly limit the admissibility of a defendant’s lyrics, videos, or other ‘creative expression’ as evidence shown to a jury,” according to Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone received an exclusive look at the bill, which they share in a new article. “would set a new, high bar compelling prosecutors to show ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that a defendant’s rap song or other creative work, is ‘literal, rather than figurative or fictional.'”

The senators also reportedly argued that using rap lyrics as evidence creates an unfair racial bias.

“Hoylman says no one believes Johnny Cash ‘shot a man in Reno just to watch him die’ or that David Byrne is a ‘psycho killer,’ but over and over, rap musicians involved in criminal cases have their music used against them,” Rolling Stone reported.

Senator Bailey made the argument in the article that this only happens with music and not with movies.

“There’s a lyric by Jay-Z that always speaks to me: ‘Scarface the movie did more than Scarface the rapper to me.’ It underlines the point that we don’t see this happening with movies,”He told Rolling Stone.

Minutes after the Rolling Stone article was published, Senator Bailey took it upon himself to tweet his formal announcement with Senator Hoylman.

“Hip-Hop music shouldn’t be scrutinized at a higher level than other forms of creative expression. Hopefully, this bill by @bradhoylman and I will change that,”He tweeted.

November 2020: ACLUA similar argument was stated in an article that they published on their site titled “Putting Rap Lyrics on Trial is a Violation of Free Speech.”

“If song lyrics could be used as evidence in criminal trials, many of the most famous artists in history would be in serious trouble. Bob Marley sings ‘I Shot the Sheriff.’ The Talking Heads’ biggest hit is ‘Psycho Killer.’ The opening lines to Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody are ‘Mama, just killed a man.’ Fortunately for these artists, artistic expression is protected as free speech under the First Amendment,”The ACLU wrote.

“However, some art forms are seen differently by many courts. Rap music, in trial after trial, has been treated as inherently incriminating,”The organization was expanded.