Maryland Appeals Court Lets Rap Lyrics Be Utilised as Evidence in Murder Trial

The line concerning creative expression and true-lifestyle knowledge has always been a stage of competition when striving to assess hip-hop. This debate came to a head when a Maryland Court of Appeals dominated that rap lyrics can be used as proof of a defendant’s guilt in court. 

For every Courthouse New Provider, this verdict arrived as component of Lawrence Montague’s murder conviction. 3 months just before his demo, the 27-yr-aged, who is from Annapolis, rapped lyrics into a jail cell phone which had been then uploaded to Instagram. These lyrics had been applied to argue Montague’s guilt in the crime. 

“I’ll be playing the block bitch/And if you at any time play with me/I’ll give you a dream, a few pictures snitch/It’s like hockey pucks the way I dish out this/It is a .40 when that bitch going hit up shit,” Montague rapped. 

At his demo, the state applied these lyrics to convict Montague of the January 2017 killing of George Forrester. According to the court docket, Montague murdered Forrester for attempting to purchase cocaine with a faux monthly bill. Montague was sentenced to 50 decades for 2nd-degree murder and use of a firearm in a crime of violence.

Montague and his legal workforce made a decision to enchantment the conviction simply because the rap lyrics ended up employed as proof versus him. Still, the court docket of appeals sided with the primary conviction, confirming that rap lyrics can be utilized as proof in a situation. 

“When rap lyric evidence frequently has prejudicial effect as incorrect propensity evidence of a defendant’s bad character, those people worries are diminished when the lyrics are so akin to the alleged crime that they serve as ‘direct proof’ of the defendant’s involvement,” Judge Joseph Getty stated. 

Getty went on to assert that Montague’s 5 bars also served as opportunity witness tampering given that he “threatened” snitches in the rhyme like the person that testified against him. He also mentioned .40 caliber bullets which were utilized in the murder. 

As anticipated, there had been people who took objection to this ruling. Veteran music business lawyer Dina LaPolt wrote in Selection that the verdict was “blatantly racist conclusion is a travesty that sets a risky precedent.” Also, Decide Shirley Watts wrote a dissent to Getty’s ruling, conveying that it utilizes generic inventive creativeness from suspects. 

“[The ruling] essentially allow rap lyrics that contains generic references to violence to be admitted into evidence regardless of the threat of unfair prejudice significantly outweighing any small probative price of the proof,” Watts wrote. 

Montague’s lawyer extra that the prosecution scanned these lyrics for deeper meanings considering the fact that there was “scant other proof in the situation.”

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