March 27, 2014

"In the profane world of hardcore rap, verisimilitude is prized..."

"And law enforcement took note...."
[Alan] Jackson, who investigated gangs as a prosecutor, said such lyrics can be useful in building a case, because the search for status — attaining it, crowing about it, expanding it — is integral to gang life. “If you listened to the songs,” he said, “you would literally hear gang members confessing to crimes they had committed previously and were disseminating it within the neighborhood.”...

Critics like Andrea L. Dennis, an associate professor of law at the University of Georgia, say law enforcement ignores the fact that rappers do not necessarily live the lives they sing about.
People often say things that aren't true. The issue on any given statement — whether in the form of a rap lyric or something else — is whether it has enough probative value compared to how unfairly prejudicial it is. If the prosecutor is mostly trying to make the defendant seem to be a disreputable person, that's quite different from, say, lyrics with details about the crime charged.

10 comments:

Larry J said...

Singing about committing crimes isn't particularly bright, especially when the lyrics match actual crimes. You may not have committed the crime but you're likely to bring unwelcome attention to yourself, either from the law or a rival gang.

But then, we have a generation that not only commits crimes, they take pictures and videos of themselves breaking the law. As if that wasn't ignorant enough, many of them actually post the evidence against themselves online. That's seriously stupid.

mccullough said...

This is another shit article by the Times. You have to get near the bottom of the story to find out that the prosecution has 2 eyewitnesses and a third witness who says Twain Gotti admitted the murder to him. This undermines their assertions in the beginning of the article that his lyrics are a large part of the evidence against him.

And none of the other cases they discuss, except for one from 30 years ago, shows that any artistic expression was the primary evidence against the defendant.

In other words, there is no story here.

Bob Boyd said...

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I didn't enroll in Obamacare
Bitches

MattL said...

mccollough: This is another shit article by the Times.

Agreed. I'm mostly disappointed that the author didn't work in stand your ground laws. The editors at the Times must be slipping.

EDH said...

A statement against penal interest yet perhaps in favor of pecuniary interest.

Should the latter vitiate the corroborative effect of the former?

Sigivald said...

Turns out every NWA lyric was a damned lie.

Who knew?

BarrySanders20 said...

I think Mick Jagger really did taste some brown sugar.

Fen said...

Rap is nothing more than musical ebonics.

Sam L. said...

Given previous examples of rapper behavior, this seems like a really good idea for investigating/solving some crimes.

Christy said...

No different from narcocorridos, which have been around for a century and have been used as clues in the plots of police procedurals on TV. I first learned of corridos in the wonderful Queen of the South, Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte's tale of smuggling across the Straits of Gibraltar and a modern version of The Count of Monte Cristo.