California has implemented a new bill that restricts the usage of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal cases.
On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a series of bills, one in particular, AB2799. The bill requires a pre-trial hearing to be held to determine if hip-hop/rap lyrics are relevant to the case.
“For too long, prosecutors in California have used rap lyrics as a convenient way to inject racial bias and confusion into the criminal justice process,” entertainment attorney Dina LaPolt says. “This legislation sets up important guardrails that will help courts hold prosecutors accountable and prevent them from criminalizing Black and Brown artistic expression. Thank you, Gov Newsom, for setting the standard. We hope Congress will pass similar legislation, as this is a nationwide problem.”
Assembly member Reginald Jones-Sawyer Sr. also supported the Newsom’s decision to establish the bill.
“Their stage name might be Little Murder, but that doesn’t mean they’re a murderer,” Sawyer previously said. “We found that the lyrics that they were using in the court to prosecute someone, those weren’t even that person’s lyrics. It was written by someone else. The music was written by someone else, and they were just performing it.”
The bill’s implementation comes after Young Thug and Gunna were arrested in Atlanta on gang charges. The rapper’s lyrics were quoted as evidence to the crimes in an indictment.