California Gov. Signs Law Limiting Song Lyrics as Criminal Evidence
A California bill limiting the use of song lyrics in criminal prosecutions was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday. The bill specifically takes aim at prosecutors entering into evidence rap lyrics performed by artists as proof of wrongdoing. The legislation was unanimously passed by both the California Senate and House of Representatives in August. The new bill requires courts seeking to admit lyrics as evidence to “consider specified factors when balancing the probative value of that evidence against the substantial danger of undue prejudice.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom stated that “artists of all kinds should be able to create without the fear of unfair and prejudicial prosecution. California’s culture and entertainment industry set trends around the world and it’s fitting that our state is taking a nation-leading role to protect creative expression and ensure that artists are not criminalized under biased policies.”
The use of song lyrics as criminal evidence became a much-debated issue after prosecutors in Georgia cited rap lyrics from famous artists Young Thug and Gunna as evidence in an ongoing RICO case against the artists’ record label, which prosecutors allege is actually a criminal syndicate. A similar bill has been drafted at the federal level by New York lawmakers, but has stalled.
Coverage of the bill’s signing was consistent. Framing of the legislation across the spectrum was generally positive, with few voices opposing the bill quoted.
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From the LeftCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bill limiting the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal proceedings
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Friday that limits the use of rap lyrics in criminal court cases in the state.
The law requires “a court, in a criminal proceeding where a party seeks to admit as evidence a form of creative expression, to consider specified factors when balancing the probative value of that evidence against the substantial danger of undue prejudice.”
The new law underscores a larger national conversation around prohibiting the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal proceedings, a tactic critics have...
From the RightCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bill restricting use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal cases
California on Friday enacted a new law limiting prosecutors from using rap lyrics as evidence against criminal defendants.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a series of bills, including AB 2799, which requires a pre-trial hearing to determine if hip-hop lyrics are relevant to a case. The bill was approved by state lawmakers in August.
"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," Dina LaPolt, entertainment attorney and co-founder of Songwriters of North America, told...
From the CenterNewsom signs bill to limit use of hip-hop lyrics in criminal trials
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Friday to limit the use of hip-hop lyrics as evidence in criminal trials amid multiple high-profile cases of lyrics being used against rappers who have been arrested.
The law, which Newson signed alongside rappers, record producers and record industry executives who were present virtually, is the first in the country to ensure someone’s “creative expression” is not used to “introduce stereotypes or active bias” against a defendant or be used as evidence in a trial against them.
It also requires courts to determine...