Next week the New Jersey Supreme Court will rule on whether or not violent rap lyrics of a defendant should be admissible in a trial for attempted murder.
Vonte Skinner, the defendant in a 2008 trial for his connection to a 2005 shooting had 13 pages of lyrics read allowed by the prosecution that he wrote prior to the incident. The lyrics did not mention a specific victim or details of the crime, however he was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In 2012, Skinner’s conviction was overturned by an appellate court that ruled the lyrics shouldn’t have been admissible in the trial stating “We have a significant doubt about whether the jurors would have found defendant guilty if they had not been required to listen to the extended reading of these disturbing and highly prejudicial lyrics.” The state has since appealed the ruling and send it to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
In 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey announced that in 18 cases in which courts considered the admissibility of rap related content as evidence, lyrics were allowed in almost 80 percent of the cases. They also stated there is no evidence Skinner committed any of the criminal acts he wrote about.
Recently, Bun B took time out to speak on issues regarding freedom of speech, racial profiling and more with MSNBC.