October 18, 2021

Judge To Determine If Using Rap Lyrics In Murder Trials Is Racially Biased

A California courtroom is debating whether or not or not presenting rap lyrics in homicide trials is racially biased.

On Friday, Judge Claire Maier of Contra Costa County Superior Court docket heard authorized consultants clarify how a Pittsburg man named Gary Bryant Jr. was subjected to racial bias as a consequence of his rap lyrics utilized in his homicide prosecution. Bryant was in the end convicted and sentenced to life in jail in 2015 for a lethal 2014 capturing. A lawyer for the person argued that underneath the California Racial Justice Act of 2020, Bryant ought to obtain a brand new trial.

“We’re not asking for someone to get away with murder. We’re asking for a new trial, a fair trial without racial bias and prejudice,” defined Evan Kuluk, who’s the general public defender representing Bryant.

The Racial Justice Act, which was handed final yr in response to the George Floyd homicide, protects civil rights in California courts and combats racial prejudice that ends in wrongful convictions and sentences. The statute might be examined for the primary time if Bryant is granted a brand new trial.

Bryant, a barber and aspiring artist on the time of his conviction, boasted of the glamorous hip-hop life-style in his music. Prosecutors used his lyrics to color an image of him as an aggressive gang member, which his lawyer’s declare was rooted in prejudice.

Kuluk identified that “Black music is treated differently” and insists that the lyrics didn’t function “literal confessions.’

Denise Holdman-Griffin, Bryant’s mom, argues that her son was by no means a gang member and has by no means been the violent particular person he was portrayed to be as a consequence of his lyrics.

The decide has but to determine if Bryant will obtain a brand new trial.