According to reports, a Maryland appeals court recently ruled that rap lyrics could be used as evidence towards proving a defendant’s guilt.
The case in question was related to the January 2017 shooting of George Forrester, who reportedly tried to buy cocaine with a fake bill. In the case, the shooter was ID’d as 27-year-old Laurence Montague, who ended up being indicted for murder. When Montague ended up in trial for the alleged shooting, the State of Maryland reportedly used the lyrics, rapped Montague against him, and convicted him for the murder. As a result, Montague was sentenced to 50 years for second-degree murder. Montague appealed since then, but the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of his using his lyrics as evidence.
The judge pointed out that the lyrics in question were used three weeks prior to the shooting and called out the lyrics where “snitches” were threatened, along with the mentioning of .40 cal bullets that were reportedly used in the murder. Judge Joseph Getty wrote, “While rap lyric evidence often has prejudicial effect as improper propensity evidence of a defendant’s bad character, those concerns are diminished when the lyrics are so akin to the alleged crime that they serve as ‘direct proof’ of the defendant’s involvement.”