Gov. Newsom signs bill restricting use of rap lyrics as evidence in California criminal trials

1 October, 2022
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Gov. Newsom signs bill restricting use of rap lyrics as evidence in California criminal trials

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to restrict prosecutors from using rap lyrics as evidence against criminal defendants in California.

Newsom signed on the dotted line of a new bill — the Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act, also known as AB 2799 — on Friday, which advocates say will help protect artistic expression in hip-hop and rap.

The bill was approved by state lawmakers in August after mass backlash over the imprisonment of some big names in rap, including Young Thug, Gunna, and the late rapper Drakeo the Ruler.

Used as evidence against them were their song lyrics, as prosecutors alleged Young Thug formed a street gang and promoted it through his songs

A trial date is expected to take place on Jan. 9, 2023.

The case echoed that of late rapper Drakeo the Ruler, who was facing first-degree murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder charges before his death in Dec. 2021.


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