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Should Rap Music Lyrics Be Used By Court To Seal an Attempted Murder Conviction?

Vonte Skinner's violent rap lyrics were used to help convict him of attempting to kill an admitted drug dealer
Photo Credit - Bull Fax

Everyone has pretty much heard that music can be used to sooth a savage beast, so can rap music lyrics be used to secure an attempted murder conviction. Can a man be moved to murder by rap music and is it legal to use in a criminal case against him? Well it appears that the answer to both questions for a New Jersey man is yes and no, according to Fox News. The court that convicted him had the decision overturned recently by a state appeals court, claiming that use of the rap lyrics may have been prejudicial.

Were they truly prejudicial or simply the harsh rap music lyrics of life on the street? They certainly not docile and will not bring back memories of Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams or even Justin Timberlake. The convicted attempted murder criminal’s rap lyrics are edgy, biting and threatening and include phrases like he would, “blow your face off and leave your brain caved in the street,” reported Fox News.

It was those words and 13 pages of others just as menacing that the case’s prosecutor read into evidence to the jury to convince them that Vonte Skinner had every intention in acting on his lyric’s words in attempting to murder a known drug dealer that he had a beef with.

The case was largely based on the jury believing that the man’s lyrics were actually a road map of his true intentions to give Lamont Peterson a taste of real New Jersey style street justice. Skinner was convicted of shooting Peterson several times at a second trial based on the paralyzed victim’s testimony about him and Skinner having a drug selling dispute.

Yet, now thanks to the every observant ACLU intervening in the convicted criminal’s case, they filed a brief asking for the conviction be over-turned. They claimed in their case brief that Skinner should not have been convicted of his crime based upon his rap music with edgy phrases like, “With two 9′s — with two 9′s, I am a hated [expletive] the law [person]. I am home now with Kays and Mac’s, Ruger’s and Techs. I’m, the dude to shoot at ya’ neck, shatter your life like a bottle of Becks,“ according to the Bullfax Market News.

The ACLU stressed that Skinner was simply a man who but for his troubling lyrical verbiage running like a waterfall through his rapping, there was no actual evidence that connected him to the shooting of the admitted drug dealer.

So should rap music lyrics be the noose that is placed over the heads accused felons in order to seal a conviction for the prosecution. It appears that the trend is yes. According to evidence presented by the ACLU, state courts are actually leaning to allowing rap music lyrics in trials for the purpose of showing intent to do violence, according to Fox News. In 14 of the 18 cases that the ACLU examined, judges allowed rap music to be admitted as evidence.

So it appears that the next stop for the case is the New Jersey Supreme Court where it will have to decide whether Skinner will be rapping behind bars or back on the streets anytime soon.

Copyright © 2014 Kevin Fobbs. If you like this article you can subscribe above to receive email updates whenever Kevin Fobbs publishes on

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