Lincoln Memorial University Law Review Archive


Sean Freeland

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The United States judiciary has historically treated some criminal defendants worse than others. This paper seeks to shed light on the current shortcomings of the judiciary as it relates to lyricists. Specifically, prosecutors are targeting rap artists on trial for various crimes by seeking to admit their rap lyrics as propensity evidence. This paper is divided into three parts. First, it aims to examine a small aspect of free speech in America and points out its various problems. Further, this paper identifies a solution that should make admitting art as evidence more difficult for prosecutors; as such, the second part explores numerous cases where the government infringed on defendants’ free speech rights by using their protected, artistic speech against them in criminal trials. Finally, the third part offers a solution to this phenomenon.

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