Copyright (c) 2007 The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
The Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts
ARTICLE: Poetic (In)Justice? Rap Music Lyrics as Art, Life, and Criminal Evidence
31 Colum. J.L. & Arts 1
Andrea L. Dennis*
In today's society, many gang members compose and put their true-life experiences into lyrical form... . Law enforcement officials must remain mindful of ... the opportunities to obtain inculpatory evidence in gang-related investigations and cases. 1
- From Understanding Gangs and Gang Mentality: Acquiring Evidence of the Gang Conspiracy (2006)
Will the Real Defendant Please Stand Up?
Perhaps the most crucial element of a successful prosecution is introducing the jury to the real defendant. Invariably, by the time the jury sees the defendant at trial, his hair has grown out to a normal length, his clothes are nicely tailored, and he will have taken on the aura of an altar boy. But the real defendant is a criminal wearing a do-rag and throwing a gang sign. Gang evidence can take a prosecutor a long way toward introducing that jury to that person. Through photographs, letters, notes, and even music lyrics, prosecutors can invade and exploit the defendant's true personality. Gang investigators should focus on these items of evidence during search warrants and arrests. 2
- From Prosecuting Gang Cases: What Local Prosecutors Need to Know (2004)
*** The above are excerpted from gang prosecution training materials produced for state and federal prosecutors. The first excerpt is from a training newsletter issued by the United States Department of Justice for its Assistant United States Attorneys. The second excerpt is from a manual produced for the National District Attorneys Association pursuant to a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, ...
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