Rap lyrics being used as “proof” of criminal activity

Police And Prosecutors Are Treating ‘Rapping While Black’ Like A Crime – http://huff.to/1Mt4pWS

I see it as a situational version of an ongoing problem that is especially bad in the US south, of prosecutors with little or no evidence looking for anything inflammatory to put before a jury to get a conviction that they’d never get in a judge alone trial.

That is a frequent feature of wrongful convictions.

One of the saddest things about the convictions overturned by DNA is that when reviewing the evidence, in most of the cases DNA should never have been necessary, the cases are usually so weak they should have never gotten past charge approval, let alone be taken to trial and securing a conviction.

The big picture fix should be an absolute right of a defendant to decide whether to be tried by either judge alone or by judge and jury.

An alternative might be treating insufficient evidence motions the same as no-evidence motions and requiring the judge to decide in a voir dire after the prosecution’s case, before the defense elects whether to call evidence, whether or not the evidence shows that it is more likely than not that the accused is guilty.  If the prosecution can’t convince a judge on at least a balance of probabilities it shouldn’t go to the jury and the defendant shouldn’t have to respond to a nonexistent case.

The present test, where if there is some evidence, however thin, it goes to the jury, wastes resources, encourages and rewards prosecutor misconduct and produces a steady and reliable source of wrongful convictions.

Here’s one pending appeal case involving a white woman.

Imagine you are awakened in the middle of the night by shots fired.  Your husband isn’t beside you. You go downstairs in the middle of the night and find your husband dead by gunshot in front of the open door.  You get some his blood on you.  You call 911 in hysterics.

That’s enough to convict you of murder!

In that case police and prosecutors knew of death threats against the husband by gangsters but didn’t investigate them and didn’t disclose their existence to the defense.

They just convinced a jury that ordinary family conflicts were motive.

That goes to the second thing that needs to be done in such cases.  I think that in the wife case any prosecutors or police still working should be suspended at least until they find the likely gang mole or moles, and nobody that knew and helped misdirect a murder investigation can ever be trusted in another murder investigation or trial.

In one of the rapper cases another man told police that he had shot the deceased in self defense.  They apparently didn’t even test his gun and didn’t disclose his information or a witness that confirmed his story to the defense. 

The police and prosecutor knew the rapper didn’t do it and suppressed evidence of innocence and extorted perjury from others to get a conviction.  I suspect the motive was political, an elected prosecutor is in a conflict of interest when he has a case that can make headlines.

There are analogous white cases, one in Texas I think where the only evidence of guilt was the accused listened to Iron Maiden, the Memphis 3 case where the conviction involved a fake expert witness on supposed satanic cults, and even then it ought to have fallen to a no-evidence motion as it was only evidence of predisposition.

The rapper cases are part of a bigger picture, where prosecutors are rarely punished and often rewarded, especially in the US south, for conduct that should result in disbarment if not incarceration. 

It’s systemic corruption.

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