Best of 2014: Killer or Artist? Why Rap is on Trial.


Johnny Cash once said he, "Shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die," and Bob Marley confessed that he "Shot the sheriff," but no prosecutor ever brought murder charges against the musicians--Likely because there wasn't any physical evidence to do so. But that has not stopped some prosecutors from using gangsta rap lyrics and videos as evidence in criminal trials without having physical evidence connecting the accused to the crime. The scariest part? Juries routinely fall for the practice.

In November 2014, Reason TV spoke with Laz Tha Boy (Real name Deandre Mitchell), an imprisoned rapper who had his rap videos used against him in a grand jury proceeding. The jury recommended charging Mitchell with two counts of attempted murder after hearing no physical evidence presented by prosecutor Satish Jallepalli, who also spoke to Reason TV.