Media Contact

Dorrie Toney, [email protected]

July 14, 2023

ATLANTA—The ACLU of Georgia has been consistently opposed to rap lyrics being introduced as evidence in criminal trials in Georgia, because the lyrics are creative expressions protected under First Amendment rights. We applaud the Atlanta City Council Public Safety Committee for passing a resolution Monday that requests the Georgia General Assembly to revisit and limit the use of rap lyrics as evidence. Following is a statement on the resolution from the ACLU of Georgia:

“The ACLU of Georgia applauds the Atlanta City Council for urging state lawmakers to take action on courts using rap lyrics to criminalize rap artists. Over the past decade, the government has attempted to use artists’ lyrics, which are free expression and protected First Amendment speech, in hundreds of cases. When the government tries to use the artistic expression of rap lyrics as evidence, the courts generally allow this to happen. In the five or so known cases where the government tried to use lyrics other than from rap music, the court was quick to stop it. Georgians should not tolerate a two-tiered justice system, where some free expression is less free than others. If courts are unwilling to protect individuals’ free speech, then it is necessary for the state legislature to act. The ACLU of Georgia looks forward to working with lawmakers to protect people from such prejudice in the future.”