A new case from COCA shows why it’s best not to write down your feelings in jail. Especially if those feelings are violent rap lyrics, and you are on trial for murder.
Such were the facts from Mendoza vs. State, which was handed down today. The defendant was found guilty of murder. During punishment the State offered numerous rap lyrics found in the defendant’s cell. The issue was whether these lyrics were relevant, and if the State could prove the defendant wrote them.
Here is a sampling of what the jurors read-
Fuck the world & Fuck the reasons time to release the inner DEMOND
Give me a screwdriver so I can dig in your temple,
Bust your face with a crow bar like I’m poppin a pimple.
Plain & simple I lose my temper its the end of your time;
I’ve been dreamin to be dead; cause all the pain & heavy strain fucked up my mind
Every time I take a breath it’s like I’m makin a death wish
I’m having memories of nightmares; cuz there were plenty of them.
The lesson from COCA- anything you say can be used against you in a punishment hearing, including rap lyrics.
Texas has bifurcated trials, the first stage is guilt innocence. If a defendant is found guilty a seperate trial is held on punishment. The issues at punishment are much broader than guilt/innocence. Therefore, a wider range of evidence will be admissible. These rap lyrics would never get in during guilt/innocence. COCA held they were relevant to punishment in that they showed the defendant was a continuing threat for society.