Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Gun Crimes > Is a Rap Video Admissible Evidence in a Georgia Criminal Trial?

Is a Rap Video Admissible Evidence in a Georgia Criminal Trial?


A fair criminal trial must be based on evidence that is relevant to the case at hand. In general, prosecutors cannot introduce irrelevant or extraneous materials that are simply meant to portray the defendant in a bad light to the jury. And it is the role of the courts to ensure that does not happen.

Georgia Supreme Court Orders New Trial in Fatal Nightclub Shooting

Indeed, the Georgia Supreme Court recently overturned a conviction due to the trial judge’s decision to admit a piece of evidence that bore no relevance to the issues before the jury. This particular case, Baker v. State, involved the 2019 shooting death of a security club at a nightclub. The evidence in question was a 33-second clip of a rap music video in which the defendant briefly appeared.

The video featured an artist who goes by the stage name of NoCap. It was undisputed at trial that the defendant was a friend of NoCap and worked as his road manager. On the night of the shooting, the defendant accompanied NoCap and other members of his group to the nightclub, where NoCap performed.

According to prosecutors, the defendant tried to reenter the club after it closed. An argument ensued and shortly thereafter, there was gunfire in front of a nearby store. One of the security guards who had been seen arguing with the defendant died from gunshot wounds.

Police never recovered the firearms used in the shootings. Nor could any witness directly identify the defendant as the shooter. But at trial, the prosecution introduced the aforementioned video where the defendant is seen waving a gun similar to the one used in the shooting. During closing arguments, the prosecutor harped on the video, stating it showed the defendant was deliberately promoting “gun violence.”

The jury convicted the defendant of malice murder. The Georgia Supreme Court, however, held the defendant was entitled to a new trial. The Court said it was an “abuse of discretion” for the trial judge to have allowed the jury to see the rap video clip. The trial court determined the video was relevant to prove the defendant was “involved in [NoCap’s] rap music business” and part of his “entourage” and thus more likely that the defendant was present at the nightclub at the time of the shooting.

But as the Supreme Court noted, the defense never disputed any of this. The rap video was therefore not necessary to establish that the defendant knew or worked for NoCap. More to the point, the rap video “lacked any probative value to complete the story of the crime.” Conversely, the video likely prejudiced the defendant in the eyes of the jury as it showed him waving a handgun and pointing it at the camera.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers Today

Anytime a person is accused of a serious crime, they have the right to demand prosecutors and the courts follow the evidence and the law. If you are the person facing such charges, an experienced Atlanta gun crime lawyer can help you in asserting such rights. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn