Md. bill seeks to stop artists’ work from being used against them in court

Should an artist’s song lyrics, poetry, or film be used as evidence in a criminal case?

According to the American Bar Association, rap lyrics are frequently used against artists in criminal trials — as was the case when rapper Young Thug went to trial on gang and racketeering charges in November 2023.

Maryland House Bill 1429 — known as the Protecting the Admissibility of Creative Expression or PACE Act — would protect an artist’s creative expression, which includes music, dance, performance art, poetry, literature and film.

Under the PACE Act, the creative expression of a criminal defendant or juvenile would not be admissible in court, unless the court makes certain findings. For example, if the defendant intended the creative expression to be literal or the creative expression refers to the specific facts of the alleged offense.

A house committee is currently considering the bill.

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Linh Bui

Linh most recently worked at WJZ in Baltimore as a reporter and anchor from 2013-2023 and is now teaching at the University of Maryland. Prior to moving to the D.C. region, Linh worked as a reporter and anchor at stations in Fort Myers, Fla. and Macon, Ga.

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