Rap on Trial

Rap lyrics are turning up as evidence of crime in courtrooms across the country, with increasing regularity.  Jaws of Justice’s host David Bell speaks with Prof. Jack Lerner, UCI Law, about his co-authored legal guide, “Rap on Trial”.  They will discuss how prosecutors are using rap lyrics to obtain convictions, even while research shows that bringing rap music into the courtroom risks poisoning the jury and bringing bias and prejudice into the proceedings – and explain what defense lawyers can do about it.

Jack Lerner works to find solutions to problems at the intersection of law and technology, particularly how technology law and policy affect creative expression and innovation.  He has written and spoken widely on copyright, privacy and other areas of technology law.  Professor Lerner is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law and Director of the UCI Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic.  In the Clinic, law students counsel and represent policymakers, artists, innovators, nonprofit organizations, and others on a range of IP and technology issues.  Among other accomplishments, under Professor Lerner’s supervision students have obtained exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on behalf of a wide coalition of documentary filmmakers that is helping filmmakers exercise their fair use rights, and worked with policymakers in the developing world to conduct a major study of copyright limitations and exceptions among Pacific Rim economies. In 2016, Professor Lerner was named “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” for his work obtaining changing copyright law in ways that affect documentary filmmakers and authors nationwide.

Before joining UC Irvine School of Law in 2014, Professor Lerner was Clinical Professor of Law at the USC Gould School of Law and Director of the USC Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic, and he was a Clinic Fellow at the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

Since 2008, Professor Lerner has been Executive Editor of the award-winning treatise Internet Law and Practice in California (CEB). Among Professor Lerner’s recent publications are Secondary Copyright Infringement Liability and User-Generated Content in the United States, in Oxford Handbook of Online Intermediary Liability (Giancarlo Frosio ed., 2020) and Law Enforcement Investigations Involving Journalists, in National Security Leaks, Whistleblowers, and the Media (Paul Rosenzweig et al, eds.) (with Bar-Nissim).

Professor Lerner received a B.A., with distinction, in English from the University of Kansas and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He clerked for Judge Fred I. Parker on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge G. Thomas Van Bebber in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. He practiced IP law with the Palo Alto, Calif., firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.

Listeners can read Professor Lerner’s legal guide Rap on Trial at


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Calendar for the week of June 28th:

According to the CDC, if you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic – without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, you can find a vaccine.  See the FAQS at kcmo.gov.

  • Legal Aid of Western Missouri can provide free civil legal services to low-income and vulnerable people who live in Jackson CTY MO. Interested individuals can call 816-474-6750 to apply.
  • Monday Meets: 4 PM, Online event. Hosted by The Willow Domestic Violence Center open to everyone on Facebook Live.
  • MON, June 28th, Noon, No More Excuses Coalition Meeting at the Mohart Center Auditorium, 3200 Wayne, 64109. No Excuses Coalition will meet every 1st & 4th Monday of each month.
  • MON, June 28th, 6 PM Event by Corey’s Network, Inc., Open to anyone. They meet to educate the survivors of homicide on topics that will help ease the stress of losing a loved one. For those who can’t attend the in person sessions, there will be an online link published on Facebook shortly before the meeting starts. In person meet at The City House Meeting Room 2, 14300 E US Highway 40, Kansas City, MO. You may enter the building at the doors to Joy Coffee. Someone will be available to let you in the doors, or you may text 816-834-9161 when you arrive.
  • THURS, July 1, 6 PM, The Age of Hate: A Candid Discussion with Daryle Lamont Jenkins. This is an online event hosted by ACLU of Missouri and others.  Daryle Lamont Jenkins began tracking hate groups in the United States well before the insurrection at the capitol. You can join to discuss hate groups.   See on Facebook.
  • A list of services, meals, and hot lines are available at blogspot.com.  The list is updated daily.

Please take care of yourselves and others. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for health care reforms that promote universal access to affordable care.  COVID-19 has devastated the U.S. prison and jail population.


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