Monday, January 26, 2009

Beating the Rap


It's been said that bad facts make bad law, however it appears that bad rap makes even worse law.  This certainly seems to be true in the case of Gregory Royal, a Jazz trombonist who wrote a winning appellate brief that relied heavily upon rap lyrics.

Here is just one of his "dope" rhymes.

A domestic relations exception,
I was supposed to know. 
Appellee would know too,
So why did he spend so much doe?

Now, that's dope!  And by "dope," I mean that Royal might have actually been on drugs when he wrote this rhyme.

According to MC Incoherent, the appellee spent so much doe.  Really?  As in female deer?  Where was this case litigated -- Wasilla, Alaska?  Most of the courts in my home state of Arizona won't even take personal checks (at least not my personal checks).  I can't imagine trying to convince my local clerk into accepting, say, two elk, as payment for filing fees, although it wouldn't certainly make life at the filing window much more interesting.

Cashier:  "That will be $90.  How would you like to pay -- cash, check, money order or livestock?"

Lawyer: "Livestock, please.  By the way, you wouldn't happen to have change for a moose, would you?"

Cashier: "No, but we have an ABM (automatic butcher machine) down the hall.  Just come back to the front of the line when you're ready."

Lawyer: "Okay, and by the way, I'm going to need a receipt for my files.  Can I get that on butcher paper ... in triplicate?"

And if you think that is a scary scenario, please keep in mind that Royal has become so emboldened by his success in this case that he is anxiously looking forward to his next lawsuit against a Canadian rock band.   "I'm thinking about a rap scenario there," he told an AP reporter.  Royal then went on to say one of the scariest things not uttered by Mike Tyson.  "Imagine a real attorney who can actually capitalize and perfect that expression and throw some heavy stuff in there," he said.

No, Mr. Royal!  I don't want to imagine a real lawyer rapping her way through an appellate brief!  Our profession has enough image problems already.  The last thing we need is lawyers trying to get signed through their appellate writings.  After all, can you imagine the landmark briefs in our history being penned by rapping lawyers?  Take, for instance, the brief in Brown v. Board of Education:

Yo, yo, one-two,
What we're gonna do?
Hey, hey, three-four
What's the segregation for?

They say that justice can get messy
And that certainly was the case with Plessy
But now, it's time for a new sequel
Where the court strikes down separate but equal

So if you're tired of a discrimination,
And would like to build a better nation,
Then throw your #$%* hands in the air
And scream "Integration" like you just don't care!

Aren't you glad that this wasn't the NAACP's brief in the Brown case?  I am.  If it had been, I suspect that the closest Barack Obama would have come to the White House would have been when he drove his taxi cab passengers past it on the way to the Reagan Airport.  So for the sake of the future Barack Obamas out there, just say no to rap!