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United States v. Graham

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

December 21, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
D-5 QUINCY GRAHAM, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO PRECLUDE THE GOVERNMENT'S USE OF RAP LYRICS AND RAP VIDEOS AT TRIAL [DOC. 580]

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on defendant Quincy Graham's motion to preclude the government's use of rap lyrics and rap videos at trial. The motion is joined in by co-defendants Rogers, Brown, Patterson, Arnold, Adams and Gooch. Oral argument was held on September 11, 2017.

         The government intends to play into evidence 11 SMB Rap Tracks, identified as:

(1) Cocaine Sonny Ft. Berenzo & Block - “Murda”;
(2) Cocaine Sonny ft. HardWork Jig & Berenzo - “I Hust”;
(3) HardWork Jig - “Welcome to HOB City Intro”;
(4) HardWork Jig - “I'm Working”;
(5) HardWork Jig ft. Cocaine Sonny - “OG”;
(6) Ro Da Great ft. ADA Skippo - “Bleek”;
(7) Ro Da Great ft. Good Jet, Product - “Not Runnin From Shit”;
(8) Ro Da Great - “Intro”;
(9) Ro Da Great ft. Berenzo, Lee Ferg - “Welcome to the Streets”;
(10) 4shoMagcom Presents - “55 Dubb”; and
(11) THESTING - “55 Dubb Greatest Show on Earth 5.”

         The government has given the court a compact disc containing the eleven Rap Tracks it intends to offer into evidence. In addition, the government attached a summary of each Rap Track, providing a general idea of its relevance.

         The Indictment states that defendants are members of the SMB, and contains the following allegations: The SMB is located in Detroit, bordered by Seven Mile Road on the south, Eight Mile Road on the north, Gratiot Avenue on the west, and Kelly Road on the east. This area is in the U.S. Postal zip code 48205, which the SMB enterprise refers to as the “RedZone” or as the zip code “4820Die.” The SMB enterprise conducts much of its narcotics trafficking in the RedZone. The SMB enterprise consists of older members referred to as “55”, and junior members referred to as “Hobsquad” in honor of SMB member Ihab Maslamani who was convicted of murder in 2010. The SMB utilizes many identifiers, including gang signs and symbols, red clothing, tattoos, ...


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