Wednesday, July 22, 2015

People v. Murillo (Cal. Ct. App. - July 22, 2015)

You can't threaten the victim of a crime with violence.  Even if that threat is in the form of a rap song.

Jane Does 1 and 2 were victims of rape.  Shane Villalpando was convicted of sexual offenses involving them, and sentenced to jail, which didn't make his close friend Anthony Murillo -- a.k.a. "Little A" -- very happy.

So he expressed himself in song.  Dedicated to "his homie Shane".  Which referred to Jane Does 1 and 2 by their first and last names, described them as "hoes," and said:

"[T]hese bitches caught him slippin.  Then they fuckin snitchin [¶] . . . I'm fucking all these bitches [¶] Hunting down all these snitches [¶] . . . Shit you know we have no fear [¶] I'll have your head just like a dear [¶] It will be hanging on my wall [¶] . . . I said go and get the Feds [¶] Cuz your gonna to end up dead [¶] You're going be laying on that bed [¶] Cuz im coming for your head bitch."


Mr. Murillo was charged with threatening a crime victim with violence.  The trial court dismissed the charges, finding that the lyrics were protected speech.

The Court of Appeal reverses.

Maybe it was just a song.  Or maybe it was an actual threat.  That's for the trier of fact to decide.

Seems right to me.  Including the victims' true first and last names makes the thing fairly well-directed.  I'm not sure that every jury would convict beyond a reasonable doubt.

But some might well.